Canada ex-governor general created ‘poisoned’ work environment: reports

OTTAWA (AFP) – A damning report on workplace harassment claims against ex-governor general Julie Payette, Queen Elizabeth II’s representative in Canada, describes her as “hostile”, “poisoned”, and “toxic”, news outlets reported on Wednesday.

Payette, a 57-year-old former astronaut, resigned from the post last week after holding the largely ceremonial position since 2017.

Canadian media, including the country’s biggest outlets, obtained a redacted version of the report on Wednesday evening under an access to information law.

The document was ordered by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government in July.

“Yelling, screaming, aggressive conduct, demeaning comments and public humiliations”, are among the behaviours it lists.

Canada ex-governor general Julie Payette. PHOTO: AFP

The testimony comes from 92 employees, ex-employees and other individuals familiar with the work environment at Rideau Hall, the official residence of the governor general, including some 20 people who reported acts of harassment.

Nearly half the feedback collected in the report by independent consulting firm Quintet referenced a “hostile or negative” environment, or both.

More than a quarter of respondents spoke of a “toxic” or “poisoned” atmosphere, according to the 132-page report summarised by broadcasters CBC and CTV as well as the Globe and Mail daily.

The report concluded that there was a serious problem requiring the immediate attention of Canada’s Privy Council Office, which supports the prime minister and Cabinet.