OTTAWA — The Privy Council Office says it is launching an independent review of allegations that Gov. Gen. Julie Payette mistreated past and current employees at Rideau Hall.
The CBC reported Tuesday that Payette had yelled at, belittled and publicly humiliated employees, reducing some to tears or prompting them to quit.
On Thursday evening, Payette issued a statement saying she is “deeply concerned” with the media reports and welcomes the review.
“I am completely committed to ensuring that every employee who works at Rideau Hall enjoys a secure and healthy work environment at all times and under all circumstances,” Payette said in the statement.
“I take harassment and workplace issues very seriously and I am in full agreement and welcome an independent review.”
The Privy Council Office, a bureaucratic operation that supports the prime minister and cabinet, says the Treasury Board policy on workplace harassment applies to employees of the Office of the Secretary to the Governor General, who are part of the public service.
It says it is working with that office to establish the terms of reference for a “thorough, independent and impartial review” and will quickly hire a third party to lead it.
“Harassment has no place in any professional workplace,” the Privy Council Office said in the statement issued Thursday evening. “It is a public service priority to advance efforts to more effectively prevent and resolve issues of harassment.
New Democrat Leader Jagmeet Singh had previously called on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to investigate the matter.
“There is no question there is an obligation, a responsibility of the prime minister in this case, with the Governor General and the complaints that we’ve seen, to do something, to follow up with those complaints,” he said Wednesday in Ottawa.
“People should be able to feel safe to come forward. I think that’s always a struggle for people,” Singh added. “There needs to be some manner for someone independently to assess the complaints.”
Trudeau did not specifically address the matter when asked about it in the House of Commons.
“Every Canadian has the right to a safe, secure workspace, free from harassment and that is extremely important,” Trudeau said Wednesday when pressed by Singh.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 23, 2020.
The Canadian Press