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Report on Commons harassment policy shows 10 cases, no investigations

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June 21, 2016 - 4:30 PM

OTTAWA - The administrative arm of the House of Commons has processed 10 cases involving alleged harassment, sexual harassment and abuse of authority since its new policy came into effect more than a year ago, says a new report.

"Since none of these cases generated a formal complaint, no investigations were conducted during the reporting period," concludes Tuesday's annual report on the House of Commons policy on preventing and addressing harassment.

The multi-party Board of Internal Economy brought in a new policy in December 2014 following sexual misconduct allegations levelled against former Liberal MPs Scott Andrews and Massimo Pacetti by two female New Democrat MPs.

Both Andrews and Pacetti, who denied any misconduct, were suspended from the Liberal caucus and then left permanently ahead of their expected expulsion following the results of an independent investigation.

The policy, which is separate from the one developed to handle complaints between MPs, requires that how often it is used be publicly disclosed. Tuesday's report, the first since the policy was adopted, covers the period from Dec. 10, 2014, to March 31 of this year.

It also notes that seven of the cases were inquiries only, meaning that someone might only have asked for more information about their options.

Of the remaining three complaints, two were related to abuse of authority, and they were resolved informally. The other one, which involved harassment, was resolved successfully with the help of an external mediator.

The harassment policy is meant to protect the confidentiality of those involved and so the report provides few details, although it does say that MPs were the respondents in five cases.

It does not divulge their names, their political parties or the nature of those cases.

The report also says that 90 per cent of the complainants were female and 70 per cent of the respondents were male.

The policy deals with MPs as employers, as well as staff working for MPs — including House officers — and research offices, plus paid or unpaid interns and volunteers.

It does not apply to House of Commons administrative staff, who are covered by a different framework, or anyone who belongs to a union.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2016
The Canadian Press

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