1708862807 Videos to prevent rudeness

Protect employees | The press

Aggressive words and gestures towards municipal officials not only violate occupational health and safety regulations. They can also affect employee retention.

Posted at 5:00 am.


“The Occupational Health and Safety Act provides that psychosocial risks, including harassment and physical violence, must be taken into account in the workplace in the same way as physical, chemical or biological risks,” recalls a spokesperson for the Commission for Standards, Equity, Health and Safety at Work (CNESST) , Antoine Leclerc-Loiselle.

Nearly a quarter (23%) of injuries resulting from workplace psychological violence are caused by a client, 2022 CNESST data shows.

And nearly 15% of stress-related injuries, which “can also be due to violence,” are also caused by customers, the commission says in a report covering all workplaces.

In the area of ​​local, municipal and regional public administration, 53 violations caused by client violence were accepted by the CNESST between 2018 and 2022, data provided by the Commission show.

Collaboration with the public and control or application of regulations are among the factors “that have been shown to increase the risk of violence in the workplace,” notes the CNESST in a fact sheet published on its website.

“I am far from sure that there is no connection with the significant turnover in certain sectors,” says Me Alex Hamelin, director of legal services in Trois-Rivières. He mentions “all those who are on the front lines,” including the planning service inspectors “who go directly to citizens” and the telephone operators on line 311.

The 311 line coordinator often “takes a break after big calls because sometimes they get hit hard,” explains city spokesman Mikaël Morrissette.

“We hear all sorts of things,” confirms Me Hamelin, reminding us that these calls are recorded.

Reduce the load

Social networks are not easy either. “Facebook page manager positions are always very difficult to fill because these people are exposed to a lot of bad comments,” explains Valérie Sauvé, Mirabel’s communications director, who has worked in three other municipalities. “That's why in our house there are three people who do this and not just one. »

Amos in Abitibi installed an alarm button connected to the Sûreté du Québec at the city hall reception, rearranged his offices so employees could see each other, and filed criminal charges. Since these measures, reported by Radio-Canada in 2022, the community has not experienced any worrisome incidents, says the clerk, who declined to go into details.

Read the Radio-Canada article

“Juggling” with angry citizens is a bit part of it [du] Work”, Nuance Me Claudene Maurice. “I want to seize your house because you haven't paid your taxes?” You may not be happy,” she illustrates. “It shouldn’t go beyond normal, that’s what I say.” »

Apparently, more and more employers are realizing that this is going beyond the norm.

Training required

The Cégep de Saint-Jérôme has been offering training on how to deal with aggressive or vulnerable behavior for more than 20 years. “Since 2021-2022 there has been greater demand than before” from organizations of all kinds, including municipalities, testifies Marie-Aube Simon, deputy director of continuing education.

The training “Compassion Fatigue: Understand, Prevent, Act,” originally intended for the health sector, is also becoming increasingly popular among government organizations and non-profit organizations, Ms. Simon points out.

By working with “aggressive situations, verbal or physical aggression and mental health issues” where “we have to provide good customer service but at the same time protect ourselves, people become exhausted in the long run.”

Consult statistics on violence, stress and harassment in the workplace. View the CNESST fact sheet on workplace violence