Knowledge Exchange Symposium

Workplace Bullying and Mistreatment Partnership for Prevention


Workplace Bullying and Mistreatment (WBM)

Partnership for Prevention Symposium

University of Winnipeg

October 15, 2015

Click here to view the symposium schedule

Learning from European Innovations for Policy, Practice, and Decision Support


This unique Partnership for Prevention builds evidence for effective practices, policies and decisions by bringing researchers and knowledge users together. We benefit from leading scholar perspectives – domestic and international – with expertise in bullying and mistreatment, employee and organization responses, and in large-scale longitudinal studies.

In Fall 2015, we brought our international experts to Winnipeg to meet with project partner organization representatives and decision makers, policy makers, practitioners, academics, and managers from different workplaces and industries along with the general public. In short, we asked what is working, what’s not working, and what we can do about it? Over 100 participants from Manitoba public and private sector organizations joined Partnership members and special guests to showcase cutting-edge work and recommendations. The day featured our international members from England, Denmark, and Germany -- as well as expertise from Canadian members across BC, Ontario, and Manitoba -- for insights on managing and preventing workplace bullying and mistreatment. Opening remarks by Dr. Annette Trimbee (President & Vice-Chancellor, University of Winnipeg), Ms. Lynn Romeo (Civil Service Commissioner, Government of Manitoba), and WBM Partnership for Prevention Project Director, Dr. Karen Harlos (University of Winnipeg) started the day. Keynote speakers Professor Duncan Lewis (Plymouth University, Plymouth, England), Dr. Annie Høgh (University of Copenhagen, Denmark) and Dr. Michael Knoll (Chemnitz University of Technology, Chemnitz, Germany) presented on innovations for policy, practice, and decision support and led discussions around international patterns and trends in WBM experiences; best practices in recognizing, intervening, and preventing WBM; understanding employee silence of WBM (i.e., withholding complaint from organizational authorities).

Canadian project researchers and special guests took part in panel discussions accompanied by roundtable exchanges, giving participants the opportunity to share experiences and insights. Topics included:

  • Best Practice for Investigation (with project researcher-practitioners Ms. Catherine Burr, Dr. Larry Axelrod and special guest Ms. Maria Grande, lawyer from Thompson, Dorfman and Sweatman in Winnipeg)
  • Assessing Policy and Program Effectiveness (with project researchers Dr. Wendy Josephson, Dr. Catherine Taylor, Dr. Tracey Peter and special guest Dr. Sheila Marshall from the University of British Columbia)
  • Gaps in Knowledge and Practice: Needs and Next Steps (roundtable discussions facilitated by project researchers Dr. Raymond Lee, Dr. Lucas Monzani, Professor Grace O’Farrell, Dr. Tracey Peter, Dr. Catherine Taylor, Dr. Wendy Josephson, Dr. Larry Axelrod, Ms. Catherine Burr, Prof. Duncan Lewis, Dr. Annie Høgh, Dr. Michael Knoll, and partner organization representatives).


Participants were especially interested in research-practice links around effects of WBM and the importance of intervention and follow-up, the role of employee silence about WBM, and best practice issues when conducting investigations such as balancing transparency and confidentiality. They appreciated the range of speakers’ and guest panellists’ expertise for a stimulating and productive day of learning from ideas not yet well-known in Canada.


Behind the Symposium’s success was the great work of Planning Committee organizers, including core members Ms. Erin Polcyn Sailer, Ms. Maria Nyarku, Ms. Susan Tremblay, and Ms. Molly Sherlock from the Government of Manitoba, along with Dr. Karen Harlos and Prof. Grace O’Farrell from the University of Winnipeg. The law firm of Thompson, Dorfman and Sweatman (Winnipeg) graciously made Ms. Maria Grande’s time available, Dr. Sheila Marshall kindly offered her expertise, and the Workers Compensation Board of Manitoba provided valuable sponsorship support of the Symposium