Survey on Sexual Misconduct at Work (SSMW)

The goal of the Survey on Sexual Misconduct at Work is to obtain an accurate picture of the nature, extent, and frequency of inappropriate sexual behaviours that occur in a work-related setting.

Information from this survey will be used to help design programs that prevent and respond to these behaviours.

Even if you have not personally experienced inappropriate sexual behaviours in the workplace, your participation in this survey will ensure that the information we collect is as accurate and reliable as possible.

Your information may also be used by Statistics Canada for other statistical and research purposes.

Collection period:

From January 24 to June 30, 2020

Collection methods:

Electronic questionnaire with telephone interview follow-up

Survey participation:



Data are collected under the authority of the Statistics Act, Revised Statutes of Canada, 1985, Chapter S-19. Your information will be kept strictly confidential.

Data sharing agreements and record linkage

To enhance the data from this survey and reduce response burden, Statistics Canada may combine the information you provide with data from other surveys or administrative sources.

Topics covered in the survey

The survey asks questions about

  • labour market activities
  • inappropriate sexual behaviours seen, heard or personally experienced
  • sexual victimization personally experienced
  • characteristics, impact and reporting of inappropriate sexual behaviours and sexual victimization personally experienced
  • perceptions of workplace culture.

Published data

Statistics Canada publishes the results of its surveys in many formats. To find all the documents related to this survey, follow the links below and type the name of the survey in the search engine located at the left of your screen to filter the results.

Data: You will find tables, profiles of a community or region, thematic maps, public use microdata files, and data visualization tools.

Analysis: You will have direct access to Stats in brief (e.g., releases from The Daily, fact sheets), articles and reports, and journals and periodicals.

Survey-specific questions

What is the Survey on Sexual Misconduct at Work (SSMW)?

The SSMW is sponsored by Women and Gender Equality Canada as part of the federal government's Strategy to Prevent and Address Gender-Based Violence (GBV).

The SSMW will fill data gaps about the nature, extent and impact of inappropriate sexual behaviours in work-related settings in Canada.

Data from the SSMW will provide Canadian governments and workplaces an accurate picture of the nature, extent and impact of:

  • inappropriate sexual behaviours
  • discriminatory behaviours based on sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity
  • sexual victimization within Canadian work-related settings.

Why is data from this survey important?

Data from the SSMW will be used to inform the government's Strategy to Prevent and Address Gender-Based Violence, as well as assist with program and policy decisions, and research of all kinds in the field of gender-based violence.

Data from the SSMW will help Canadian governments and workplaces to:

  • inform workplace codes of conduct, as well as other policies, laws, and programs designed to prevent and respond to inappropriate sexual behaviour, discriminatory behaviour and sexual victimization in the workplace
  • measure the effectiveness of existing support services in the workplace
  • evaluate people's perceptions of their workplaces.

What is gender-based violence (GBV)?

Many people across the country continue to face violence every day simply because of their gender expression, gender identity or perceived gender. This is gender-based violence (GBV). This kind of violence can take many forms: cyber, physical, sexual, psychological, emotional, and economic. Neglect and harassment are also forms of GBV.

What is the Strategy to Prevent and Address Gender-Based Violence (GBV)?

It's Time: Canada's Strategy to Prevent and Address Gender-Based Violence is the Government of Canada's response to gender-based violence (GBV). It builds on current federal initiatives, coordinates existing programs and lays the foundation for greater action on GBV. The strategy is based on three pillars that will improve Canada's overall response to GBV:

  • prevention
  • support for survivors and their families
  • promotion of responsive legal and justice systems.

How was the SSMW developed?

The survey was developed in consultation with Women and Gender Equality Canada and a variety of other stakeholders, including other government departments, academics, not-for-profit organizations, and advocacy groups. Key data needs were identified, and content from other surveys such as the General Social Survey, the Survey on Individual Safety in the Postsecondary Student Population, the Survey on Sexual Misconduct in the Canadian Armed Forces, and the Survey on Personal

Safety in Public and Private Spaces were adapted for use in the SSMW. Where applicable, new content was developed, reviewed by stakeholders, and then tested in one-on-one qualitative interviews with people living in Canada.

How is the SSMW being conducted and who is participating?

Statistics Canada is responsible for conducting the SSMW from January to June 2020.

Approximately 50,000 people, aged 15 years and over who have been in the workforce, will be invited to participate in the survey. Households have been randomly selected across all provinces.

Those selected will be mailed an invitation to complete an online questionnaire.

Feedback from all selected participants matters, even if some have not experienced inappropriate sexual behaviours, or are no longer working. High participation rates ensure that the information collected is as accurate and reliable as possible.

What kinds of questions will be asked on the SSMW?

Questions will be asked about:

  • inappropriate sexual behaviours and discriminatory behaviours based on sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity that are witnessed or experienced in a work-related setting
  • sexual victimization experienced in a work-related setting
  • perceptions people have about their workplace
  • demographic characteristics such as age, sex, marital status and gender, disability status.

Why are there some questions that seem unrelated to the topic of the SSMW?

(Egs: income, place of birth, immigration and citizenship, ethnic ancestry, indigenous background, sex/gender and sexual orientation).

This information is used to explore a wide variety of demographic and socio-economic issues. It helps to determine if some groups of people are targeted, or more vulnerable to inappropriate sexual behaviours.

How does Statistics Canada protect survey participants' information and guarantee confidentiality?

Under the Statistics Act, all information provided to Statistics Canada will be kept confidential and used only for statistical purposes. We do not release any information that could identify individuals, businesses, or households. All personal information such as names and addresses will be separated from survey answers.

When will data from the SSMW be available?

Results from the SSMW will be available in February 2021. An analytical report and an article in the Daily, Statistics Canada's official release bulletin, will be accessible on

For more information about this survey

survey number 5290