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Saskatchewan advocate for children and youth resigns after harassment complaints

Saskatchewan’s advocate for children and youth, Corey O’Soup, has resigned following an investigation into harassment complaints. File / Global News

Corey O’Soup, who was suspended from his duties as Saskatchewan’s advocate for children and youth, has resigned.

Speaker of the legislative assembly Mark Docherty announced Thursday afternoon that the board of internal economy suspended O’Soup as the result of an investigation into multiple harassment complaints.

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“Harassment cannot be tolerated in any workplace, and certainly not in the office of a statutory officer of the assembly,” Docherty said in a press release.

“I want to assure the staff members of the advocate’s office, and of all statutory offices, that we support their right to work in a safe and respectful environment. I fully intend to bring this matter before the assembly at the earliest opportunity in its next sitting.”

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The investigation was conducted by an independent party with extensive experience, the statement said. The investigator was not disclosed.

O’Soup tendered his resignation later on Thursday.

O’Soup released a statement saying, “I would like to first apologize to my family, friends, the children of Saskatchewan and to the staff members of the advocate’s office.”

He also went on to say, “[He] would like to take this opportunity to turn the focus back on the children of Saskatchewan, particularly the Indigenous children, who continue to be let down by the government systems that are supposed to be taking care of them. In the future I will continue to fight for the rights of our Indigenous children and youth in Saskatchewan.”

According to the statement, the harassment complaint stems from inappropriate electronic communication between him and one other individual at the advocate’s office “and was not physical in nature.”

The board has also appointed Mary McFadyen, who is the province’s ombudsman, to serve as interim advocate for children and youth.

The board appointed McFadyen to ensure the important operations of the office are able to continue uninterrupted.

READ MORE: Saskatchewan ombudsman says an income assistance rule is not fair

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The advocate for children and youth is a statutory officer of the legislative assembly of Saskatchewan. The advocate leads a team of professionals to advocate for the rights, interests, and well-being of children and youth in Saskatchewan.

O’Soup was appointed Saskatchewan’s advocate for children and youth on Aug. 3, 2016, and assumed the position on Nov. 1, 2016.

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