House of Assembly
November 21, 2018

Standing Committee on Privileges and Elections Tables Interim Report on the Development of a Legislature-Specific Harassment-Free Workplace Policy

The Standing Committee on Privileges and Elections tabled an interim report today in the House of Assembly providing an update on its work to develop a Legislature-specific harassment-free workplace policy. The report includes a summary of some common themes the Committee has noted throughout its consultations and jurisdictional analysis, along with a preview of directions it will be taking in its final recommendations to the House. It also includes a recommendation for immediate action regarding mandatory training for all current MHAs to be offered as soon as possible. The Committee will table its final report during the Spring 2019 sitting.

The Privileges and Elections Committee was ordered to complete this work by a Private Members’ Resolution unanimously passed by the House of Assembly on May 2, 2018. The Committee has met regularly throughout the Summer and Fall 2018, with a significant portion of the work completed to date focused on consultations with Members, employees, and independent/external groups as required by the resolution.

The themes highlighted in the interim report represent only a selection of the perspectives and ideas the Privileges and Elections Committee has heard over the last several months. The final report will include further analysis of perspectives and ideas shared throughout the consultations, along with detailed recommendations for a Legislature-specific harassment-free workplace policy. It will also include any recommendations for amendments to the Code of Conduct for Members and its related processes, and other consequential statutory amendments.

The Privileges and Elections Committee feels it is important to take the necessary time to get this work done properly, and to ensure that the unique nuances and specificities of the parliamentary setting and the work of elected officials are taken into consideration. The Committee recognizes the importance of leading by example in this area, and will work diligently over the coming months to develop a policy that is sensitive to gender-based and power imbalance issues; inclusive of everyone; and creates a process for investigation of complaints that protects confidentiality of those involved.

Members of the Privileges and Elections Committee are:
Scott Reid (Chair) – St. George's-Humber
Lorraine Michael (Vice Chair) – St. John's East-Quidi Vidi
Keith Hutchings – Ferryland
Pam Parsons – Harbour Grace-Port de Grave
John Finn – Stephenville-Port au Port

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Learn more

Interim Report to the House of Assembly on the Development of a Legislature-Specific Harassment-Free Workplace Policy PDF icon

Jurisdictional Research PDF icon

Media contact
Bobbi Russell
Policy & Communications Officer
House of Assembly
709-729-1178
bobbirussell@gov.nl.ca

Background

Private Members’ Resolution – May 2, 2018

BE IT RESOLVED that this Honourable House support the introduction of a legislature-specific harassment policy, similar in principle to the policy in effect in the Nova Scotia provincial legislature, where elected representatives and their staff are held responsible for inappropriate conduct;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this Honourable House, through the introduction of a legislature-specific harassment policy, recognize all forms of harassment including bullying, cyber-bullying and intimidation of all forms;

AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this Honourable House develop this legislature-specific harassment policy through the Privileges and Elections Committee of this House in consultation with all Members and employees of the House and with independent groups who have experience and expertise in handling harassment complaints”.

2018 11 21                              3:55 p.m.