Constitution of The Canadian Union of Skilled Workers

Amended: Sixth Convention of the Canadian Union of Skilled Workers
April 14 & 15, 2018


Honesty, Integrity, Fairness, Equality, Respectful Treatment, Family Consideration, Common Sense, Decisions Benefiting the Members, Decisions Promoting the Workers, Involvement (including stakeholders), Democratic Processes

VIDEO: The Constitution and How the CUSW Convention is at the Center of it.

Visit the Constitution Committee's site to watch a short video on the CUSW Constitution. Watch the video.


POLICIES - Equality Policy and Procedures on Descrimination and Sexual Harassment



Authority: National Executive Board
Implementation: Values and Beliefs Committee
Date: January 27, 2001
Revised: April 18, 2015

We, the members of the Canadian Union of Skilled Workers are committed to the right of all members to equal treatment within the Union, without discrimination because of race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, record of offences, creed, sex, sexual orientation, age, marital status, family status or disability.

  • We believe in the right of all members to participate in the Union and be involved in all Union activities, in an environment free from discrimination and sexual harassment that respects the personal worth and dignity of each individual
  • We believe that it is a union priority to eliminate problems that prevent us from working together to gain more control of our lives
  • We believe in an approach to discrimination and sexual harassment that emphasizes prevention over punishment

In keeping with our founding Constitution provisions on equality, gender and discrimination, mutual respect must be the basis of interaction among members in addition to cooperation and understanding.

CUSW members will not tolerate nor condone behaviour that is likely to undermine the dignity or self-esteem of an individual, or create an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment.

This policy and the procedures cover member-to-member discrimination and sexual harassment. The policy and procedures also govern the operation of our hiring hall where we will make every reasonable effort to ensure that members are not subjected to discrimination or sexual harassment.

Further, this policy and procedures are intended to comply with all applicable Human Rights legislation, Labour legislation and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

This document is intended to act as a guide for members, in adhering to legal and social guidelines regarding the recognition and prevention of discrimination and sexual harassment.

Discrimination and sexual harassment are defined as:

1. Discrimination
Unwanted comments, racist statements, slurs, jokes, racist graffiti and literature including articles, pictures and posters.

2. Sexual Harassment
Sexual Harassment means any conduct, comment, gesture or contact of a sexual nature:

(a) that is likely to cause offense or humiliation to any member or employee; or

(b) that might, on reasonable grounds, be perceived by that member or employee as placing a condition of a sexual nature on employment or on any opportunity for training or promotion.

Harassment can be defined as any unwanted attention of a sexual nature such as remarks about appearance or personal life, and offensive written or visual actions like graffiti or degrading pictures, physical contact of any kind, or sexual demands.

Discrimination and Harassment include any unwelcome action by any person, whether verbal or physical, on a single or repeated basis, which humiliates, insults or degrades.

"Unwelcome" or "unwanted" in this context means any action, which the harasser knows, or ought reasonably to know is not desired by the person subject to the harassment or discrimination.

There are two principles, which are fundamental to the trade union movement: - human rights and solidarity. Discrimination and harassment strike at the heart of both. We, the members of CUSW consider discrimination and harassment of any kind to be a serious offence and complaints will be investigated in accordance with the procedures outlined below.


General Application at all stages of Complaint

The Union will not disclose the name of a Complainant or Respondent, or the circumstances related to a complaint to any person except where disclosure is necessary for the purposes of investigating the complaint, convening or conducting a hearing in accordance with the Judicial Code, or taking disciplinary measures/sanctions.

No Reprisals
Every member has the right to file a complaint of discrimination or harassment, participate in an investigation by the Union, or provide information relevant to the complaint to the Union. Reprisals for such activities will be investigated and may lead to disciplinary measures/sanctions.

Carriage of Complaint
A Complainant can drop a complaint at any stage of the process.

If at any stage of the proceeding both parties agree on the resolution of a complaint, it is deemed to be resolved.

Right to Seek Resolution Outside the Union
These procedures are designed to ensure that the Union, and its members comply with the Equality Policy on Discrimination and Sexual Harassment. However, it does not prevent any individual from seeking other options available to them, such as - a Provincial or Federal Human Rights Commission; Provincial or Federal Court; or any rights under a Collective Agreement.

Informal Stage

  • 1. A person who believes that she or he is a victim of discrimination or harassment on any grounds prohibited by this policy should take immediate remedial action.
  • 2. Make it clear that you do not welcome the attention or offensive behaviour, either on your own (verbally or in writing) or via a third party. Warn him or her that if the behaviour continues, you will pursue the matter. (It may be that the individual is unaware that the behaviour is offensive).
  • 3. If the inappropriate behaviour persists, and the member believes that a violation of this Policy has occurred, he or she may contact the President of CUSW to request that the complaint go to the next stage.

Verbal Complaint Stage

  • 4. The President of CUSW will designate in writing, two members of the Union to represent the Complainant and the Respondent.
  • 5. Members designated to act as representatives will receive training on; discrimination and sexual harassment; the principles of fairness and natural justice; the duty of fair representation; problem solving and mediation techniques.
  • 6. A member who is the subject of a complaint made under these procedures who has reason to believe that the complaint is vexatious, in bad faith, or itself a form of harassment, will have the right to file a complaint.
  • 7. The Unit or Union Executive may initiate a complaint by itself or at the request of any member.
  • 8. The designated representatives of the Complainant and the Respondent will investigate a situation or complaint and endeavour to affect a resolution.
  • 9. If the representatives of the Complainant and Respondent are unable to affect a resolution of a situation or complaint, which is agreeable to both parties, the Complainant will have the right to go to the next stage.

Written Complaint Stage

  • 10. The Complainant will put the complaint in writing to their designated representative, who will inform the designated representative of the Respondent that a written complaint has been received.
  • 11. The designated representative of the Complainant will forward any written documentation outlining the complaint to the designated representative of the Respondent.
  • 12. The Respondent will respond to the complaint in writing to their designated representative, who will forward any written documentation to the designated representative of the Complainant.
  • 13. The representatives of the Complainant and Respondent will initiate an investigation and separately interview the Complainant, Respondent and witnesses if there are any, and endeavour to resolve the situation or complaint.
  • 14. The designated representatives may, with the agreement of the Complainant and Respondent, jointly recommend to the President of CUSW, that an outside Mediator, skilled and sensitive on these issues, be retained by the Union in an endeavour to resolve the complaint at this stage.
  • 15. If the problem cannot be resolved at the written complaint stage, the Complainant will have the right to go to the next stage.

Formal Hearing Stage
The designated representative of the Complainant will, within thirty (30) days, write to the Union President and advise him/her that the Complainant wishes to have the matter heard by a Judicial Committee of the Executive Board. Any and all documents made available during the earlier stages of the complaint, will be provided by the designated representative of the Complainant and forwarded to the Union President, together with the request for the establishment of a Judicial Committee.

The Respondent to a complaint and his/her designated representative will be advised in writing by the Union President that a complaint has been filed and copies of all documents provided by the designated representative of the Complainant will be attached to the notice from the Union President.

The role, responsibility and authority of the Judicial Committee are as outlined in the Constitution.

The rights and responsibilities of members appearing before a Judicial Committee are as outlined in the Constitution.

The Judicial Code contained in the Constitution will apply to complaints about discrimination or sexual harassment, except the provision requiring that a charge be filed within thirty (30) days from the date that an alleged violation or offence occurring, will be waived to allow members an opportunity to resolve complaints at the earlier informal, verbal and written stages of these procedures.

This Policy and procedures will be posted at all Union events or activities and posted in the Union Hiring Hall.

A copy of the policy and procedures will be made available to new members as part of a New Members Orientation Kit.

Collective Bargaining
Newly organized members will be encouraged to bargain for contract language to protect members against discrimination and sexual harassment in the workplace.

Education and Training
The Union will provide education and training on discrimination and sexual harassment issues to members of the Union Executive Board, and/or members designated to act as representatives of Complainants and Respondents.

Based on our experience with the policy and procedures, it is our long term goal to have complaints dealt with at the formal stage by the Unit Executive.