On October 1st, the Government of Saskatchewan announced that it’s providing all government employees with ‘Respect in the Workplace’ training. According to the provincial government, the goal of the training is to support healthy and inclusive workplaces for all government employees.

The Government of Saskatchewan is the first government in Canada to offer this kind of training to its employees.

Partnering with Respect Group Inc., the 90-minute online training course will be available to Saskatchewan government employees for the next four years. The ‘modules’ in the program relate to 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.

Respect Group Inc. was incorporated on April 5th, 2004, by Wayne McNeil, and former NHLer Sheldon Kennedy, to pursue their common passion: the prevention of bullying, abuse, harassment and discrimination (BAHD).

Respect Group’s passion is to create a global culture of respect.

According to Kennedy, “I know that proactive education is the only way to empower the bystander and polish the good apples. 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.”

Co-founder McNeil shared these comments with DiscoverMooseJaw.com about how his relationship with Sheldon Kennedy developed, how Respect Group Inc.’s passion evolved from the sporting world to the workplace environment, and the importance of creating respect in the workplace:

“That dates back to 1996, when Sheldon came forward. I’d been doing some work in Calgary. I was approached to sponsor a fundraiser. I didn’t know who Sheldon Kennedy was, but it was a fundraiser for his foundation. We became very fast friends. Two years later I ran his foundation when he skated across Canada. We’d always been tossing around the concept of training coaches. That’s where it all started. Not just on sexual abuse awareness and prevention, but also on all forms of all maltreatment. That’s really where it stemmed from. We got together in 2004 to try and do this online. We started pushing that boulder up the hill, both in terms of the issues we were trying to deal with and in terms of delivering this stuff online.

“We started in sport, and somewhere along the path we kept getting asked to use the same technology and format in the sport program, but make it workplace applicable...adult-to-adult relationships in the workplace. We did some research. We worked with some HR folks. We worked with some psychologists, and discovered there was a real need for that type of training in the workplace, online, and it grew from there. That was the impetus.

“Creating respectful environments...what you’re doing is you’re diminishing mental health issues, you’re creating environments where people feel valued for the work they do. The big words we hear now in the workplace are recruitment and retention. Organizations are trying to differentiate themselves...by virtue of the culture they say and demonstrate they have. Good people go when they’re subject to disrespectful environments. The whole point is recruitment and retention, and just making [the workplace] a mentally healthy place for people to be.”

The online training course will be available to Saskatchewan government employees for the next four years, and is part of the government’s inclusion and healthy workplace strategies.

Respect Group Inc. has trained over 1.1 million Canadians.

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