Canada’s governor General Julie Payette resigns over workplace mistreatment report

Canada’s governor General Julie Payette resigns over workplace mistreatment report

Canada’s governor general, Julie Payette resigned after an external report found that workplace mistreatment at her official quarters of Rideau Hall in Ottawa had forced several employees to leave. This is the first time that a sitting governor general of Canada has quit over a controversy. Payette is a former astronaut and was serving in her position since 2017.

Julie Payette quit from her position of governor general after an independent review showed that she had overseen a toxic work environment in which staff were bullied to tears. The review was recently completed and sent to the council.

In the report the independent hired firm spoke with dozens of current and former employees. No details of the independent reviews have been revealed yet.

According to AFP, last July, the review was ordered by the government, when allegations of a “toxic” climate at Rideau Hall first surfaced.

‘The findings were “damning” in the context of workplace culture in Rideau Hall during Payette’s tenure’, CBC News reported.

Payette’s resignation follows previous allegations that she bullied staff at her official residence and on foreign trips.

On Thursday, while stepping down, she acknowledged the controversy. She apologised and said in her statement, “Tensions have arisen at Rideau Hall over the past few months and for that, I am sorry.”

 “For the good of the country and of our democratic institutions, I have come to the conclusion that a new governor general should be appointed. Canadians deserve stability in these uncertain times,”she added.

Payette took the allegations “very seriously” but she said that “no formal complaints or official grievances were made” during her tenure.

She clarified on her part and said that she was quitting her position as her father was unwell and her family needed her support.

A statement was also issued by the Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s office. It said, “Every employee in the government of Canada has the right to work in a safe and healthy environment, and we will always take this very seriously. Today’s announcement provides an opportunity for new leadership at Rideau Hall to address the workplace concerns raised by employees during the review.”

PMO said, “A recommendation on a replacement will be provided to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and announced in due course.”

In 2017, Julie Payette was picked by the Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau. Julie who is now 57 is the representative of Queen Elizabeth II as head of state, which is a largely ceremonial position. Last year anonymous staff told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation that they were berated by Payette to the point of tears. Others said that she would call their work “shit” and order them out of her office. After which the Privy Council office opened an investigation and hired an independent consulting firm. The Privy Council manages Canada’s federal bureaucracy and reports to the prime minister.

Payette’s secretary and a close friend, Assunta di Lorenzo, have also resigned.


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