Gov.-Gen. Julie Payette resigns following ‘scathing’ workplace review

By: Levon Sevunts
Canada’s Governor General, Julie Payette, resigned on Thursday after an outside workplace review found the former astronaut presided over a toxic work environment at the vice-regal office.
In a statement, Payette acknowledged that tensions at her office in Rideau Hall in Ottawa had risen “over the past few months” and offered her apology.
“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,” Payette said.
“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.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said “every employee in the Government of Canada has the right to work in a safe and healthy environment.”
“Today’s announcement provides an opportunity for new leadership at Rideau Hall to address the workplace concerns raised by employees during the review,” Trudeau added.
The Privy Council Office, which oversees Canada’s federal public service, initiated the review in July following reports that Payette and her secretary, Assunta di Lorenzo, were harassing employees.
The allegations were first reported by CBC News.
Earlier on Thursday, the Globe and Mail newspaper, citing confidential sources, reported that the independent review of workplace abuse allegations had been completed, and that it paints “a very negative picture” of Payette.
The Governor General is the Queen’s representative in Canada and acts as the head of state in her absence.
Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada Richard Wagner will serve as the acting Governor General, Trudeau said.
“A recommendation on a replacement will be provided to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and announced in due course,” he added.