Hospitality and Tourism Industry Launches Sexual Violence and Harassment Intervention Training


MEDIA RELEASE: Ontario Restaurant Hotel & Motel Association

Ontario is ready to train managers, supervisors, front of the house and back of the house employees in the hospitality and tourism sector to identify and intervene in instances of sexual violence and harassment among employees and patrons.

Starting November 30, 2017, the “It’s Your Shift” Sexual Violence & Intervention Training program will be available to all employees in the hospitality and tourism industry. The training is not only complimentary but is available online at The SHIFT training includes 5 online modules with a dedicated module for supervisors, managers and owners along with job aids, resources and guidelines for the workplace.

We at the Ontario Restaurant Hotel & Motel Association are proud of the collaboration taken in the past year to develop this training program with Tourism HR Canada (THRC) and Ontario Tourism Education Corporation (OTEC). Collectively, we have built a powerful tool and resource for the industry to incorporate it into their workplace training and onboarding processes. We are taking a leadership role in providing an opportunity for industry to be leaders in ensuring staff, patron and workplace safety, and ultimately, diminishing sexual violence.

The hospitality industry employs 450,000 people in Ontario and many are frontline workers in restaurants, bars, hotels and motels who may witness a patron who is at risk of sexual violence or harassment. As the industry also employs a large number of youth, females and newcomers, many employees are also vulnerable to sexual violence and harassment in the workplace. The hospitality industry recognizes that it is not immune to sexual violence and harassment but we stand to take a leadership role in providing a training tool and resource for the industry. This training program was developed by the hospitality and tourism industry for the hospitality and tourism industry.

In 2016, the Government of Ontario passed the Sexual Violence and Harassment Action Plan Act (Supporting Survivors and Challenging Sexual Violence and Harassment). The Act will make workplaces safer and improve support for survivors through legislative amendments. Empowering workers is an important step toward ending sexual violence and harassment in Ontario.

The plan is helping to change attitudes, improve supports for survivors and make workplaces and campuses safer and more responsive to complaints about sexual violence and harassment. It will help ensure that everyone in the province can live in safety and free from the threat, fear or experience of sexual violence and harassment.

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Everyone is entitled to feel safe in their communities. We know people want to do the right thing when they see sexual violence and harassment, but we need to give them the tools to do so safely and effectively. This new training program will empower hospitality workers to prevent violence and make our communities safer.
Indira Naidoo-Harris, Minister of the Status of Women

Everyone in Ontario has the right to work in a safe environment. This is the fundamental philosophy at the Ministry of Labour. Safety doesn’t just mean physical dangers, but psychological ones, as well. This includes harassment of any kind. The changes we brought forward are creating safer workplaces and improved protection for our workers.
Kevin Flynn, Minister of Labour

The work impacts of sexual harassment lead to absenteeism, lost productivity and low worker morale. Through the SHIFT model, hospitality and tourism sector employees will receive the support, tools and training they need. Together we can foster an industry of zero tolerance of sexual harassment.
Tony Elenis, President & CEO, Ontario Restaurant Hotel & Motel Association

Our sector needs to take proactive and decisive action on this type of harassment in hospitality establishments. We are honoured to be one of the chief architects in the development of this program and it’s aims to mitigate sexual harassment and violence in hospitality establishments and provide frontline and management staff with the tools to identify, and if required, safely intervene in situations where harassment or assault is taking place or when precursors to this type of potential behaviour are identified.
Philip Mondor, President, Tourism HR Canada (THRC)

Now more than ever, we need to address this issue and our informative and interactive training does just that. The SHIFT Kit contains 5 online learning modules, job aids and links to resources and guidelines for employers and employees.
Victoria Behune, President, Ontario Tourism Education Corporation (OTEC)


  • One in three women will experience sexual assault in her lifetime.
  • Most Ontarians ‘strongly agree’ that they have an obligation to intervene if they witness sexual violence (64%) or sexual harassment (58%).
  • Key barriers to intervention include not knowing how to respond, concerns about personal safety, and fear of jeopardizing employment.


  • It’s Your Shift available at and Social Media #itsyourshift
  • Read the progress report on It’s Never Okay: An Action Plan to Stop Sexual Violence and Harassment
  • Find out more about what you can do to prevent and address sexual and gender-based harassment, see the Ontario Human Rights Commission’s Policy on preventing sexual and gender-based harassment at
  • Stronger Sexual Violence and Harassment Laws Come into Effect
  • Ontario Investing in Training for Frontline Workers

ABOUT ORHMA: The Ontario Restaurant Hotel & Motel Association (ORHMA) is the largest provincial hospitality association in Canada. With over 4,000 members, representing more than 11,000 establishments across the province, the ORHMA is uniquely positioned to represent the issues that most impact your business. ORHMA is dedicated to fostering a positive business climate for Ontario's hospitality industry, while providing value-added services to its members. |@orhma

ABOUT THRC: Tourism HR Canada is a pan-Canadian organization with a mandate aimed at “building a world-leading tourism workforce”. Tourism HR Canada facilitates, co-ordinates and enables human resource development activities which support a globally competitive and sustainable industry and foster the development of a dynamic and resilient workforce. |@tourismhrcanada

ABOUT OTEC: Ontario Tourism Education Corporation is an Ontario-based independent, not-for-profit training, consulting & workforce development organization that delivers high quality, creative and branded solutions for the development and growth of a professional, skilled workforce. It is the leading source support for communities to build workforce capacity and for companies to attract, retain, and develop high performing employees and become Employer of Choice organizations. OTEC is the premier source for Customer Service training and strategy development, Tourism Ambassador training, leadership skills training and certifications and education products and services for tourism, hospitality and service oriented organizations in a wide range of industry sectors both nationally and internationally. | @OTECExcellence