Bullying – How to stay safe

Know what to do if you are being bullied, and learn about your rights and the laws that protect you.

Explore pages in:
Bullying – Get help

24-hour help

Call 911 if you or someone you know is in immediate danger.

Bullying Helpline – Call 310-1818 or text* 310-1818 or chat online for support, information or referrals.
*Standard text message rates may apply.

What you can do

If you are being bullied, there are 4 ways you can take action:

  1. Tell someone you trust
    • There are people who can help. You do not have to deal with this alone.
    • Talk to someone you trust, such as the Bullying Helpline or a trusted friend, teacher, coach, co-worker or human resource person.
    • You may need to contact the police if the bullying is severe and includes threats or physical violence.
  2. Stay safe
    • Do not fight back – it can make the problem worse.
    • Be assertive and stand up for yourself by telling the person to stop.
    • Try to remain calm and leave the area.
  3. Find support in your community
    • Contact the Bullying Helpline to find supports.
    • Spend time with friends, family or colleagues who support you.
  4. Know your rights
    • You have the right to feel safe. Schools, workplaces and other organizations have a legal responsibility to protect you from bullying.
    • Check the bullying prevention policies and codes of conduct for your school, workplace, sports team and other community organizations.
    • Learn about the laws to protect you from bullying.

Stay safe online

Follow these tips to protect yourself from cyberbullying:

  • Report bullying and abusive behaviours to the place where it is happening (like Instagram or Facebook) and tell someone you trust.
  • Save texts, voicemails, emails and screenshots to prove what happened.
  • Do not share your passwords with anyone and change them immediately if you suspect someone knows them.
  • Block the people who are bullying you.

The laws and your rights

Bullying is a human rights issue. You have the right to feel safe no matter where you are. This includes your home, work, school, community and online. There are federal and provincial laws to protect you from being bullied or harassed.

Alberta’s laws

The Education Act supports students and school staff by:

  • clarifying the responsibility of school boards to ensure that students and staff are provided with welcoming, caring, respectful and safe learning environments that respect diversity and foster a sense of belonging
  • ensuring schools boards and schools recognize and support students in creating a student organization, that can include a Gay-Straight Alliance and a Queer‑Straight Alliance
  • requiring school boards to establish, implement and maintain a policy that includes the establishment of a code of conduct for students that addresses bullying behaviour. The code of conduct must:
    • be publicly available
    • be reviewed annually
    • be provided to all students, parents and staff
    • contain specific elements outlined in the act

The code of conduct must be in accordance with any further requirements established by the Minister of Education by order and must contain:

  • statement of purpose that provides the rationale for the code of conduct, with a focus on welcoming, caring, respectful and safe learning environments
  • one or more statements that address the prohibited grounds of discrimination set out in the Alberta Human Rights Act
  • one or more statements about what is acceptable behaviour and what is unacceptable behaviour, whether or not it occurs within the school building, during the school day or by electronic means
  • one or more statements about the consequences of unacceptable behaviour, which must take into account of the student’s age, maturity, and individual circumstances, and which must ensure that support is provided for students who are impacted by inappropriate behaviour, as well as for students who engage in inappropriate behaviour

Canada’s laws

Criminal Code of Canada and the Protecting Canadians from Online Crime Act make it illegal for someone to:

  • distribute intimate images of someone without their consent
  • use hate speech such as racial and homophobic slurs to routinely bully and harass someone to cause fear and distress
  • threaten someone with harm or violence

The Protecting Canadians from Online Crime Act also:

  • empowers courts to order intimate images be removed from the Internet
  • permits courts to order computers, cell phones or other devices that were used in an offence to be handed over to the police
  • provides for victims to be reimbursed for costs to remove the intimate image from the Internet or elsewhere
  • empowers courts to make an Order to prevent someone from distributing intimate images

The Canadian Human Rights Act makes it illegal for federally regulated employers and service providers to discriminate against people, or treat them unfairly, based on these grounds:

  • race
  • national or ethnic origin
  • colour
  • religion
  • age
  • sex
  • sexual orientation
  • marital status
  • family status
  • disability
  • a conviction that you have been pardoned for