The review of Rideau Hall that led governor general Julie Payette to resign found dozens of people who called the working conditions there hostile, negative, toxic or poisoned.
The government released the findings of the review, conducted by Quintet Consulting Corp., on Wednesday evening.
It’s heavily redacted, primarily to protect participants’ privacy, and whole pages of details are blacked out or removed.
But the report says representative descriptions told to Quintet about Rideau Hall included phrases such as “the definition of a poisoned work environment,” “humiliation,” “disrespect” and “condescension.”
“Quintet concludes that there is a serious problem that requires PCO (Privy Council Office) immediate attention,” says the report.
Payette resigned last Thursday, one week after the government received the report from Quintet. It was commissioned by the Privy Council Office to look into CBC reports that Payette and her secretary, Assunta Di Lorenzo, had presided over a toxic workplace. Di Lorenzo also resigned.
Quintet interviewed 92 current and former employees and “knowledgeable individuals” who had worked with Rideau Hall during Payette’s tenure.
“Fewer than 10 participants … reported only positive or neutral information about the work environment,” the report says.
“However, the overwhelming majority of participants described experiences that would objectively be considered ‘concerns and allegations,'” the report says.
Specifically, 43 participants “described the general work environment as hostile, negative or other words to that effect.”
Twenty-six “specifically used the words ‘toxic’ or ‘poisoned,'” eight “used the expressions climate/reign of fear/terror and 12 participants said they were ‘walking on eggshells.'” the report says.
As well, 20 participants “reported having witnessed harassment in their workplace or referred to harassing behaviours in the workplace.”
Still, Quintet says it received only one formal complaint about harassment, which was unrelated to the issue it was hired to investigate.
Payette has admitted to no specific wrongdoing. She said in a statement last week that she was resigning for the good of the institution.