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Wong-Tam will ask city council on Tuesday to consider requesting that Smart Serve — the training program that all alcohol servers in Ontario have to pass — is updated to include measures on how to deal with sexual assault, harassment and violence.
“As establishments that are profiting from the sale of alcohol, then they themselves have a responsibility to make sure that their guests and their clients get home safely,” Wong-Tam told CBC News on Monday.
Bar staff are already trained to look out for patrons who have reached their limit of alcohol consumption. Knowing how to step in when an incident appears to be escalating or when someone seems to be forcing a person into an interaction against his or her will should be no different, Wong-Tam said.
The motion follows an earlier announcement by the provincial government allocating $ 1.7 million in funding over three years to train bartenders and servers to identify sexual harassment or violence, and intervene where necessary.
But Wong-Tam argues that alone isn’t enough.
“They already have a program called Smart Serve and every single person who actually serves alcohol in restaurants as well as bars and establishments should be taking that training, so why not just integrate that altogether? That’s what I’m specifically asking,” Wong-Tam said.
“I’m incredibly proud that we’re doing it,” he said, but added “it’s a little disconcerting that we’re the first.”
Our customer safety sign caught the eyes of 1000s (all genders) & ur support has touched our hearts? #wehaveurbacks pic.twitter.com/Sisf63J0hy
Trinity-Spadina Coun. Joe Cressy is seconding Wong-Tam’s motion.
“One of the many ways we can look to protect people is to ensure that those who serve alcohol do so with the necessary training,” he told CBC News.
Wong-Tam’s motion is in step with the province’s plan to end sexual violence and harassment, called “It’s Never Okay.”
In her motion, Wong-Tam said that the provincial plan for hospitality is an “important step,” but notes that it does not extend to all servers of alcohol.
“The province has initiated their plan,” said Cressy. “This would be an added step.”