Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration
Senate committee to issue statement of regret regarding the experiences of employees of former senator Meredith
June 25, 2020
Ottawa – The Chair of the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration (CIBA) will issue a formal statement of regret in the Senate Chamber to staff of former senator Don Meredith after a Senate Ethics Officer investigation found Mr. Meredith harassed or sexually harassed a number of his employees when he served in the Senate.
CIBA adopted a report of its Subcommittee on Human Resources on Thursday, June 25, 2020. The report recommended that CIBA publicly acknowledge the experiences of Mr. Meredith’s former employees and that an expert independent evaluator be engaged to determine, where appropriate, a financial award for employees impacted by the misconduct of Mr. Meredith. The evaluator’s determination will be based on recent settlements related to harassment in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Canadian Armed Forces and the Department of National Defence.
In a 2019 report, the Office of the Senate Ethics Officer concluded that Mr. Meredith had engaged in behaviour that “constitutes both harassment and sexual harassment,” substantiating complaints made about incidents that took place prior to 2016.
The matter was referred to the Standing Committee on Ethics and Conflict of Interest for Senators (CONF). Mr. Meredith, however, had resigned his Senate seat in 2017, shortly after CONF recommended his expulsion from the Senate for having used his position to pursue a sexual relationship with an underage person. As Mr. Meredith was no longer a senator, CONF could not pursue the matter.
CIBA subsequently took carriage of the file and provided Mr. Meredith’s former employees with the opportunity to share their experiences in confidence with committee members. Their testimony has informed the two recommendations made in the subcommittee’s report.
Senators have acted and continue to act to change how matters of this nature will be dealt with in the future. A new anti-harassment policy that provides for an independent assessment of complaints and a clear timeline for resolution is currently before the Senate. In addition, anti-harassment training has been mandatory for all senators, senators’ staff and members of the Senate Administration for the past two years.
- Senator Sabi Marwah, as chair of the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration, will issue a formal statement of regret in the Senate Chamber during Senators’ Statements on June 25, 2020.
- In determining whether financial compensation is appropriate, the expert independent evaluator will be instructed to take all facts contained in the Senate Ethics Officer’s 2019 report as true and proven. Former employees of Mr. Meredith will have the opportunity to present additional information, should they wish to do so. Every effort will be made to move this process along quickly.
- Human resources matters are generally dealt with in camera under Rule 12-16(1)(c) of the Rules of the Senate of Canada. The report of the Subcommittee on Human Resources was considered in camera and will not be released to the public. However, the report recommendations and the general substance of the report are reproduced in this news release.
“The actions of Mr. Meredith are reprehensible. His former employees have suffered greatly. It is my hope that the recommendations our committee has adopted and the additional measures taken thus far will bring some comfort to these individuals. I thank the members of the Subcommittee on Human Resources for their diligence.”
- Senator Sabi Marwah, Chair of the committee
“I commend the bravery and tenacity of these former employees. Their strength throughout this long and difficult process is a testament to the quality of the people who serve in this institution. We are making changes to ensure all Senate employees have the supports they need and deserve.”
- Senator Josée Verner, P.C., Deputy Chair of the committee
- Read the June 28, 2019 report of the Senate Ethics Officer: Inquiry Report under the Ethics and Conflict of Interest Code for Senators concerning former senator Don Meredith.
- Read the Ethics and Conflict of Interest Code for Senators.
- Read the revised Policy on the Prevention and Resolution of Harassment in the Senate Workplace.
For more information:
Public Relations Officer | Senate of Canada
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