Standing Committee on the Status of Women Tuesday, December 4, 2012 Chair FEWO

Standing Committee on the Status of Women Tuesday, December 4, 2012 Chair FEWO
Standing Committee on the Status of Women
FEWO
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NUMBER 053
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1st SESSION
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EVIDENCE
Tuesday, December 4, 2012
Chair
Ms. Marie-Claude Morin
41st PARLIAMENT
1
Standing Committee on the Status of Women
Tuesday, December 4, 2012
● (0845)
[Translation]
has the ability on its own to initiate an investigation of the systemic
issues.
The Chair (Ms. Marie-Claude Morin (Saint-Hyacinthe—
Bagot, NDP)): Good morning, everyone. Welcome to the
53rd 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.
We would carry out a longer investigation and come up with
recommendations. This would be a written report that would be, in
most cases, given directly to the minister for his review and
comment. After 28 days, the report would become public and
available, as well as posted on our website.
Joining us this morning is Alain Gauthier, representing the
National Defence and Canadian Forces Ombudsman.
Mr. Gauthier, since you gave your presentation last time you were
here, we are going to proceed to the questions right away.
Ms. Truppe, you have seven minutes.
[English]
Mrs. Susan Truppe (London North Centre, CPC): Thank you,
Madam Chair, and thank you, Mr. Gauthier, for coming back to us
again today for this important study.
You indicated that your mandate is “to investigate and make
recommendations to improve the overall well-being and quality of
life of the members of the Defence community.”
Could you indicate what form these recommendations take? For
example, are they based on individual cases, are they broader policy
and training recommendations, or are they referred to you
specifically, and then, by whom? Are you able to select your own
topics for review?
Mr. Alain Gauthier (Acting Director General, Operations,
National Defence and Canadian Forces Ombudsman): We do
provide recommendations on an individual basis. In my initial
remarks, I mentioned that we receive about 1,400 to 1,500
complaints on a yearly basis. All these are individual cases that
we address. In most cases, we try to resolve the issue at the lowest
level possible by communicating with the commanding officer, the
base commander, or the element to find and resolve the issue.
All we have is the ability to provide recommendations. We cannot
supersede our review or investigation to the decision of the decisionmaker within the Canadian Forces. We only have the ability to turn
around and say, “The office has reviewed your case. This is what we
recommend to the chain of command”. It is up to them to decide if
they want to implement our recommendation.
We also look at the more systemic issues. If we start to see many,
many similar issues related to something fairly specific, and if we
believe there's an issue within the system as such, the ombudsman
Mrs. Susan Truppe: The report to whom becomes public?
Mr. Alain Gauthier: The report that we produce on a systemic
investigation becomes public.
Mrs. Susan Truppe: How many of those would you have out of
the 1,400 or 1,500?
Mr. Alain Gauthier: It really depends. Over the history of the
office over the last 10 years, I would say a couple of dozen reports
have been produced. This year we have been fairly active.
Concurrently, at this time, we've just published two recent reports
and we're working on three more systemic issues as we speak.
Mrs. Susan Truppe: Can you give an example of a systemic
investigation?
Mr. Alain Gauthier: Yes.
We have just published two reports. The report on operational
stress injuries for regular forces was published at the end of August
or early September, and two weeks ago the ombudsman released a
report on reserved care.
We're currently working on three specific ones. One deals with
Canadian Forces families. It pertains to longer systemic issues. We're
working on delays in grievance and claims from a compensation and
benefits point of view, and we're doing a case study on Cold Lake for
the quality of life of our serving members over there.
Mrs. Susan Truppe: These ones are upcoming?
Mr. Alain Gauthier: Yes.
Mrs. Susan Truppe: At what point is the case referred to you?
How do you end up with the case?
Mr. Alain Gauthier: Do you mean individual cases?
Mrs. Susan Truppe: Yes.
Mr. Alain Gauthier: When people call us, we open a file. They
either call, they send an e-mail, or they send a complaint online.
● (0850)
Mrs. Susan Truppe: Is it that they're not happy with the
outcome?
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FEWO-53
Mr. Alain Gauthier: They're not happy with an issue within the
CF or DND, because we also cover all civilian personnel.
Mrs. Susan Truppe: Are you the final appeal? If they're still not
happy, is that it?
Mr. Alain Gauthier: I wouldn't say we're the final appeal,
because we have no authority to take any decision. Once again, we're
there to provide recommendations to either the Canadian Forces or
the Department of National Defence. That's about the extent of our
mandate. A lot of our work is done to inform, educate, refer, and
facilitate conflict resolution with the complainants who are calling
us.
December 4, 2012
Mr. Alain Gauthier: Once again, somebody would call us about
an issue with harassment. The first thing we would do is inform them
about the process, give them the reference that exists within either
DND or the Canadian Forces, guide them through the process,
explain that they have to make a harassment complaint—
[Translation]
The Chair: I will have to interrupt you there. I am sorry, but
Ms. Truppe's time is up. I am sure that you will be able to continue
your comments a little later.
It is now Ms. Ashton's turn for seven minutes.
Mrs. Susan Truppe: You were saying you were only there to
make recommendations, so if you had 1,400 to 1,500 cases per year,
do you know or do you tabulate how many of your recommendations are taken?
[English]
Mr. Alain Gauthier: I would say, out of the 1,500, a very large
proportion are resolved within 30 days. Through alternate dispute
resolution, communication, or calling the chain of command, we find
positive resolutions. There are about 200 cases that are investigated
on an annual basis. Out of those 200 cases, we do provide our
recommendation to say the person has been treated fairly and we
recommend X, Y, and Z. I'm not tracking specific statistics to see
what percentage is supported by the department, but I would say it's
easily 50% to 60%.
The committee has learned from your presentation that the
ombudsman's office does not investigate allegations of sexual
harassment. We're wondering who investigates these allegations of
sexual harassment within DND. Could you be more specific in terms
of the kinds of recourse that people face when they're connected with
having committed sexual harassment?
Mrs. Susan Truppe: Okay. Thank you.
In your opening remarks I think you had also noted that you assist
individuals to bring forward issues or concerns related to the fairness
that need to be brought forward to the department on the individual's
behalf. What type of intervention can your office make with the
department that an individual can't make on their own so that they
have to go to you? What do you do differently? What do you do that
they can't do?
Mr. Alain Gauthier: It really depends on the type of complaint. If
I go specifically for harassment, for example—
Mrs. Susan Truppe: Sure, yes.
Mr. Alain Gauthier: —we're not allowed to review the decision
of the CF or DND, the decision-maker, to say that this was
considered as harassment or it wasn't. The only thing we're allowed
to review and make recommendations on is the process, so it's about
procedural fairness: was the member treated in accordance with
existing regulations? Did he receive the notification that he was
allowed for disclosure, representation, and a written decision?
It's about whether the process was followed. That is about the
extent of what we can do on individual cases.
Mrs. Susan Truppe: Okay.
You also mentioned, I think, that the cases you assess may be new
or may be carried over from a previous year. They might be
reopened cases.
Could you describe what would cause your office to reopen a
case? For example, do you have someone there who is determining
whether you should reopen something? Does someone request
something when you reopen it? How is it reopened?
Ms. Niki Ashton (Churchill, NDP): Thank you very much, Mr.
Gauthier.
Mr. Alain Gauthier: One of the first responsibilities I mentioned
is to inform and educate. Once we line it up in the right direction,
they have to use existing conflict resolution mechanisms, so if it's a
sexual harassment complaint, they have to do a harassment
complaint. They need to go through the chain of command using
the process to do that.
Once the commanding officer has rendered his decision—whether
it's founded or not, and what the conclusion is—if the member is not
happy, he has the ability to come back to us for more questions, but
then his next step is to use the grievance process specifically for the
military piece. This process is fairly lengthy; it can take up to a year
and a half to two years before they can have a second decision, in
most cases by the Chief of the Defence Staff himself.
Then again, if they're not happy, they can come back to us. We'll
look at it for the fairness piece of it and probably refer them to the
Human Rights Commission, but that is about the extent. We don't do
the investigation. The chain of command at the Canadian Forces
does its own investigation, and they have several tools to guide them
through the process.
● (0855)
Ms. Niki Ashton: Okay.
As we know, many workplaces are places where people can
experience harassment, and I'm wondering, in the case of the
ombudsman's office in particular, if people have faced situations of
harassment? What is done to address that? What effort is the
ombudsman's office making to create an environment without sexual
harassment?
Mr. Alain Gauthier: Are you speaking specifically within the
office and how we deal with that?
Ms. Niki Ashton: Yes.
December 4, 2012
FEWO-53
Mr. Alain Gauthier: That's an internal question, instead of
having the watchdog function.
We do the same. We follow public service regulations. We try to
create a positive workplace. We try to create a sense that people
should not have any fear of bringing a complaint forward.
One of the big misconceptions is that if you have a low number of
complaints, you must be doing well. Numbers by themselves mean
one thing, but there's another side to it. If people feel free to
complain without fear of reprisal, you may see a higher number of
complaints within one organization. Such an organization, I would
say, is more healthy than the one with fewer complaints.
We're not tracking numbers as such. We're tracking health in the
workplace and how they create the conditions that allow people to
use grievance processes if they feel they've been harassed, whether
it's sexual harassment or not. That's how we work. That's also how
we keep our eyes on DND and the CF.
Ms. Niki Ashton: I appreciate that.
Our study is about the federal workplace in general. It's not only
about the CF or DND, so it's important we ensure the same kind of
attention is applied to all areas of the federal workplace.
How many people work in the military ombudsman's office?
Mr. Alain Gauthier: There are about 60 to 65.
Ms. Niki Ashton: Do you have a sense of how many women are
employed versus men?
Mr. Alain Gauthier: I'm not keeping track, but it's a fairly high
ratio. I would say almost 40% to 50%.
Ms. Niki Ashton: You spoke in terms of creating a culture in
which sexual harassment is not tolerated, which is a very strong
theme that many of our witnesses have talked about. I'm wondering
specifically what the ombudsman's office does to create that kind of
culture in your case, in your office.
Mr. Alain Gauthier: We have regular training for supervisors and
managers, regular group meetings on a monthly basis, open-door
discussions, and an annual discussion on ethics, harassment, and
discrimination, so policies are very clear for all staff. That's how we
go about it.
Ms. Niki Ashton: Does your office work with other ombudsman
offices in terms of sharing best practices or learning from others?
Mr. Alain Gauthier: The one we're working most closely with is
the veterans' ombudsman's office. They're a much smaller office. We
do have some interaction, but most of their staff is located in
Charlottetown, so it's limited.
Ms. Niki Ashton: If we could talk about projecting this question
of culture to the work of DND and the Canadian Forces, does the
ombudsman's office play a role in insisting on implementing best
cultural practices to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace?
Mr. Alain Gauthier: I would say we have zero influence over
them to tell them how to do it and how to implement the culture.
What we can do is raise the issue and raise the notion that there is an
issue with the cultural aspect. I think harassment is a very good
example of this coming out.
3
It comes out in numbers. A couple of weeks ago Mr. Wenek
showed a fairly positive picture of the Canadian Forces, simply
based on numbers. There's more to it than that. There's the culture
issue. There's the fact that from what we see and the number of
complaints we receive at the office, there's a clear fear of reprisal if
people move forward and make an official complaint, either on
harassment or anything else.
Actually, the numbers are fairly high. Even in Mr. Wenek's
numbers, he's talking about CF harassment surveys that were done in
1992 and 1997. In there he had numbers showing that the numbers
were getting better and the culture is changing slightly, but they are
still significantly high numbers.
One of those numbers in that survey showed there's still 14% of
women who felt they were sexually harassed—14%. Let's say the
population of women in the CF is 14% of the total of 70,000, so it's
about 10,000 women in the Canadian Forces. Of that 10,000 women,
when you look at his numbers, it's 14%, or 1,400 women, but only
three or four people complained. How come it's such a huge gap? It
is huge—huge.
● (0900)
[Translation]
The Chair: Thank you.
I have to interrupt you. It is hard to believe, but seven minutes go
by very quickly.
We will now hear from a member on the government side.
Ms. O'Neill Gordon, you have seven minutes.
[English]
Mrs. Tilly O'Neill Gordon (Miramichi, CPC): Thank you,
Madam Chair, and thank you for coming back, Mr. Gauthier. We
certainly appreciate your giving us more time.
As you have said, we are hearing more and more from more and
more departments that people are accepting nothing less than zero
tolerance. The atmosphere and culture of the workplace is a key
component. That's where we start, and that's what has to be
implemented.
My colleague had started with a question, and you had to stop, so
I'll give you a chance to complete the question she asked. Could you
describe what would cause your office to reopen a case, who makes
the request to reopen a case, and what the criteria are for reopening a
case?
Mr. Alain Gauthier: Constituents come to us many times with a
specific issue. As I said, they can come at the beginning to receive
information about where to go, how the process works, and which
complaint resolution mechanism to use. We guide them and refer
them to what exists.
Once they have used those mechanisms, if they're not happy in the
meantime, or even during the process, we're always.... We close the
file, but at any given time they can contact us, and we're always
going to provide help.
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FEWO-53
We guide them through a whole process that may last several
years in some cases. At the end, if they're still not happy, they can
come back to us. We'll reopen the file. We'll look at it, see where
they're at, and try once again to guide them within that very complex
conflict resolution in place within the CF.
Throughout the whole issue, from the beginning to the end, we
have regular contact with them. We open and close the file. It's just
terminology, because we always stay connected with them, based on
their requirements.
Mrs. Tilly O'Neill Gordon: In the event of a reopened case, how
do the possible outcomes differ? Do they differ from the old to the
new case?
Mr. Alain Gauthier: It depends on the stage. I would say it's a
journey. Based on where we're at on the road, the recommendation in
our referral will be different in every case.
If we strongly believe the person has been treated unfairly, we will
push it all the way to the Chief of the Defence Staff or the minister.
Mrs. Tilly O'Neill Gordon: They have a good chance of being
heard all the way.
Mr. Alain Gauthier: Yes.
Mrs. Tilly O'Neill Gordon: Then what happens once it goes to
the minister or the Chief of the Defence Staff?
Mr. Alain Gauthier: Once again we will provide our recommendation from an external, independent point of view, and then
they have to decide if they'll implement those recommendations or
what they'll do with them.
In some cases they see the problem slightly differently, and they
come up with a resolution that is slightly different but that provides
satisfaction to the complainant. In some cases they are wholly in
agreement with our recommendation. In others they say we're full of
it, that they don't think it works, and their legal adviser tells them
they cannot do what we're recommending.
Mrs. Tilly O'Neill Gordon: You mentioned the numbers can
sometimes be wide, but then it can boil down to maybe just three of
the same people complaining about harassment.
I was wondering if you have occasions when the same person was
always being harassed by the same harasser, or do you find that
sometimes it can boil down to just a couple?
● (0905)
Mr. Alain Gauthier: Once in a while the same person keeps
coming back. We work to try to improve the work environment by
talking to the supervisor, the commanding officer, or the base
commander to try to have the person moved from their work
environment to another place, and in most cases it works. It's only in
a unique, special case that it doesn't.
Mrs. Tilly O'Neill Gordon: In that case you wouldn't have to
implement different disciplines for that person; you would just have
to move him to another area.
Mr. Alain Gauthier: Once again, we only make recommendations. We cannot tell them what to do and how to do it.
December 4, 2012
We'll talk with them. We'll find the best way to do it. We need
their agreement to be able to move forward to a positive solution in
most cases.
Mrs. Tilly O'Neill Gordon: The committee understands that you
receive many cases in your office. Does your office maintain
statistics on what categories of complaints are received?
Mr. Alain Gauthier: Yes, we do.
Mrs. Tilly O'Neill Gordon: Can you tell the committee what
portion of these complaints dealt with harassment in general or
sexual harassment in particular?
Mr. Alain Gauthier: In my opening remarks a couple of weeks
ago, there was an addendum to the document. There was a small
table that showed all of the harassment cases we have had in the last
six years. Out of those harassment cases, there was another column
showing sexual harassment. If you take last year as an example, you
see 65 harassment cases, and out of those there were three sexual
harassment cases. It was annex A that I provided to the committee.
The Chair: You have one minute.
Mrs. Tilly O'Neill Gordon: Please indicate at what point in the
complaint process information and services become available. I'm
referring to services for counselling, brochures, and special training.
When along the way are they provided? Is it early, soon after they
come there to work, or is it later? How often do you have your
training?
Mr. Alain Gauthier: Do you mean personal training within the
organization?
Mrs. Tilly O'Neill Gordon: Yes.
Mr. Alain Gauthier: We have it throughout their years, especially
for those we call the intake officers, those who receive the complaint.
It's part of their professional development, and throughout the years
they all go on specific training or refresher training to be able to be a
first respondent.
Mrs. Tilly O'Neill Gordon: That's fine.
Thank you.
[Translation]
The Chair: Thank you.
It is now Ms. Sgro's turn.
You have seven minutes.
[English]
Hon. Judy Sgro (York West, Lib.): Thank you very much.
Thank you, Mr. Gauthier, for making time in your schedule to
come back so we can ask a few further questions.
December 4, 2012
FEWO-53
The annex that you provided to us when you were here before
shows that there were 375 harassment cases logged in that period of
time, 64 in 2006-2007 and 65 in 2011-2012. It seems pretty
consistent in and around the level of complaints. Out of those, 21
were sexual harassment cases. Can you give us a bit of an idea of
how those were resolved? Were they consistently from any particular
group over another? Were they all females who were complaining?
Were there others who were complaining on sexual harassment?
What details can you give us so we can get a better picture of just
who's coming forward?
Mr. Alain Gauthier: When you look at sexual harassment, you
will see that our ratio is fairly similar to what the CF and DND have
as a ratio. It's a fairly high ratio of women being sexually harassed.
Of course, our number, if you look at the 375, does not necessarily
match with the number of the Canadian Forces or DND, because we
provide different services. We have as many in six years as they've
had in ten years. Lots of people come, but they are very reluctant to
continue with a formal complaint based on all kinds of issues. Out of
that number, it is sometimes concerning to see what the effect is on
people, especially sexual harassment.
In a very recent case we had, the lady decided to quit the
organization instead of going forward with a formal complaint. It's
very hard for us to do anything, because we're bound by oaths of
confidentiality, and unless the member decides or gives us the ability
to move forward and explain her case to the department and try to do
something, there's nothing we can do to assist that member.
She has left the organization because, from her point of view, it
was the only viable solution she could choose. She felt that if she
moved a complaint forward, reprisal on her would have been so high
that it would have been worse than the existing condition, worse than
tolerating the sexual harassment.
Delays are also a significant concern brought by constituents. If I
bring a complaint forward, it will take an average of 90 days, if not
more, to get a resolution. That period of 90 days is going to be very
hard on the person and, in most cases, that person is now seen as an
administrative problem for the organization. We've seen cases of
people being posted administratively out of the organization because
it was too much of an administrative burden to deal with those
individuals. They didn't fit. Retribution is a huge thing. Delays are a
huge thing.
The consequence if people are found guilty of sexual harassment
is also minor. Mr. Wenek clearly mentioned that in most cases the
consequence is a refresher training on harassment. It's one-day
training. They use the public service course that is mandatory for
most supervisors anyway. They have to go on the training. The one
who has been identified as doing sexual harassment is going on a
one-day training. Is it worth it for people to bring that complaint
forward when they know at the end of the day the person will go on
a one-day course?
It's all those concerns that force people to remain anonymous and
not move forward with their complaints. Consequences are tragic in
many cases.
● (0910)
Hon. Judy Sgro: I agree with you when it comes to people going
forward. I don't think people go forward lightly, whether it's
5
harassment or sexual harassment. I don't think these are things that
people go forward with lightly. There are significant repercussions,
whether they are from your team you immediately work with or
elsewhere, just saying not to pay any attention to it or whatever. I
don't think people come forward lightly with this.
Bill C-15 is currently before the House. What can we do? Do you
have any suggestions for improvements to strengthen that particular
legislation?
Mr. Alain Gauthier: I think the biggest piece is the fear of
reprisal. I'm not sure how you can include something to enforce
consequences if there's reprisal. If we look at the civilian piece, we
see the public service employee survey was done in 2011. In there,
question 43 is very specific to reprisal for a public service employee
using the system and for DND. If you look at that piece, the question
reads:I feel I can initiate a formal recourse process (grievance, complaint, appeal)
without fear of reprisal.
DND scored 50% positive answers. That means 50% were
negative answers, so half the people fear using existing mechanisms.
On the CF side, it's the same. They do a survey every three years
called “Your-Say”. The 2009 survey asked exactly the same
question, and it was 52%.
Hon. Judy Sgro: Can you just clarify that for us? That was the
2009 survey that was done by DND.
Mr. Alain Gauthier: It was done by the Canadian Forces.
Hon. Judy Sgro: It's referred to as “Your-Say”?
Mr. Alain Gauthier: Yes.
Hon. Judy Sgro: Maybe that's a good survey for the committee to
have. If the clerk can reference that for us, it might be helpful. Thank
you very much.
Mr. Alain Gauthier: You're welcome.
● (0915)
Hon. Judy Sgro: So it's 52%. That means all the great language
we're using throughout the federal bureaucracy about making
changes is somehow not getting communicated to employees.
Clearly, we have more to do.
Mr. Alain Gauthier: Without a doubt, the fear is there. The fear is
there when we receive the call. I'd say at least one-third of the people
want to remain anonymous. They just want the information. They
want to understand their ability to move forward, but we know that
because of fear, they're not doing it.
You talk about Bill C-15. I'm not sure if there's a way to make the
case that people have the right to complain without fear of reprisal. I
think that would be a huge step.
Hon. Judy Sgro: Thank you.
[Translation]
The Chair: Thank you.
Ms. James, go ahead.
You have five minutes.
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FEWO-53
[English]
Ms. Roxanne James (Scarborough Centre, CPC): Thank you,
Madam Chair, and welcome to our witness.
In your remarks from a few meetings ago, you mentioned that the
ombudsman's office acts as a direct source of information, referral,
and education. When you talk about a direct source of information,
what exactly are you referring to? What information are you
providing?
Mr. Alain Gauthier: The conflict resolution processes or
mechanisms within both the CF and DND are fairly complex. We
inform people about them. We educate them on how the whole
system works—where they need to go, where to find all those
references, how to find a template for either a grievance or a
harassment complaint, where to find the links to websites.
If it's more of a referral, there's the MPCC, the Military Police
Complaints Commission, and we refer them to the military police.
Sometimes it's a financial issue they have, so we connect them with a
compensation officer. It's to guide them through that very complex
process.
Ms. Roxanne James: I apologize if this has come up already or in
the last meeting—it's been a while since you were here—but do you
actually do referrals to mediators? Do you refer complainants to
counselling directly? Do you offer that as well, or do you simply
make the suggestion?
Mr. Alain Gauthier: It is a very great tool that does exist, but it is
about to almost disappear. The Canadian Forces has decided, with
the strategic review, to cut 50% of its alternate dispute resolution
services. Where we used to have 19 officers across Canada available
as experts in alternate dispute resolution, it's about to be closed, and
there will be four left.
This was a great tool to help resolve conflict at the lowest level,
directly between the member and the chain of command. It's about to
disappear, so I think we're going to lose a lot of capacity.
Ms. Roxanne James: You talked about 65 cases related to
harassment, with three for sexual harassment. Were any of those ever
forwarded to mediation or for counselling?
Mr. Alain Gauthier: I would have to go into the specifics of it,
but I would say yes. It's one of the basic recommendations we make.
I think you heard Commander Crewe mention that they're doing a
review of conflict resolution. They have a conflict resolution
working group to better package everything that exists. They're
creating what they call an early notification; it's to advise the chain
of command before a member makes a formal complaint, to try to
understand the issue informally.
Ms. Roxanne James: Does your office make recommendations?
Would you ever recommend dismissal, removal, or some other
measure on a particular issue?
Mr. Alain Gauthier: Yes, in some cases we recommend that the
person be moved outside that work environment and transferred to
either another unit or elsewhere on the base.
Ms. Roxanne James: That's one example. Are there any other
examples you would have of recommendations? That seems...I don't
want to say heavy-handed, but to remove someone and put him or
her somewhere else is a pretty severe measure. If there were
December 4, 2012
problems warranting removal to another area, would there not be
concern that a similar situation might occur?
Mr. Alain Gauthier: Every situation is unique. I would say that
this is one course of action that is possible. Clearly, our most
recommended is an informal resolution in which there needs to be an
understanding and a win-win situation at the basic level.
The Chair: When you talk about removal and moving someone
into a different area, direction, or whatever, are you referring to the
complainant, who you would actually pick up and move somewhere
else, or are you referring to the respondent or the person who may be
accused of a certain situation?
● (0920)
Mr. Alain Gauthier: Once again, it depends. Sometimes the
complainant asks to go elsewhere, and that will be the solution. We
talk with the commanding officer to see if this is feasible and
workable. Once again, we provide only recommendations. It's a very
fine line in what we're recommending in dealing with a commanding
officer.
Ms. Roxanne James: Okay.
Do I have any time whatsoever? Likely not.
The Chair: No, your time is up.
[Translation]
Thank you.
We will now continue with Ms. Hassainia. You have five minutes.
Mrs. Sana Hassainia (Verchères—Les Patriotes, NDP): Thank
you, Madam Chair.
Thank you for appearing before us, Mr. Gauthier.
If I understood correctly, there is a huge gap between the number
of people who say they have been assaulted and the number of
complaints that are filed. Could you explain that gap? Is it because
they are afraid to file a complaint?
Have you thought of a solution to reduce this gap by using
mechanisms that work in other countries, for example?
Mr. Alain Gauthier: The gap is huge, but it is shrinking. I feel
that the statistics presented by Mr. Wenek are accurate. If we
compare today with 10 years ago, the statistics show that there has
been a huge improvement. The change in culture explains the
improvement, but there is still a huge gap.
I think we still need to wait a number of years and work on
changing the culture within the organization. Perhaps we also need
stricter regulations and consequences.
The fear of reprisal and the delay in processing the complaints are
problematic. There are almost no consequences for wrongdoing and
that's also a problem. People do not understand the complexity of the
system and are not willing to spend two years in a conflict situation.
That is another problem.
I think that a number of steps and mechanisms are needed if we
want to keep going in the right direction.
Mrs. Sana Hassainia: Thank you.
December 4, 2012
FEWO-53
Do your courses have a section that deals with sexual harassment?
If not, has the Canada School of Public Service received any
suggestions to include sexual harassment in its courses?
Mr. Alain Gauthier: We do not have specific courses on this
issue. So staff members attend courses that rely on the training
provided by the Canada School of Public Service. Supervisors have
a two-day course. Sexual harassment is part of the explanations and
training. So there is a specific course for supervisors and another one
for employees.
Mrs. Sana Hassainia: So there is a part that deals with sexual
harassment.
Mr. Alain Gauthier: Yes, that is part of the course.
Mrs. Sana Hassainia: Okay.
How do you think that the new policy on harassment prevention
will help employees?
Mr. Alain Gauthier: I noticed that two DAODs have been
updated. Once again, the policy is fine. It is the way it is applied that
makes the difference. Once again, the change in culture has to
continue to take place. They are certainly going in the right direction,
but it will still take a number of years, if not decades, before we have
a completely harassment-free workplace.
Mrs. Sana Hassainia: Is there a way to assess how effective the
courses are?
Mr. Alain Gauthier: No.
Mrs. Sana Hassainia: Thank you.
Is there a way to set up a mechanism to assess how effective the
courses are once they have been offered? Does real visible change
take place?
Mr. Alain Gauthier: In the Canadian Forces, it is a challenge to
get a clear idea of the total number of cases. The Canadian Forces
have mentioned that they work with three separate databases. So it is
very difficult to get the same number of cases every time we ask
about it. The Canadian Forces are in transition and they have to put
all their data in the same database. Once they do that, we will have a
better idea of how big the problem is.
Mrs. Sana Hassainia: What procedures does the School of Public
Service use to address harassment issues? Are those procedures also
followed in cases of sexual harassment?
Mr. Alain Gauthier: Procedures have been set up. The guidelines
established by the Department of National Defence clearly mention
that the first thing supervisors have to do in a case of sexual
harassment is to separate the people as quickly as possible, to
determine whether it is really a case of sexual harassment based on
the facts and to follow up with an investigation.
However, that is not always what happens. The policies are in
place and the structure is there, but their application may vary, which
has caused a problem in the cases that have been brought to our
attention.
I don't have an insight into all the current cases. We can only know
about cases when people decide to call us to report a problem and to
tell us that something is wrong. That is when they ask us to provide
them with guidance or to help them.
7
● (0925)
Mrs. Sana Hassainia: Thank you very much.
The Chair: Thank you.
We will now hear from Ms. Young, who has five minutes.
[English]
Ms. Wai Young (Vancouver South, CPC): Thank you so much
for coming in and for providing us with so much more detail on the
differences.
One of the things I wanted to ask you about was Bill C-15. It
appears that we're trying to better align the criminal court with the
civil court. Therefore, can you explain that to us a bit more? What
are the objectives and how are they being implemented through your
system?
Mr. Alain Gauthier: I'm not sure I understand the question.
Ms. Wai Young: I'm talking about clause 50 and the amendment
that it includes of Bill C-15. It's amending the military court to better
align or be more in line with the civil courts. I'm just asking you how
this is being integrated or changed within the system as you know it.
Mr. Alain Gauthier: That would be totally outside of my realm.
One of the things we don't do is necessarily look at the discipline
piece of the military. Most of the issues the office looks at are the
administrative pieces—finance, posting, harassment pieces, all this
stuff. As soon as it becomes disciplinary and in court, it's outside of
our mandate and outside of our box. We deal with very few, if any, of
those cases. I have no visibility on that specific clause and Bill C-15
for that effect.
Ms. Wai Young: Really? That's very interesting. Is it a specific
omission, then, that you're not part of that, and that it's not included
in your mission or mandate?
Mr. Alain Gauthier: It's not part of the mandate.
Ms. Wai Young: Looking at the system of how the military court
deals with harassment is not part of your mandate?
Mr. Alain Gauthier: Harassment is, but within the harassment
piece, once again, as I've said, we're fairly limited in looking at the
process and the procedural fairness of the harassment piece.
We cannot review a case and say that our decision would have
been different. We cannot say, “Here's what we think at the office of
the ombudsman. You should have supported this, and this is our
recommendation for the consequences.” We cannot do that.
Ms. Wai Young: Given that clause 50 talks about the public
access and openness of the court, and clauses 47 and 48 talk about
who's on the court martial panel—and I could go on about different
clauses—you're saying that you have no part in that or—
Mr. Alain Gauthier: None at all.
8
FEWO-53
Actually, there's a specific clause in our mandate that prevents us
from looking at what the Military Police Commission is doing.
Anything that is of a criminal nature, we're not looking at it.
Everything dealing with discipline or criminality is clearly outside of
what the office is looking at.
Ms. Wai Young: That's very interesting.
So when clause 62 talks about sentencing, you have no input into
how the sentencing happens or the length of that—none, zero?
Mr. Alain Gauthier: Zero.
Ms. Wai Young: Oh. So if somebody were to go through the
system and appeal it, you would still have no input into that?
Mr. Alain Gauthier: No. We have no ability to assess that person.
Ms. Wai Young: Would you have an ability, though, to talk to or
consult with the department on what things they can do or change to
improve—
Mr. Alain Gauthier: The only thing we try to do is to guide the
person to the right place. Our first respondent would have little
knowledge about the discipline and the legal piece on that side.
There's very little we could do for that person when he or she calls
us.
Ms. Wai Young: That's very interesting.
I'd like to ask you about what you were saying with regard to
going from 19 stations down to four stations as alternative dispute
mechanisms. Am I correct?
● (0930)
Mr. Alain Gauthier: Yes.
Ms. Wai Young: How is that going to happen? I mean, why from
9 to four? How are you going to be servicing people?
Mr. Alain Gauthier: Alternative dispute resolution is under the
responsibility of the chief of military personnel. That's a decision
that he took as part of the reduction of the deficit. I think alternative
dispute resolution, from their point of view, is a mandatory service
we provide to civil servants, but it's not mandated by law for the
military, so they're significantly reducing the size of it. They decide
how they're going to spread it throughout the various bases. My
understanding is that there are going to be four bases left with the
given service.
[Translation]
The Chair: Thank you.
Ms. Young, your time is up.
I will now give the floor to Ms. Day, for five minutes.
Mrs. Anne-Marie Day (Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles,
NDP): Thank you, Madam Chair.
Mr. Gauthier, thank you for joining us today.
The more I listen to the witnesses, the more difficult the situation
seems to be. Your service was created in 1998 to promote openmindedness and transparency within the Canadian Forces and the
Department of National Defence. But as we know, the ombudsman
can provide opinions, but cannot impose anything.
December 4, 2012
I am really at a loss because we have the Canadian Forces, the
National Defence, the grievances within the army and the procedures
to deal with it all. At the end of the day, isn't there a certain code of
silence that, by the time the information gets to you, it has been
sanitized and you don't really get the real numbers on harassment
and sexual harassment?
Mr. Alain Gauthier: The figures that I have are from people who
call in. I only see the number of people who call the office to ask for
information or help. We keep in touch with the people from the
Canadian Forces and we have a good relationship with them. We can
look at their numbers and see that, in many cases, their numbers are
different from ours.
Mrs. Anne-Marie Day: Is it a significant difference?
Mr. Alain Gauthier: It is relatively significant and, as I
explained, it is because of fear of reprisal. People call us, ask a lot
of questions and, then, they decide not to go ahead with the process
because they do not feel capable of going through it for two years.
They feel that it would be too difficult, that the harassment would
only become worse and that, at any rate, it would practically not
make a difference.
Mrs. Anne-Marie Day: Do you have a website?
Mr. Alain Gauthier: Certainly.
Mrs. Anne-Marie Day: Can people get information from the
website about harassment or sexual harassment?
Mr. Alain Gauthier: Often, when they call us, we direct them to
the National Defence or the Canadian Forces website because the
instructions and regulations are posted on the website and they are
kept up to date. We try not to post outdated information on our
website. We always refer individuals to the site that has updated
information.
Mrs. Anne-Marie Day: I personally often consult popular sites,
when I am looking for a house or I want to post an ad, for example.
You can figure out how many people consult those sites. It is
automatically counted on the site. Do you do that? That would give
you an idea of the number of people who consult your site about
sexual harassment or harassment.
Mr. Alain Gauthier: The communications section has some data.
My group does not monitor the website. We have data, but they are
certainly not specific. We are not able to separate them and
determine whether a person visited the site to find out about
harassment, compensation or a transfer. We do not have that degree
of detail.
Mrs. Anne-Marie Day: You also don’t have data about visits on
the site related to post-traumatic stress?
Mr. Alain Gauthier: No.
Mrs. Anne-Marie Day: We have a provincial ombudsman. His
mandate is partly to make recommendations, but those recommendations have a rather broad scope. When he asks a department to
make adjustments, the department usually complies. Departments do
not like to receive any recommendations because that means that
there was a complaint, which in itself denotes some sort of flaw.
Do you have that type of relationship with the Canadian Forces
and National Defence?
December 4, 2012
FEWO-53
Mr. Alain Gauthier: The ombudsman’s mandate was established
based on a departmental directive. In fact, the Minister of National
Defence decided to create the office of the ombudsman and set up its
own directive. It was not done through legislation, the way it is for
other independent organizations.
As for National Defence, there are three independent organizations. There is the Canadian Forces Grievance Board, which was
formed under the National Defence Act. So there are legislative
provisions to that effect. The MPCC is also covered under the act.
The third outside organization is not. That is our office. We do our
work under a mandate from the minister.
About one month and a half ago, a very interesting event took
place. It was the International Conference of Ombudsman Institutions for the Armed Forces. This year, the fourth edition was held in
Canada. Representatives from 25 foreign countries came to share the
lessons they have learned. It was interesting to see the wide spectrum
of authority delegated to various ombudsman offices. In some cases,
there was no authority or just the authority of a simple figurehead,
whereas in other cases, the organizations were able to make
decisions that the government or the authority in question
implemented. I think that we are somewhere in the middle, closer
to making recommendations. That is where we are at right now with
our mandate.
● (0935)
9
I discussed the matter with the ombudsman because it was
contrary to our perception. Last year, he went to Bagotville and
Valcartier. He found that the work atmosphere was excessively
pleasant and that the relationship between employees and the chain
of command was effective. The conclusion that we came to is that
people are not afraid to file a harassment complaint if they feel that
they are subject to harassment. That is why we have received a
higher number of complaints. It is explained by the fact that they are
not afraid of reprisal.
So, if we are simply relying on the number of complaints, we get a
distorted picture. There are other bases in Canada from which we
receive no complaints. But we know that there are problems. We
hear about them. The members call us and tell us which base they are
from. It is out of the question for them to take up the problem with
their chain of command because they know it would affect their
careers.
Ms. Joyce Bateman: The environment is not open.
Mr. Alain Gauthier: There is no environment.
Ms. Joyce Bateman: Okay. Thank you.
I have another question.
This morning, you mentioned that the 19 conflict resolution
centres will be reduced to four.
The Chair: Thank you, Ms. Day. Your time is up.
It is Ms. Bateman's turn. You have five minutes.
Ms. Joyce Bateman (Winnipeg South Centre, CPC): Thank
you, Madam Chair.
Mr. Gauthier, thank you for joining us once again. We still have a
few questions for you.
This morning, you said that, sometimes, a large number of
complaints is a sign that an organization is healthy.
[English]
How do we make that happen?
[Translation]
What is the recipe?
As you must have heard in all the questions, people feel that a
large number of complaints is an indication that there are problems.
But you said that the facts suggest otherwise.
Mr. Alain Gauthier: When I looked at the statistics on
harassment, I did a study. I looked at the number of complaints
received by the office over the past two years. When I added them
up, I got a total of 134 harassment complaints in the past two years.
I separated the complaints into different categories to see how
many complainants came from the regular forces, the reserves,
cadets, civilians and family members, meaning all our constituents. I
then separated the complaints according to bases and the gender of
complainants to see where they were coming from. Actually, almost
exclusively, most of the complaints came from the Bagotville and
Valcartier bases.
Could you explain the potential risks for clients and possible
solutions?
Mr. Alain Gauthier: Cutting alternative dispute resolution or
ADR services was the decision of the Canadian Forces. I know that
this will have a considerable impact because informal conflict
resolution helped to solve a lot of problems.
Major strides have been made over the past five years within the
Canadian Forces. They have integrated a joint team of military
members and civilians in their informal conflict resolution system. It
was a mixed team that made it possible to offer quality services to
both the military and civilians on each base. In addition, the fact that
this team was on the ground, that it was known by the chain of
command and that it was made up of local people was very helpful.
As a result, eliminating this team means eliminating an important
tool for quickly resolving issues on the ground.
In my view, if this tool no longer exists, people will be likely to go
through much more formal processes a lot sooner because that will
be the only solution they will see. In addition, all the existing formal
processes take a long time. A harassment complaint takes on average
90 days to process and a grievance takes between 18 and 24 months.
● (0940)
The Chair: Ms. Bateman, you have 15 seconds left.
Ms. Joyce Bateman: That's all?
The Chair: Yes, 15 seconds. You have time for a quick question.
Ms. Joyce Bateman: Is this informal resolution a pillar for the
Treasury Board in dealing with harassment? Is that the case?
10
FEWO-53
Mr. Alain Gauthier: This service is mandatory for public service.
It is actually a tool that has to be implemented for public servants.
This service will continue to exist, but it will be very limited. In my
view, this service will be centralized in the large centres and people
will have to travel to get access to the service.
Ms. Joyce Bateman: Thank you.
The Chair: Thank you very much, Mr. Gauthier. Unfortunately, I
have to interrupt you. We have already used all the time we had. The
time has gone by very quickly.
Thank you very much for coming back and taking the time to
answer questions from the members of the committee. It has been
very interesting. We really appreciate that you have made the trip
here for a second time.
I am going to suspend the proceedings for a few minutes to let the
next witnesses take their seats.
Thank you.
● (0940)
(Pause)
● (0945)
The Chair: I would like to welcome the second panel of
witnesses, both of whom are from the Canada School of Public
Service. Joining us are Jean-François Fleury, Acting Vice-President,
Learning Programs, and Felicity Mulgan, Acting Director General,
Functional Communities, Authority Delegation and Orientation.
Thank you very much for accepting our invitation.
You have 10 minutes for your presentation, followed, if time
permits, by a round of questions, of course. We may have to leave to
vote later this morning.
Go ahead.
Mr. Jean-François Fleury (Acting Vice-President, Learning
Programs, Canada School of Public Services): Thank you very
much.
[English]
Thank you for giving us the opportunity to talk about the training
offered at the Canada School of Public Service.
I will start by providing a brief overview of the school's mandate.
Then I will describe the relevant curriculum for this study.
The school is a common learning provider for the public service of
Canada. We provide a broad range of learning opportunities for
public servants. These opportunities can take the form of classroom
courses open to all, online courses available 24/7, courses
customized to meet organizational needs, and events to share best
practices and promote government and public service priorities.
The school's objectives are to support the growth and development of public servants; to help strengthen the knowledge, skills, and
competencies they need to do their jobs effectively; and to assist
deputy heads in meeting the learning needs of their organizations.
We are a service delivery organization. We offer services in both
official languages across Canada.
Responsibility for learning in the public service is shared. Deputy
heads are responsible for determining the learning, training, and
December 4, 2012
development needs of the employees within their organizations and
for fixing the terms on which these activities are carried out.
The Treasury Board Secretariat and the office of the chief human
resources officer are the policy leads. The school works closely with
both the Treasury Board Secretariat and the office of the chief human
resources officer, as well as with subject matter specialists and public
servants as a whole, to identify the learning needs of public servants
and to determine the right opportunities and methods for addressing
those needs.
As per Treasury Board's common services policy, the school is
defined as an optional service provider. We are a key delivery arm
for training public service employees. Departments can choose to
come to the school or they can use other services and service
providers. These include in-house training strategies and contracting
with the private sector.
I will be more specific now about the training the school provides
in the context of this study. I will describe the curriculum from broad
foundational learning to specific subject matter training to the
training offered to specialists in the field.
The school provides broad foundational learning through a variety
of courses and programs that help employees understand the craft of
government. This training includes orientation, authority delegation,
professional development, and leadership training. Many of these
courses contain modules and/or content that deal with values, ethics,
and people management issues. This type of training aims to provide
employees with basic and essential information on how government
works, on the code of values and ethics, and on the legislation,
policies, and regulatory environment that govern how the public
service operates.
To be more specific, I will get into the orientation program. It's
one of our key foundational learning products.
This program is designed to introduce new public servants to the
culture and structure of the public service and to make them
understand their roles. It includes modules on the code of values and
ethics and on how government works. This program is delivered
using online and in-class methods. It includes a one-day classroom
course touching on values and ethics and a mandatory online module
called “Paving the Way: Values and Ethics Foundations for
Employees”. It also includes coverage of the policy on harassment
prevention and resolution and uses scenarios to help participants
explore ethical issues.
An evaluation was done in 2009-2010. The results demonstrated
that over 80% of the respondents were better prepared to deal with
ethical situations in the workplace, to discuss ethical issues with
others, and to find resources regarding values and ethics.
December 4, 2012
FEWO-53
Another key foundational learning program is authority delegation
training. This suite of courses is designed for supervisors, managers,
new executives, directors general, and ADMs. It provides public
servants with the essentials on the roles and responsibilities related to
their delegated authorities in the fields of human resources, finance,
procurement, and information management. More specifically, it
contains a people management component on creating a respectful
workplace. It also covers the values and ethics code and the policy
on harassment prevention and resolution.
All participants who go through ADT, or authority delegation
training, have to validate their knowledge through an assessment.
This provides them with certification showing that they meet the
knowledge standards as defined by the Treasury Board Secretariat.
The school also offers sessions to senior leaders, including newly
appointed deputy ministers, to help orient them in their new role. It
includes discussions of real-life cases and considers approaches to
managing different situations that take into account the key
accountabilities.
Over and above the foundational learning I just described, the
school also offers subject-specific training to help employees and
managers foster a respectful workplace with a diverse and
representative workforce.
● (0950)
Typical objectives for this type of subject matter training are to
sensitize employees to the culture of values and ethics, increase
awareness of obligations and responsibilities, and understand how
harassment complaints should be managed.
This curriculum includes a number of learning products.
The first is creating a respectful workplace. This course is
designed for employees, supervisors, and managers. It explores
potential harassment situations, what it means to create a respectful
workplace, and how to promote attitudes and behaviours that will
improve workplace well-being. Participants learn about personal and
corporate responsibilities and have the opportunity to discuss the
process and typical outcomes of harassment complaints.
The second product is an introduction to employment equity and
diversity. This course, for all public servants, explores the issues,
organizational requirements, and legal obligations related to the
implementation of the Employment Equity Act. Participants learn
creative and practical approaches to supporting a diverse workforce.
A third product deals with leading a diverse workforce. This is a
leadership course that provides supervisors and managers with the
opportunity to explore the emotional, intelligence, and leadership
competencies required to lead diverse teams. Participants explore
generational, cultural, and gender-based differences to help them
lead more effectively.
A fourth product is a course on principles and practices of labour
relations for supervisors and managers. It covers the policy on
harassment prevention and the code of values and ethics. Other
legislation includes the Canadian Human Rights Act, the Canada
Labour Code, and the Employment Equity Act.
11
Finally, we have a course on mediating conflict. It is a course for
supervisors and managers that examines how to deal with conflicts
rationally and fairly by using feedback and observational techniques.
In addition to the training offered to the general public service, the
school offers training aimed at subject matter specialists. This
training helps develop employees' knowledge and skills to meet
specific legislative, regulatory, and policy requirements, or mitigate
risks related to these functions. For example, the school offers labour
relations training for HR advisers as well as labour relations training
for labour relations specialists. These are two different products.
Furthermore, the school offers two courses aimed specifically at
people dealing with actual harassment complaints inside departments. These could be managers, values and ethics specialists, HR
specialists, or others.
One course is on investigating harassment complaints. This course
prepares them to conduct these investigations according to the
standards of the Treasury Board Secretariat policy on prevention and
resolution of harassment in the workplace.
We also have a course on managing harassment complaints. This
course is designed to help participants manage a harassment
complaint process in accordance with the policy. Participants follow
how the complaint process unfolds step by step and learn their role in
managing this process.
In conclusion, the school plays a key role in offering relevant and
responsive training that helps departments create and sustain a
values-based and respectful workplace. We constantly review our
curriculum to ensure offerings are up to date, effective, and reflective
of current legislation, policies, and public service reality.
We review our curriculum using three main methods. After each
course, a learning evaluation form is filled to ensure that the
objectives were met, that the instructor was understood, and that the
content was up to date. If ever the results for these are not
favourable, a corrective measure is then put in place immediately.
We also review our entire curriculum annually to ensure its
relevance. We regularly consult our colleagues at TBS, as well as
relevant community leaders and subject matter specialists, to ensure
we meet their needs from a learning perspective.
To close, I want to reiterate that the school's principal role as a
learning service provider is to support deputy heads in meeting their
learning needs of the employees and of their organizations.
I would like to thank the committee for this opportunity, and I
welcome any questions you may have.
12
FEWO-53
● (0955)
[Translation]
The Chair: Thank you.
We will now proceed to the question period.
Ms. Ambler, you have seven minutes.
[English]
Mrs. Stella Ambler (Mississauga South, CPC): Thank you,
Madam Chair.
Thank you very much to both of you for being here today, and for
your presentation.
My first question is very simple. Who pays for the courses, and
how many people go?
Mr. Jean-François Fleury: The two courses that are part of
foundational learning, the orientation and authority to delegation, are
centrally funded. The rest of the products we've enumerated in this
list are cost-recovered, which means that employees and departments
pay the school for that course.
We have statistics on the public servants' usage of these courses. I
can go down all of them if you wish, or just highlight a few.
The foundational learning area is where the bulk of the public
servants come through the school. The orientation program, since its
inception in 2006, has served 42,000 learners, and the authority
delegation training has served 57,000.
As we move into more specific products, these numbers go down
because the target audience is smaller and more focused. I can give
you other examples if you wish, but—
Mrs. Stella Ambler: No, that's great. Thank you.
Are any of the courses mandatory?
Mr. Jean-François Fleury: The foundational learning course is.
The authority delegation as well as the orientation program are
required training. This means that we work with departments.
Departments identify a learning coordinator, and when they have
new employees or recently promoted employees, they submit the list
of those employees to the school; we ensure meeting that demand by
offering the products.
Mrs. Stella Ambler: Thank you.
Do you train any of the students or deputy ministers or employees
who attend to be mediators or to specialize in alternative dispute
resolution, or is it more informal?
Mr. Jean-François Fleury: For deputy ministers, it's more of a
high-level orientation to the culture and to creating a respectful
workplace. For employees, it varies on which level of course they
want. For the subject matter specialists, we guide them through the
step-by-step way to manage harassment complaints.
Ms. Felicity Mulgan (Acting Director General, Functional
Communities, Authority Delegation and Orientation, Canada
School of Public Service): I could build on that. Probably the
closest we get to that is our course on mediating conflict, but it's
really aimed at managers.
December 4, 2012
We're not training people to be specialized mediators or alternative
dispute resolution professionals. We're really just training managers
to deal with issues at the manager level and to know when something
needs to go beyond that.
● (1000)
Mrs. Stella Ambler: If and when they receive a complaint, they'll
know how to deal with it, which would be more about who to send it
to rather than how to deal with it themselves.
Ms. Felicity Mulgan: Correct.
Mrs. Stella Ambler: Okay. Thank you for that clarification.
We've heard a lot in this study about the culture of the work
environment, and you spoke about it as well. If it's an unhealthy one,
it can create a culture for harassment. We've also heard that
sometimes a lack of respect is part of the problem and will
sometimes create harassment in the workplace.
Creating a culture of respect is something that is important, but it's
tough to legislate respect. How does what you do contribute to
creating that culture of respect in the workplace?
Mr. Jean-François Fleury: As you mentioned, the respectful
workplace has many different facets to it.
From a learning perspective, from a school perspective, the code
of values and ethics in creating a respectful workplace is an
underlying theme of most of the products we listed here and other
products that we have. Whether it's leadership courses or whatnot,
we always promote creating a respectful workplace and ensuring that
the code of values and ethics is well understood. From a learning
perspective, that's what we contribute to the more holistic end game,
which is to have a respectful workplace in the departments.
Mrs. Stella Ambler: Thank you.
I was looking at some of the courses that are offered, in particular
those on investigating harassment complaints and managing
harassment complaints.
Let's say a supervisor or manager in human resources attends one
of these sessions, probably a day-long session. I'm wondering who
gives the sessions. Are they themselves human resources experts?
I'm wondering if any of the teachers have been trained specifically in
sexual harassment or harassment cases.
Ms. Felicity Mulgan: The instructors we use at the school are all
experienced public servants who are currently public servants often
on assignment to the school. They are experienced in the field.
I'm sorry; can you just remind me of the question again?
Mrs. Stella Ambler: Do the instructors themselves have backgrounds in dealing with harassment complaints?
Ms. Felicity Mulgan: Absolutely. That's essential for hiring them.
They must have a background in that area.
Mrs. Stella Ambler: Do you feel that over time this issue has
improved, and do you see that at the school? Over the last 10 or 20
years, have you seen an improvement or more of an awareness and a
willingness to deal with sexual harassment complaints, as opposed to
10 or 20 years ago, when maybe they would have been swept under
the rug? Are you seeing any improvement at the school level?
December 4, 2012
FEWO-53
Mr. Jean-François Fleury: From the school perspective, it was
created in 2004, so trying to do the comparison over 20 years is—
Mrs. Stella Ambler: I'm sorry; I didn't catch that.
Mr. Jean-François Fleury: That's fine.
The comparison is quite difficult, but definitely our curriculum
has evolved to include a lot of the respectful workplace concepts. We
feel that the heightened awareness has influenced the curriculum to
ensure that the code has values and ethics, and that the workplace is
—
Mrs. Stella Ambler: And it's reviewed every year, too—
Mr. Jean-François Fleury: Yes, it is.
Mrs. Stella Ambler: —so that probably helps as well.
Mr. Jean-François Fleury: Yes.
[Translation]
The Chair: Ms. Ambler, your time is up. We also have to go to
vote.
Ms. Truppe, you have the floor.
[English]
Mrs. Susan Truppe: Madam Chair, there's a vote now.
[Translation]
The Chair: Yes, we have to go and vote.
13
I have no choice but to adjourn the meeting. There is no point in
making our witnesses wait because we would only come back for
five minutes.
I am sorry and thank you very much for sharing your ideas with us
this morning.
● (1005)
Mr. Jean-François Fleury: Thank you.
The Chair: We are probably going to contact you to see if you are
able to join us at another committee meeting. It will more likely be
after the holidays, since the House does not have a lot of sitting days
left before it adjourns.
Mr. Jean-François Fleury: We look forward to hearing from
you.
The Chair: Thank you for your understanding.
Mr. Jean-François Fleury: Thank you.
The Chair: Have a great day.
Mr. Jean-François Fleury: Thank you.
The Chair: Thank you.
That concludes our meeting.
(Meeting adjourned)
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