Nova Scotia

Supervisor in Metro Transit racism case no longer employed by city

Arthur Maddox was named in a decision by a Nova Scotia human rights board of inquiry as the perpetrator of most of the wrongdoing in complaints about racist behaviour.

Municipality won't say when Arthur Maddox stopped working for Metro Transit, citing confidentiality

Halifax Regional Municipality confirmed Wednesday that the Metro Transit supervisor named in a Nova Scotia human rights board of inquiry decision as the perpetrator of racist and aggressive behaviour no longer works for the municipality. (Robert Short/CBC)

The Metro Transit supervisor who was named in a Nova Scotia human rights board of inquiry decision as being the perpetrator of racist and aggressive behaviour is no longer employed by the municipality, a spokesperson confirmed Wednesday.

Arthur Maddox was fired in 2000 but was later reinstated because of provisions in the collective agreement. It's unclear when his employment ended.

"As a policy [not specific to this incident] we don't discuss how or why an employee left a position or employment timelines, as those are considered confidential personnel matters," said municipal spokesperson Nick Ritcey.

Call for independent inquiry

Meanwhile, a group that supports employment equity in Nova Scotia is calling for an independent public inquiry into the municipality as an employer.

Judy Haiven, an activist at Equity Watch, said she is concerned about the sheer number of complaints about the municipality, including those of firefighter Liane Tessier, black firefighters and two people who work in clerical support who allege bullying.

"I think it's very lamentable that this has taken over a dozen years for this to come to a resolution," Haiven said.

Haiven said her group doesn't have confidence the municipality is going to be able to perform an inquiry that would go far enough.

"We feel that the province has to organize or some higher body has to organize an inquiry that's going to look at what's going on in terms of bullying and discrimination in HRM [as an employer]," said Haiven.

Municipality's apology

On Tuesday, Halifax's CAO Jacques Dubé apologized for racist behaviour at the Metro Transit bus garage outlined in a ruling by the Nova Scotia human rights board of inquiry involving an employee who said he experienced discrimination and harassment dating back to 2000.

The decision could cost the municipality close to $1 million.

Dubé said there would be disciplinary action as a result of the decision. He said the municipality "made a lot of strides but clearly we have lots more work to do." 

Haiven said she doubts Dubé's words will result in meaningful change.

"The onus is on HRM to have a safe and non-discriminatory workplace, but of course somebody has to push them to do it. And I don't think Jacques Dubé's statement is going to give anybody any pause to think it will be done," Haiven.

With files from Elizabeth Chiu