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OPSEU calls for Canadore management to be pulled and investigator's report to be shared

'Their stories are heart-wrenching, and I salute their tremendous courage and determination to achieve justice'
20190305 Canadore College 2
File photo.

OPSEU is urging Colleges and Universities Minister Ross Romano and Labour, Training and Skills Development Minister Monte McNaughton to put Canadore College Chair Bob Nicholls, President and CEO George Burton, and Vice-President Shawn Chorney on leave, and bring in an interim administrator.

The union’s call comes as the college continues to refuse to share the report of the independent, third-party investigator who looked allegations of harassment and bullying by senior managers. 

“OPSEU met with over 60 members last night and heard shocking accounts of workplace harassment and psychological abuse,” said OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas in a release.

“Their stories are heart-wrenching, and I salute their tremendous courage and determination to achieve justice.”

In light of Canadore’s refusal to publish the report, Thomas says his members have agreed to release their statements to OPSEU for a report to be presented to both ministers.

Canadore President and CEO George Burton said very little to the media Tuesday night when addressing the recent release of the third-party investigator's report. 

"As we stated, the report was received by the executive committee of the board, tonight it will go to the full board and after this evening, the board will respond in due course," said Burton Tuesday night. 

"They will have some time to digest the contents of the report but beyond that, we are not going to make any further comment, as we said and we will stick to that course and that is the course that has been agreed to by the board."  

See related: Canadore employees meeting tonight to discuss Burton's refusal to release report

See related: OPSEU calls for government intervention in Canadore's 'attempted cover-up'

See related: George Burton: 'Investigator's report won't be made public'

Thomas doesn't believe that reply from Burton is acceptable.  

“I’ve asked the college to share the report with OPSEU so affected parties can work towards fixing the terrible working conditions at Canadore,” said Thomas.

“I will continue to call for this fundamental act of justice. But if Canadore won’t do the right thing and push its senior leadership aside, then the government must step in.”

In addition to calling for the dismissal of Nicholls, Burton and Chorney, Thomas has asked for a statement from the government indicating there will be no reprisals for workers who speak up and speak out.

“Our colleges are places of learning and enlightenment,” said OPSEU Thomas. “But Canadore’s management has learned nothing from this crisis, and its statement on the investigation smacks of cover up.

“OPSEU’s first priority is to protecting its members by ensuring they work in a secure and healthy workplace,” he continued. “We’re also committed to an environment where students can feel safe. When Canadore’s management makes light of multiple allegations of a toxic workplace, it’s clear to me their priorities lie entirely elsewhere.

“We’re going to keep fighting until we see the report so we can bring some closure for our members and work with Canadore to prevent this from ever happening again.”