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Review into harassment claims at Rideau Hall damaging to governor general, reports say

Last Updated Jan 21, 2021 at 9:05 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
Summary

Globe and Mail, CBC report investigation into harassment, bullying claims against GG Julie Payette has concluded

Reports suggest independent investigation into harassment claims at Rideau Hall put Julie Payette's job in jeopardy

Governor general accused by former, current staffers of harassment and bullying at work

OTTAWA – An independent review has reportedly wrapped up into workplace harassment allegations at the governor general’s office and it may put Julie Payette’s job in jeopardy.

According to the Globe and Mail and CBC News, the final report on this investigation has been submitted to the Privy Council Officer, which is the bureaucratic wing of the Prime Minister’s Office. The full report is confidential but some findings could be released this week.

Neither outlet has released specifics but cite sources that describe the findings as “scathing.”

Multiple sources tell the Globe that the results will make it difficult for Payette to remain as governor general since the report paints a very negative picture of the work environment at Rideau Hall.

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Sources have also told the Globe and CBC that Secretary to the Governor General Assunta Di Lorenzo has hired a lawyer.

This outside review began last July after multiple current and former staff stepped forward to the CBC describing bullying and verbal harassment that led to a toxic workplace. In some instances, staff were left in tears.

“This has gone from being one of the most collegial and enjoyable work environments for many of the staff to being a house of horrors,” one government source told CBC News about working at Rideau Hall, adding, “It’s bullying and harassment at its worst.”

The majority of the harassment outlined in the CBC’s report was said to have been directed at staff who reported directly to Payette.

The hiring of the Quintet Consulting firm was tasked with leading the probe. The Ottawa-based company focuses on conflict management in the workplace.

The governor general has denied the allegations and welcomed the investigation.

“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 in July reads. “I take harassment and workplace issues very seriously and I am in full agreement and welcome an independent review.”

The only way for the Payette to be removed is if she decides to resign or if the prime minister reaches out to the Queen and asks her to remove the governor general from her post.

A former astronaut, Payette has been governor general since 2017 after being recommended by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.