Conference Session

Social Media, Political Commentary and Public Statements and the Municipal Workplace

Learning Objective

  • Being on the front lines of the delivery of essential government services, often face to face with the public, has always presented unique challenges for municipalities.
  • The unfortunate reality is that municipal employees have and continue to face harassment, violence and bullying from members of the very public that they are entrusted to support and serve.
  • At the same time, there is a growing recognition and appreciation of the importance of psychological health and safety in the workplace.
  • Creating a safe workplace is not only a legal requirement, it is necessary to be an Employer of Choice.
  • What obligations do municipal employers have when it comes to psychological health and safety for their employees?
  • What steps should municipal employers take to ensure safe workplaces for their employees given their unique circumstances?
  • How have adjudicators responded to these issues?
  • This presentation will provide some answers to these questions.

Approach and Content

  • This workshop will be an in-person 45 to 60 minute presentation and facilitated discussion with time for Q&A.
  • Over the course of the presentation, the following areas will be covered:
    • Overview of social media and the Municipal Workplace – what makes it unique?
    • Regulation of employee social media activity, public commentary and political statements:
      • Arbitral responses;
      • Non-union employees;
      • The impact of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms; and
      • Social Media policies
  • After participating in this session, attendees will have an understanding of the unique aspects of social media activity, public commentary and political statements in their own workplaces, and tips on how to address them to both respect and embrace social media use but also ensure that the organization’s and it’s employees’ best interests are maintained.