Rideau Hall called a ‘toxic work environment’ under Payette with ‘screaming, public humiliation’

Julie Payette resigned as governor general last week after scandal broke out about her treatment of staff
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A scathing report into Julie Payette’s office as governor general reveals a toxic work environment at Rideau Hall.

An independent review was conducted by Quintet Consulting Corp. and released on Wednesday evening by the federal government. 

The report examined the workplace culture at Payette’s office and found allegations of “yelling, screaming, aggressive conduct, demeaning comments and public humiliation” that were often persistent.

Quintet interviewed 92 current and former employees, including “knowledgeable individuals” who worked under Payette at Rideau Hall.

The report describes the work environment at Rideau Hall as being contaminated with “disrespect,” and “humiliation,” while others said it was “the definition of a poisoned work environment”. 

Some individuals confessed that they felt “worn out” and “stressed out” while working under Payette.

In fact, out of the 92 individuals interviewed, “fewer than 10 participants … reported only positive or neutral information about the work environment,” the report stated.

Of of those interviewed, 43 described the work environment as “hostile, negative, or other words to that effect”, while 26 individuals “specifically used the words ‘toxic’ or ‘poisoned’”.

The report also stated that 20 individuals “reported having witnessed harassment in their workplace”, and 17 individuals said they had to leave their jobs because of the work environment. 

According to the report, 16 people left Rideau Hall in less than a full year while Payette was governor general. She resigned from her position as governor general last week, but she is eligible for a pension of up to $150,000 per year for life, under the current Governor General Act.

Upon her resignation, Payette released a statement on Jan. 21 in which she said “Everyone has a right to a healthy and safe work environment, at all times and under all circumstances. It appears this was not always the case at the Office of the Secretary to the Governor General. Tensions have arisen at Rideau Hall over the past few months and for that, I am sorry.”

Payette will be the first governor general in Canadian history to resign due to a scandal.

Featured Image: Courtesy of Bell Media

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