Senate staffers fear new harassment policy being blocked by senators

·1 min read

OTTAWA — Some Senate staffers are concerned that a new policy meant to protect them from workplace harassment is being blocked in the upper house by a handful of senators.

But Sen. Marilou McPhedran, who is leading the charge against the new policy, has no intention of backing down.

She contends the new policy would silence victims and is even worse than the existing one, which did little to protect staffers from sexual misconduct, harassment and bullying.

Sen. Raymonde Saint-Germain, chair of the subcommittee that drafted the new policy, says the confidentiality requirement is aimed primarily at assuring complainants their privacy will be protected.

Staffers on the Senate's workplace health and safety committee say they're worried the policy will end up languishing on the order paper and eventually die if there's an election.

The new policy has been in the works for three years, following the scandal involving former senator Don Meredith, who the Senate ethics officer found to have engaged in inappropriate behaviour toward staffers. He resigned in 2017.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 22, 2021.

The Canadian Press