House of Assembly
April 8, 2019
Standing Committee on Privileges and Elections Tables Final Report on the Development of a Legislature-Specific Harassment-Free Workplace Policy
The Standing Committee on Privileges and Elections tabled its final report in the House of Assembly today (Monday, April 8) respecting the development of a legislature-specific harassment-free workplace policy. This work was directed to the Committee by a Private Members’ Resolution unanimously passed by the House on May 2, 2018.
The final report includes a proposed Harassment-Free Workplace Policy Applicable to Complaints Against Members of the House of Assembly and a recommendation that it be adopted by the House. The Privileges and Elections Committee is pleased to recommend a proposed Policy that:
- Outlines a comprehensive definition of harassment;
- Provides a confidential support mechanism through the establishment of a position, independent of the Legislature (including its statutory offices), to provide support and guidance to individuals throughout the process;
- Assigns jurisdiction for the complaint and resolution process, including formal investigations, to an independent office of the Legislature (Office of the Citizens’ Representative);
- Establishes a clear process for complaints;
- Provides both informal and formal resolution options;
- Includes mechanisms to protect confidentiality of the complainant and witnesses (to the extent possible, complying with principles of procedural fairness); and
- Makes respectful workplace training mandatory for all MHAs.
In addition to the proposed Policy, the Committee recommends changes to the principles of the Code of Conduct for Members of the House of Assembly; as well as the Code of Conduct provisions outlined in the House of Assembly Accountability, Integrity and Administration Act (HOAAIA). There are also recommendations for other consequential statutory amendments to the HOAAIA to give effect to the proposed Policy.
The final report of the Privileges and Elections Committee follows many months of analysis, consultations, and deliberations. The Committee recognized the importance of this work, as well as the expectation that the Legislature must lead by example in this area. It worked diligently to develop a policy applicable to complaints against elected officials that creates a clear process; provides options for resolution; is complainant-driven; and protects confidentiality. The proposed Policy is intended to create a cultural shift; foster a better work environment; and hold elected officials to the highest standard of behaviour.
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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Final Report to the House of Assembly on the Development of a Legislature-Specific Harassment-Free Workplace Policy:
Further information on the work of the Privileges and Elections Committee:
Policy & Communications Officer
House of Assembly
2019 04 08 2:30 p.m.