Report to Members on the Complaints Filed after the 2018 Annual General Meeting

In June, the national executive council (NEC) emailed members about an incident at the 2018 annual general meeting (AGM). We didn’t say what or who it was about because a complaint had been filed against a member. Our bylaw describes the process for handling such complaints, and our Confidentiality Procedures specify that disputes between members and affiliates that are brought to the NEC are confidential.

The NEC received two other complaints after that email went out to members. Because the three complaints were all about the same event, the executive director processed them all together.

The third-party investigation

The association’s executive director engaged a third-party investigator experienced in workplace disputes, harassment and mediation. The principal members involved in the complaint agreed to using a third-party investigator and to the choice of the investigator.

To keep the investigation objective and the NEC at arm’s length, the executive director handled all tasks related to the investigation, and the NEC did not see certain documents until after the investigator provided his written findings.

The investigator interviewed the parties, listened to the AGM recording and reviewed the transcript. He also reviewed several relevant documents:

  • the association’s governance documents (the bylaw, as well as certain policies and procedures, such as the Workplace Harassment Policy and Workplace Harassment Procedures and the Confidentiality Policy and Confidentiality Procedures)
  • the federal legislation that governs our association (the Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act and its regulations)
  • the complaint letters submitted and the member’s response to them (as allowed in the bylaw)
  • the president’s letter advising the first complainant that the office would engage an independent investigator

The investigator’s findings

The investigator concluded that the complaints against the member were unsubstantiated. He concluded that the member had not broken any of the association’s policies or procedures, and that the member had not engaged in harassment.

Next steps

The principals have been informed of the investigator’s findings. Because the principals agreed to a third-party person handling it, and they agreed to this particular investigator, the NEC considers this investigation to now be closed.

The NEC has received a copy of the investigator’s report and will be addressing the recommendations in it.

Human resources committee

Wendy Barron, vice-president
Julia Cochrane, treasurer
Anne Louise Mahoney, past president
Gael Spivak, president

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