Harassment: a cell of inquiry to the office of the prime minister

News 5 February, 2018
  • File Photo, AFP
    The prime minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau

    QMI agency

    Monday, February 5, 2018 19:03

    Monday, February 5, 2018 19:03

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    OTTAWA | A cell in charge of handling cases of harassment involving employees of the ministerial offices has been created in the greatest secrecy, this fall, within the office of the prime minister.

    Composed of two persons, the Office for the resolution and investigation of harassment “manages the queries that are presented to it, it responds and, if necessary, it can put in place an independent investigation official”, confirmed Monday the press officer for the office of Justin Trudeau, Chantal Gagnon.

    Established in October 2017, the cell is headed by the human resources officer of the firm, Brett Thalmann. The other resource person is Sabina Saini, deputy director of policy in the office of the prime minister.

    “In the past few years, we have worked with a number of experts, advisors and lawyers to ensure that all the right processes were in place. We followed their advice,” said Justin Trudeau on his arrival at the House of commons on Monday afternoon.

    The existence of this cell was set to the day after the publication of a blog post on the site, HuffPost, written by a young woman who has been a candidate for a job within the federal government.

    In his text, Myriam Denis, a former employee of provincial ministers in Ontario and Quebec, reveals she was subjected to a hiring process malaisant, during which it has been confronted with insinuations of a sexual nature and physical contact unsolicited.

    In July 2017, a year after being denied the job, one of the men who had passed in a telephone interview he wrote on Facebook.

    Claude-Éric Gagné was approached by Myriam Denis, saying that, although he wasn’t doing that in normal times, he had been unable to resist the temptation to write to him. “I find you so pretty! I have not been able to stop me”, one can read in a message exchange obtained by the Huffpost.

    Mr. Gagné held until recently the position of deputy director of operations Justin Trudeau. He had been suspended in November following a complaint of inappropriate behaviour. He finally resigned last week, after having been the subject of an independent investigation.

    This is when Myriam Denis was shared on the social networks the news of the suspension of Mr. Gagné, as well as his bad experience with him, that the director of the new office, Brett Thalmann, communicated with it, revealing by the very fact of the existence of the investigation unit.