CBC's President, in 2013, dismissed all allegations of sexual harassment in Toronto

On Friday, in the wake of all the allegations against former CBC radio host Jian Ghomeshi, CBC President Hubert Lacroix issued a statement noting, among other things, that:

“As I told a parliamentary committee last year, we have a robust system of training and policy in place to try to create a safe work environment, and to investigate and respond appropriately if incidents occur. This case raises concerns that our systems have not been enough, and that upsets us deeply.”

The parliamentary committee he speaks of is the House of Commons Standing Committee on the Status of Women. Lacroix appeared before it on March 5, 2013 as part of the committee’s study into sexual harassment in federal government workplaces. Lacroix, in his testimony then, was dismissive of the work my colleague Brian Lilley had done using Access to Information requests about sexual harrassment at CBC.

Here is what Lacroix told the parliamentary committee in the spring of 2013, a time, we now know, when Ghomeshi was engaged in behaviour which is now the subject of a broader CBC investigation [the emphasis below is mine] :

CBC/Radio-Canada currently has 8,599 employees across Canada, 4,597 men and 4,002 women. Over the past three years, the corporation has received, in all of the 48 cities across Canada and the territories where we have a presence, a total of three complaints of sexual harassment. In one case, an employee received a written reprimand. In the second, an employee received a written reprimand and was ordered to take sensitivity training. In the third case, the employee was suspended for two days and also ordered to take sensitivity training.
As far as I’m concerned, one complaint is one too many, and we continue to strive to improve our record.

In 2007, all employees, as well as their managers across the organization, were required to complete “Respect in the Workplace” training. That included the President and Chief Executive Officer. This training was a joint program developed and offered by the unions and management. Right now, we are running an online training session against violence in the workplace, which every employee is required to complete. Once again, that includes the President and Chief Executive Officer.

Today, across the entire corporation, we do not have a single outstanding complaint of sexual harassment.

I am proud of our continuing efforts to ensure that people who work at CBC/Radio-Canada can thrive in an environment that is free from harassment of any kind.
Given our record, you might wonder why you have been seeing stories in Quebecor newspapers, the Sun and Le Journal de Montréal, and also on the television network Sun TV, suggesting that CBC/Radio-Canada is a hotbed of sexual harassment. Quebecor Media based its story on an access to information request that it made, and that asked for, and I quote: “Provide copies of all documents, including e-mails, complaints, memos, internal reports etc., regarding reports of harassment or inappropriate behaviour involving CBC employees since January 1, 2010. Please limit the search to the Toronto and Ottawa operations of CBC.”

We provided this information. There’s a copy right here in front of me of 1,454 pages, mostly e-mails between human resources staff, working to resolve human resources issues. Most of those details are blacked out because they contain personal information. That’s the law. Quebecor’s Brian Lilley used that as an excuse for speculation and innuendo. Here I quote from a QMI story that ran in Le Journal de Montréal on January 31.

It says “CBC/Radio-Canada provided a pile of documents relating to 1,454 cases processed between January 1, 2010 and halfway through 2012, limited to the Toronto and Ottawa offices”.

Lilley further linked the CBC to sexual harassment at the RCMP, and linked us also to the recent revelations of sexual abuse at the BBC, the now famous Jimmy Savile story.

He insists that he’s just doing his job, holding us to account.

Well, if that were true, you would think he might have asked us a single question before he launched his attack.

If he had, we could have told him the facts: of the two locations he requested, Toronto and Ottawa, over the time period he requested, since January 1, 2010, we have had one complaint of sexual harassment, which we addressed.

As we learned this week, there was at least one that CBC missed or ignored.

* Here, incidentally, is  how the National Post reported on Lacroix’s attack on Lilley.

4 thoughts on “CBC's President, in 2013, dismissed all allegations of sexual harassment in Toronto”

  1. You guys are pathetic. No matter what the CBC does or doesn’t do, you find a way to twist it and spin it to try to make them look bad. Is Spun News totally without flaws among its staff? I doubt it. (Two words: Ezra Levant.) For one thing, you all kiss Peladeau’s ass at every opportunity to support him and his hatred of the CBC. You should all be ashamed of yourselves and get a real job. The only problem with that is then you’d have to be real journalists instead od sleazy sensationalists.

    1. Yes you’re right Rick… Were the truth revealed hell or high water may come, or they do often revel in the truth come hell or high water

  2. The president of the CBC was appointed by Harper. This appointee has been towing the conservative line by shutting down programming that is beneficial to ALL Canadians. Harper wants to convert Sun News into the country’s national news channel.

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