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Review launched into claims of bullying, harassment against Governor General Julie Payette

Last Updated Sep 1, 2020 at 8:06 am PDT

Governor General Julie Payette delivers remarks during a celebration of the 100th anniversary of Statistics Canada at its headquarters in Ottawa on Friday, March 16, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

An independent review into claims against Governor General Julie Payette has been launched

Firm will look into claims of harassment, bullying against Payette, first reported by CBC News

A spokesperson for Payette has denied the claims; governor general says she welcomes a review

OTTAWA – The federal government has hired a third party to conduct an independent review of bullying and harassment allegations against Governor General Julie Payette.

The hiring of the Quintet Consulting firm comes after the Privy Council Office — which is the top bureaucratic office in government — announced in late July it was going to look into claims made against Payette.

The Ottawa-based company focuses on conflict management in the workplace. It will lead the probe, speaking with the governor general and her senior staff, but also invite current and former employees to speak about their experiences. The company can also seek documents related to the investigation.

A final report is expected in the fall, however, it doesn’t appear Canadians will get to read the whole thing.

Earlier this summer, CBC News spoke with more than a dozen Rideau Hall sources who described a toxic environment, accusing Payette of bullying and verbally harassing staff.

Sources told the outlet Payette yells at, belittles, and publicly humiliates her employees, to the point that some were brought to tears and some even left their jobs.

The majority of the harassment was apparently directed at staff who reported directly to Payette.

A spokesperson for Payette has denied the claims, and Canada’s highest-ranking public servant says she takes the allegations seriously and welcomes a review.

“I am deeply concerned with the media reports regarding the Office of the Governor General and 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,” a statement from Payette, released in July, reads. “I take harassment and workplace issues very seriously and I am in full agreement and welcome an independent review.”