CBC inquiry concludes management mishandled Jian Ghomeshi

CBC failed to provide its staff a workplace "free from disrespectful and abusive behaviour," says the report of an independent investigator hired to examine CBC's handling of the behaviour of former radio and television host Jian Ghomeshi.

2 CBC managers no longer with the corporation

Investigator's report on CBC's handling of Jian Ghomeshi

8 years ago
Duration 3:48
The independent investigator has found the CBC failed to provide employees a workplace free from disrespectful and abusive behaviour

CBC failed to provide its staff a workplace "free from disrespectful and abusive behaviour," says the report of an independent investigator hired to examine the corporation's handling of the behaviour of former radio and television host Jian Ghomeshi.

Janice Rubin, a Toronto employment lawyer with expertise in the field of workplace harassment, says in the report that Ghomeshi's behaviour violated CBC standards, and that his behaviour was "considered to create an intimidating, humiliating, hostile or offensive work environment."

The report says that as information was shared "upwards," it had a tendency to become "diluted."

"Less prevalent, but also present in a small number of cases, was behaviour that constituted sexual harassment," the report says, although it asserts that management was unaware of any complaints or allegations about sexual harassment.

It also says management failed to take steps in accordance with its own policies.

"It is our conclusion that CBC management condoned this behaviour."​​

Ghomeshi, the former host of CBC Radio's arts and culture show Q, was fired on Oct. 26, 2014, after executives saw what they described as graphic evidence that he had physically injured a woman. 

Rubin led the probe into the scandal that erupted as women came forward with sex and assault allegations against Ghomeshi. 

All CBC employees, including current and former employees who worked on Q or the television show Play while Ghomeshi was host, were invited to contact Rubin with their complaints or experiences regarding harassment, violence, discrimination or other inappropriate conduct.

Participation in the Rubin investigation was voluntary. Her report says 99 people were interviewed. Seventeen people, including Ghomeshi, chose not to be interviewed.

Additionally, the report's author said there was no evidence that an allegation of sexual harassment made by an employee in 2010 was brought to the attention of management, but that it was brought to the employee's union, and the union "failed to respond properly."

CMG national president Carmel Smyth said she's not privy to the information referred to and didn't know how Rubin came to that conclusion. "We could have done better, it's true," said Smyth.

CBC apologizes, 'confident we can do better'

During a conference call with reporters Thursday, CBC president Hubert Lacroix and Heather Conway, executive vice-president of English Services, offered an apology to employees, and to Canadians in general.

CBC inquiry finds management mishandled Jian Ghomeshi allegations

8 years ago
Duration 6:43
Ioanna Roumeliotis interviews CBC executive VP of English Services, Heather Conway

Lacroix called the report "troubling," and said it pointed to lapses at the corporation.

"I'm confident we can and will do better," Conway said.

In an interview with CBC's Ioanna Roumeliotis, Conway said what concerns her the most is that "there was a persistent pattern of behaviour that wasn't dealt with, because that is a series of missed opportunities, and over a period of years."

Rubin's report finds there were three instances where management failed to investigate allegations and concerns about Ghomeshi's behaviour while he was working for the corporation.

In a statement issued after the report, the CMG said it has been reviewing its approach to representing members facing harassment at work, and has developed "a more fulsome protocol."

"We support all efforts that ensure our workplaces are harassment free, and make the process of getting help clear, fair and effective," said CMG national president Carmel Smyth. "No one should have to suffer harassment at work in 2015."

CMG president on Rubin report

8 years ago
Duration 6:20
Carmel Smyth talks about the findings of a report for CBC on Jian Ghomeshi

Since Ghomeshi's dismissal, several women have made sexual harassment complaints against four other individuals. As a result, one employee, who was not on air, was fired last month.

Conway said that she is aware of the complaints. 

2 managers gone

Around the time the report was released Thursday, CBC announced that two senior managers — radio executive Chris Boyce and human resources executive Todd Spencer — have left the corporation.

Former CBC Radio host Jian Ghomeshi did not speak with lawyer Janice Rubin, who prepared the 'CBC workplace investigation regarding Jian Ghomeshi' report. (Reuters) (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press)

Boyce and Spencer had been placed on leave in early January. Boyce had featured prominently in a investigation by CBC's the fifth estate that looked into what CBC managers knew about the Ghomeshi scandal, and how they responded to it.

Conway declined to offer specifics around the departures.

Several women contacted police, accusing Ghomeshi of harassment and violence. He now faces eight charges, which include seven counts of sexual assault and one of overcoming resistance by choking. 

He has repeatedly denied taking part in any violent, non-consensual sexual acts.

Ghomeshi's lawyer has said he intends to plead not guilty to the charges.

Ghomeshi is free on $100,000 bail with numerous conditions.

He is due to return to court on April 28.

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With files from CBC's Ioanna Roumeliotis and The Canadian Press