Canadian ex-governor general made ‘poisoned’ workplace
Published: Jan 28, 2021 06:48 PM

Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid (R) and visiting Canadian Governor General Julie Payette shake hands prior to their meeting in Tallinn, Estonia, Nov. 27, 2019. Canada's Governor General Julie Payette on Wednesday started a two-day visit to Estonia for talks on bilateral ties and cooperation. (Xinhua/Guo Chunju)

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 Wednesday. 

Payette, a 57-year-old former astronaut, resigned from the post on January 21 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 Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government in July.

"Yelling, screaming, aggressive conduct, demeaning comments and public humiliations," are among the behaviors it lists.

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 of the feedback collected in the report by 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 summarized 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.

According to the report, employees complained that they did not have independent channels through which to raise concerns about the work environment at Rideau Hall.