News Release

The Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration - Subcommittee on Human Resources

Former Quebec appeals court judge to determine compensation for employees of former senator Meredith

July 7, 2020


Ottawa – The Senate of Canada has engaged a former justice of the Quebec Court of Appeal to determine appropriate financial awards for employees of former senator Don Meredith whom he harassed or sexually harassed.

The Honourable Louise Otis, who is also an adjunct law professor at McGill University and an accomplished mediator and arbitrator, will begin work this summer.

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” after having considered incidents that took place prior to 2016.

As a result, the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration (CIBA) agreed in June 2020 to engage an expert independent evaluator to determine, where appropriate, a financial award for employees affected by Mr. Meredith’s misconduct.

For the purpose of her assessments, as per CIBA’s decision, Ms. Otis will take all facts contained in the report of the Senate Ethics Officer as true and proven. Employees will have the opportunity to present additional information, should they wish to do so.

The work is expected to be completed by the fall. The extent of employee participation may affect the time it takes for Ms. Otis to conclude the evaluation process.

Given their personal nature, any discussions between Ms. Otis and former employees will remain confidential.

 

Quick Facts

  • Louise Otis serves as an assessor in the settlement of a class action lawsuit brought against the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) by women who were harassed and discriminated against while working or volunteering for the Mounties between 1974 and 2019.
  • Otis was engaged after the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration (CIBA) voted to adopt a report of its Subcommittee on Human Resources, which recommended the engagement of an expert independent evaluator.
  • The subcommittee also recommended that CIBA issue a formal statement of regret to affected employees. Senator Sabi Marwah, as chair of CIBA, delivered the statement in the Senate Chamber on June 25, 2020.
  • 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.

 

Associated Links

 

For more information:

Alexandra Scott-Larouche
Public Relations Officer | Senate of Canada
613-614-1180 | media@sen.parl.gc.ca