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Statement by OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas on the College Employer Council’s involvement in Canadore College

Toronto – As President of the union representing employees at Canadore College, I acknowledge the College Employer Council for taking an interest in the independent investigator’s report into allegations of harassment, bullying and abuse of power at Canadore.

I am pleased the Council decided to speak and shares OPSEU’s concerns around the ability of staff and students to thrive in a safe working and learning environment.

However, it’s difficult to resolve the situation without having access to the investigator’s report. That is why OPSEU has been calling repeatedly for Canadore to share it with the bargaining agent. We have also urged the college to work together with us on a process to bring remediation to a toxic workplace.

The investigator’s report cannot remain Canadore’s secret, otherwise accountability is stymied, victims are isolated and remediation is compromised. The Council, as employer representative, should ensure that it also obtains a copy of the report to ensure accountability.

We believe that making Canadore safe for workers will require the involvement of OPSEU members who say they have been victimized. Cumulatively and individually, they fear reprisal from Canadore’s management and require assurances from both the college and the Council that they will not be victimized again.

On behalf of the 165,000 members OPSEU represents, including many thousands of college workers, I urge the College Employer Council to work with both Canadore and OPSEU on developing a process that will shed light on events at the college and bring closure and healing to those who have suffered abuse.

It is clearly in the best interests of Canadore to come clean on the matter. It’s in the Council’s best interests to be seen to be safeguarding the integrity of Ontario’s college system, which has been tainted by what has occurred at Canadore.

I look forward to working with the College Employer Council to address the workplace culture at Canadore. Anything less would call into question the Council’s very existence.

For more information: Warren (Smokey) Thomas, 613-329-1931