Fri. May 20th, 2022

An employee of the Royal Canadian Mint says bullying and harassment are still widespread in the Crown company – a claim that comes as a new report obtained by CBC News gives comprehensive recommendations to tackle racism and a “traumatic” and “toxic” working environment in the mint safety division.

Matthew MacAdam said he was accused by his production floor colleagues of a nervous breakdown. He said he was now speaking publicly in hopes of reforming.

At one point, he said, the climate in the workplace was so dire that he even considered suicide.

“I’ve never been in such a dark place in my entire life,” MacAdam said.

“If there’s one thing I can’t forgive from what happened to (the coin), it was that it brought me to that point.”

MacAdam, who is now long-term disabled at the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board, said a previous mint policy of withholding employee bonuses to compensate for time lost in the workplace set employees against each other.

MacAdam said his colleagues made rude and sexual remarks against him, criticizing his weight. He said his union leader even called his wife a sexist idiot.

And he’s just one of several employees reporting such abuse at mint.

SE: External review says toxic working environment persists at Royal Canadian Mint:

Toxic working conditions persist at the Royal Canadian Mint, says external review

An external review obtained by CBC News says that the section on protection services in the Royal Canadian Mint still has a toxic workplace culture, despite former employees talking about racism, discrimination and misogyny. An employee says harassment is widespread throughout the Crown company. 2:01

CBC News has obtained an edited copy of an August 11 report on the Mint Protection Department using a request for access to information. The coin was commissioned by investigators Arleen Huggins and Mireille Giroux of Koskie Minsky LLP, a Toronto law firm.

It investigated complaints about the work environment at Mint’s headquarters in Ottawa and racist comments and jokes in protective security services at the Winnipeg branch.

“It is clear that, although significant progress has been made, a toxic environment remains in place for operations in Ottawa,” the report said.

Mint is committed to implementing all 24 recommendations

The report makes 24 recommendations for improving the culture of mint in the workplace, complaint reporting, training and retention of employees – especially for women and people of color.

But the former protection officer who whistled on the coin said she is not convinced the results will make a lasting difference.

The probe was launched in the fall of 2020 after Joelle Hainzelin wrote an email to the coin’s president and CEO Marie Lemay describing incidents of racism and sexual harassment at work.

“The fact that no one has been fired – and when I was there, some people got promotions after behaving that way – does not inspire any confidence,” said Hainzelin, who worked as a mint protection officer in Ottawa from 2011 to 2019 .

Joelle Hainzlin, a former protection officer at the Royal Canadian Mint, whistled over violent racism and sexual harassment within her department. (Raphael Tremblay / CBC)

Hainzelin said she was called a “chimpanzee” by a male colleague and that team leaders and supervisors participated in other racist insults.

She also said she was sexually harassed on two occasions – once by a team leader.

The report says that the lack of targeted recruitment strategies for diversity and effective and consistent training, combined with a low number of women and people of color working as team leaders and in operations management, has resulted in “extremely low representations of women and BIPOC individuals (black, natives and others of color) in Ottawa. “

This situation, the report says, has “left a void for the recruitment and promotion of certain people with sexist and racist views who, although more hidden than before, still permeate the culture ‘behind the scenes’.”

The report said the mint’s workplace in Ottawa is not as concerned as it was before the fall of 2019, when some employees described it as “hell, highly toxic, unbearable and traumatic.”

The report says some mint employees from Ottawa and Winnipeg said they feared reprisals for employment for participating in the probe. Investigators said this indicates a lack of trust in management.

Marie Lemay, president and CEO of the Royal Canadian Mint, said the Crown company has already taken steps to prevent discrimination and harassment. (Justin Tang / The Canadian Press)

The 19-page report calls for the coin to establish an effective reporting system to fully document all allegations of discrimination and harassment by employees and to provide them with timely updates.

In a written statement to CBC News, Lemay said the coin is committed to implementing all of the report’s recommendations.

“The Royal Canadian Mint does not tolerate discrimination, harassment or inappropriate workplace behavior of any kind,” Lemay wrote.

“We investigate all complaints and do not hesitate to take disciplinary action when justified.”

Lemay said the coin has established a dedicated staffing position within the group of protective services to support diversity in the recruitment process and has introduced cultural bias screening for all new hires.

It has already launched a third-party platform where employees can anonymously report concerns in the workplace and mandatory unconscious bias and training in the prevention of harassment for all employees. It also recently adopted an action plan for diversity, equality and inclusion.

Union, mint worker calls for investigation throughout company

Clint Crabtree is the president and business agent of Amalgamated Transit Union 279, which represents protective security services in Ottawa. He said he was not aware of the review.

The Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC), which represents protection services in Winnipeg and other non-security staff in Ottawa, urges the coin to begin a full investigation into its work culture.

“We have received a complaint about a toxic workplace culture that has a significant impact on the mental health of employees,” said Randy Howard, national president of the Government Services Union, which is part of the PSAC.

“We urge the employer to launch a full investigation into the allegations of making the coin a better and safer place to work. We will also continue to represent our members who have been subjected to harassment and discrimination in the workplace.”

The coin said it has not received any notification from PSAC on this issue.

The protective services division is not the only one with problems, Hainzelin said. She said she had heard from employees in other departments who have been “scarred” by their experiences.

“If you want change, you have to come out and say something,” she said.

“It may seem difficult at first. It was for me. But when I saw the results of the people who came to me … You will always find help and resources and you will always find someone who has something in common with you . “

SE | Former mint worker says she faced racism at work:

Racism, allegations of sexual harassment by the Royal Canadian Mint

Several former security guards at the Royal Canadian Mint have told CBC News that they are facing a toxic work environment that included racism and sexual harassment. They said the atmosphere was so ugly that they feared retaliation if they filed complaints. 2:00

MacAdam said that while processing gold and silver by mint from 2013 to November 2019, the coin had a policy of repaying employee bonuses for lost time due to injuries. This policy, he said, “put people against each other” and made employees reluctant to report injuries in the workplace.

“I saw a guy cut his hand from end to end on a leaf, sneak it out,” he said. “Called the next day and said he cut his hand on a towbar because he did not want to be stigmatized.”

MacAdam said he had to take time off from surgery after injuring himself while moving precious metals in September 2016. He said he was injured again at work in December 2018.

When he returned to work, he said, his colleagues were furious with him.

“I had [a union member and departmental lead] came into my room and said to me, ‘You’re the reason we do not get a 10 percent bonus, and I’ve told everyone on the floor,’ MacAdam said.

The coin told CBC News that bonus policy is no longer in place.

MacAdam said his angry colleagues spread a rumor that he was providing sexual services for higher pay. After complaining, he said his supervisor admitted he “might have figured it out”.

MacAdam’s accusations were confirmed by a human resource investigation after he suffered a nervous breakdown. He has not returned to work since November 2019.

“I just felt very betrayed,” he said. “There needs to be a serious investigation of all departments, and I think the union really needs to stand here.”

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