Today, across Canada, thousands of students, teachers, allies, advocates and other caring people are wearing pink shirts in solidarity with those who have been bullied, and those who are experiencing it right now.

In the new age of the internet, bullying and cyberbullying are rampant, and can happen to anyone, anywhere, with serious and long term effects. You may not be a bullying victim, but you probably know someone who is.

It takes all of us to stand up against bullying.

Read below to see what the experts have to say about collaborative solutions.

How do we define bullying?

Our Lifeteams Resource Centre defines bullying as “repeated aggressive actions with the intent of causing harm, distress or fear to a person or group who has (or is thought to have) less power.”

Bullying is meant to demean and devalue. It can be physical, emotional, relational, work-place related, or even spiritual. At its core, bullying strips those affected of their self worth, confidence and security.

Bullying is not the same as having a conflict or disliking someone. These are natural parts of life – and sometimes, difficult conversations or interactions happen!



What is the impact of bullying?

Bullying doesn’t just result in hurt feelings or a black eye, though those alone are very real and painful.

Research in both adolescents and adults shows bullied youth are at an increased risk of long-term depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation. Bullied people often struggle with relational detachment, may face significant challenges in learning environments and are more often diagnosed with ‘toxic stress’, where a person’s body may actually begin to fail under the consistent stress-inducing situations they find themselves in.

Bullying can, and often does, result in serious and long-lasting negative health outcomes.

What does bullying look like today?

Bullying is still a huge problem for Canadian youth today, and the stats back it up.

  • A study from 2019 showed that 71% of youth between 12 and 17 years old disclosed                facing at least one instance of bullying that year. (Statistics Canada).
  • Among youth who experienced bullying, about two in five (42%) reported experiencing            it monthly or more frequently. (Statistics Canada)
  • 46% of teens say they were bullied online within the last year. (
  • A recent statistics review of our organizations found that we are in contact 970+ youth             who have actively experienced bullying recently, and are working alongside 260+ youth           who are the bullies in these situations.

So… what can we do about it?

Where power is taken, power needs to be restored.

Here’s how you can help do that:

  • Never dismiss the experience of a person who may have been bullied, or they won’t speak        up the next time.
  • Make a plan with — but not for — the bullied youth about how to respond.
  • Bystander silence is often taken as approval from bullies. Speak up, and if it’s not safe to           do so, find someone who can.
  • If someone in your life is consistently upset after spending time ‘alone’, ask them directly if       they’re being bullied online. If they are, they will need support.

By creating an environment of trust and respect, you can empower those in your life who feel most of their power has been stripped from them — but it doesn’t stop there.

According to youth worker training expert Iona Snair — it’s our responsibility to work with those doing the bullying, too.

We need to help teens learn and practice empathy. They need to recognize how it feels to live in the skin of another.” Iona says. “That’s our best defense against bullying. And the best way to teach empathy is for us, as adults, to model it.”

We’re committed to working with both bullies and their victims to create lasting change for a brighter future. Will you join us?