The Current

Rubin report on Ghomeshi sparks debate on if it can fix the CBC

CBC president, Hubert Lacroix is troubled and disappointed by the findings in a report looking into the workplace behaviour of former host Jian Ghomeshi, and how management mishandled that behaviour. The report has recommendations of how to make your public broadcaster a better place to work but can it fix the CBC?
Canadian Broadcasting Corp. president and CEO Hubert Lacroix says the Janice Rubin investigation on how CBC management handled former Q host Jian Ghomeshi points "to lapses in our system and concerns about our culture." (The Canadian Press/Tom Hanson)

"... I offer a sincere and unqualified apology to our employees and to Canadians who have a right to expect a higher standard from their public broadcaster." - CBC President Hubert Lacroix

After a five-month long investigation into the CBC's handling of the Jian Ghomeshi situation, and interviews with 99 people, but not the former radio host himself, employment lawyer Janice Rubin's report was released yesterday. And it was damning. It called out CBC management for failing to investigate reports of inappropriate behaviour in the workplace by the former host of Q.

The report says Mr. Ghomeshi's behaviour violated CBC standards, and led to "an intimidating, humiliating, hostile or offensive work environment." Ms Rubin said management knew - or should have known - about this behaviour and failed to follow its own policies "to ensure that the workplace was free from disrespectful and abusive conduct." 

The release of the report came as CBC announced the departures of two managers, Todd Spencer, the Executive Director of Human Resources and Industrial Relations and Chris Boyce, Executive Director of Radio and Audio ... who was our boss at Talk Radio.

CBC would not elaborate on the details of their departures, and our attempts to reach both men were unsuccessful.

We also requested interviews with CBC president Hubert Lacroix, and Heather Conway, the Executive Vice President of English Services, but our requests were declined.

Mr. Ghomeshi, through his lawyer, also declined comment on the workplace investigation. Outside the CBC, he is facing criminal charges of sexual assault and overcoming resistance by choking after a number of women came forward with allegations of violence and harassment. His lawyer says he will plead not guilty to those charges.

Today, we're focusing on the workplace investigation, which revolves in large part around Mr. Ghomeshi's time at Q, To help dissect the so-called "Rubin report" and where the CBC goes from here, we were joined by three people.

  • Simon Houpt is the Globe and Mail's Senior Media Writer in Toronto  
  • Kelly Toughill is a former Toronto Star Reporter who's now the Director of the School of Journalism at University King's College in Halifax.
  • Howard Levitt is an employment and labour lawyer and a partner at Levitt & Grosman in Toronto.

What are your thoughts on the report? Do you think it gets at the root of what went wrong in the case of Jian Ghomeshi?

Email us from our website or find us on Twitter at @thecurrentCBC.

​This segment was produced by The Current's Gord Westmacott and Marc Apollonio.