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Briefing highlights

  • Harassment takes a heavy toll
  • Global markets mixed so far
  • New York futures up
  • Canadian dollar below 74 cents
  • Economy expands 0.3 per cent
  • What to expect in business outlook

Harassment’s toll

Workplace harassment in all its ugly forms is taking a heavy and crushing toll in Canada.

And women are suffering abuse more than men across all categories, a new study by Statistics Canada researchers warns.

Verbal abuse is the most prevalent, senior research analyst Darcy Hango and senior researcher Melissa Moyser said in their report.

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Mr. Hango and Ms. Moyser based their study on the results of a 2016 General Social Survey on Canadians at Work and Home, when people were polled on five categories, including verbal abuse, humiliation, threats, physical violence and sexual attention or harassment.

Among their findings:

One: Nineteen per cent of women and 13 per cent of men said they had suffered workplace harassment over the last year.

Two: Verbal abuse was most common, reported by 13 per cent of women and 10 per cent of men.

Three: Verbal abuse was followed by “humiliating behaviour,” suffered by 6 per cent of women and 5 per cent of men.

Four: About 3 per cent of women and men said they were subject to threats.

Five: Sexual harassment affected 4 per cent of women, and less than 1 per cent of men. And among the women, the researchers said, “more than half were targeted by clients or customers.”

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Six: Health care workers were “most likely” to have been harassed, and “the differences between those in health and other occupations are more pronounced for women than men.”

Seven: Almost half of the men and 34 per cent of the women harassed by a manager “had a weak sense of belonging” to their employer. That compared to 16 per cent among both women and men who had not been harassed.

Obviously, this takes a heavy toll.

“Workers who reported workplace harassment were more likely to be dissatisfied with their current job, have low motivation to do their best work, be more likely to say they are planning to leave their current work, and have a weak sense of belonging to their workplace,” Mr. Hango and Ms. Moyser said.

“These workers also had worse health – general and mental – as well as higher levels of reported stress, and a less hopeful view of the future,” they added.

“Harassment in the workplace therefore has a considerable impact not only on people’s lives, but also on employers.”

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Stocks mixed, loonie below 74 cents

Global markets are mixed so far.

Tokyo’s Nikkei lost 1.1 per cent, and the Shanghai Composite 0.8 per cent, though Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 0.5 per cent.

In Europe, London’s FTSE 100, Germany’s DAX and the Paris CAC 40 were down by between 0.1 and 3 per cent by about 8:45 a.m. ET.

New York futures were up.

“Santa is nowhere to be seen as we stumble into the festive break, with both stocks and the [U.S.] dollar declining sharply amid raised fears over a potential government shutdown in the U.S.,” said IG market analyst Joshua Mahony.

“The Fed’s decision to raise rates earlier in the week was certainly unwelcome given the stock market slide that has dominated over recent months. However, while markets are shifting their focus away from the Fed, we are now seeing the potential government shutdown provide a new focus for bears.”

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The Canadian dollar was below 74 US cents.

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Economy expands

Canada’s economy turned in a better-than-expected performance in October, kicking off the fourth quarter with a gain in gross domestic product of 0.3 per cent.

A jump in manufacturing was a major reason for the showing, Statistics Canada said today, with expansion of 0.7 per cent “almost fully offsetting” the drops in August and September.

“Canada's economy was in bad need of a Christmas present, and October's return to growth was at least something to put under the tree this week,” said CIBC chief economist Avery Shenfeld.

“The data are in line with our 1.7-per-cent estimate for Q4 GDP, but we’ll need decent news outside the energy sector to hit that mark,” he added.

What to watch for today

Later in the morning, the Bank of Canada releases its widely watched business outlook survey, and “we expect to see a more muted tone on what lies ahead,” said CIBC’s Mr. Shenfeld said.

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