Standing Committee on the Status of Women Tuesday, January 29, 2013 Chair FEWO

Standing Committee on the Status of Women Tuesday, January 29, 2013 Chair FEWO
Standing Committee on the Status of Women
FEWO
●
NUMBER 055
●
1st SESSION
●
EVIDENCE
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Chair
Ms. Marie-Claude Morin
41st PARLIAMENT
1
Standing Committee on the Status of Women
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
● (1100)
[Translation]
The Chair (Ms. Marie-Claude Morin (Saint-Hyacinthe—
Bagot, NDP)): If you don't mind, we will begin.
First of all, I would like to wish you all a happy new year.
We are continuing our study on sexual harassment in the federal
workplace. This is the 55th meeting of the Standing Committee on
the Status of Women.
We have a new member of Parliament on our committee. Joan
Crockatt is replacing Mr. Aspin. Welcome to our committee.
Let us begin now. Joining us today are many people from the
same group, the Public Service Alliance of Canada. We have Robyn
Benson, Andrée Côté, Mary Chamberlain, Bob Kingston, Janet
Hauck, Robin Kers, Anne-Marie Beauchemin and Francine
Boudreau.
Welcome. Thank you very much for accepting our invitation. Your
testimony will be very useful to us.
I apologize, but I have to correct the record. We have two
witnesses, Ms. Beauchemin and Ms. Boudreau, who are from the
Union of Canadian Correctional Officers. My mistake.
Without further ado, we will start.
Ms. Benson, you have 10 minutes.
[English]
Ms. Robyn Benson (National President, Public Service
Alliance of Canada): Thank you.
Good morning, Madam Chair and committee members. I am
proud to be here to represent the Public Service Alliance of Canada.
I'm happy to appear with representatives of our components, which
in our union have a key role in representing our members on the
front lines in the workplace.
With me today, as you've introduced, are Mary Chamberlain,
executive vice-president for the Union of National Defence
Employees; Bob Kingston, president of the Agriculture Union; Jan
Hauck, national vice-president for the Union of Solicitor General
Employees, and Robin Kers, one of their national representatives;
and of course, Andrée Côté, the women's program and human rights
officer for the PSAC.
The PSAC is the largest federal public sector union, representing
more than 180,000 workers from coast to coast to coast. The
majority of the PSAC members work for the federal government and
its agencies, and almost two in three of our members who work in
the federal public service are women.
The PSAC has a long-standing commitment to ensuring our
members are free from sexual harassment. Our own constitution
recognizes that every member of the PSAC is entitled to be free from
harassment by another member, both within the union and in the
workplace. Our first sexual harassment policy dates back to 1984. In
1986 we negotiated the first sexual harassment clause in a PSAC
collective agreement.
It is fair to say that the PSAC leadership on sexual harassment was
ignited by the efforts and courage of one of our members, Bonnie
Robichaud. At times Bonnie pushed her union and her employer to
go in the right direction, and we should all thank her for that.
A PSAC member who has been sexually harassed will usually
seek support from her local union shop steward or another
component representative.
I should note that while the overwhelming majority of cases of
sexual harassment that come to our attention are brought forward by
women, we acknowledge that men are also sometimes sexually
harassed.
The PSAC will support a sexual harassment complainant through
the various options that are available to our members: a complaint
under the Treasury Board harassment policy; a grievance under the
collective agreement; a complaint to the Canadian Human Rights
Commission; and a health and safety investigation.
All of these mechanisms play different roles. Taken together, they
are essential in ensuring that sexual harassment, indeed all forms of
harassment, in the workplace are properly investigated, and that
appropriate sanctions are imposed on the perpetrators. Hopefully
they will be effective in creating a safe working environment.
Given the sensitive, often private, nature of the issues at play, the
majority of harassment complaints and grievances are treated
through mediation. Mediation offers a less adversarial and a
confidential process wherein the parties are able to craft a mutually
acceptable resolution.
While ideally the grievance process results in resolution in the
workplace at the earliest level, the process can become lengthy and
conflict-laden. It can result in additional stress and hardship for
victims who are engaged in a protracted litigation. In our brief we
have provided a few examples of these difficult cases. My colleagues
can also provide examples.
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Education and training are also key to changing workplace culture
and preventing sexual harassment. For example, in the context of the
joint learning program with Treasury Board that PSAC has
negotiated, the anti-harassment course is the most popular. Over
800 workshops have been delivered across departments since 2007.
Despite all this, sexual harassment and other forms of harassment
remain pervasive in the workplace. The public service employee
survey indicates that almost one woman out of three reports that she
has been harassed at some time in the workplace. That proportion
increases dramatically for women of colour and women from the
other equity groups.
● (1105)
Clearly, Treasury Board is not living up to the expected standards
of providing a workplace free of harassment and discrimination. This
is why the first recommendation in our brief is to require Treasury
Board to review the process and the outcomes of all settlements,
internal investigations, arbitrations, and human rights complaints
involving sexual harassment and to report back to the standing
committee within one year.
Canada has a commitment to promoting women's equality and
eliminating discrimination and harassment under the Canadian
Human Rights Act, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms,
as well as under the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of
Discrimination against Women and the Beijing platform for action.
We call on Canada to reaffirm its commitment to eliminate sexual
harassment and other forms of discrimination and violence against
women. It can start by doing that at the upcoming session of the
United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, which will
begin on March 4.
We also ask that you recommend that the federal government
respond to the call by national women's organizations and trade
unions for a national action plan against violence against women.
Finally, as you can see in our brief, we have other important
recommendations, and we would be happy to discuss these further
during the time allotted for questions.
I'll stop here, but of course, I invite you to raise questions with my
colleagues, Mary Chamberlain, Jan Hauck, and Robin Kers. They
deal with sexual harassment complaints in the RCMP and in the
Department of National Defence, and I'm sure you will be interested
in hearing from them. For his part, Bob Kingston is co-chair of the
public service-wide policy committee on health and safety and he is
an expert on the Canada Labour Code regulations on violence
prevention in the workplace. We hope these regulations will be
instrumental in preventing sexual harassment in our workplaces.
Thank you for your attention.
● (1110)
[Translation]
The Chair: Thank you, Ms. Benson.
We will now proceed to the question period.
I am sorry, I was about to forget the second presentation. I
apologize.
January 29, 2013
I will now give the floor to Ms. Beauchemin. You have
10 minutes.
Ms. Anne-Marie Beauchemin (Correctional Officer, Union of
Canadian Correctional Officers): Thank you, Madam Chair.
If you don't mind, we are going to split the time.
The Chair: No problem.
[English]
Ms. Anne-Marie Beauchemin: I am Anne-Marie Beauchemin,
the Ontario Regional Status of Women representative for UCCOSACC-CSN. I have been a correctional officer for 12 years and I
currently work at Kingston Penitentiary, a maximum security
institution for men.
I will be discussing CSC policy and legislation, both of which
make the job of a female correctional officer more challenging than
that of our male colleagues.
In May 2012, the Minister of Public Safety, , Vic Toews, was
made aware that federal inmates had access to pornography on
television. He announced that he would be putting an end to this
unacceptable practice. To date, this has not happened. The satellite
and cable television to which inmates have access for only pennies a
day still includes sexually explicit channels and movies.
Inmates are also still permitted to keep sexually suggestive and
explicit magazines and personal photographs that continue to subject
female officers to unwanted attention, unwelcome comments, and
intentional displays of sexual gratification. How is it that inmates are
not allowed to have material in their possession that has gang or
alcohol-related logos because these are considered to be anti-social,
but pornography is acceptable?
Female officers do report incidents of inmates deliberately
masturbating and exposing themselves. In one of these cases, a
female officer was conducting a routine hourly range walk on a
midnight shift at a medium security institution. She observed an
inmate masturbating in his cell. During each subsequent walk, the
inmate appeared to position himself in such a way to make sure that
she saw him masturbating. Later that night he handed her a note,
offering to put on a show for her and asked her not to tell anyone.
The next time she passed his cell, he asked her for an answer and
whether or not this would get him in trouble.
The officer reported the incident to the correctional manager on
duty, yet despite the situation she was not redeployed to another post.
She submitted an observation report at the end of her shift but the
incident was not reported to the incoming correctional manager on
the day shift. When asked to have the inmate moved to segregation,
management refused due to a lack of bed space in the unit.
Eventually the inmate was relocated to segregation and institutionally charged by the officer. When the police were approached with a
request to press outside charges on the inmate, they informed her that
there really wasn't anything to charge him with.
Subsequently, the officer booked the next shift off and ultimately
used up to 200 hours of sick leave. After a lengthy battle with senior
management at regional headquarters, the inmate was transferred to
Kingston Penitentiary where he was reassessed and found to be a
sexual deviant.
January 29, 2013
FEWO-55
The officer has since returned to work but has not yet returned to
full duties as a result of this traumatic experience.
CSC policy states that inmates must be respectful to officers. The
CCRA, the Corrections and Conditional Release Act, also addresses
this matter. Unfortunately, intentionally masturbating in front of an
officer is not clearly defined and this needs to change. Officers must
be given a viable avenue in which corrective measures can be
consistently applied.
Although officers have the ability to charge an inmate in these
circumstances through the internal inmate discipline system, the
officer must be able to prove that the act was committed by the
inmate with intent to insult, offend, disrespect, and harass the officer.
In our region, a review of charges filed in 2011 within a nine-month
period demonstrated that nine charges were submitted for inmates
masturbating in front of an officer. These charges were all classified
as minor, and in one case, although the inmate did admit his guilt,
there did not seem to be any final resolution.
Criminal charges could be an avenue for officers as well, but
again, there remains the difficulty of proving guilt beyond a
reasonable doubt, and further that the offence is punishable by
summary conviction.
What is being permitted in our federal jails and its impact on
female officers is contrary to CSC's own mission statement, which
purports to rehabilitate offenders into law-abiding citizens. The
ongoing exposure to pornography and to these kinds of inmate
behaviour, which seem to be without any consequence, causes
female correctional officers, sworn-in peace officers, risks to their
emotional well-being and ultimately results in a loss of dignity.
Female correctional officers face different challenges than their
male counterparts do. Many of these can be addressed by amending
the Criminal Code, the CCRA, and other policies providing clear
direction within the Correctional Service of Canada. We are not the
problem.
Thank you for your interest in addressing this problem. Francine
and I look forward to your questions.
● (1115)
[Translation]
Ms. Francine Boudreau (Correctional Officer, Union of
Canadian Correctional Officers): Good morning.
First of all, I would like to thank you for giving me the
opportunity to speak before you. My name is Francine Boudreau. I
am currently working at the Cowansville federal penitentiary, which
is a medium-security institution. I have been a correctional officer
with the Correctional Service of Canada for 26 years. For all those
years, I have had to work at five men's institutions with various
security levels—maximum, medium and minimum security. I am
also a coordinator for the status of women as part of the Province of
Quebec delegation for the UCCO-SACC-CSN union.
The prison setting used to be exclusively for men. But, over the
past few years, women have been able to take their places in prisons
by filling various positions. It was not easy for the first women who
were hired to take up the challenge of legitimizing the place of
female officers in penitentiaries. It was not easy for them to move up
3
the ladder and to achieve employment equity and recognition for
women's contribution to correctional settings. They were able to get
people to recognize that the correctional setting was no longer a
place where physical strength was the only consideration in hiring.
Although we commend all the steps taken by government
authorities to achieve this significant representation of women as
full members in the criminal justice system and although we are
seeing a definite improvement in the status of women, a particular
problem can still be observed. It is not very common—we may even
say it is very rare—in other fields of work. I am talking about sexual
harassment by clients, in this case by inmates.
Over the past decades, women had to demonstrate that they had
the necessary physical and psychological abilities to work in this
harsh environment, largely designed for men. By demonstrating that
they had the skills, the capacity and the strength to deal with inmates,
women were able to make a place for themselves in this
environment.
But the fact remains that they may be subject to sexual harassment
by the inmates, which male colleagues do not have to face. So it is
wrong to assume that women are on an equal footing with their male
colleagues in their careers. And that is precisely because they are
women.
If a woman is a victim of sexual harassment by an inmate, she
may experience various emotions. She may be very worried and
stressed, particularly because she may feel that she has to justify
herself and prove that she did not bring this about through her
femininity. This reaction comes from the fact that the woman will
probably have to live with value judgments, second-guessing her
own actions and words, as well as lack of trust on the part of her
work colleagues and superiors. So she may end up with a number of
questions on her mind. How will her colleagues and superiors react?
What did she do to bring this about?
If she isolates herself as a result of this type of harassment and the
ensuing questions, her career may be undermined and she will be
doubly penalized. All too often, women second-guess themselves
and feel guilty, although they have no control over other people's
reactions. Being a woman should not be a difficulty in itself. Yet
others often blame them or question their actions. When women are
hired, they must not be expected to become more masculine. Women
have a right to advance in their jobs without inmates harassing them.
They should never feel powerless in those types of situations.
The employer has zero tolerance for harassment when it happens
between colleagues. However, when the inmates are responsible for
sexual harassment, the resources are more limited. In fact, this type
of situation is little known because the person going through it does
not report it right away. For all the reasons I listed earlier, the victim
will not easily confide in her work colleagues or superiors, which
only complicates the problem and does not provide any solutions.
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In addition, since these situations are not often known, it is more
difficult to raise awareness in the workplace and, as a result, to
demystify the issue. Moreover, from a disciplinary perspective, it is
much easier to prove offences when offenders' language and
behaviour are abusive. Sexual harassment is open to interpretation
and the grey areas leave less room for recourse. Yet the situation is
very real, and it is important for everyone to know that, in 2013,
women who take their places in correctional settings still have to
continue to fight on a number of fronts to achieve respect for their
rights and to be respected as individuals in order to really have equal
status with men.
● (1120)
The Chair: Your presentation was exactly 10 minutes. You timed
it well.
Thank you very much. It was very interesting. I must admit that
this is the first time I have heard correctional officers testify. Your
testimony was very interesting.
We will now proceed to the question period. I will warn you when
you have one minute left so that I don't have to stop you in the
middle of the sentence. As long as you know that you have one
minute left, you can still continue with your remarks.
January 29, 2013
workers about a sexual harassment file having been dealt with in x
way. In that sense it's informal.
Mrs. Susan Truppe: Would the results be monetary? Are they
settling with money? It says, "54% of the respondents said they were
satisfied with the way informal complaints were resolved." What
about the other 46%? What happens to them? Fifty-four per cent are
satisfied with what: with the recourse that was given to the harasser,
or was there a financial settlement? What do the other 46% who
aren't satisfied do? What would the next step be for them?
Ms. Robyn Benson: Certainly when you look at the actual brief,
what we are quoting is that the public service employees survey
indicates that 54% of the respondents said they were satisfied with
the way informal complaints were resolved. That's the survey in and
of itself.
We have a process, the alternative dispute resolution, as an
example, and they'll go into a form of mediation. No grievances are
filed. There may not be an actual complaint filed, but they've gone to
the ADR officer. There's been a resolution in that manner.
[English]
When Mr. Kers speaks to some of the resolutions, there is some
compensation with respect to monetary awards, but there is also
some resolution with respect to individuals being moved to other
workplaces. Certainly we haven't seen enough individuals being
moved to other workplaces so that the employer can provide a safe
environment for its employees.
Mrs. Susan Truppe (London North Centre, CPC): Thank you,
Madam Chair.
● (1125)
We will start with a government member, Ms. Truppe.
You have seven minutes.
I would like to welcome our guests. I think this is the largest group
we've had since we've been doing this study. Welcome and thank
you for your testimony.
I have some questions for PSAC, so, Ms. Benson, they might be
for you, or if you want to refer them to anyone else, feel free to.
I have a couple of questions in regard to your report. It states that
most of the complaints are resolved informally and that confidential
agreements are drafted between the parties. Can you give me some
examples? I noticed that a lot in this report. It seems as though a lot
of different things are being resolved informally. How would they
resolve them informally? Can you give me a couple of examples of
the consequences if they're resolved informally?
Mr. Robin Kers (National Representative, Union of Solicitor
General Employees, Public Service Alliance of Canada): I can
respond to that.
Informally is a bit of a misnomer, because it can be informal
without the utilization of various redress mechanisms, or it can be
informal at the end of a process of using redress mechanisms. For
example, in one of the cases I was involved with, at the end of a
protracted process of trying to resolve it, with grievances having
been filed and with investigations and so on and so forth, a
settlement offer was proposed and subsequently agreed to.
It's informal in the sense that normally some of the agreements are
considered confidential, so they're not precedent setting, they're not
publicized, and they provide no information to the larger body of
Mrs. Susan Truppe: Thank you.
Case number one was about the habitual harasser. It seemed as
though everybody knew this person was a harasser, so much so that
nothing really ever got done. When new women were hired, they
would fill them in on this harasser.
I'm just wondering, because I don't understand how it works. I
have not been in that situation. I assume you represent both. I'm
assuming in that case—it doesn't say that it's a boss—they are both
on the same level, in which case the union would represent both, I
think. In this case, the management did not fire the harasser, and the
woman was forced to still be in the same area as the harasser, so new
women who came on board had to be apprised of this before they got
there.
Can anything be done? The union is obviously representing both,
so that must be difficult. How do you do that? How do you represent
both? You are representing this guy who is still harassing women,
but you are also representing the women who are charging him with
harassment. How does that work? It must be complicated.
Ms. Robyn Benson: PSAC will give information to the individual
who is accused of harassment. We'll tell that individual what their
rights are, but in the true sense of representation, we won't go into
the investigative meetings with them. We will, however, go into
meetings with the individual who has made the claim of being
harassed.
January 29, 2013
FEWO-55
At the end if the individual is found guilty of harassment, then we
will certainly look at the discipline, if you will, in terms of its
quantum and whether it is appropriate and whether the employer did
a proper and thorough investigation. At that point there might be
some representation. We will let the individual who is accused of
harassment know what their rights are, but this is an employer
investigation, so we just ensure that everyone is represented fairly.
We will go in with the individual who has laid the charges.
I don't know if Mr. Kingston wishes to speak to case one, because
it is from Agriculture, but maybe he could.
Mr. Bob Kingston (National President, Agriculture Union, CoChair, Public Service Wide Policy Committee on Health and
Safety, Public Service Alliance of Canada): In addition to that,
what we do now in a case like this is we go back and address it under
the Canada Labour Code. There are no timeframes around that.
This happened within the time that the legal requirements to
address it under health and safety were in place. As we find cases
like this, we're going back and we're redoing them. So far, we are
very successful. What that provides is a requirement on the employer
to keep people safe—everybody. It's not complaint driven, it's
awareness driven. As soon as the employer is aware of the situation,
they must follow certain requirements. It's much more easy to
enforce. They have to have preventative measure recommendations
that can be implemented, and that health and safety committees can
monitor for effectiveness, that provide ongoing prevention. They
also get down to what's called root cause where you find out what
was wrong at the management or supervisory level that allowed this
situation to unfold and persist. As long as the situation still exists,
which in this case it does, then it's open to be addressed. We will go
after this.
Mrs. Susan Truppe: Okay, thank you.
[Translation]
The Chair: Thank you.
We will now go to a representative from the official opposition.
Ms. Ashton, you have seven minutes.
[English]
Ms. Niki Ashton (Churchill, NDP): Thank you very much to all
of our guests today, and for your very important testimony for the
study we are doing. Obviously, it's a very key issue for so many
people working in the public service and the federal workplace.
I came across some shocking statistics in the brief that you
provided. Thirty-one per cent of all women report having
experienced harassment according to the 2011 public service
employee survey. Fifty-four per cent were satisfied with the way
informal complaints had been resolved. It's obviously an indication
that a significant number weren't satisfied. Forty-four per cent of
respondents felt that they could not initiate a formal recourse process
without fear of reprisal. There are some pretty big numbers, which
speak to the real challenges and the duty we have as a committee to
come forward with some serious recommendations here.
My first question, Ms. Benson, is, having heard these statistics,
could you tell us in your opinion why sexual harassment complaints
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aren't filed more often? Do you believe this is a cultural or a systemic
issue?
● (1130)
Ms. Robyn Benson: Ms. Chamberlain.
Ms. Mary Chamberlain (Executive Vice-President, Union of
National Defence Employees, Public Service Alliance of Canada): Thank you for the question.
When you are identifying statistics out of the public service
employee survey, you have to also take into consideration where the
statistics came from in regard to the geography of the country.
Coming from a DND perspective, our numbers were considerably
high in relation to the overall public service survey. But when we
actually looked at the satisfaction levels—if you want to call it that—
the satisfaction levels came from the NCR. Out in what I call the real
world, out on our bases across the country, harassment and sexual
harassment are not treated the same way as they are in Ottawa. The
same level of satisfaction is not there.
Ms. Niki Ashton: Do you have some of those numbers on hand?
Could you provide them to the committee?
Ms. Mary Chamberlain: I could give them to the committee
following this meeting, yes.
Ms. Niki Ashton: Okay, thank you very much.
All of the public service has been subjected to some severe job
cuts. In fact, in some departments they have been more severe than
in others. Perhaps Ms. Benson or somebody else could answer this
questions. During this period in which the public service is facing
such job cuts, there is tension in the air, of course, but do you believe
that might prevent an employee from coming forward with an
allegation of experiencing sexual harassment?
Ms. Robyn Benson: I certainly do agree that is going to prevent
them. It's difficult for our members in terms of filing complaints
whichever avenue or redress mechanism they use with respect to
sexual harassment, let alone in the climate they find themselves now.
We have young women, our members, who are expecting their first
child and because of the cuts are afraid to tell the employer, their
immediate manager, that they are three months pregnant. They feel
they would be cut because they're expendable. They are going to go
on maternity leave, so when they do the retention process, they feel
they wouldn't fare as well.
It's not just sexual harassment right now that makes it an unsure
climate for our membership. It's every member ducking their head,
thinking, “not me, not me”, because of the cuts that are taking place.
They are all very much affected.
Ms. Niki Ashton: That's a very powerful example of the
deterrents that are out there.
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Mr. Kingston, as you know, the Treasury Board has come up with
a new policy on sexual harassment. Given your involvement and indepth knowledge of policy, would you say it's more effective? How
would you change the Treasury Board policy on sexual harassment
to make it more accountable?
Mr. Bob Kingston: First of all, I'd try to make it compliant with
the law. The first thing is that the policy gives unilateral authority to
a manager to determine how it will proceed, and the law doesn't. The
law makes it absolutely clear. HRSDC has, in fact, issued directions
to many employers when managers have taken that role upon
themselves, but Treasury Board didn't have anybody at the table who
understood the Canada Labour Code when they were drafting their
policy. That's where that went off the rails.
In terms of following the procedures coming under the Canada
Labour Code and the section on violence, the advantage would be
that it's not complaint driven, so it's as soon as they're aware. That
means even if the victim is too intimidated, somebody else can raise
the issue and have it dealt with.
The investigation itself has required visible impartiality: the
investigator is required to be seen as impartial by the parties.
As to the scope and depth of the investigation, they get to root
cause. That's the only way you will ever get long-term prevention, by
identifying what's going on in the system, what's going on at lower
levels of management and supervision that allows these situations to
evolve in the first place. Usually, if you just lop off the top where the
problem is, it keeps happening. Anybody who has worked for a
while in the public service can tell you about stories where managers
two or three levels down, not necessarily through intent but just
because of the managers' styles or the systems they have in place,
allow these problems to flourish.
The investigation under the code gets to the cause of that, and is
required to make recommendations about preventive measures. The
investigations under other formats are not required to do that.
They're required to make those preventive measure recommendations even when there's an informal resolution to the process.
Those are all positives. The other big difference is that when you
go under policy, you have fences built around the investigation, not
only in depth but in time. You're usually limited to a year back, and
it's very difficult to build case history. Disciplinary letters disappear
off a file after two years. One year is the cap that relates to the
incidents you can investigate.
No such parameters exist under the Canada Labour Code. You go
where the investigation takes you. In fact you're required to look at
the history to figure out what's actually going on.
It's a whole new world, and I think there are all kinds of very
positive possibilities. It has only been in place for a couple of years.
There will be a learning curve, but the faster we get there, the better
for all, I think.
● (1135)
Ms. Niki Ashton: Thank you.
[Translation]
The Chair: Thank you.
January 29, 2013
I will now give the floor to a government member.
Ms. O'Neill Gordon, you have seven minutes.
[English]
Mrs. Tilly O'Neill Gordon (Miramichi, CPC): Thank you,
Madam Chair.
Welcome to all our guests. It certainly is great to have you here.
We have been working diligently on our study, and we've spent
many hours doing it. From all the presentations there is one thing we
hear along the way, and that is seeing that workplaces strive for a
place free of sexual harassment. We feel this is very important to all.
I'm wondering, are there specific changes you see that still need to
be made to contribute to a harassment-free workplace for your
members? Is there something missing that we need to have put in
there so that we can always have this harassment-free workplace?
That question is for anybody.
Ms. Mary Chamberlain: I'll speak as a 35-year public service
worker with DND.
We need our employer to respect legislation and the policies that
they actually put in place. The harassment policy that we have in
DND they call harassment prevention. They promote zero tolerance,
but at the same time the policy, as brother Kingston spoke to earlier,
gives the employer the latitude to determine whether or not an
allegation of harassment meets the definition, and it's the definition
in the eye of the receiver of the complaint, not in the eye of the
person who filed it. Quite often complaints of harassment and sexual
harassment are dismissed because the employer does not believe the
complaints meet the definition of harassment or sexual harassment.
We're looking forward, actually, to the violence prevention policy
coming forward.
Mrs. Tilly O'Neill Gordon: Okay.
Someone spoke about how quite often people fail to report it
because they're afraid for their jobs. I wondered if you had any
numbers, or any specific incidents, that would show us this pattern
over time. Do you have any examples of people who are really
worried about losing their jobs, and what would the numbers be over
time?
Ms. Robyn Benson: Ms. Hauck.
Ms. Janet Hauck (National Vice-President, Union of Solicitor
General Employees, Public Service Alliance of Canada): We
don't have numbers because we would never really know who was
not willing to come forward because obviously they haven't come
forward, but my colleague and I can probably give you too many
examples whereby, because of the fear of coming forward and
reporting wrongdoing, they have reached out to the union because
they feel somehow that we're neutral, that we're safe.
January 29, 2013
FEWO-55
I had a case right here in the national capital region within the
RCMP, a sergeant, a young woman, a young mom who was raped.
She went to the Ottawa police. She couldn't go through with the
allegations and the charges and ended up not reporting it, which is
sad, extremely sad. She was fearful. She was 24 at the time and
asked what she was going to do, who was going to believe her
against the word of a police officer. No one. No, I don't have
numbers for you, but we have examples.
Mr. Robin Kers: Yes, if I may.
We have some specific examples and numbers in terms of a
specific scenario. For example, the case of Donald Ray, and just for
your benefit, it's a matter of public record. The case has been much
publicized. The disciplinary report was publicized on the Internet
and by the media. In that case, the adjudication board or the code of
conduct investigation of Donald Ray substantiated a whole series of
allegations relating to his abuse of authority and sexual harassment
of a number of public servants.
I could go into as graphic a detail as my colleague from UCCOSACC, but it may be pointless. In our follow-up to this we
determined that the RCMP focused on the code of conduct and
dealing with the recalcitrant member, but it doesn't have a process to
deal with the corollary, which is the sexual harassment and the
suffering of those individuals. The union and our local would follow
up by talking to these people to find out exactly what the employer
had done for them on this matter because it was kept very secret. The
majority of them are afraid to even speak to the union about their
issues because they fear job loss, career damage, retaliation, a whole
host of things. I'm talking about a group of seven individuals who
are public servants who were affected in that particular case.
In case two, as I think it's referred to in our brief, which I
represented in British Columbia, the individual also suffered
retaliation in a variety of forms while pursuing her case.
The problem is that aside from what you hear in the media and
what you read about, word gets around within organizations. People
will talk to their close friends. It's relatively secret, but the message
gets out when you try to complain about harassment, and particularly
when you try to complain about sexual harassment, you're in
extreme jeopardy because in the system, the old boys' network, not
just in the RCMP and DND and other quasi-military organizations
but even in other federal government departments, the network and
the understanding of dealing with sexual harassment is not there, so
women are fearful about complaining.
● (1140)
Mr. Bob Kingston: An added aggravation to this is the way the
recent downsizing is having an effect. In theory departments were
supposed to identify work to be cut, not individuals. What's
happened instead in many of the headquarters is that they have
started identifying people and they'll sort out what work they're
going to get rid of afterwards. This has put a huge chill on our
members. I know of many headquarters in this town where people
have been afraid to come forward with cases like this because of that,
because it is well-known at the headquarters level that it's not the
work that's being cut, it's the people who are being cut. They are
scared to death to come forward. If that had been handled better and
if departments had been forced to identify work, as the WFA,
7
workforce adjustment, requirements indicate, instead of the
individuals, it wouldn't have that chilling effect. It's very sad to see.
We're trying to figure out how to raise those issues on a more
global and less personal level to try to protect some of these people.
We have several complaints about the abuse of that process.
[Translation]
The Chair: Thank you, Mr. Kingston.
We will now go to Ms. Sgro. You have seven minutes.
[English]
Hon. Judy Sgro (York West, Lib.): Thank you very much,
Madam Chair.
Welcome back, everyone.
It's great to have all of these witnesses, but there's not enough
time. I'm going to suggest, because I have a variety of questions for
representatives of the Solicitor General's office, that we could have
the Corrections Canada representatives come back at a subsequent
meeting. I put that forward as a suggestion.
[Translation]
The Chair: Ms. Sgro, some committee members would like us to
ask the witnesses to stay an extra 15 minutes since we are not
expecting anyone else to appear afterwards.
So, if you all agree and are available—I see that the committee
members welcome this suggestion unanimously—our witnesses can
stay with us until 12:15 p.m. I think everyone agrees.
[English]
Hon. Judy Sgro: I still think that the Corrections Canada issues
that have been raised deserve more time than we're going to be able
to give them with the extra 15 minutes. I put that forward for the
consideration of our subcommittee at a further discussion.
[Translation]
The Chair: We will continue for 15 minutes and perhaps continue
this discussion under committee business.
Is that okay with you, Ms. Sgro?
[English]
Hon. Judy Sgro: Yes.
[Translation]
The Chair: You can continue.
[English]
Hon. Judy Sgro: Mr. Kers and Ms. Hauck, thank you very much
for being here. As you know, we initially started the study in
response to some of the issues being raised by a variety of RCMP
officers. Certainly, the issue of Donald Ray is one of those that I
have mentioned in the House and which many of us have talked
about.
I'm going to echo my frustration as well. No matter what policies
we bring in, there are people who are going to feel intimidated no
matter how great our unions can be. There's a culture that has to
change and a mindset that has to change.
8
FEWO-55
In particular cases such as the Donald Ray one, where the
punishment means being transferred to another division, department
or area, and he can just continue on, what do we need to do? What
kinds of policies do we need to have in place? Should it not be an
automatic dismissal if the person has clearly been found in
contravention of the kind of code of conduct that is expected?
Why, in Mr. Ray's case, was it not just a dismissal?
I would appreciate your comments, to the degree that you can
comment. It has all been very public, as you've said.
● (1145)
Mr. Robin Kers: A lot of problems have been identified in
dealing with the issue of sexual harassment in the federal workplace.
Part of the problem is a lack of accurate statistical information. In a
PSAC brief, for example, a suggestion was made that when we do
our next public service employee survey, we clearly delineate a
question concerning sexual harassment.
When Ms. Truppe raised a question earlier about informal, I
mentioned that one of the problems is that essentially, the so-called
solutions to these issues are being kept hidden. Too often in
government departments, whether it be the RCMP or whatever, the
resolution is buried in legalese and the complainant is essentially
obliged to agree to a confidentiality agreement in order to obtain
some form of redress to address the complaint. The consequence of
this, of course, is that there's no statistical information for
government departments at the end of the year so that they can
say that they've had x number of sexual harassment files. The other
problem is that this methodology for dealing with cases doesn't
provide any assurance to co-workers who may have similar
problems with respect to how their department or their government
handles sexual harassment in the workplace. There's no way, for
example, to advertise successes in dealing with sexual harassment.
In Donald Ray's case, for example.... I sit on the RCMP working
group that's going to deal with a response to the changes as a
consequence of Bill C-42. I pointed out to the RCMP regular
member chair of that committee the other day two particular areas I
thought we needed to deal with. One was that not just at the RCMP
but throughout the federal government recognition needs to be given
to applying the reasonable woman standard of assessing evidence
when dealing with sexual harassment in gender discrimination files,
rather than always looking at it through the optics of a man's eyes.
The other point I raised, in particular with the RCMP, is that you
can't always focus on how we're going to change the way we deal
with regular members in the RCMP. You have to have a corollary
process that addresses the victims and the victimization. They've
taken cognizance of both things.
At the end of the day, people like Donald Ray should be fired. If
they were to be fired, and if that was a clear message that was
pronounced in the media and within the department, I think it would
embolden and provide courage and support to females who are being
harassed to come forward with these issues. Until such time as the
government and its various arms are prepared to take that step and
deal with this issue in a concrete fashion, change will be very, very
slow.
Hon. Judy Sgro: Is Bill C-42 going to really do much in its
current form?
January 29, 2013
Mr. Robin Kers: In my view, no.
Hon. Judy Sgro: Can you give the committee a list of some
recommendations you think need to be done, over and above Bill
C-42, that our committee can make specifically to the RCMP and the
kind of people working in the Solicitor General's office and so on?
Mr. Robin Kers: You have the RCMP and then the other
departments we serve. Let's look at Treasury Board policy, for
example. Yes, there's a new harassment policy, but in my view, it's a
dramatically weakened policy.
I'll give you a classic example. The old policy granted a
complainant the right to review a final report before it became final
and to provide additional witnesses, where necessary, documentation, and clarification. The new Treasury Board policy has
eliminated that. While Treasury Board says to all the departments
that they have a minimal policy and they're free to expand it, it's a
crucial element which, in my view, should be obligatory for all
departments when they deal with harassment cases, sexual or
otherwise.
● (1150)
Hon. Judy Sgro: If you could supply the committee with some
suggestions and ideas based on your role and your experience, we
would very much appreciate that.
Mr. Robin Kers: I'd be pleased to do so.
Hon. Judy Sgro: Thank you.
I very much want to get over to our Corrections Canada witnesses
and just say, wow. You're constantly breaking down barriers for
others by working for Corrections Canada, the last place in the world
I would ever want to work. I applaud you on behalf of many women
by saying that we're equal and we can do the job every bit as well, no
questions asked.
I hope we're able to bring you back so that we can hear more
about the kinds of challenges you're facing such as in that one
particular case, although I suspect there are many. I hope that we can
get to some specific areas that are different from others when it
comes to some recommendations that I hope will come out of this
study. I hope we'll have an opportunity to have you back.
[Translation]
The Chair: Thank you, Ms. Sgro.
Ms. Ambler, you have five minutes.
[English]
Ms. Roxanne James (Scarborough Centre, CPC): It's okay—
[Translation]
The Chair: I am sorry. There was an error on our list.
Ms. James has the floor. You have five minutes.
[English]
Ms. Roxanne James: Thank you, Madam Chair.
Thank you to all of our guests for being here.
January 29, 2013
FEWO-55
I'm going to direct my question to you, Ms. Chamberlain, because
I believe you made some comments with regard to a question asked
by my colleague, Ms. O'Neill Gordon. It had to do with the current
policy in place and the zero tolerance the policy states.
I believe you said that the problem with the current policy is that it
gives the employer the latitude to determine whether a case meets the
definition of the current sexual harassment or harassment definition.
I usually ask a question related to this, so I'm glad you brought that
up, because my questioning in the past has been referred to as the
million-dollar question.
Being a politician and having run in multiple elections, I'll say that
you can imagine that many of us have suffered comments or
harassment in getting here to Ottawa. The way I look at it is that, in
some cases, what may offend one person may not necessarily offend
another. From discussions we've had with other witnesses, the
definition of harassment ties into the fact that the person who is the
harasser should know, or ought to have known, that it may offend the
other person.
I guess the million-dollar question is this: how would an employer
know in that particular case that the harasser should have known or
ought to have known, when each of us are individuals and certain
things roll off my back and other things really piss me off? I guess
that's the million-dollar question with the statement you made. How
is the employer supposed to know? At the end of the day, there has
to be a judgment call.
Ms. Mary Chamberlain: It's a good question.
I agree with you. I always say that harassment is in the eye of the
person filing the complaint. What is offensive to me should be
investigated. If it's determined at the end of the process that it's not
harassment in the eyes of the law or the legislation, then provide the
rationale for why it isn't.
I recently was involved in three situations at the very same work
location under the very same employer. One was a complaint under
the employer's policy. Two were grievances. All three were
dismissed. In one case, there were 69 allegations against a coworker, and these same employer representatives dismissed all three
sets of allegations saying they did not meet the definition. When we
addressed the concern up to the higher command, the response we
got was that “you don't have to like the answer but at least you got
one”.
If DND is going to promote zero tolerance, then the persons filing
the complaint have the right to be given due consideration. In one of
the incidents that I identified, a third party actually recommended to
the base commander that an impartial investigation be done. The
base commander declined the opportunity to do an investigation
although it was recommended.
Ms. Roxanne James: Okay, thank you.
You mentioned three particular examples. Did any of those
examples go further? Did that person file a complaint with a human
rights tribunal or any other tribunal? What happened to these
particular cases? Did they go higher? Did they not go higher? I just
wonder what the outcome was of those particular three examples you
just stated.
9
● (1155)
Ms. Mary Chamberlain: Two of the three examples are now at
the final level of the grievance process. Depending on the outcome at
the final level, we'll make a determination as to whether they can go
to the PSAC for adjudication. The third one I personally represented,
and the member could have filed a discrimination with human rights.
I'm still working with him and encouraging him to follow up on that.
Ms. Roxanne James: Okay. Thank you very much.
I don't know if I have an answer to my million-dollar question,
because it is discretionary, I guess, at best, in human nature, and each
person can think different things. As I said myself, certain things roll
off my back. But I'll continue to ask that question to every witness
who comes in.
The Chair: You have one minute.
Ms. Roxanne James: Thank you.
We've talked about statistics with respect to employees who have
experienced harassment but may not have reported it because they've
been afraid. I think someone mentioned that we actually have no
statistics on that. Do we have percentages of the number of
employees who might fall into that category? Do we have any
estimates?
Ms. Andrée Côté (Women's and Human Rights Officer,
National Programs Section, Public Service Alliance of Canada):
The data that is available is data collected under the public service
employee survey. Unfortunately, the question that is asked in the
survey is just an overall question on harassment. It covers sexual
harassment, but it can cover harassment on the basis of ethnic origin,
religion, disability, and so on. We don't have any specific
information. That's why we're recommending that the survey be—
Ms. Roxanne James: Do we know if the estimates or statistics
just on sexual harassment, even though we might not have solid
numbers, over time have increased, decreased, or stayed the same?
[Translation]
The Chair: I am sorry, Ms. James, but I have to interrupt you.
[English]
Ms. Andrée Côté: My understanding is there's been a slight
increase since the last public service employee survey. We're now at
31% of women reporting harassment. If I remember correctly, it was
29% in the 2009 survey, so there is a slight increase. We are
concerned that increase might be the effect of the cuts and the
insecurity in the workplace. When women feel—
[Translation]
The Chair: I have to interrupt you, Ms. Côté, because Ms. James
ran out of time. Thank you.
We will continue with Ms. Ashton. You have five minutes.
[English]
Ms. Niki Ashton: Thank you very much.
I definitely support Madam Sgro's proposal to have the corrections
union come back to us, because we also feel there are a number of
issues there that you raised that are a bit separate from what we're
looking at more broadly today. I certainly hope that is looked into.
10
FEWO-55
Turning to PSAC quickly, Mr. Kingston, were you or PSAC ever
consulted to shape the new Treasury Board policy?
Ms. Robyn Benson: Do you mean the harassment policy?
January 29, 2013
Mr. Robin Kers: Speaking for USGE, as you know, all the
components have a mandate to represent x departments. My focus
and the bulk of my work happens to be with the RCMP, although I
represent employees at a number of other departments.
Ms. Niki Ashton:Yes.
Ms. Robyn Benson: We had consultation, or what Treasury
Board would deem to be consultation, not necessarily our
interpretation of consultation. We have worked diligently to try to
have some of our changes put within it. We were successful at
actually keeping a harassment policy.
I think that's an important issue to raise in front of the committee.
At one point in time, of course, they wanted to take the harassment
policy and put it into the workforce policy. They have a policy suites
review taking place right now, which is undermining a lot of the
policies that are in place.
I don't know if Mr. Kingston would like to speak more to it.
Mr. Bob Kingston: When the bargaining agents who were in
consultation with Treasury Board brought to Treasury Board's
attention that the policy did need to be compliant with the new
violence regulation, that's where it started to fall apart. The
bargaining agents' sides informed Treasury Board that they could
not formally agree to or buy into the new policy as long as it wasn't
consistent or compliant with legislation.
That became a major problem. Treasury Board never put anybody
at the table who understood that legislation, so it was a problem and
still is.
Ms. Niki Ashton: I'm wondering, because the PSAC is bringing
up a very key point around a policy that certainly has been presented
as being the be-all and end-all to deal with harassment. If you could
provide in writing to our committee the pieces, as well as some
which you shared earlier, you feel are outstanding or ought to be
improved upon, we'd certainly be keen to have those.
In preparation for this appearance I focused on the very difficult
issue of one individual trying to resolve her sexual harassment
complaint. That's the case summary of Ms. R. I have copies of a
more elaborate summary. If you wish I could leave it with you. And
of course there's the case of Donald Ray.
From our perspective what would be important for this committee
to take away from the RCMP situation is a crucial realization that all
the publicity has been on the plight of female regular members of the
RCMP. Because of the nature of the beast, the members that we
represent and the fact that we operate under a different act than the
RCMP does, our approach has not been public and cannot have been
public. I would hazard a guess and say that on a pro rata basis there
are probably as many sexual harassment concerns of public servants
in the RCMP as there are among regular members of the RCMP.
[Translation]
The Chair: Mr. Kers, I have to interrupt you because your time is
up.
The floor now goes to Ms. Ambler. You have five minutes.
[English]
Mrs. Stella Ambler (Mississauga South, CPC): Thank you,
Madam Chair, and thank you to all witnesses for being here today.
You've provided very interesting testimony, so thank you for that.
● (1200)
Mr. Bob Kingston: I'd like to make just one point now, because
it's also in answer to the million-dollar question that was posed from
across the table. The issue is that a person, like the perpetrator,
should have known, and it's about trying to get inside their head.
When it's dealt with as a health and safety issue, that problem, like
many of the other problems, disappears. The health and safety
legislation doesn't talk about how the perpetrator should have
reasonably known; it just says that it can reasonably be expected to
cause harm. It doesn't say that's assigned to any individual.
Ms. Niki Ashton: Well, personally, as a young woman in this
work, there's a lot of sexual harassment in our universe, and I think
the important point about the eye of the person living through it is
the most essential point in dealing with sexual harassment.
Ms. Chamberlain, Mr. Kers, and Ms. Hauck, you brought up some
very important cases, both in the RCMP and involving civilians
working in Defence. I'm wondering if there are other cases that you
have. Obviously, the ones you brought forward were shocking
enough, but are there other cases that you feel are examples of both
the harassment that exists and the lack of action that's been taken to
provide redress?
I'd like to address the example of the woman who was three
months pregnant and worried about her job. Was that you who raised
it, Ms. Benson? Sorry, I knew it was in this area. I believe it was as a
result of Ms. Ashton's question about looming job cuts.
It probably struck me because like many of us in the room we've
all been working and pregnant at the same time and worrying if our
employer will look at us differently and consider us a bit more
expendable because we're going to be taking maternity leave and
maybe are not worthy of keeping on. I'm trying to better understand
how that relates to sexual harassment in particular.
Do you consider sexual harassment that choice not to continue the
employment of someone who is three months pregnant or do you
believe that.... I'm trying to link how job cuts cause sexual
harassment.
Ms. Robyn Benson: It is not that job cuts cause sexual
harassment. The question was why don't people come forward
about sexual harassment.
January 29, 2013
FEWO-55
11
What I was trying to convey is that women are afraid to come
forward and say they have been sexually harassed because of what's
going on within their workplaces. Will they be believed it has taken
place? Will the complaint perhaps impede their career? When we're
talking about the job cuts and the real fear out there, I think it's
probably quadrupled. If there was sexual harassment, women would
not be coming forward. I said I was at a meeting and a young woman
who was three months pregnant was saying she was afraid to say she
was pregnant for fear of losing her job. The woman sitting beside her
may be sexually harassed but she's not going to put up her hand and
say she's being sexually harassed and could she still please have her
job.
Mrs. Stella Ambler: I'm glad you brought that up, because when
you talked about jobs versus the work itself, I found myself—
I think that you have to look at the climate within our workplaces
right now, where the job cuts are taking place, where the process
that's in place is very unfair, which I have spoken to Mr. Clement
about. Because we don't have seniority within our workplaces,
individuals are forced to compete against their colleagues. As Mr.
Kingston said, it's not the work that's leaving, it's people who are
leaving and the work is still there.
I'd like to go back and make sure that Ms. Chamberlain and Ms.
Hauck have an opportunity to share some cases or some of the trends
they see in their work.
My reference was that in today's climate with all the looming job
cuts, if there is—and there is—sexual harassment in the workplace,
those women would not stand up and say so and file a complaint that
they've been sexually harassed.
● (1205)
[Translation]
The Chair: Ms. Ambler, I am sorry to interrupt you. Thank you.
We have enough time for one last round.
Ms. Ashton, you have five minutes.
[English]
Ms. Niki Ashton: Thank you very much.
Ms. Mary Chamberlain: In preparation for coming here today, I
actually canvassed my staff, because I'm not directly involved in the
representation of the membership. Quite frankly, I have not
personally witnessed or experienced sexual harassment. Even though
DND may not be the greatest workplace, I enjoyed my work with
DND.
I asked for examples and whether or not we have any ongoing
cases. I was surprised to find out that we actually have four.
Mrs. Stella Ambler: Okay. That's certainly what we think in
some cases might happen.
One was an actual allegation by a male member against a male
member. I don't know what's going to happen with that one.
Other than never cutting jobs or firing anyone for any reason
whatsoever, what is the solution to that problem? Other than
complete job security, what's the solution to that?
In another case brought to my attention, one of our female
members filed a charge of sexual harassment in the workplace. She's
in a non-traditional female job working with a group of males. The
outcome of her grievance was that the complaint was not founded.
She is now facing allegations of filing a frivolous charge and is
under investigation herself.
Ms. Robyn Benson: The solution to sexual harassment in the
workplace is that the employer has an obligation to have a safe
working environment, and—
Mrs. Stella Ambler: No, no. What's the solution to the problem
of people not wanting to report because they feel their job might be
in jeopardy, other than giving people 100% complete security that
they will never lose their job for any reason?
I guess maybe it's too much of a philosophical question.
Ms. Robyn Benson: No, no.
Go ahead, Bob.
Mr. Bob Kingston: Okay, it's the solution to that.
Mrs. Stella Ambler: Yes.
Mr. Bob Kingston: We all know there was a downsizing process.
As I said, it was supposed to be based on work identified and the
people then associated with that work. It didn't happen. They went in
and just started targeting people and then sorting it out after. If you
changed it to what it was supposed to be, that would be transparent.
As well, the website that would allow people to change was never
managed, never set up properly. When we did that in the nineties, we
actually did it physically. We managed the alternation process. It was
a lot more transparent and it was much more well received. This
spectre that you'd be picked on, you're in trouble....
In another case, the employer actually upheld a grievance of an
allegation that a male co-worker exposed himself to another female
member. The respondent received a five-day suspension. The reason
the grievance is at the final level with us is that the complainant was
not happy with the outcome of the five-day suspension. She felt the
penalty should be more.
In the fourth example I was given, we actually have a person who
has been accused of touching female co-workers. The employer is
possibly looking at workforce adjusting this person and giving them
a buyout to leave.
That's how DND addresses harassment in the workplace.
● (1210)
Ms. Janet Hauck: Quickly, because I know our time is short, I
will speak on behalf of the membership within the RCMP.
Unlike Mary, I am on the ground. I have been with the RCMP for
a considerable number of decades. As my colleague, brother Kers,
very eloquently said, yes, it knows no bounds. Whether you're a
regular member facing sexual harassment, a civilian member, or a
public service employee—within the RCMP we have the three
categories of employees—it knows no bounds.
12
FEWO-55
I could give you example upon example, if we had the time, but I
think the key in the RCMP is that the police officers are our
protectors. They are our members in society whom we turn to each
and every day and ask them to please keep us safe. The last thing we
believe as an employee is that they will be the offender. That is the
last thing we believe.
They are also in positions of authority. Those are our managers,
for the most part, and they are the police officers. They are our police
officers over here and our managers over here: we have power of
authority, abuse of authority. We have the protectors of society: well,
we'll just not worry about whether we have to live up to those
expectations.
They as the RCMP should have a very high tolerance for
differences. It doesn't matter if it's a difference in your sexual beliefs
or your ethnic background, they should have a high tolerance. They
don't appear to have that.
For me, as a worker within that workplace representing employees
and members of the PSAC, it becomes very difficult, because they
police themselves in these situations.
Ms. Niki Ashton: Thank you very much for that.
Going back to Bill C-42, what consultation took place with your
colleagues? What sense do civilians working on the ground have that
Bill C-42 will make any difference?
January 29, 2013
Mr. Robin Kers: As an offshoot of a normal labour management
consultation process, USGE was offered the opportunity to take part
in a variety of working groups to assess or deal with different
elements of Bill C-42. As I mentioned earlier, in my case, I sit on the
working group that is dealing with the issue of harassment. Quite
frankly, from the assessment of the membership I have contact with
—I represent the RCMP in western and northern Canada, while my
colleague does Ontario east—I think it's safe to say that the
assessment of the public servants is that changes to Bill C-42 won't
make a hill of beans of difference in the handling of harassment,
sexual harassment, or many other issues at the RCMP.
[Translation]
The Chair: I am going to have to stop you there. Since we do not
have enough time for another round, we are going to end this
meeting.
Thank you very much to our witnesses for coming to meet with
us. It was very interesting.
We will now continue the meeting in camera to discuss committee
business. So I will suspend the meeting for a few moments.
Thank you.
[Proceedings continue in camera]
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Il est permis de reproduire les délibérations de la Chambre et
de ses comités, en tout ou en partie, sur n’importe quel
support, pourvu que la reproduction soit exacte et qu’elle ne
soit pas présentée comme version officielle. Il n’est toutefois
pas permis de reproduire, de distribuer ou d’utiliser les
délibérations à des fins commerciales visant la réalisation d'un
profit financier. Toute reproduction ou utilisation non permise
ou non formellement autorisée peut être considérée comme
une violation du droit d’auteur aux termes de la Loi sur le
droit d’auteur. Une autorisation formelle peut être obtenue sur
présentation d’une demande écrite au Bureau du Président de
la Chambre.
Reproduction in accordance with this permission does not
constitute publication under the authority of the House of
Commons. The absolute privilege that applies to the
proceedings of the House of Commons does not extend to
these permitted reproductions. Where a reproduction includes
briefs to a Committee of the House of Commons, authorization for reproduction may be required from the authors in
accordance with the Copyright Act.
La reproduction conforme à la présente permission ne
constitue pas une publication sous l’autorité de la Chambre.
Le privilège absolu qui s’applique aux délibérations de la
Chambre ne s’étend pas aux reproductions permises. Lorsqu’une reproduction comprend des mémoires présentés à un
comité de la Chambre, il peut être nécessaire d’obtenir de
leurs auteurs l’autorisation de les reproduire, conformément à
la Loi sur le droit d’auteur.
Nothing in this permission abrogates or derogates from the
privileges, powers, immunities and rights of the House of
Commons and its Committees. For greater certainty, this
permission does not affect the prohibition against impeaching
or questioning the proceedings of the House of Commons in
courts or otherwise. The House of Commons retains the right
and privilege to find users in contempt of Parliament if a
reproduction or use is not in accordance with this permission.
La présente permission ne porte pas atteinte aux privilèges,
pouvoirs, immunités et droits de la Chambre et de ses comités.
Il est entendu que cette permission ne touche pas l’interdiction
de contester ou de mettre en cause les délibérations de la
Chambre devant les tribunaux ou autrement. La Chambre
conserve le droit et le privilège de déclarer l’utilisateur
coupable d’outrage au Parlement lorsque la reproduction ou
l’utilisation n’est pas conforme à la présente permission.
Also available on the Parliament of Canada Web Site at the
following address: http://www.parl.gc.ca
Aussi disponible sur le site Web du Parlement du Canada à
l’adresse suivante : http://www.parl.gc.ca
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