Swimming Canada and key partners join Responsible Coaching Movement

Swimming Canada and key partners join Responsible Coaching Movement

Swimming Canada, every single provincial swimming organization, and the Canadian Swimming Coaches and Teachers Association (CSCTA) are partnering to sign on to the Responsible Coaching Movement.

“There is no place for abuse, harassment or discrimination in our sport,” said Swimming Canada CEO Ahmed El-Awadi. “With our key partners, we are committing to strengthen the processes we already have in place to ensure our athletes, coaches, officials, staff and volunteers are able to participate in safe, inclusive and respectful training and competitive environments. We are committed to these values through our Safe Sport initiatives, and I’m proud that our partners are stepping up to demonstrate their commitment as well.”

The Responsible Coaching Movement (RCM) is a multi-phase system-wide movement, coordinated by the Coaching Association of Canada and the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport. A result of extensive ongoing consultation with the Canadian sport community, the RCM is a call to action for organizations to implement realistic change to address the role coaches play with issues relating to the health and safety of athletes, both on and off the field of play.






Swimming Canada will be implementing the Respect in Sport Activity Leader Program and Respect in Sport Parent bullying abuse and harassment training prevention program to prevent and eliminate bullying, abuse, harassment and discrimination in sport. 

At least 29 Sask. rural municipalities don’t have legally required harassment policies

At least 29 Sask. rural municipalities don’t have legally required harassment policies

We can’t enforce what we don’t know,’ says Sask. Occupational Health and Safety

The suicide of a worker who said he was bullied brought the issue of bullying at RMs to the fore earlier this year. Dozens of RMs in the province have told CBC they do not have a legally-required harassment policy to protect workers. (Doidam 10/Shutterstock)

At least 29 rural municipalities in Saskatchewan have failed to meet the legal requirement to have workplace harassment policies in place for employees.

CBC News asked hundreds of rural municipalities across Saskatchewan if they have a harassment policy, which is required underSection 36 of the province’s Occupational Health and Safety Regulations and the Saskatchewan Employment Act.

The law has been in place since 1996 and applies to every workplace in the province.

Of the 88 RMs that responded, 29 did not have any form of harassment policy, including 10 that said they were working toward developing one. An additional six said the topic of harassment was addressed in some way through their code of conduct or HR policy.

Six RMs said they do not have a policy because they have never had a need for one.

No incidents, no need for policy, say RMs

“We are a small municipality and haven’t had any issues within this area with council or our staff, so at this time we are not concerned with having a policy,” said a response from one RM.

  • Have you been bullied or harassed at a rural or urban municipality? We want to hear your story. Contact the CBC’s Alicia Bridges —

“This has not come up in this RM as it has never been a concern or issue in the past or present,” said another.

“I find in the smaller communities we either don’t have that, or everyone knows each other and either will tolerate more or will never say anything to address an issue as to not offend ‘your neighbour.'”

If someone doesn’t phone in and say ‘I’ve been robbed,’ you can hardly blame the police for not acting on it.– Ray Anthony, Saskatchewan Occupational Health and Safety

Other municipalities said a harassment policy was not a priority given their limited resources.

A total of 53 RMs responded to say they do have policies, including one that implemented theirs in the ’90s.

There are 296 rural municipalities in Saskatchewan.

Brenda Duhaime with her husband, Robert, pictured at their 35th wedding anniversary, just over a year before Robert took his own life in August 2017. (Brenda Duhaime)

The issue of bullying and rural municipalities came to the fore in Saskatchewan earlier this year, when the Workers’ Compensation Board concluded that the suicide of a worker at the RM of Parkdale was the result his employment. The RM denies Robert Duhaime was bullied and has appealed the WCB decision.

The province of Manitoba has launched a series of consultations to address a trend of bullying and harassment on rural municipal councils.

In Saskatchewan, Occupational Health and Safety is responsible for acting on breaches of employment law.

‘We can’t enforce what we don’t know’

Executive director Ray Anthony said it is the responsibility of the employer to know the laws that apply to their workplace and comply with them. Anthony said OHS does not get a significant number of bullying and harassment complaints from RMs.

He said his office, which covers about 45,000 employers and self-employed workers in the province, cannot investigate every aspect of employment law through random audits.

“We can’t enforce what we don’t know. If someone doesn’t phone in and say ‘I’ve been robbed,’ you can hardly blame the police for not acting on it,” Anthony said.

“We’re in the same boat — if someone phones in and says [they’re] not complying with the law, we’ll take steps to ensure that they are and to protect them.”

He acknowledged that some RMs have operated without bullying policies since the law was introduced more than 20 years ago.

Workplace inspections usually targeted

OHS has 63 staff to do field inspections of employers around the province. Of those inspections, 75 per cent are targeted based on factors like a high accident rate. Another 25 per cent are “geographical” or at the discretion of the field officers.

Of the 1,800 complaints OHS has received about employers in the past two years, 90 per cent related to psychological health and safety.

Many of the RMs that responded to CBC News saying they do have policies said it was important to have them, and that all employers should have such a policy.

Myrna-Jean Babbings, the administrator at the RM of Enniskillen in southern Saskatchewan, said her RM has had a policy for a number of years.

‘We have everything in place’

The RM consulted a lawyer to develop its policy.

She said having a policy is important because it can be difficult for people to make a complaint about councillors or co-workers in a small working environment.

“Now we have everything in place,” said Babbings.

“I’m going to retire Dec. 31 from here and so I have a younger administrator that I’ve trained, and I just want them to be able to … if there’s an issue, they know how to deal with it.”

SARM response

The Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities had two anti-harassment training sessions planned for the fall of 2018.

SARM has also been encouraging RMs to review their policies, or to make sure they have one in place.

SARM president Ray Orb says his association is working to encourage more RMs to implement or update their policies. (Kathy Fitzpatrick/CBC)

“We’ve been sending things out and … making sure that municipalities have harassment [policies] — things like a code of conduct, and they have a harassment policy as well,” said president Ray Orb earlier this year.

Orb said at the time that the focus on bullying and harassment is not a direct result of the WCB case involving Robert Duhaime and the RM of Parkdale.

Have you been bullied or harassed at a rural or urban municipality? We want to hear your story. Contact the CBC’s Alicia Bridges —

Workplace violence growing in education sector, study finds

Workplace violence growing in education sector, study finds

workplace violence, workplace training, respect group, bill c65, bill c168Workplace violence growing in education sector, study finds


A growing body of evidence suggests violence against teachers, educational assistants and others in the education sector is escalating.

The most recent study, undertaken by Toronto-based Institute for Work and Health (IWH), found violence-related lost-time injury claims for education sector workers rose by four per cent for men and seven per cent for women over a 14-year study period ending in 2015.

Women in this sector were particularly vulnerable, suffering lost-time injuries from violence and aggression at eight times the rate of men and women in other sectors. Though, male education sector workers also suffered lost-time injuries in greater numbers, at twice the rate of other sectors.

This IWH study also reported lost-time injury rates due to violence and aggression for male and female health care workers far exceeded those in other sectors.

Further, an examination of Ontario hospital emergency department visits for a similar period found a rising number of female workers overall sought treatment for injuries attributed to workplace violence.

Claim suppression

Over the course of the study period, in raw numbers, just under 30,000 lost-time claims for injuries sustained as a result of workplace violence or aggression were registered with the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB). Meantime, more than 13,000 workers sought treatment for injuries attributed to workplace violence at emergency departments.

Authors of the study acknowledge these numbers fall far short of “self-reported” workplace violence incidents. Polling of workers in the education and health care sector paints a troubling picture of suffering and significant underreporting—some driven by fear.

recent poll of Ontario elementary teachers, for instance, found seven in 10 have personally experienced violence and witnessed violence against another staff person. This poll was conducted by the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario which represents 83,000 teachers, occasional teachers and education professionals employed in Ontario’s public elementary schools. Thus the poll suggests more than 58,000 education workers are victims or have been exposed to violence at work. Almost 40 per cent of those polled also report suffering mental stress, physical injury or illness as a result of workplace violence.

Many polled reported being told not to report the incident, or chose not to report, for fear of repercussions. Fifty per cent of those who reported an incident say there was no follow-up or investigation “in all cases” or “in some cases.” Even when actions were taken by school administrators to prevent recurrence, most polled said the actions were ineffective.

Another recent poll of Ontario Catholic teachers (elementary and high school) conducted by the Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association, found teachers were suffering similarly, with 60 per cent personally experiencing violence. This violence led almost 60 per cent of these teachers to suffer significant psychological stress while 40 per cent suffered physical harm. Many were encouraged or pressured by administrators to not fill out report forms or report the incident to police.

Studies are also finding health care workers are reporting violence at rates similar to those in education. A report authored by the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions in 2017 found 61 per cent of Canadian nurses surveyed say they have experienced abuse, harassment or assault in the workplace in the past 12 months. Here in Ontario, 54 per cent reported having experienced physical abuse; 85 per cent experienced verbal abuse, and 19 per cent experienced sexual violence or abuse.

Legal obligations

All Ontario employers have significant legal obligations to address workplace violence and harassment. Chief among these duties is for employers to develop and implement workplace violence and harassment policies and program(s). To this end, the employer must also provide all workers with information and instruction on the content of these policies and related measures. On the basis of recent findings from IWH and others, some are suggesting it is time to develop a standard for workplace violence training, much in the way a standard was developed to combat worker injury and death from working at heights. In such a way, a minimum level of quality is ensured.

Respect Group offers a 90 minute (4 hours of traditional classroom learning condensed) online workplace harassment prevention training program called “Respect in the Workplace”. Our program addresses bullying, abuse, harassment and discrimination, empowering your organization with the tools to recognize and proactively eliminate it, creating psychologically safe and healthy workplace environments. Respect in the Workplace



Source data: Workers health & safety centre

Sexual harassment complaints fall on deaf ears in the workplace, research shows

Sexual harassment complaints fall on deaf ears in the workplace, research shows

Sexual harassment complaints fall on deaf ears in the workplace


The Globe’s bimonthly report on research from business schools.

The rise of #MeToo and Time’s Up in our collective consciousness has encouraged women by the thousands to step forward to share stories of being cat-called, groped and propositioned on the job.

Together, these movements have helped to topple some of the most egregious offenders from their positions of authority and brought to light the sheer scale of sexual harassment in the everyday workplace setting.

But for Ajnesh Prasad, business professor and Canada Research Chair with Royal Roads University’s business school in Victoria, they’ve also highlighted a need to dig deeper into the organizational culture that helps enable unwanted behaviours.

To that end, Dr. Prasad and colleague Dulini Fernando of the University of Warwick in Britain have recently completed a timely study that looks at what they call “the subtle mechanisms by which organizations maintain the status quo.”

The study, which has been accepted for publication in the academic journal Human Relations, began in 2016 and examines the role of “third-party actors” in silencing people who start to voice their discontent. These are the people who, by their actions (or lack thereof), have participated in suppressing the voices of discontented employees. They include human resource officers, managers, and professional colleagues, among others.

The researchers interviewed 31 early- to mid-career female academics working at business schools in Britain about insulting, hostile and degrading attitudes, as well as any unwanted sexual attention and sexual coercion they’ve experienced in their workplace because of their gender.

In each case, participants were asked to describe events as vividly as possible and whether they stayed silent about their experiences.

The researchers were surprised by the answers they received.

All the women reported some level of harassment, from sexist remarks and harassment during pregnancy and after giving birth to gender-based bullying and sexually motivated advances. And, contrary to what researchers anticipated, they all shared their experiences with someone at work – whether it was a manager, HR officer or more senior professional colleague.

In each case, the women said they were persuaded to drop the issue and move on.

For instance, one woman, identified as Paula in the study, described how a female HR manager dismissed her complaint of a senior colleague’s unwanted advances as “hardly a crime.” In addition, the manager “also rather patronizingly offered to speak to the accused on Paula’s behalf to clear any possible misunderstanding and make the environment more pleasant for her in the future.” Paula was left feeling humiliated and unwilling to talk further about what happened.

In another other case noted in the study, a woman known as Marsha said she was advised by well-meaning colleagues to not complain about unwanted sexual attention to avoid being known as a “troublemaker.”

“To be really honest, I am scared of being that person who people are wary of dealing with – so I don’t know what to do,” Marsha said, according to the study.

Women also told researchers they were repeatedly told by organizational authorities to “trust the system” to resolve their complaint.

Dr. Prasad says the research reveals important lessons for victims of sex-based harassment, wherever they may work.

Critically, people who have the courage to disclose incidents of sex-based harassment need to be aware of the reality that they may be silenced by various actors who are invested in protecting the interests of the organization.

“Accordingly, they need to be prepared to proceed through the often-difficult process of pursuing their complaint with conviction,” he says.

Second, he recommends that victims seek outside support from a union representative, industry ombudsman or relevant source who is not subject of the organization’s authority.

“Such actors can offer much-needed support, including providing victims with the fullest scope of their options,” he says.

Dr. Prasad and Dr. Fernando are preparing to continue the study. The next step is to interview HR officers and line managers in an effort to better understand how they deal with individuals who make complaints relating to sex-based harassment.

Canadian Tire Jumpstart Launched Keeping Girls in Sport in Partnership with Coaching Association of Canada, CAAWS and Respect Group

Canadian Tire Jumpstart Launched Keeping Girls in Sport in Partnership with Coaching Association of Canada, CAAWS and Respect Group

resepct group, harassment prevention training, abuse prevention in sport, sport abuse, girls, sport, coaching tools, coaching resources, athlete resources, coach training, abuse prevention training

Canadian Tire Jumpstart Launched Keeping Girls in Sport in Partnership with Coaching Association of Canada, CAAWS and Respect Group


Keeping Girls in Sport is an online resource that teaches coaches and youth activity leaders how to create safe and respectful environments for girls, and ultimately, help girls stay enrolled and engaged in sport and physical activity. 
In partnership with the Coaching Association of Canada  and the Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women in Sport , Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities developed Keeping Girls in Sport with the expert input of Dr. Vicki Harber, professor emeritus in the faculty of physical education and recreation at the University of Alberta. 
Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities is a national charity dedicated to helping kids, who otherwise might not have the chance to play, get in the game. Studies have repeatedly shown that during adolescence, girls drop out of sport at a significantly higher rate than boys. Along with removing financial and accessibility barriers to sport and recreation, Jumpstart is committed to helping girls get, and stay active for life. 
Beyond physical fitness, there are countless benefits to participating in sport and recreation. Sport fosters valuable life skills like confidence, resilience, and teamwork, and helps girls grow up to become strong leaders in their own communities and beyond. 
Since 2016, Jumpstart has hosted several Jumpstart Games for Girls across Canada. Inspired by Jumpstart’s Chairman Emeritus, Martha Billes, these games are a fun day of play where girls can be active, have fun, feel inspired to get into the game, and remain active throughout adolescence. 
Sask. launching workplace respect training for all government workers

Sask. launching workplace respect training for all government workers

The provincial government is implementing a workplace training program for all of its workers to address harassment and bullying.

Respect in the Workplace is a 90-minute online training course that deals with bullying, abuse, harassment and discrimination, mental health, managing emotions, transgender awareness, social media, recognizing and responding to incidents, as well as signs and symptoms of workplace issues.

“I think it’s a very good project for the government, for the public service,” said Minister Gene Makowsky after the announcement in Regina on Monday.


Minister Gene Makowsky told reporters the program is a “win-win” for government employees and those who deal with government employees. (Kirk Fraser/CBC)

“Work places free from discrimination, free from harassment, bullying behaviour, that sort of thing, is a positive thing for individuals who work within our government, within executive government, but also our clients that interface with those employees.”

The government is partnering with Respect Group Inc. on the project as part of its inclusion and healthy workplace strategies.

“The more knowledgeable we can have everyone, the better off we’re going to be, the safer we’re going to be and the healthier communities and organizations we’re going to have,” said Sheldon Kennedy, co-founder of Respect Group Inc. and former NHL player.


Sheldon Kennedy says the program is meant to educate and empower people on dealing with workplace bullying and harassment, among other things. (Kirk Fraser/CBC)

Kennedy commended the government for implementing the program for all employees, saying it’s important everyone takes the course rather than a select few.

“That’s when it’s going to work the best,” he said.

The program is meant to help people who experience harassment and bullying, among other things, but also to educate those who witness harassment and bullying.

“When we look at the impacts of bad behaviour, on abuse, bullying, harassment and discrimination, I mean it leads to depression, addiction, mental health issues, anxiety, the list goes on,” Kennedy said.

“Our best way to defend against that is to empower the bystander.”

The province says it’s the first in Canada to launch a government-wide program like this and says it will be available for the next four years to all government employees.

Sask. launches mandatory workplace harassment training for all government employees

Sask. launches mandatory workplace harassment training for all government employees

“We believe that our best defence to abuse, bullying, harassment, discrimination is prevention.”

The province has launched mandatory Respect in the Workplace training for all government employees as part of a new partnership with Respect Group Inc. — a group dedicated to creating a global culture of respect.

The announcement was made Monday afternoon, as former NHLer and Respect Group Inc. co-founder Sheldon Kennedy, and assistant chair of the Public Service Commission Greg Tuer, signed an agreement in front of a small crowd gathered at the Legislative Building on Monday afternoon.

“We believe that our best defence to abuse, bullying, harassment, discrimination is prevention,” said Kennedy. “The more knowledgeable we can have everyone, the better off we’re going to be, the safer we’re going to be.”

In 1997, Kennedy went public about more than 300 incidents of sexual abuse he suffered at the hands of Swift Current Broncos head coach Graham James over a five-year period.

He co-founded Respect Group Inc. in 2004, which provides prevention training in sports, schools and the workplace.

The program being provided to government employees is a 90-minute online training course which will be available for the next four years and includes modules on bullying, abuse, harassment, discrimination, mental health, managing emotions, transgender awareness, social media, recognizing and responding to incidents and signs and symptoms of workplace issues.


Parks, Culture and Sport Minister Gene Makowsky helped make the announcement on behalf of Minister Responsible for the Public Service Commission, Ken Cheveldayoff.

“We’re proud to be the first government in Canada to make this comprehensive training program mandatory for all employees,” said Makowsky. “Good workplaces free from discrimination, free from harassment, bullying behaviour, is a positive thing.”

As much as the training is meant to educate those who may engage in workplace harassment, abuse, bullying or discrimination, it’s also for those who bear witness to it.

“Most of the time there’s bystanders,” said Kennedy. “There’s many people that have a gut feeling that something’s not right and they feel that they should have done something about it.”

Kennedy said the focus of the training is less on the incidents themselves than the impact they have on the individuals who are being abused, harassed, bullied or discriminated against.

“It leads to depression, it leads to addiction, it leads to mental health issues, anxiety, the list goes on,” he said.

He said the issues are also often misunderstood and hard to define, but believes Respect Group Inc. has found language that people can understand.

“Our goal is to empower (bystanders). If your gut’s telling you something is not right, give them the tools to know what to do.”

“This training is part of our government’s strategy to improve diversity and inclusion and to develop healthy and safe workplaces,” said Makowsky. “An inclusive workplace ensures employees feel welcome and supported.”

As a pilot project, the Ministry of Corrections and Policing implemented the training in 2017. Makowsky said the Saskatchewan Public Service Commission will monitor the success of the program as the training gets rolled out for all government employees.

Government Of Saskatchewan First In Canada To Launch Government-Wide Respect In The Workplace Training For Employees

Government Of Saskatchewan First In Canada To Launch Government-Wide Respect In The Workplace Training For Employees

Respect Group is proud to partner with the Government of Saskatchewan and commends them on being the first government in Canada to take the proactive measure of training all employees as a commitment to creating and maintaining safe, healthy work environments.

The Government of Saskatchewan is providing all employees with Respect in the Workplace training to support healthy and inclusive workplaces for government employees.

“We are proud to be the first government in Canada to offer this comprehensive training program to all employees,” Parks, Culture and Sport Minister Gene Makowsky said on behalf of Minister Responsible for the Public Service Commission Ken Cheveldayoff.  “This is part of a commitment to safe, healthy workplaces and improving service to our clients and citizens, by providing our employees with training on important topics.”


Government is partnering with Respect Group Inc. to deliver the 90-minute online training course.  Training will be available to employees for the next four years and includes modules about: bullying, abuse, harassment and discrimination, mental health, managing emotions, transgender awareness, social media, recognizing and responding to incidents, and signs and symptoms of workplace issues.

“I know that proactive education is the only way to empower the bystander and polish the good apples,” Respect Group Co-Founder Sheldon Kennedy said.  “This is what Respect in the Workplace is all about.  I am so proud of my friends in the Saskatchewan government for their leadership and making this commitment to all of their employees.”

The Respect in the Workplace training is a part of government’s inclusion and healthy workplaces strategies.


For more information, contact:

Eilidh Thain
Public Service Commission
Phone: 306-787-7153
Cell: 306-529-5040

More than 5,800 youth suicides across Canada signals mental health ‘crisis’

More than 5,800 youth suicides across Canada signals mental health ‘crisis’

At the age of 15, Laurissa Rose Degraw attempted to take her own life for the first time.

Over the next five years, she tried four more times.

“She made it very clear that this is how her life would end,” says her mother, Aimee Huitema. “She said it to me. She said it to her social worker. She said it to her doctors that she would take her life one day.”

More than 5,800 Canadian children and youth have died by suicide during the past 13 years across Canada — some as young as 8 years old, according to data compiled by a Toronto Star/Ryerson School of Journalism investigation from coroners’ offices in all provinces and territories except Nunavut.

Suicide is second only to accidents as the leading cause of death for young people in Canada.

In 2005, 146 people between the ages of 8 and 24 died by suicide in Ontario, according to coroner data. In 2016, the figure was 181.

Degraw was 20 when ended her life on a summer evening in July of 2016, hours after she returned home from a week at the family’s Lake Huron cottage.

“We had an amazing few days at the beach with my parents and my younger daughter Lily. Everything was perfect,” says Huitema.

But upon their return home, Degraw told her mother she wanted to go for a walk after dinner. She would never return.

In what was at least her fifth attempt at suicide, she hanged herself. Police found her body a two-minute walk from her house in Ingersoll, Ont.

Despite dedicated government mental health campaigns aimed at young people over the past two decades, youth suicide rates have remained steady. Some provinces have seen increases in recent years.

In Saskatchewan, 36 young people killed themselves in 2005; that number jumped to 54 last year. In British Columbia, the number rose to 114 from 78 a decade earlier. In Nova Scotia, the figures more than doubled in that same time frame.

Deaths are only recorded as suicide if the intent is clear. Experts estimate that for every completed suicide, between 10 and 100 suicides are attempted.

A 2016 survey of 1,319 Canadian teens aged 13 to 18 conducted by Kids Help Phone found one in five seriously considered suicide.

The coroners’ data does not break out ethnicity or race. But Health Canada data shows suicide is the leading cause of death for Canadian Aboriginal youth, where the rate of suicide is five to 11 times higher than for non-Indigenous populations.

“Kids are suffering,” says McMaster University assistant clinical professor Dr. Catharine Munn. “One student told me it felt (like) she was screaming at the top of her lungs, but no one was listening.”

National data on youth hospitalization for mental health issues also show a steady upward trend. Since 2007, emergency department mental health visits for patients aged 5 to 24 have jumped 66 per cent, according to new data from the Canadian Institute for Health Information. One in 12 was given mood/anxiety or antipsychotic medication.

Hospitalizations related to intentional self-harm increased by 102 per cent for girls aged 10 to 17 between 2009 and 2014 (four times higher than boys), CIHI data shows.

“It’s like cancer. But we ignored it for decades, and now we’re surprised?” says Munn.

While governments have acknowledged the crisis — and responded with millions of dollars in funding and programs — there have been few signs the problem is abating.

Kimberly Moran, CEO of Children’s Mental Health Ontario, says there needs to be counselling and therapy for moderate mental health issues as well as specialized mental health services for those who may be suicidal and require 24/7 intensive treatment.

“Treating a child who is sad or depressed is much less money than it is for a child that is critically ill and in a hospital, and that’s certainly what happened to us. Once my daughter became suicidal then she had to be put in an in-patient unit in the hospital,” says Moran.

Dirk Huyer, chief coroner of Ontario, says coroners don’t have the expertise to understand all underlying factors. “Clearly, all of us in this society recognize that this is an important issue and an issue that continues to occur and that many in society are trying to figure the underlying factors,” he says.

One factor is bullying which has escalated and intensified on social media and brought into the national spotlight after the suicides of 15-year-olds Amanda ToddJamie Hubley and Todd Loik, as well as Rehtaeh Parsons, 17.

“Suicide happens in the darkest moments of your life where you feel like nothing else can help solve your problems,” says Carol Todd, Amanda’s mother. “They think that if they disappear off the earth, all their pain will go away. They don’t think beyond how much it can hurt the people around them or if there’s a tomorrow that will be brighter.

“I was afraid that if you said the word (suicide) then you would implant the idea, but the idea is already implanted in their head,” she says.

Amanda died in October 2012 at her home in Port Coquitlam, B.C. About a month before, she had posted a video to YouTube entitled “My Story” and used flash cards to tell about being bullied. She also left a video message to her parents on her cellphone. Carol still hasn’t been able to watch.

“With teenagers, it’s like someone can say, ‘I hate you, I don’t want to be your friend and I’m going to tell everyone all the bad things about you,’ and that will be enough to spiral everyone down, especially if they’re vulnerable to start with,” she says.

Marshall Korenblum, psychiatrist-in-chief at the Sick Kids Centre for Community Mental Health, says that while bullying among youth has been around for hundreds of years, social media has compounded its impact.

“You can basically spread a rumour now to hundreds of people with one click of the button so bullying is old as the hills but social media makes it faster, more widespread and easier to be anonymous,” Korenblum says.

Then there’s the growing exposure young people have to suicide — even the celebration of self harm — on television and social media which can trigger the minds of young children.

“If you’re at all thinking about suicide and you wanted to learn how to cut yourself, or if you’re anorexic and you want to learn how to starve yourself, there’s a lot of websites out there that tell you how to do that,” he said.

The Netflix series 13 Reasons Why has generated controversy across school boards in Canada for its portrayal of suicide. Some elementary schools sent out emails to parents to let them know students were prohibited from even mentioning the show on school grounds.

Depression — among the most common forms of mental disorders amongst youth — is also a factor.

Ottawa city councillor Allan Hubley’s son, Jamie, was battling depression after being verbally and physically bullied throughout elementary and high school.

The bullying began escalating on the school bus when Jamie, a figure skater, was in Grade 7 and continued into high school as he was constantly teased for being openly gay.

“You feel helpless,” says Allan. “You can’t get them help when you’re trying to get them help. It just wasn’t available.”

Jamie died by suicide in 2011.

Gay youth are four times more likely to die by suicide than heterosexual youth, due in large part to bullying and negative family attitudes, U.S. studies have shown.

Jamie’s father is still struggling to understand how it happened.

“Why are (kids) coming to that conclusion?” asks Allan. “What’s going on today that kids are deciding that the best way to deal with this is to end their lives?”

With files from David Lao/Ryerson School of Journalism

Where to get help

Distress and Crisis Ontario:

Your Life Counts: (enter Canada/Ontario)

Youthline (support for LGBT youth):

ConnexOntario (all ages): 1-866-531-2600

Good2Talk (post-secondary student helpline): 1-866-925-5454

Kids Help Phone (general counselling line): 1-800-668-6868

Online chat/text/email:


Ontario crisis text (2 p.m. -2 a.m. ET): 741-741

Ontario Crisis Chat ( 2 p.m. – 2 a.m. ET):

YouthSpace: 778-783-0177 (6 p.m. – 12 a.m. PST) or


Canada Suicide Prevention Service (CSPS) in French or English: toll-free 1-833-456-4566 (24/7)

First Nations and Inuit Hope for Wellness 24/7 Help Line: 1-855-242-3310

Canadian Indian Residential Schools Crisis Line: 1-866-925-4419

Trans LifeLine (all ages): 1-877-330-6366

Receiving a disclosure of abuse: How to respond when a child shares their story with you

Receiving a disclosure of abuse: How to respond when a child shares their story with you

The Zebra Centre’s Becci Watson, Director of Justice Partnerships & Supports, shares how to respond to a disclosure of child abuse, and the important role you play in making sure that child feels heard and believed.



I'd like to learn more:

Media Inquiries

Privacy Policy

Helpdesk Support

Respect Group offers fully bilingual Helpdesk Support 7 days a week from 6 AM to Midnight MST.On the login page of your Respect Group Program you will see Helpdesk Support in the lower left-hand corner. Click there to see brief troubleshooting steps or how to contact the Helpdesk.

Sexual harassment training, Workplace harassment training, Workplace misconduct training, Workplace incivility, Incivility in the Workplace, Workplace bullying, sensitivity training, discrimination staff training, inclusive workplace training, workplace diversity training, inclusive / diverse workplace, How to create a strong culture and environment of inclusiveness? How to address workplace discrimination, bullying & harassment, How to provide employees with skills and tools to minimize hostility in the workplace? How to create a positive workplace? How can I teach my employees to respect our code of conduct? How can I bring my employees to the same page regarding accurate? What can you do as a manager to avoid harassment or bullying? Bill 168 training Ontario, Bill 132 training Ontario

Copyright © Respect Group Inc. All rights reserved.

Respect Group offers 24/7 bilingual helpdesk support.

To Assist our Helpdesk, we request you access the URL of the program where you are experiencing difficulty.

When viewing the program URL, you will see a link for Helpdesk Support in the lower left-hand corner . Click on this link to see brief troubleshooting steps or contact the Helpdesk.