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Gov. Gen. Julie Payette’s office denies allegations of workplace abuse

Governor General Julie Payette nods giving royal assent of a government bill during a ceremony in the Senate chamber in Ottawa, Thursday, Dec. 12, 2019.
Governor General Julie Payette nods giving royal assent of a government bill during a ceremony in the Senate chamber in Ottawa, Thursday, Dec. 12, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

The office of Gov. Gen. Julie Payette is denying allegations that she has created a toxic work environment for staff at Rideau Hall.

“We deeply regret this reporting, which has no basis in the reality of working at the OSGG (Office of the Secretary to the Governor-General), and obscures the important work done by our dedicated staff in honouring, representing, and showcasing Canadians,” Payette’s press secretary Ashlee Smith said in a statement Tuesday.

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CBC News, citing multiple anonymous sources, reported Tuesday that multiple staff members of the Rideau Hall staff have departed due to mistreatment during Payette’s mandate. Four staffers have left the communications office during the coronavirus pandemic alone, CBC reported, with a fifth set to depart in the coming weeks.

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Those sources said Payette has “yelled at, belittled and publicly humiliated employees,” according to the CBC report. The governor-general, who has held the post since 2017, has reportedly thrown tantrums in her office and disparaged one employee’s work while tossing it away, the sources alleged.

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Smith said the Rideau Hall office has several “stringent” internal processes for employees to voice complaints and concerns about the workplace. She also said that “no formal complaint regarding harassment has been made” through any of those channels during Payette’s mandate.

Smith added that the OSGG has a lower than average employee turnover rate than other federal departments.

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“One of the benefits of the federal public service is that individuals have the ability to move across different departments, seek promotions, and gain new and valuable career experiences,” she said, which Payette encourages and “believes that career growth and opportunity are vitally important.”

Global News has not corroborated the claims contained in the CBC report.