November 23rd General Committee / Workplace Harassment Update
Updated: Oct 2, 2021
Once again, the public was locked out of even the public portions of this meeting, and had to wait for the video to be uploaded the next day, before having even a hint of what happened at General Committee. It's now available at https://youtu.be/fHFdP5TbDoA. Score F for transparency – AAAA-GAIN Once again, ALL members of Council were present (i.e., even the respondent who a previous motion stated shouldn't be privy to the legal advice in this case), which once again begs the question why they were allowed to stay. Mike McCann was off screen when Council came back from their in camera session, and was not seen to vote. The now-released minutes state he left the meeting at 10:15pm (the meeting ran to 12:16am) The two motions coming out of the meeting were 1) that "the confidential notes concerning the discussion of a presentation regarding a confidential personal information and solicitor-client privilege - Workplace Investigation, be received"; and 2) "That staff in the Legal Services Department and/or representatives of Aird Berlis LLP undertake the actions required to implement the confidential direction provided". We don't, of course, have any information on what those actions may be. We can see, from the looks on many councillors' faces, and the end-time of the meeting, that it was not a pleasant evening.
What Can You Do?
This matter is ongoing, and there is still a chance that the councillors who voted against Ward's original amendments could block action taken in terms of justice for the complainant, or accountability for the councillor charged. Please continue to show them you're watching, and want them to do the right thing, and not block a proper investigation and course of accountable action in this case. By initially refusing to take investigative action on this workplace harassment case, they showed that workplace safety is not a priority, that (some) council members are immune to accountability, repercussions and punishment, and that they believe this type of behaviour from an elected official is acceptable. Once again, these are the Councillors who originally voted AGAINST an investigation, or taking other action in a case of a Councillor’s workplace harassment of a city employee: WARD 5: Robert Thomson – Robert.Thomson@barrie.ca 705-739-4275 WARD 6: Natalie Harris – Natalie.Harris@barrie.ca 705-739-4286 WARD 7: Gary Harvey – Gary.Harvey@barrie.ca 705-739-4217 WARD 8: Jim Harris – Jim.Harris@barrie.ca 705-739-4273 WARD 9: Sergio Morales – Sergio.Morales@barrie.ca 705-739-4256 A full list of Council members, and their contact information can be found here: https://www.barrie.ca/City%20Hall/MayorCouncil/Pages/default.aspx
1. https://www.canadaemploymenthumanrightslaw.com/2018/07/solicitor-client-privilege/ 2. taken from Chris Simon’s article: https://www.simcoe.com/news-story/10230391--uncharted-territory-barrie-committee-meets-in-camera-over-workplace-harassment-investigation-invo 3. Taken from official minutes of the General Committee Report from the meeting held October 20th, 2020: http://barrie.legistar.com/View.ashx?M=M&ID=810648&GUID=CC9E1D0B-16FE-4C79-9425-9C24D46176B0 4. ibid.