Standing Committee on the Status of Women Thursday, December 6, 2012 Chair FEWO

Standing Committee on the Status of Women Thursday, December 6, 2012 Chair FEWO
Standing Committee on the Status of Women
FEWO
●
NUMBER 054
●
1st SESSION
●
EVIDENCE
Thursday, December 6, 2012
Chair
Ms. Marie-Claude Morin
41st PARLIAMENT
1
Standing Committee on the Status of Women
Thursday, December 6, 2012
● (0850)
[Translation]
The Chair (Ms. Marie-Claude Morin (Saint-Hyacinthe—
Bagot, NDP)): With your permission, we will begin. Good morning,
everyone. Welcome to the 54th meeting of the Standing Committee
on the Status of Women.
Pursuant to Standing Order 108(2), we are continuing our study
on sexual harassment in the federal workplace.
Our first witness today is Vicky Smallman, National Director of
the Women's and Human Rights Department, Canadian Labour
Congress.
Welcome, Ms. Smallman. Thank you for accepting our invitation.
Also joining us is Timothy Edwards, President of the Professional
Association of Foreign Service Officers. Welcome.
Let me tell you about our procedure today. You will each have
10 minutes for your opening remarks. I will let you know when you
have one minute left. I will do the same for the question period; I
will let people know when they have one minute left. Sometimes,
that distracts the witnesses; that is why I'd rather say it in advance.
Perhaps we can start with Ms. Smallman, if you don't mind.
You have 10 minutes.
Ms. Vicky Smallman (National Director, Women's and
Human Rights Department, Canadian Labour Congress): Thank
you very much
[English]
On behalf of the 3.3 million members of the Canadian Labour
Congress, I'd like to thank you for affording me the opportunity to
present our views.
The CLC brings together Canada's national and international
unions, along with the provincial and territorial federations of labour
and 130 district labour councils, whose members work in virtually
all sectors of the Canadian economy, in all occupations, in all parts
of Canada.
In preparing for these remarks, I was brought back to the
beginnings of my career as an activist when I was a student
representative on a university committee developing its first-ever
sexual harassment policy. This was in 1987 or so, and the issue of
sexual harassment on campuses and in workplaces was gaining
prominence. Everybody knew it was a problem, but we struggled to
break through the silence that surrounded the issue.
Despite the fact that our rights have been clarified in the courts,
that policies at all levels of government have been developed, and
that collective agreement language in workplaces across the country
has been negotiated, it seems this silence still acts as an effective
barrier to true equality and justice, especially in workplaces where
the culture still reflects a power imbalance between women and men.
This is not to say that we have not made significant progress.
Unions have worked hard to build support within our own
membership for strong collective agreement language on workplace
harassment, including sexual harassment. Unions have developed
training for representatives and educational programs on human
rights, women's equality, health and safety, and collective bargaining, which all reinforce the need to prevent harassment and address it
quickly when it occurs.
One of the best tools for preventing harassment of any kind is a
healthy, inclusive workplace with a commitment to gender equality.
Job security, reasonable workloads, and good labour relations all
offer a sense of stability and comfort in the workplace. But while it
does not completely prevent individuals from harassing others, it
might create a climate that allows women to feel safe about coming
forward with a complaint.
Workplace culture is important. As you conduct this study, I hope
you will consider looking at the culture of federal workplaces and
any factors that may create an environment conducive to harassment
or that may impede its prevention—that is, that may encourage
women to keep silent.
Clear policies, including collective agreement language, are also
vital, as is training and support for both employees and managers.
Strong union representation is also key, as union representatives can
help act as buffers for women and help them navigate the processes.
In a healthy workplace, harassment is dealt with quickly, before a
grievance is even necessary, and if one is necessary, then timelines
and processes become important.
A lot comes down to leadership. There needs to be a swift
response to complaints and a willingness to take action when
necessary. When leaders make a clear effort to prevent harassment
and deal with it when it occurs, women may be more likely to come
forward when they feel they have been harassed. This means
employers need to be sensitive to discrimination in all forms.
Leaders need to see harassment and discrimination as organizational
issues, not as isolated cases that have to do with conflicts between
individuals. Conversely, if a leader is perceived to want to avoid
conflict or is dismissive when problems of any kind arise, women are
likely to remain silent.
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FEWO-54
Women may be silent for other reasons. When one sees some of
the more prominent cases, where women have waited years for
justice or have been pushed out of workplaces, labelled as
troublemakers, refused promotion, or ostracized on the job, it
becomes difficult to see the benefits of saying something.
Sandy Welsh, a professor at the University of Toronto, did a study
of Canadian Human Rights Commission complaints between 1978
and 1995. I don't know if you've already heard about this study. She
found that most women who filed complaints lost jobs, became ill, or
were demoted. Only 28% of the women who filed complaints were
still working for their employer. There is a cost to coming forward.
But there's a cost to remaining silent as well, and the costs hit both
employers and workers. We know that harassment can lead to
absenteeism and a lack of focus at work. It compounds other
workplace stresses. It has an impact on performance and
productivity. Women may withdraw from co-workers. They may
become depressed or anxious, abuse drugs or alcohol, or end up on
stress leave or sick leave. We know that some cases of harassment
may escalate and become violent and even fatal.
By breaking the silence, women have made the gains they have.
Within the union movement, we recognize that harassment is a
serious problem that undermines basic union principles of solidarity
and human rights. We also recognize that sexual harassment, as one
aspect of violence against women, is a symptom of a much greater
problem: the inequality between women and men in our society.
In 1993, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the
Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women, which
states:
[Recognizing that] violence against women is a manifestation of historically
unequal power relations between women and men, which have led to the
domination over and the discrimination against women by men and to the
prevention of the full advancement of women....
While this study examines the issue of sexual harassment in
federal workplaces specifically, I think it's important to make the link
between this issue and the broader need for the federal government
to take action to end gender-based violence, especially today, which
is the day we remember the lives of 14 young women who were
brutally murdered at École Polytechnique in Montreal.
We remember, and we commit to taking action. This morning, the
Canadian Labour Congress joins women's groups, service providers,
and others in calling for action in three ways: a national action plan
to end violence against women; a national inquiry into the deaths and
disappearances of indigenous women in Canada; and leadership at
the upcoming meetings of the United Nations Commission on the
Status of Women, which this year focuses on the issue of violence.
I'd like to close with a couple of words on the first of these actions,
which is a national action plan.
I think we can all agree that violence against women is a powerful
barrier to women's equality and a violation of women's human rights.
It is a complex, systemic problem that requires a comprehensive
approach to developing solutions. The UN has called on all countries
to have national action plans on violence against women by 2015.
The national action plan is a blueprint for change, which needs to
include action at every level of government—in workplaces,
December 6, 2012
schools, local and cultural communities, and even in individual
relationships and behaviours.
Canada's federal government should initiate a process to develop a
plan involving territorial, provincial, and aboriginal governments, as
well as civil society, service providers, and survivors of genderbased violence. Canada's national action plan needs to include
legislation, as well as specific resources and strategies for those most
vulnerable to violence. Those are aboriginal women, immigrant
women, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered women, women with
disabilities, and young women. Canada's plan must also provide
sufficient resources for these strategies to be implemented, including
support for research to measure progress.
It's this issue of research that pertains to what you're talking about
in this study. The last source of decent data that we have on sexual
harassment in the workplace is the 1993 “Violence Against Women
Survey”. We're coming up to the 20th anniversary of this survey, so
perhaps it would be a good time to recommend that we launch a new
survey. This survey could be part of the process of developing a
national action plan—a real national action plan on violence against
women.
Thank you.
● (0855)
[Translation]
The Chair: Thank you.
We will now go to Mr. Edwards.
You have 10 minutes.
Mr. Timothy Edwards (President, Professional Association of
Foreign Service Officers): Thank you, Madam Chair.
My name is Tim Edwards. I am the President of the Professional
Association of Foreign Service Officers.
[English]
The Professional Association of Foreign Services Officers,
PAFSO, is the bargaining agent for Canada's non-executive
diplomats, representing nearly 1,400 employees working mainly in
Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Citizenship and Immigration Canada, and the Canada Border Services Agency. Of our
membership, 53% are men and 47% women.
I will note at the outset that PAFSO does not have specific
recommendations to suggest respecting the Treasury Board’s policy
on harassment prevention and resolution of October 2012, or on
harassment complaint and reporting mechanisms within the public
service. I do, however, have several points to make concerning
sexual harassment in the federal workplace and related topics falling
within this committee’s mandate.
In the fall of 2012, PAFSO conducted a comprehensive survey to
assess our members' demographic make-up, their conditions of
work, and the personal impacts of life in the foreign service. More
than half of our members completed the survey, providing a very
reliable statistical baseline.
December 6, 2012
FEWO-54
Almost one-third—32%—of all respondents indicated that they
had been the target of verbal, physical, or sexual harassment or other
abusive behaviour in the workplace, either at headquarters in Ottawa
or while posted abroad. The percentage who said they had witnessed
such behaviour stood at 45%.
While the survey structure does not allow for a breakdown by
gender, established statistical trends in the public service workplace
suggest that it is fair to assume that women responded in the
affirmative at a significantly higher rate than men.
Despite statutory whistle-blower protections, it is often difficult
for women to report such incidents, given concerns over the potential
impact on one’s career advancement or one’s ability to secure a
desirable assignment in the future. Unlike other public servants,
members of the foreign service do not “own” their positions; rather,
we are appointed to a level in the FS group and then assigned into
positions temporarily, according to departmental needs, and we must
compete for a new assignment every two to four years.
Since these are assignments and not appointments in the
traditional sense of the word, they are not subject to the usual
transparency and fairness requirements of conventional staffing. As a
result, one’s nebulous so-called “corridor reputation” becomes a
hugely important criterion for selection for each assignment. You can
see in what way there would be significant structural disincentives to
coming forward if you have been harassed.
Even if one decides to seek recourse, this can be challenging for
foreign service officers posted abroad, as they are isolated from both
their traditional support network of family and friends as well as
those managing the complaint, with potentially fewer witnesses to
corroborate their story. Such discomfort is heightened at small or
mid-sized missions, where a smaller staff complement—as few as
two or three, and all the way up to, say, fifteen or so—operates under
very close working conditions in which one is not easily moved to
another work unit or work location. And this is to say nothing of
when one's supervisor is the assailant.
Beyond harassment, service abroad carries additional unique
challenges. The demands of the job often put female foreign service
officers in harm’s way. Among respondents who had served
overseas, almost 50% had experienced a terrorist attack in the city
or region where they were based; 48% had experienced a natural
disaster; 64% had been exposed to civil disobedience; 41% to armed
conflict; and 35% to an epidemic or a pandemic.
Assessing the impact of recent federal budget cuts, 36% of
respondents reported a decrease in their family’s quality of life
abroad, and 52% reported an increase in family stress levels at post.
Given the continuing preponderance of women as the lead caregivers
in family relationships, including within Canada’s diplomatic corps,
it is safe to say that these impacts are disproportionately felt and
absorbed by female officers. Indeed, anecdotal comments that
accompanied our survey responses specifically flagged the quality
and cost overseas of housing, educational facilities, child care, and
medical treatment.
● (0900)
Women often face different challenges from their male counterparts during posting. This is especially true in societies where
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religious or cultural values are not compatible with Canadian norms
of gender equality, such as in strict Buddhist or Islamic countries.
One female officer put it this way:
Being a female diplomat in the Middle East often exposes me to situations where I
am the only woman in a given environment. It can be difficult being the object of
constant scrutiny, curiosity, and sometimes overt harassment, especially as there is
no escape from it. I have required a male companion in many situations that were
too uncomfortable, and possibly dangerous, without one. In practical terms, my
workplace is fundamentally different than it would be [for any other federal public
servant] and I have accepted those risks and inconveniences. However, over the
course of years, the reality of the scrutiny and the constant spectre of harassment
can contribute to professional and personal burnout.
Another female officer had this to say:
In Sri Lanka, Buddhist monks are active in politics and national [life]. During the
peace process, this required interaction with religious leaders in promoting
Canada's values and priorities. But their strict rules of no contact with women—
they will not even shake hands or accept a business card if there is a risk of
touching—meant that I was at a disadvantage as a female diplomat in that I was
often seated further away than my male counterparts. For example, a male
Australian officer was seated next to the host of an important event while I was
seated among lower-level staff despite my equal diplomatic rank. It limited my
ability to interact with key players.
Female officers also experience unwanted physical attention and
harassment in certain countries where machismo is valued more than
sensitivity. This is particularly infuriating where the sources of
harassment are local work contacts outside the mission, for example,
your counterparts in local government ministries in the countries
where we are assigned, or fellow diplomats from partner countries.
Yet short of being recalled at great expense in the middle of your
assignment, your position demands that you continue working with
them week in, week out, without any option for recourse, redress, or
resolution. The fact that alcohol is usually served at functions where
Canadian diplomats conduct advocacy and networking activities on
behalf of the government does not help matters.
Ladies and gentlemen, I have attempted to provide a snapshot of
challenges faced by members of the foreign service that are unique
within the federal public service as they relate to sexual harassment
and, more generally, our conditions of work abroad in the service of
Canada and Canadians.
I would be pleased to answer any questions or help the committee
obtain any additional information you may require.
[Translation]
Thank you.
● (0905)
The Chair: Thank you very much.
We will now proceed to the first round of questions.
Ms. Truppe, you have seven minutes.
[English]
Mrs. Susan Truppe (London North Centre, CPC): Thank you,
Madam Chair, and my thanks to our guests for coming today.
Tim, I need a bit more information on what your role is. I guess
I'm not clear. What is your role if someone is sexually harassed?
What is the series of steps that occurs? What do you do? How do
you help them?
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FEWO-54
Mr. Timothy Edwards: The union, PAFSO, would get involved
only if it resulted in legal action, if there were a very significant
grievance filed. You're probably aware that in the federal public
service, for years now, there has been this so-called informal conflict
management system. Many harassment complaints, as I understand
it, are first attempted to be dealt with through that mechanism before
they get to the point of a formal grievance.
PAFSO provides a largely supportive role. We ensure that our
members, should they decide to pursue legal recourse, have access to
legal counsel. But the mechanisms that are in place allow unions to
simply have an advisory or supportive capacity. We are not the ones
who lead any action or pursuit of redress.
Mrs. Susan Truppe: You don't negotiate with the employer on
behalf of the employees or get involved in that way.
Mr. Timothy Edwards: Not in individual harassment cases, but
on salaries, conditions of work, hours worked overtime, and all the
rest of it, yes, we do negotiate.
Mrs. Susan Truppe: But when it comes to harassment, you don't
do any of that. You would provide legal assistance or perhaps advice
on what route a person might take.
Mr. Timothy Edwards: That's correct.
Mrs. Susan Truppe: Vicky, I have the same question. What do
you do to assist a member of your union if there is a sexual
harassment grievance? At what point are you involved?
Ms. Vicky Smallman: The CLC doesn't represent individual
members. We're a federation of unions. Each union, and each local in
each union, may have a different approach, depending on the
workplace, the language that has been negotiated, and so on.
I think, though, on the whole, the desire is, in any workplace
conflict, to try to resolve it first informally. If that's not possible, you
go to a formal grievance procedure, according to whatever is
negotiated in your collective agreement. There may be additional
policies at the workplace that need to be followed as well.
The union can have a couple of different roles. Sometimes we
have member-to-member conflicts, in which case we have the dual
duty of making sure that one member who is the complainant has
access to justice and is feeling safe in the workplace, and so on. For
the other member, the process ensures that due diligence is followed.
We have a duty to have fair representation for all of our members,
and our commitment is to make sure that the processes are followed
accordingly.
Mrs. Susan Truppe: That's interesting. The CLC develops policy,
but not for all the unions. You develop policy for other things, but
the unions are able to develop their own policies as to what best suits
their area or their members.
Ms. Vicky Smallman: The labour movement is a democratic
movement. It's sort of a bottom-up type of thing. We don't develop
policies in isolation. We develop them with our membership, our
affiliates. They, in turn, develop their own policies with their own
membership through democratic processes that exist within the
unions. It's a very decentralized structure.
● (0910)
Mrs. Susan Truppe: Okay.
The retention and disposal standard for documents governed by
the Privacy Act and prescribed by the Treasury Board states that in
matters dealing with complaints of personal harassment, where there
has not been a secondary incident within the space of two years, all
documents relating to the incident, including any letters outlining
disciplinary action, are shredded. Essentially, if there are no other
complaints against you after two years, the documents relating to
harassment are shredded. It doesn't follow you from area to area. So
if you move from one area to another area three years later, no one
knows that you were maybe investigated or charged with sexual
harassment.
Do you think two years is an appropriate amount of time to keep
on file information related to an employee's offence? I'd like to ask
both of you for your opinion. Do you think it should be more? Do
you think it should ever be shredded?
I can start with you, Vicky.
Ms. Vicky Smallman: I don't know if I can really answer that. I'd
really have to look at the whole policy and see.
I think, ultimately, resolving sexual harassment as a problem in
the workplace is not really about crime and punishment. It's about
trying to create healthy workplaces, where justice and equality are
values. I don't know if labelling somebody a harasser is necessarily
going to help resolve the broader issue. I would say that I can't really
comment on the specific policy.
Mrs. Susan Truppe: How do you balance the conflicting
responsibility when they're on an equal level?
Mrs. Susan Truppe: Thank you.
Ms. Vicky Smallman: That's a question I think you might want to
ask witnesses who have a more direct.... I cannot speak for
individual unions and how they operate.
Tim, do you have a comment on that one?
Mrs. Susan Truppe: The unions all do their own thing.
Ms. Vicky Smallman: Yes. The CLC handles things on a policy
level. Each union has its own culture, for example, and its own
processes, and so on. There may be different shop stewards who
might work with different members and so on. It really depends. It's
up to the local leadership to determine what to do in a specific
situation.
December 6, 2012
Mr. Timothy Edwards: Yes. My only comment on this would be
that in a rotational workplace, like the one foreign service officers
experience, there would probably be merit in extending that period a
little bit longer. Institutional memory does tend to die fairly quickly
and fairly hard, unfortunately, within our departments, especially for
positions that are filled by rotational officers. So extending that
period would, I suppose, enable that record to be on file a little bit
longer so that the memory isn't lost.
December 6, 2012
FEWO-54
However, I spoke earlier about corridor reputation, and of course
that swings both ways. In my discussions with some of my female
colleagues, they have confirmed to me that there is always an
informal, unwritten list of individuals circulating. I'm sure it's the
same in any workplace, but it's particularly important in the foreign
service, where you're changing jobs every two to three years. You
may suddenly end up in a position and you were not warned or did
not have information on the manager, the colleague, the co-worker,
or the subordinate that would have helped you make a more
informed decision so that you weren't putting yourself in an
uncomfortable situation.
[Translation]
The Chair: Mr. Edwards, I will unfortunately have to stop you
there.
We will now go to the other side.
Ms. Freeman, you have seven minutes.
[English]
Ms. Mylène Freeman (Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel,
NDP): Thank you very much. I'm glad to be here again.
I'm going to start with Vicky. What amount of resources does the
CLC dedicate to combatting harassment, and particularly sexual
harassment in the workplace? What types of resources do you
provide?
Ms. Vicky Smallman: A lot of it really exists on a policy level,
and a lot of this work was done a number of years ago in helping
unions create policy. We have policies and procedures for our own
events, making sure they are harassment-free events. There are
policies for conventions and for educational schools, and so on,
because harassment can occur in any place where people gather to do
work together. We have to protect our own members in-house.
We also assist with creating educational programs and training for
union representatives, for example. Training we create for shop
stewards or for women in leadership might also include components
around creating a harassment-free workplace, dealing with conflict
in the workplace. For example, a “women in leadership” course I am
creating right now has a component around dealing with conflict and
aggressive behaviour at the workplace, so when you do have to
resolve a situation or you find yourself encountering harassment, you
have the skills to be able to deal with that.
Those are the types of resources. Policy development, education,
and training are the main things.
Ms. Mylène Freeman: Great.
This committee has heard that the culture is key to creating a
sexual harassment and harassment-free workplace.
Do you agree, and could you elaborate?
Ms. Vicky Smallman: I certainly do. I think the comments that
were made by my colleague here about the impact of the cuts on
stress and quality of life are something that should be paid close
attention to.
When the stress in a workplace is heightened, people are more
likely to be put at risk. It may be that harassing behaviour comes out
of a place of anxiety and insecurity at work. It may be, though, that
5
harassment has been occurring all along, and this extra layer of
pressure makes it even more difficult to actually come forward and
lay a complaint.
The main thing, really, is around the behaviour of managers in
being responsive to addressing problems, resolving conflicts, and so
much needs to happen at the informal level before it even gets to the
formal processes. If you don't have a manager you can go to with a
problem, you're not going to come forward. If you think you're going
to be labelled, if you're putting yourself at risk for the kinds of things
people are going to say about you...you do a cost-benefit analysis
when you're being harassed. For many women, at least in the short
term, it seems easier just to lay low or to leave. If you have people
leaving all the time because it is an unhealthy workplace culture,
that's not going to help productivity either.
● (0915)
Ms. Mylène Freeman: Do you have any suggestions to address
that problem?
Ms. Vicky Smallman: Well, I think investing in your public
servants, for example, at the federal workplace is one suggestion.
Good, healthy labour relations are also important.
I do think that training for managers is really important. Really,
you can go to all the workshops you want, but if you don't actually
implement the policies or the guidelines, if you don't change your
behaviour, it's not going to make a difference.
There need to be some incentives for keeping people happy at
work.
Ms. Mylène Freeman: Do you think that workplace inequality
overall, as in pay inequality, has an effect?
Ms. Vicky Smallman: Definitely. Any symptom of inequality
between women and men that manifests at the workplace is going to
compound the problem of harassment. It's all interrelated. If there are
unequal power relations, it reinforces the kinds of behaviours that we
see being acted upon when people harass others. It certainly leaves
women vulnerable. Pay inequity is a really big one.
Ms. Mylène Freeman: I have to ask you a bit about ADR,
alternative dispute resolution.
Many employers encourage employees to go through the ADR
process before filing a grievance through a union. In situations of
harassment, specifically sexual harassment, does your organization
and do your affiliates support the ADR process?
Ms. Vicky Smallman: I think it really depends on how it's
manifested at a particular workplace. It's hard for me to comment. It's
something that you need to ask the specific affiliates as they come
forward, as your study continues.
In principle, when you first become a shop steward, you're
encouraged to try to resolve problems informally without having to
go as far as a grievance. But sometimes that's just not possible. If
people aren't meaningfully going through an alternative dispute
resolution, then sometimes you need to have formal processes.
Sometimes the situation is so extreme that you can't; you just have to
take formals steps.
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FEWO-54
Ms. Mylène Freeman: I'm going to go to Mr. Edwards.
You represent foreign service officers. They're stationed at
different places at different times, so the number of incidents that
occur...are they more frequent in Canada or internationally? Or do
you have that kind of—
Mr. Timothy Edwards: I would say internationally, far and away.
Ms. Mylène Freeman: Did you have to defend your employees in
harassment cases, particularly sexual harassment, in the context
where different cultures are involved?
December 6, 2012
Mrs. Tilly O'Neill Gordon: Were you satisfied with the result of
the final policy?
Mr. Timothy Edwards: Yes.
Mrs. Tilly O'Neill Gordon: Do you provide any training to your
employees? I know you mentioned that each union is doing their
own thing, but do you have a general training policy that you
provide to everybody? When is it that they go into this training and
how often? Can you give us a little outlook on how that is done?
Mr. Timothy Edwards: I should note at the outset that certainly
in recent years—as long as I've been on the executive, which is now
five years—our union has never been brought in on a sexual
harassment grievance by our members. As for those abroad, as I
indicated, usually the assailant is not actually a Government of
Canada employee, so one's recourse is limited. In those cases, no,
you do not have any channels through which to pursue....
Ms. Vicky Smallman: Each union has their own educational
programs. At the moment, we don't have any specific workshops that
we provide on sexual harassment prevention, but it's kind of
incorporated into other types of educational programs. I can't speak
for what happened 10 or 15 years ago, when we really started to
ramp up the work, so I don't have a good answer for that one.
Ms. Mylène Freeman: Right. So it's a question of being in a
culture that's not a Canadian culture.
● (0920)
Mr. Timothy Edwards: Our office is relatively small. As a union
of only 1,400 members, we have an office staff of seven. It's not very
large: two men, five women. The head of our office is a male, and
most have been working for years, if not decades, for the association.
Mr. Timothy Edwards: That's right.
Ms. Mylène Freeman: Does the association pay any attention to
exposing the problems with that?
Mr. Timothy Edwards: No.
[Translation]
So the short answer is no, there is no training in place on
harassment topics. In the view of the executive of the association,
there's no need for it. Coded into our terms and conditions of
employment is a very strict “no tolerance for harassment” policy, so
it's there already.
The Chair: I am sorry, but I have to stop you there.
I will now give the floor to Ms. O'Neill Gordon for seven minutes.
[English]
Mrs. Tilly O'Neill Gordon (Miramichi, CPC): Thank you,
Madam Chair, and thank you, witnesses, for being with us today.
We've heard from other departments, as well as yourself, that they
are trying to work more and more towards no tolerance of sexual
harassment, or any harassment, really. I'm happy that you people are
also working hard to obtain that objective, that goal.
I understand that the unions were consulted during the development of the new Treasury Board Secretariat policy on values and
ethics. What was your participation in the development of this
policy?
Mr. Timothy Edwards: Our involvement is generally through the
National Joint Council, as one of the 18 federal bargaining agents.
The area of the values and ethics code that concerned us the most,
our association, was the post-employment section, given that a lot of
our members do end up moving into fairly prominent, high-profile,
or sensitive jobs should they leave the public service. I'm talking
about senior positions in the private sector or in civil society. That
was really the area where we involved ourselves. We did not have
any complaint with the harassment portion of that code.
Mrs. Tilly O'Neill Gordon: Do you have anything to add, Ms.
Smallman?
Ms. Vicky Smallman: No, because we don't represent federal
workers directly. That would be our affiliates.
If I can speak to the departments where we work, they do have
harassment and gender-sensitivity training available. It is mandatory.
I took it years ago when I first joined the department, and I do have
to say that I think, along with a more general culture change, it is
having an impact. The fact that I'm here not trumpeting a whole slew
of sexual harassment cases in which our members have been
victimized by fellow Government of Canada employees is probably
indicative of a positive trend.
To answer your question specifically, there is training in place
within the workplace, within the departments where our members
serve.
Ms. Vicky Smallman: If I could elaborate on that, it exists like
that because ensuring a harassment-free workplace is the employer's
responsibility, so we want to make sure that employers have that
training in place, have those supports in place. That's our job as
unions. When we train our members, it's to help them represent
members effectively. That's the distinction, although we also have a
lot of other programs around human rights training and antidiscrimination generally. But the specific role of preventing
harassment in the workplace is the responsibility of the employer.
● (0925)
Mrs. Tilly O'Neill Gordon: I understand that managers do take
some of this training before they go into a position as a manager. Do
you know how much one of those courses cost, and who would pay
for that? Is there a cost for the training of a manager?
December 6, 2012
FEWO-54
Mr. Timothy Edwards: Certainly, there is a cost. There's no such
thing as a free lunch. But because it's provided internally by the
departments, the only cost you ever see is if you cancel, in which
case our training department will then dock you I think $350 for a
half-day course and $700 for a full-day course. I don't think that
reflects the actual cost of offering the training, so I'm sorry, I don't
have an answer on that. The departments would, though.
Mrs. Tilly O'Neill Gordon: Ms. Smallman.
Ms. Vicky Smallman: No, because we don't conduct training for
managers.
Mrs. Tilly O'Neill Gordon: The Canadian Industrial Relations
Board appeared before us earlier in this study, and they mentioned
they are the ones responsible for ensuring that unions fairly represent
all the employees. This includes complaints from employees who are
identified as harassers in sexual harassment grievances, and they got
back to us with the statistics since 1999. There were 16 employees
accused of sexual harassment who filed complaints with the board
alleging that their union had failed to fairly represent them. They
also indicated that this number does not include cases where the
complaint against the union was successfully mediated by CIRB
staff.
Can you tell us if you maintain statistics for your organization
with relation to the number of respondents whose cases escalate to
the CIRB?
Ms. Vicky Smallman: I don't think I have any statistics on duty
of fair representation complaints. Perhaps the individual affiliates
might. But if they're kept at the CIRB.... It happens very rarely, but
in cases where you have a member-to-member conflict...that's why
we have processes to hold unions accountable for their duty of fair
representation.
[Translation]
The Chair: I will have to stop you there, Ms. Smallman. Thank
you.
[English]
Mr. Timothy Edwards: I can get that information for you if you
want, but I don't have the numbers now.
[Translation]
The Chair: That is a good idea.
The floor now goes to Ms. Sgro for seven minutes.
[English]
Hon. Judy Sgro (York West, Lib.): Thank you very much,
Madam Chair.
Ms. Smallman, I have to initially acknowledge the work of the
Canadian Labour Congress, and the work that you do especially on
behalf of women, in particular the missing aboriginal women. The
leadership you've shown with the Native Women's Association of
Canada is very much appreciated by many people.
You referenced a survey that was done in 1993. Could you
elaborate? Was that a general survey of Canadians?
Ms. Vicky Smallman: Yes, it was a Statistics Canada survey, and
my understanding is that it was a survey of individual women. I
think they had aimed to contact a significant number of women.
7
You'd have to look at the study to see how many they did contact. It
asked them a range of questions around their experience of violence,
and some of the questions did have to do with the violence and
harassment they encountered in the workplace.
In trying to prepare for this, I looked at other violence against
women reports from Statistics Canada. It doesn't really touch on the
issue of workplace harassment unless it has escalated to criminal
harassment, and then you get the questions from the surveys on
victimization. This was more of a general question on whether they
had experienced harassment or other forms of violence. It was a
fairly comprehensive survey, and it had some really interesting
results that would be interesting to replicate now, 20 years later.
Hon. Judy Sgro: That would be, but I think Stats Canada is quite
limited in its ability to do a lot of things.
Ms. Vicky Smallman: Indeed it is, yes.
Hon. Judy Sgro: Maybe we're going to have to rely on the
Labour Congress to do that.
Mr. Edwards, because of your comments, it strikes me that there
are huge opportunities for problems. When you've got one-third
responding that they have witnessed...or whatever. I don't think we
ever hear enough about the foreign service aspect of it and what goes
on there. Do you have some examples that you might want to share
with us of some of the individual cases you're aware of, or the kinds
of complaints you have? It just strikes me in your comments that we
might be able to improve on an awful lot of areas and better protect
the foreign service members.
● (0930)
Mr. Timothy Edwards: Unfortunately, the short answer is no, we
don't have a catalogue of anecdotal cases. We could mine the data in
greater detail that we collected recently from our survey, especially
the anecdotal comments on harassment, and get back to you.
I think that for better or for worse, and probably for worse, a lot of
these incidents abroad go unreported. I think they're seen as an
occupational hazard. When you sign up to be a foreign service
officer, whether you're male or female, you go abroad and you know
that you're going to encounter a number of different risks, whether
they be risks to health and personal safety or of political violence.
Harassment, sadly, is one of them, and there is a higher systemic
chance of your encountering that if you are posted to certain
countries rather than others.
So because it's underreported, or unreported, we don't have a
compilation of statistics or specific examples. However, we would
be pleased to solicit some feedback from our members on this
subject should this committee wish to have access to perhaps a
greater range of anecdotal cases.
Hon. Judy Sgro: I think it would be very helpful for us, because
my sense, from your comments, is that among your 1,400
members...and again, we're talking about females primarily, but the
reality today is that we're dealing with.... There could be sexual
harassment of a variety of different people in different ways. But I
can't help but sense the vulnerability of people who do take on the
job of foreign service workers and have that kind of a rotation.
8
FEWO-54
You've indicated that you have to apply for various postings, and I
would also imagine that the women, in particular, looking at some of
those postings, even though they're very desirable of the experience,
would be quite concerned with some of the issues you reiterated
earlier. They're there and very vulnerable. They're not in a huge
organization that has a lot of backup for them.
There must be ways that we can somehow strengthen the foreign
service to be able to attract the right people into that particular job
and give them the protection they need.
Mr. Timothy Edwards: Yes. I couldn't agree more.
For political reasons, some of our like-minded countries, the
Nordics in particular, make a point of assigning female ambassadors
to places like Saudi Arabia, for instance. We don't have a policy like
that, but obviously should a female candidate be determined to be
the most meritorious, then yes, they would be assigned as head of
mission.
The fact that I don't have a long laundry list shows this is not a
topic that our members have said needs to be a high priority for the
association. This is perhaps indicative that at least when you're
interacting with Government of Canada employees, while there are
isolated cases, I'm sure, on the whole we're doing relatively well
within our departments.
But I appreciate the sentiment on the environment abroad and the
vulnerabilities, and we can certainly try to gather some more
anecdotal information. I'd be pleased to.
Hon. Judy Sgro: I think that would be helpful. The kinds of
recommendations we might make as a committee, that would
strengthen those areas, are important, so I appreciate that.
Ms. Smallman, in the recommendations we're looking for, to
strengthen our policies for a healthy workplace as we move forward,
the big issue is the retribution that happens to the so-called
troublemaker who has the courage to lodge a complaint. Empowering those individuals is a real challenge. I don't believe that people
make these complaints lightly against someone.
Ms. Vicky Smallman: No, they certainly don't. Think about what
a woman has to go through to even consider talking to somebody.
Many women don't; they will just put their head down and work and
hope that it changes, they will try to avoid the situation, or they'll just
leave.
When you see a department with a high turnover, you should
probably think about that.
[Translation]
The Chair: I will unfortunately have to stop you there, because
Ms. Sgro's time is up. Thank you.
We will now proceed to the second round of questions.
Ms. Ambler, you have five minutes.
[English]
Mrs. Stella Ambler (Mississauga South, CPC): Thank you,
Madam Chair, and thank you both for being here today.
Mr. Edwards, on the survey you referred to, you mentioned that
there are 1,400 employees in the foreign service. One third of those
December 6, 2012
surveyed indicated they had experienced some form of harassment
and 45% had witnessed some form of harassment.
How many employees filled out the survey?
● (0935)
Mr. Timothy Edwards: As I said, it was 56% of our total
membership, so somewhere in the neighbourhood of 750 individuals.
Mrs. Stella Ambler: Okay. When was it taken?
Mr. Timothy Edwards: It was done about one month ago.
Mrs. Stella Ambler: Oh, really?
Mr. Timothy Edwards: We're still sifting through the data. We
had to scramble a little bit to assemble some statistics for this
presentation.
Mrs. Stella Ambler: So it's very recent. Do you do this annually?
Mr. Timothy Edwards: No. We haven't done it in many years,
actually. It's long overdue.
Mrs. Stella Ambler: That leads to a follow-up. Ms. O'Neill
Gordon mentioned the zero-tolerance policy that we hear about that
exists in most organizations, especially federal workplaces. In the
foreign service, is it the case that you really can't follow a zerotolerance policy because you have to take into account all of the
different cultural environments in which your employees serve?
Mr. Timothy Edwards: Yes. I think you can have a zerotolerance policy when it comes to other Government of Canada
employees—your co-workers, your supervisors, and so on. I believe
that policy is in place and is followed.
Mrs. Stella Ambler: Good.
Mr. Timothy Edwards: But you're quite right. As I said earlier, it
is, sadly, an occupational risk of life in the foreign service that you
encounter in these situations abroad, both professionally and
personally, when you're off the clock.
Mrs. Stella Ambler: So as an occupational hazard, is there
anything that we could do as a government, that you could do as an
association, to mitigate the damage—mental, psychological, or
otherwise—to people who work for us abroad?
Mr. Timothy Edwards: There is an employee support program in
place at the Department of Foreign Affairs. It's based in Ottawa.
They don't travel to each country where a complaint is lodged or
concerns are raised, but they are available to consult by phone or email.
As well, if they're aware that an employee is being treated in this
fashion by one of their professional contacts outside the mission, one
would expect that our managers in the field would take steps to
mitigate that discomfort, mitigate that behaviour, either by changing
that officer's job package or by intervening with that person's
superiors in, say, the local foreign ministry or in the partner embassy.
There are ways of mitigating it, but certainly the zero-tolerance
blanket solution, which does exist and is within the purview of
government when you're in Ottawa, is not available abroad.
Mrs. Stella Ambler: Right. That's what I thought. Thank you.
December 6, 2012
FEWO-54
It would be a shame, really, for us not to appoint the best qualified
female candidate to a posting in one of the countries you talked
about simply because you know the risks of that woman being
harassed or treated poorly by the locals is high, whether that's in
various Buddhist or Muslim countries, as you mentioned, or in other
countries, where machismo is the issue. That's a slightly different
problem, but it ends up the same as a result. That concerns me a bit.
You also mentioned structural impediments to making a
complaint. One example would be living abroad; it's physically
difficult to make a complaint, other than by e-mail or something like
that.
What are some of the other structural impediments, and how do
you deal with them?
● (0940)
Mr. Timothy Edwards: Vicky spoke to these issues, too—
The Chair: Very quickly.
Mr. Timothy Edwards: There's the idea that you may not get an
assignment, that your career prospects may be harmed if you come
forward. Again, corridor reputation is so important. It's even more
important within the foreign service than most public service
workplaces. I think that provides a disincentive for people to come
forward, except in the most extreme cases.
Mrs. Stella Ambler: Thank you.
[Translation]
The Chair: Thank you.
We will now go to the other side.
Mrs. Day, you have five minutes.
Mrs. Anne-Marie Day (Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles,
NDP): Thank you.
9
Mr. Timothy Edwards: Yes. We provide people with familiarization training on the culture of the country where they will be
posted. We also hire Canadians from that country who have worked
there. They have one day or so of training to become familiar with
local practices, cultural, business and so on.
Generally, there is also the training on harassment, on values and
ethics, about which I talked earlier. People do not necessarily do that
training before they are sent abroad; they can do it at any point in
their careers. Usually, they are required to take the course during the
first or second year of working for the department.
Mrs. Anne-Marie Day: Thank you.
Ms. Gordon asked a question earlier about the cost of training, and
you answered it brilliantly. In your view, what is the cost per person
when harassment results in illness, absenteeism, burnout, even
resignation? What could those costs be for an organization like
yours, compared to the costs of training?
Mr. Timothy Edwards: I am hesitant to answer, because we do
not have specific data. But we could certainly ask our members the
question and forward the estimated costs to you at a later time.
Still, I would say that, when the person is posted abroad, there are
multiple costs, compared to those for a person working in Ottawa.
Obviously, you have to pay for living expenses abroad, as well as the
foreign service directives, meaning the compensation paid to make
up for the high costs abroad and risks taken when you are living
abroad. We estimate the cost per officer abroad at about
$400,000 per year. That includes their salary and all associated
costs. So I would say that the costs for lost hours of work are much
higher for someone abroad than for someone here in Ottawa.
Congratulations on being here. All your comments were very
interesting.
Mrs. Anne-Marie Day: You said that you did not have the
figures on situations where staff members were subject to
harassment in the community, not in the workplace, where
employees do not have protection and you do not provide them
with the service. However, those cases still occur.
My questions are mainly for you, Mr. Edwards. I see that you are
wearing the white ribbon, so you are probably one of those men who
have joined the campaign to put an end to violence. So
congratulations again.
Mr. Timothy Edwards: Yes, but I have to say that it's very rare. I
have of course consulted with our office, and they said that, quite
frankly, they were not aware of any cases where the association was
involved, over the past three or four years. That is a good sign.
Mr. Edwards, do you have an idea of the number of women who
have resigned or who have asked to be transferred for safety reasons
or because of harassment?
Mr. Timothy Edwards: No.
Mrs. Anne-Marie Day: You don't have any idea? You don't keep
any statistics on that?
Mr. Timothy Edwards: No, we don't keep any statistics.
Mrs. Anne-Marie Day: Not even a survey?
Mr. Timothy Edwards: No. The members have to come to us
first before we get involved. In most cases, members use the
mechanisms available within their departments and do not ask their
association to get involved.
Mrs. Anne-Marie Day: Okay.
At any rate, we could do a bit more research on the data for the
past 10 to 20 years to get more detailed information.
How are staff members prepared before they leave? Is there any
special training before they leave?
Mrs. Anne-Marie Day: I would imagine that you would still
offer support to women in those cases.
Mr. Timothy Edwards: Absolutely, there is no doubt about that.
Mrs. Anne-Marie Day: Okay.
I still have so many questions, but I only have one minute left.
You talked about a culture that was encouraging women to keep
quiet. Most women who filed complaints have become ill or quit;
one way or another, they disappear from the structure. That means
that they are withdrawing by themselves rather than putting up a
fight.
● (0945)
Mr. Timothy Edwards: Yes.
10
FEWO-54
Mrs. Anne-Marie Day: That is one third of the staff. Are they
situations where men are in charge, or are we talking about both men
and women?
Mr. Timothy Edwards: In our survey, the question was rather
broad. We were not talking only about sexual harassment, but also
abuse of power, such as constantly yelling at the employees or any
other type of abusive behaviour. We could look into this further to
determine exactly the type of behaviour and the percentage that goes
with each category—harassment, abusive behaviour, and so on.
The Chair: Unfortunately, I have to stop you there, Mr. Edwards.
That concludes our discussion with our first panel of witnesses. I
think we could have spent three hours together this morning and we
would have still not had too much information. It has been very
interesting. Thank you very much for agreeing to appear before our
committee.
I think that some people have asked for information in writing.
Our clerk is going to be in touch with you.
Thank you very much and enjoy the rest of your day.
Mr. Timothy Edwards: It was a pleasure.
The Chair: I am now going to suspend the proceedings for a few
minutes so that the next panel of witnesses can take their places.
Thank you.
● (0945)
December 6, 2012
Mr. Jean-François Fleury (Acting Vice-President, Learning
Programs, Canada School of Public Service): Sure. Just as a point
of clarification, in the orientation program it was 42,000.
Ms. Roxanne James: Yes, I'm sorry. I have 42,000; I just misread
it.
Thank you. I even have my glasses on.
Mr. Jean-François Fleury: That's fine.
As I mentioned last time, and as the opening remarks outlined, the
number of learners who go through the school has sort of a pyramid
effect. The wider, the more foundational the learning part of it is, the
more users we have at the school. The more precise we go, the
smaller the target audiences are for those products.
For Creating a Respectful Workplace, since 2010, over 3,000
employees have taken that course.
For the more specific courses geared to the labour relations
specialists and those who work in the field, that number goes down
significantly because it is proportionate to the number of potential
learners who can take the course. We are dealing with 142 for
Investigating and 243 for Managing Harassment Complaints.
Ms. Roxanne James: Is that since 2010?
Mr. Jean-François Fleury: Yes, 2010.
(Pause)
● (0950)
The Chair: With your permission, we will resume the proceedings right away.
Good morning. Thank you for accepting our invitation once again.
On Tuesday, our meeting was cut short. That should not happen
today.
Today, we are going to focus on the questions, since you already
made your presentation. We have until 10:30 a.m to ask questions.
Let us start the first round of questions.
Ms. James, you have seven minutes.
[English]
Ms. Roxanne James (Scarborough Centre, CPC): Thank you,
Madam Chair, and welcome back to both of our guests today.
In the last visit, you talked about the different orientation training
that you offer, and you indicated that approximately 4,200 people
have attended that orientation training, and 57,000 have attended the
“Essentials of Authority Delegation” training for managers.
The three courses that specifically deal with sexual harassment in
the workplace are more geared toward that direction: Creating a
Respectful Workplace, Investigating Harassment Complaints, and
Managing Harassment Complaints.
I am wondering if you could indicate how many individuals so far
have attended each of those three courses, which are really more
geared toward this particular topic in our committee.
The first one was Creating a Respectful Workplace.
Ms. Roxanne James: Are any of these courses mandatory? Are
the ones that I am more interested in mandatory?
Mr. Jean-François Fleury: They are not mandatory.
Ms. Roxanne James: They're not mandatory.
So what percentage of people actually take these courses, or do
you think should be taking these courses?
Mr. Jean-François Fleury: Creating a Respectful Workplace, in
itself, is a very valuable product, but the concepts of Creating a
Respectful Workplace are included in many other products that aren't
listed here. We did not want to go through the whole school
curriculum.
In terms of the more precise courses, we don't have here the
statistics of the whole community, so it is hard to tell the exact
proportion that we are hitting. I would argue that the numbers we
have there, proportionate to the number of labour relations
specialists in a department, reflect an important segment, but I don't
have the exact percentage.
Ms. Roxanne James: I had information on the costs from the last
meeting. Creating a Respectful Workplace is $275. Is that correct?
Mr. Jean-François Fleury: It is.
Ms. Roxanne James: Investigating Harassment Complaints is
$1,375, and Managing Harassment Complaints is $300. Is that
correct?
Mr. Jean-François Fleury: It is.
Ms. Roxanne James: Could you explain why there is such a great
variance in the costs associated with each of those courses? Is one a
half-day versus a two-day course?
December 6, 2012
FEWO-54
Mr. Jean-François Fleury: Exactly. The duration of the course is
the big driver for the total cost. Investigating Harassment Complaints
is a five-day course. Essentially, when we cost our products, we look
at all the direct and indirect program costs and we amortize that by
the number of learners we anticipate to have, as well as the length of
the course.
It's based on a per day...and then it is essentially prorated to the
number of days of the course.
Ms. Roxanne James: How long are the other two courses that are
only $275 and $300?
Ms. Felicity Mulgan (Acting Director General, Functional
Communities, Authority Delegation and Orientation, Canada
School of Public Service): They are one day.
● (0955)
Ms. Roxanne James: Could I just interrupt one moment? I'm
having trouble with the sound. It is cutting in and out.
[Technical difficulty—Editor]
Ms. Roxanne James: Secondary to those types of questions, how
often are these courses offered? Obviously, the five-day one.... Is it
offered as frequently as the others?
Mr. Jean-François Fleury: The school's offering strategy
depends on demands. We essentially offer those courses on our
website. As soon as we get a demand that is significant enough and
worth an actual offering, then we do those offerings.
In these particular cases, they are not offered that often, because
the school is responsive to the actual demand. For example, we try to
have a minimum number of participants in order to deliver the
course. If we only have two or three people who are interested in the
course, we wait until that number goes up and then we do an offering
to meet the demand.
Ms. Roxanne James: How many people would be considered a
“demand” for each of those courses? Obviously, for the first one, if
there are 3,000 people who have participated in it, it's held more
frequently because there is a higher demand. What would you
consider a required number?
A secondary question is this. How often have you offered these in
the last couple of years, if there is not a huge demand and there are
only two or three people who are requesting it?
Those are my questions. What is the demand, and how often have
you actually held these sessions?
Ms. Felicity Mulgan: For Creating a Respectful Workplace, I do
have some statistics here. It's one of our most popular courses. We
had 64 offerings in 2009-10; 24 in 2010-11; and 16 in 2011-12. The
other courses, as you point out, are offered less frequently.
Sometimes we do them by MOU with departments.
Typically, we have at least one offering per year in each of the
official languages.
Ms. Roxanne James: Where are those actually held? Do you
have to actually be physically on site or can you do things online?
Ms. Felicity Mulgan: These courses are offered at the school's
premises, in our classrooms.
11
Ms. Roxanne James: We use technology here, so if someone
doesn't physically have to be here, we can see and talk to them. Do
you use that same technology as well, or does someone physically
have to hop on a plane and come all the way to one particular
location?
Ms. Felicity Mulgan: The school has regional offices across the
country. We take care of regional needs. We have 10 different points
of service, I believe.
Is it 13?
Mr. Jean-François Fleury: It's 13.
Ms. Felicity Mulgan: We have 13 points of service. We are also
starting to adopt distance learning technology, but these specific
courses are offered in the classroom.
Ms. Roxanne James: You say 10 different points of service. Are
each of those courses held at each of those 10 different points of
service, or is there one physical location for the classroom?
Mr. Jean-François Fleury: Again, if there's enough demand in a
particular region, it would be offered in that region. If the demand is
not there.... It's offered where the demand is, at those 13 points of
service.
Ms. Roxanne James: For the most expensive course—
[Translation]
The Chair: Ms. James, I will have to stop you there, since you
have run out of time. Thank you.
We will now go to Ms. Ashton for seven minutes.
Ms. Niki Ashton (Churchill, NDP): Thank you very much.
[English]
In the recent testimony by Martine Glandon, who is the manager
of value and ethics at Treasury Board, we learned it is the
responsibility of each ministry to decide whether courses on
harassment offered by the Canada School of Public Service would
be mandatory. I am wondering if you know if there are some
ministries whose employees are more involved than others in taking
these courses.
Mr. Jean-François Fleury: The statistics we have are public
service-wide. We mentioned MOUs with departments; these are
relationships we build organization to organization to meet their
learning needs. We have a strong relationship with Environment
Canada for Creating a Respectful Workplace. But I do not have the
breakdown for each department.
Ms. Niki Ashton: Is the breakdown available? Could we see that
breakdown?
Mr. Jean-François Fleury: The school could provide statistics on
that breakdown. I would just caution that the school is one provider
that a department can use. We feel that departments always have a
more comprehensive picture of how they choose to meet their
learning strategies and who they choose to use as the supplier. For
example, there is the joint learning program—I believe it was
discussed earlier with the TBS and PSAC—that offers very relevant
training on this subject matter as well. This school is sort of one
piece of the picture.
12
FEWO-54
● (1000)
Ms. Niki Ashton: Sure. The data we would be interested in is
specifically around the programming that includes anti-sexual
harassment training. Could you provide us with the breakdown of
which departments have accessed, obviously, the training you offer?
Your point is well taken in terms of other training they may be using.
That would be very helpful. Thank you very much.
December 6, 2012
Ms. Niki Ashton: The Treasury Board came up with a new policy
just recently around sexual harassment. I'm wondering if you were
involved in shaping that policy.
Mr. Jean-François Fleury: From a learning perspective, every
time there's a new policy we're involved, but we're involved
especially to be aware of it so that we can ensure our instructors are
aware of it and our materials are up to date as soon as the policy is
put in place.
I am also wondering if, through your work, you are aware of a
correlation between departments whose employees take the training
and a lower or higher level of sexual harassment complaints that
come out?
We don't set policy—that's the Treasury Board—but we are part of
the process. Early awareness of policy changes is key for the school
in order to prepare and deliver the best possible training in a timely
way.
Mr. Jean-François Fleury: From the school's perspective, we
focus on offering the best possible and most relevant learning. We
don't extend into correlations or analysis of departmental behaviours.
The departments would definitely be in a better position to do the
correlations between training and their harassment levels.
Ms. Niki Ashton: You're obviously party to a great deal of
feedback based on the training you have. One would think that
feedback would be useful in shaping effective policy. Do you share
with Treasury Board the feedback you get from the employees you
train, or did you in the case of shaping this policy?
● (1005)
Ms. Niki Ashton: Unfortunately, the incidences of sexual
harassment are delicate, obviously, for many people to come
forward with them, and the data is often challenging to come by,
but one thing we've heard from many witnesses is that in workplaces
where there is greater awareness and training, not only might there
be a likelihood of there being less harassment, but people also feel
more comfortable to come forward.
One of the things we've noted is that in the area of sexual
harassment, it would be important to have maybe even Status of
Women, which obviously has a vested interest in seeing women in
the federal service be better off, take that kind of leadership in
coming up with that kind of data. As you point out, in terms of the
data and the ability to mark the correlations, and to take action
accordingly, that capacity is just simply not there, unfortunately.
Does the Canada School of Public Service have certain
mechanisms put in place to measure the effectiveness of your
training with respect to harassment?
Mr. Jean-François Fleury: We have a very rigorous system in
place to measure the effectiveness of our products. Evaluations are
done after each offering to ensure that the objectives were met, that
the instructor was effective, that the content was right. Every time a
course is delivered, if there is something from that particular course
that didn't resonate well with those who took it, we take corrective
action.
In addition to that, we review our curriculum annually to look at
the high-performing courses and the lower-performing courses in
order to adjust and in order to identify gaps in the curriculum where
there could be new products. It's a very organic curriculum.
Although most of the products have been in the curriculum for a
long time, a certain percentage will always fluctuate, pending
priorities.
In addition to that, we always work with the Treasury Board
Secretariat policy leads and the communities as a whole. The HR
community is a very active community. We're part of that
community and consult them regularly to ensure that the suite of
offerings we have meet the needs of essentially the departments and
the department heads.
Mr. Jean-François Fleury: The feedback we get and the
evaluations we get definitely are part of the school's interventions
in these conversations. For example, if we feel that a particular
course is not resonating well, the community will know of this
particular issue. We'll try to make sure that the future offerings meet
those needs.
Ms. Niki Ashton: So you don't have that conversation with
Treasury Board in terms of maybe an area that...not just in terms of
the effectiveness of the course, because obviously that's your
prerogative. But if your school sees an emerging concern around
harassment, for example, does that information get back to Treasury
Board?
Mr. Jean-François Fleury: It does in an informal way, because
we have discussions with them regularly. It's not an isolated one-year
conversation. We're active in the HR community.
As I said, our feedback would be one of many from departments,
the community, and the labour relations specialists within departments.
[Translation]
The Chair: Unfortunately, I will have to stop you there. Thank
you.
We will continue this round of questions with Ms. Bateman.
You have seven minutes.
Ms. Joyce Bateman (Winnipeg South Centre, CPC): Thank
you, Madam Chair.
Thank you for joining us once again. Your work is really very
important for the public service and for our study.
[English]
I have so many questions. What you're doing is huge. It is so
important. As a former manager in the public service of Canada, I
understood the importance. It was my job to ensure that I had a
respectful workplace, that I contributed to that, both up and down,
which I think we've heard numerous times.
December 6, 2012
FEWO-54
13
I'm also a chartered accountant, and I'm looking at your market.
You have a ballpark number of 250,000 public servants. You have a
culture at the top that says you value a respectful workplace, and
you're certainly contributing to that. Yet you're saying—correct me if
I'm wrong—3,000 public servants have attended the Creating a
Respectful Workplace course. That's your highest participation for
the anti-harassment course.
As a public servant myself, I worked in a department where every
year we had a session on creating a respectful workplace. It wasn't
optional. We had it every year and the whole department had to be in
there. If you were away on business, you had to figure out another
time. It wasn't the public service school that provided that training, I
don't believe, and it was pretty cost-effective, I think, because they
came right to the department. It was a relatively small department.
Mr. Jean-François Fleury: Yes. For promoting a respectful
workplace, in the more general products that we have for managers,
that is our most popular product.
How are you dealing with the competition? Everybody has to deal
with the competition.
Ms. Joyce Bateman: Okay. So there were 3,000. There are 142
specialists who investigate, so that's understandably somewhat
lower, and then 243 for Managing Harassment Complaints.
I'm just curious. If I were sitting in your spot, I'd sit back and say,
here's my potential market—250,000—and here's my achieved
market—300,000—so how do I grow my market? You can only
offer this if you offer it on a cost-effective basis, if you're giving the
managers what they need and if you're giving the employees what
they need. I'm really curious about how you do that.
Mr. Jean-François Fleury: These courses here are the courses
that are the most precisely linked to this study. Most of our
leadership and professional development courses include values and
ethics, values-based leadership, and creating a respectful workplace.
We feel, as a school, that this number is not as high as it could be,
but the notion of a respectful workplace and values-based leadership
is a key driver in the way we develop most or all of our other
offerings as well.
Ms. Joyce Bateman: Do you use the findings in the public
service? Do you regularly refresh the documentation you're
providing and the experts you use to hone the courses?
Mr. Jean-François Fleury: Yes, we do.
Ms. Joyce Bateman: So you're constantly refreshing?
Mr. Jean-François Fleury: Every year we go through an exercise
in which we look at the curriculum and have an evergreening process
to ensure that it's up to date and that it meets the needs now.
Ms. Joyce Bateman: So let's say I'm a manager in Winnipeg,
Manitoba, I've worked with some colleagues, and we can get 24
people in the classroom: how do you figure out...? I mean, obviously
the cost of developing the module is a sunk cost, but you're going to
spread that over your total recapture. How do you develop your
costs?
Mr. Jean-François Fleury: In this particular case, the cost is
already set because we have an idea of how many people we expect
to take a course, and we amortize that. In this particular case, the
regional point of service would meet with the manager in Winnipeg
and organize a particular offering for this product in a location in
Winnipeg.
● (1010)
Ms. Joyce Bateman: You clearly have competition in this
business, I know, as a public servant. Clearly, you're not capturing
the market. We're hearing from Treasury Board that there's an
expectation that everybody get some training as soon as they're
hired. We have 250,000 people, ballpark, and you have 3,000 who
have taken your course.
Mr. Jean-François Fleury: That is a very accurate statement.
This particular curriculum is one facet of it. In other particular
areas, the school is used more predominantly. As mentioned earlier,
some departments can choose to develop in-house methodologies to
do a culture change and a behaviour change within their organization
and/or use the school.
We do have the flexibility of offering tailored learning to a
particular department and to come into a department and offer those
services as well. Often when we do that, it's less on one particular
theme or one particular product, but it's more an organization that
identifies various different themes.... We package a slate of courses
that we can come in with and tailor to the department's needs.
Ms. Joyce Bateman: We just had two individuals present to us
who were representing more of a union framework. The lady
representing the Canadian Labour Congress indicated that they do
not train managers. Now, obviously, all managers still pay union
dues, so how do we as a public service support those managers with
the right tools? Their union, which they're paying the dues to
clearly.... I mean, the lady said they do not train them.
The moment a person becomes a manager...how do you work with
public service management or directors to ensure those managers
have the tools they need to ensure a respectful workplace?
Mr. Jean-François Fleury: From that perspective, we get back to
the foundational learning and the authority delegation training.
Departments have the role to identify those people—
Ms. Joyce Bateman: Okay, so there's nothing incremental, other
than the authority delegation training?
Mr. Jean-François Fleury: It starts there, and it has a pretty
important people management component.
Ms. Joyce Bateman: So would it be about a day?
Ms. Felicity Mulgan: Yes. People management and code of
values and ethics would amount to that.
Ms. Joyce Bateman: Okay, so you target it.
I would suggest that your statistics probably...well, you had said
before there were—
[Translation]
The Chair: Ms. Bateman, I will have to stop you there.
Ms. Joyce Bateman: Oh, what a shame, Madam Chair.
Thank you. It was very interesting.
The Chair: I am sorry. Seven minutes go by fast.
Ms. Sgro, it is your turn for seven minutes.
14
FEWO-54
[English]
Hon. Judy Sgro: Thank you very much.
Thank you for coming back.
Do your offerings go to other than the public service?
Mr. Jean-François Fleury: We include some provincial public
servants into regional offerings, and this enables us to meet the
required target. We try to reach as many public servants as possible,
but generally speaking, the focus of the school is the public service.
Hon. Judy Sgro: Okay. So you don't go out there and enter into
the private marketplace. Your focus is pretty much provincial and
federal.
Mr. Jean-François Fleury: It's mostly federal. I was using the
provincial example as an area where people outside the federal
public service take our courses.
Hon. Judy Sgro: Okay. What would the overall budget be of your
school, if I can ask that question?
Mr. Jean-François Fleury: The school's overall budget is
roughly—and I don't have my CFO with me—$100 million, of
which 55% is based on revenue.
Hon. Judy Sgro: So you get that much back—55%—on covering
the program?
Mr. Jean-François Fleury: Exactly.
Hon. Judy Sgro: What about the other 45%?
Mr. Jean-François Fleury: It's centrally funded, A-base. It's
money to do the orientation program, the foundational learning, the
authority delegation training, as well as other topics. I don't have that
total breakdown, but those are the rough numbers.
● (1015)
Hon. Judy Sgro: Has there been an increase in requests for
courses—that is, the harassment side, specifically the issues of
sexual harassment in the workplace? Has there been any interest
placed in the last couple of months? I'm gathering the fact that we
were doing this study.... Has there been a renewed interest from any
of our departments federally?
Mr. Jean-François Fleury: We have had some conversation. It is
definitely creating an impact. We can't measure that impact yet. We
haven't seen the fluctuation in the statistics or the number of
offerings we need to create. The reason I'm saying that is that I'd say
about 65% of our business volume—we're a school, and we sort of
operate like a school—has always been between September and
October. We have a lot of fluctuation happening right now, because
that's when most of the training at the school is delivered. To try to
pinpoint a particular impact would be difficult to do at this time.
Hon. Judy Sgro: If a manager is found to be harassing an
employee, and part of the retribution is having to go to a three- or
four-day program specific to these issues of sexual harassment, how
long, generally, would it take before the individual—the manager or
supervisor or whoever—would be able to get into a program? Would
it be a year, six months, three months, or is there a fairly quick
turnaround?
Mr. Jean-François Fleury: Our calendar offerings are open
enrollment, which means that if particular managers have been
identified by a department to take a particular course, they would
December 6, 2012
register to the next available offering. These offerings, as I
mentioned earlier, are based on demand. But in particular—for
Creating a Respectful Workplace, for example—the bulk of the
offerings are given between September and April just because of the
learning patterns in government.
Hon. Judy Sgro: How many people, by and large, do you need in
order to be able to put a course on?
Mr. Jean-François Fleury: Generally speaking, as a golden rule,
it's around 15 to 20 learners. These numbers differ when we have an
organization-to-organization conversation, because often it's packaged in a way that we have more flexibility because it's an
organizationally led demand.
Ms. Felicity Mulgan: We design our courses typically for up to
24 participants, and then we calculate that we'll go ahead and offer it
when we are around two-thirds full. But as my colleague said, when
we're working directly with departments, there is some more
flexibility.
Hon. Judy Sgro: Again, you've been able to offer this to 3,000
out of the 250,000 who work for the public service. Not everybody,
and not every department, is necessarily taking advantage of the
opportunity to attend the school and take various programs.
Mr. Jean-François Fleury: I can't comment on the departments'
decisions. Our job is to make sure that the offerings are in the
window and that they're available for them to take. That's sort of our
role as a school, to make sure it's there for the taking, but we can't
enforce the demand or force a department to absolutely use this
course. It's up to them to decide.
Hon. Judy Sgro: How many other schools, let's say in the Ottawa
area, offer programs similar to yours?
Mr. Jean-François Fleury: In terms of schools per se, I don't
know of any private schools, but there may be private suppliers that
can tailor their learning skills and package information to
departments. We don't track what departments hire a particular
private sector company to deliver their learning. It's impossible for
me to pinpoint exactly how many schools or institutions there are.
But the private sector does and can adapt learning strategies to do
this.
Hon. Judy Sgro: How much of the work you do in your offerings
refers to the culture or attitude of the respectful workplace?
Mr. Jean-François Fleury: I don't have an exact percentage, but I
would say as a ballpark that at the core of their mandate, most of our
leadership and professional development courses have the craft of
government. That includes creating a respectful workplace as well as
promoting the code of values and ethics.
● (1020)
Hon. Judy Sgro: That's fine. Thank you.
[Translation]
The Chair: We are now going to go to the other side of the table
to start our second round of questions.
Ms. Young, you have five minutes.
[English]
Ms. Wai Young (Vancouver South, CPC): Thank you.
December 6, 2012
FEWO-54
15
I'm sharing my minutes with my colleague, Roxanne. She'll go
first.
training or supports that the federal government has for them as a
department.
Ms. Roxanne James: I'm not sure whether I heard this correctly.
Did you say that your school or your organization operates
somewhat like a regular school, whereby you don't offer courses
or whatever during the summer? Did I hear something to that effect?
I just want to clarify that.
Can you tell me about your marketing or your outreach strategies,
and how you market yourself to other departments, particularly the
smaller ones, to let them know that you are there to support them?
Mr. Jean-François Fleury: No, the offerings are there yearround.
Ms. Roxanne James: What exactly did you say? Because I
caught....
Mr. Jean-François Fleury: The bulk of school use is between
late August and the end of fiscal year. The school operates 12
months and does have offerings year-round.
Ms. Roxanne James: Why does it tend to be late August to the
end of the fiscal year? I'm just curious—and then I'll pass the time
remaining to my colleague.
Mr. Jean-François Fleury: We don't control the patterns and the
departments' spending, but often it more or less follows the flow of
having learning plans in place in departments and having their
budget allocations to deal with their learning strategies. As well, the
summer months are affected by vacations and what not. The pattern
in the past has been that the bulk of the volume is during that period.
Ms. Roxanne James: Do you feel there would be any cost
savings if you offered courses during only part of the year? It seems
to be more bulked into one particular part of the fiscal period. Do
you feel there would be some cost savings if the school operated
within a certain timeframe and perhaps didn't operate for the rest...?
Things are being offered on demand and so forth. I'm just wondering
if there are some cost savings to be had here.
Mr. Jean-François Fleury: There is demand during the summer,
and the way we operate is that most of the instructors are paid per
use, so that we don't have the full capacity at the school year-round.
We actually get more instructors and more resources available at the
school during the busy time, so we adapt to that.
Ms. Roxanne James: Okay. Thank you very much. I'll just pass
the remaining time back to my colleague.
Thank you, Wai.
Ms. Wai Young: I'm just checking. Since we have votes, how
much time do we have left, Madam Chair?
The Chair: You have three minutes.
[Translation]
There are no votes right now.
[English]
Ms. Wai Young: That's good. Thank you.
I'm very curious. We've had many different witnesses in front of
us for this study. Some of them have been from smaller departments,
as you know, and some of them from larger departments. There
seems to be a sense from the people representing some of the smaller
departments that they're kind of all alone, and that they only have
these very small one-person or seven-person units looking after
sexual harassment. There is a lack of awareness of the courses or
Mr. Jean-François Fleury: The school is definitely there to
support departments, small or big. Our marketing approaches are
often tailored to the needs that we hear from the community. I don't
think we marginalize the smaller departments. They're definitely
welcome to use the school.
The marketing approach does not differentiate its efforts based on
size. There are bigger departments that have a mass of employees,
and naturally—we don't measure if it's a byproduct of marketing or
not—the bigger departments are marginally bigger users of the
school just because of the numbers.
Ms. Wai Young: Obviously that makes common sense. I guess
what I'm trying to say is if we were to do an analysis, for example,
on where sexual harassment complaints are, and compare that with
the size of the department and the various courses they have or have
not requested their people to attend, might we find a correlation
between whether attendance is encouraged and/or even mandatory
for those smaller departments and/or incidence of harassment
complaints?
Mr. Jean-François Fleury: Well, I can't talk to what a
department.... From the school's perspective, our job would be to
make sure to be there to complement and to respond to the demand,
following the analysis of a department. If a particular department felt
there was a particular need within the department, we would then sit
with them to see, organization to organization, how the school could
best support their learning needs.
● (1025)
Ms. Wai Young: Would it therefore be possible for us to get some
information or statistics—
[Translation]
The Chair: I am going to have to stop you there, Ms. Young. I am
sorry, but your time is up. Thank you.
We will now go to Ms. Ashton for five minutes.
Ms. Niki Ashton: Thank you very much.
I am going to share my time with my colleague.
[English]
First of all, do you feel the private sector could learn something
from your school and the work you do when it comes to training
around sexual harassment?
Mr. Jean-François Fleury: From the school's perspective, we
don't analyze the curricula or strategies from the private sector. I
think what we have at the school is very internal knowledge of the
craft of government and how that works, and a very sound
understanding of the communities. Our instructors in most cases,
when you get into very specialized subject matter in courses, are
trained current public servants.
16
FEWO-54
Ms. Niki Ashton: The reason I ask is that it's known that women
are far more equitably represented in positions of power and
decision-making in the public service as compared with the private
sector. Obviously that connects very strongly with a culture...
whether it condones or certainly supports, I guess, incidents of
harassment, and sexual harassment in particular.
It would seem to me that the training you offer, which caters to
and is based on a system that is perhaps more equitable and better for
women to work in, might be something the private sector could learn
from.
I also want to just put on the record my concern. I know last week
it became an issue not to put words in the mouths of other witnesses.
My colleague Ms. Bateman made reference to a comment around
managers and unions not getting training.
I would caution around judgments being made about managers.
Obviously there are different levels of managerial positions, and I
think misinterpreting words that may or may not have been said with
regard to training, and making general statements with regard to
training that may or may not take place, is problematic. I'm not sure
what it has to do with actually coming up with proper
recommendations in this study.
[Translation]
The Chair: Ms. Bateman, is that a point of order?
[English]
Ms. Joyce Bateman: I very much appreciate Madam Ashton's
comment.
Could we ask the analyst to specifically extract the comments
made by the lady who was here from the Canadian Labour Congress
and analyze the point that I made reference to?
In her remarks, she said very clearly that they do not offer
manager training. I was just seeking to find a point so that those
managers could be trained, because if we don't train our managers,
we have a problem. We're all here to work together to make sure we
create a respectful workplace.
Could we make sure that the analyst pulls that, and that we, as a
committee, get to look at that specific comment? This was not illintended; this was intended to make sure that we work together. We
have a School of Public Service that could fill that need. I just want
to clarify that.
[Translation]
The Chair: I don't think that we can get the information that you
are requesting in writing today, since the testimony was given an
hour ago. But we will be able to do so later.
Ms. Joyce Bateman: I am asking that our analyst provide all the
committee members with an analysis of Ms. Ashton's comments. I
have counted three occurrences where she said that Vicky Smallman,
National Director of the Women's and Human Rights Department
from the Canadian Labour Congress, said this or that. That was the
point I wanted to raise. I quoted Ms. Smallman's comment in my
question to the witnesses who are here before us. Perhaps this would
be an opportunity for our witnesses here to better serve the managers
market in public service.
December 6, 2012
That is the reason behind my comment; I have no ill intentions.
● (1030)
The Chair: Why is this a point of order?
Ms. Joyce Bateman: Perhaps because it is a very important point
for our committee.
The Chair: Ms. Ashton, you have the floor.
Ms. Niki Ashton: I would simply like to say this.
[English]
It's not about the intention; it's about having the right facts, and
we're asking all our witnesses to provide background facts. Maybe it
would be interesting—and this has nothing to do with the Canadian
Labour Congress or anything else—to find out what level of
managers receive the kind of training the school offers, or other
kinds of training. Maybe the higher up you go, they receive training
from outside actors.
I do think the statement that was made earlier really doesn't add to
the kind of recommendation we should be making, but I agree with
Ms. Bateman that we need the right kind of information, and I think
the analyst could provide the right kind of information, based on
doing broader research with regard to training managers in the public
service.
[Translation]
The Chair: Ms. Sgro, you have put your hand up. Do you have
something to add?
[English]
Hon. Judy Sgro: I don't want to get into this. I'm not sure where
it's all going, but now you've raised an issue. I don't want to give
work to the analyst—
[Translation]
The Chair: Neither do I, honestly.
[English]
Hon. Judy Sgro: —and we still have our previous witness here.
My understanding from the Canadian Labour Congress is that
their managers do policy; they don't offer training. The training of
their managers happens within the individual unions. It does not
happen through the Canadian Labour Congress itself because they
are a policy development organization.
I don't think we need the analyst to spend 15 hours trying to
clarify when we still have a witness here who could probably clarify
what she meant when she made that comment.
But it is 10:30—
[Translation]
The Chair: I am sorry, but I am not sure where this debate is
going and it has made us lose the last few minutes with our
representatives from the School of Public Service, because now we
have to discuss the future business of the committee.
I am not really sure what you are getting at, Ms. Bateman. I am
sorry.
Ms. Joyce Bateman: No, no. Actually, it is so that our committee
runs smoothly.
December 6, 2012
FEWO-54
The Chair: Okay.
Ms. Joyce Bateman: That is why I said what I said.
The Chair: Okay. So you would like an analysis of...
Ms. Joyce Bateman: We need to know exactly what our witness
from the Canadian Labour Congress said, since I quoted her.
The Chair: Of course, we are going to get that information. It is
still...
Ms. Joyce Bateman: Yes. We also need to see the part I quoted,
because I think that Ms. Ashton misunderstood my comment.
The Chair: That's fine, Ms. Bateman, but next time you want
information in writing, please don't call a point of order. This is not a
point of order. It would be better if you waited until after the
proceedings.
Ms. Joyce Bateman: Okay.
17
The Chair: Also, next time, please don't interrupt the people
asking questions. That would be really appreciated. Unfortunately,
Ms. Ashton now lost the time she had left. It is a bit...
Ms. Joyce Bateman: Yes. Thank you.
The Chair: Thank you, Ms. Bateman.
I am sorry, but that concludes our discussion with our second
panel of witnesses today.
Thank you very much for accepting to appear before our
committee again. It was very interesting.
I am now going to suspend the proceedings for one minute to
move in camera for committee business. Thank you.
[Proceedings continue in camera]
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Télécopieur : 613-954-5779 ou 1-800-565-7757
[email protected]
http://publications.gc.ca
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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