Headline News By Zi-Ann Lum, Ryan Maloney 344 Views

Governor General Julie Payette Resigns After Workplace Harassment Probe

OTTAWA — Julie Payette has resigned as governor general following the completion of an investigation of workplace harassment allegations at Rideau Hall.

Payette issued a statement Thursday confirming earlier reports that she would step down as the Queen’s representative in Canada.

“I am a strong believer in the principles of natural justice, due process and the rule of law, and that these principles apply to all equally,” she wrote. 

“Notwithstanding, in respect for the integrity of my vice-regal Office and for the good of our country and of our democratic institutions, I have come to the conclusion that a new Governor General should be appointed. Canadians deserve stability in these uncertain times.”

The development follows reports by The Globe and Mail and the CBC that an independent third-party probe of allegations, hired by the Privy Council Office last summer, had been completed. Sources told the newspaper the review painted a negative image of the governor general.

Allegations Payette fostered a “toxic” workplace culture at Rideau Hall were first reported by CBC News in July. Current and former employees claimed the former governor general bullied and humiliated staff, sometimes in front of other people, and had reduced staffers to tears with belittling remarks.

‘We all experience things differently’: Payette

Payette said no formal complaints or official grievances were filed against her. Repeating what she said about the allegations when the story first broke, she said she takes the allegations very seriously.

“Not only did I welcome a review of the work climate at the [Office of the Secretary to the Governor General], but I have repeatedly encouraged employees to participate in the review in large numbers,” she said. “We all experience things differently, but we should always strive to do better, and be attentive to one another’s perceptions.”

Her decision to resign from her role comes at an opportune time, she said, explaining her father’s health has “seriously worsened in the last few weeks and my family needs my help.”

Payette thanked Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for the “incredible opportunity” to serve as governor general and extended her gratitude to Canadians, calling her tenure in the role an “honour and a privilege.”