Ottawa, February 23, 2017 – Public Sector Integrity Commissioner, Joe Friday, tabled a case report of founded wrongdoing in Parliament today. In the report, Commissioner Friday finds that the former President of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), Dr. Bruce Archibald, and the then Vice-President of Human Resources at CFIA, Mr. Gérard Étienne committed gross mismanagement when they failed to take appropriate action to deal fairly and thoroughly with three serious harassment complaints filed against a Senior Executive, who reported directly to Dr. Archibald.
“Mr. Archibald and Mr. Étienne purposefully circumvented the CFIA harassment complaint process,” stated Commissioner Friday in his report. “They undermined the review process by involving the senior executive during the initial assessment of the harassment complaints and then decided not to investigate the complaints, in less than three days, without any written analysis, even though the complaints revealed serious allegations of harassment and abusive behavior.”
In addition to three harassment complaints, four executives of the CFIA submitted a memorandum to Mr. Étienne outlining their serious concerns about the same senior executive’s behaviour. This memorandum included annexes written by each of the executives in which they described their individual experience with the senior executive and what they had witnessed in the workplace.
“In the public sector workplace, harassment complaints must be taken seriously, especially when made against a senior executive occupying a position of significant responsibility and authority over employees. The situation described in this case report involved three serious harassment complaints, yet no due diligence was shown in how they were handled.” added the Commissioner.
Commissioner Friday made recommendations to the current President of CFIA concerning the measures to be taken to correct the wrongdoing outlined in this report which included taking appropriate action to ensure that the concerns raised in the three harassment complaints were responded to and that the needs and interests of anyone affected by the alleged harassment were addressed.
Mr. Archibald left the Public Service in October 2016 and Mr. Étienne is currently the Vice-President of Operations at the CFIA.
Please consult the case report for further details.
For more information, contact:
Office of the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner of Canada
Telephone: 613-946-2138 or 613-294-1678