The Doug Ford government is looking to protect political staffers in Ontario’s city halls. As reported by The Spec on February 21, 2024, Minister of Municipal Affairs Paul Calandra will be tabling legislation that would see Mayors and Councillors thrown out of office for workplace harassment. Ontario Liberal MPP Stephen Blais had similar legislation defeated by the Ford Government, at the time Min Calandra cited that the voter should be the one with the final say to remove an elected official from office. So what brought about this 180-degree reversal?

Activists for better workplace protections in political settings have put pressure on the government to reverse their reversal. Our question is, does this go far enough? What about Queen’s Park? Exactly how does the political workplace differ from an everyday workplace?

We thought it would be prudent to dive into this topic. To that end we invited to the podcast Jennifer Olchowy a former federal Conservative staffer, and Prof. Julie MacFarlane of the website:

A group advocating for the end of Non-Disclosure Agreements in workplaces.

The Spec:

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Nicholas Paul: sound editing.

The Quadrafonics: fantastic opening and closing tunes!

1 Comment

  1. Really great episode. I think it’s clear that NDAs should not be allowed to be used period, and they are being abused by, frankly, abusers.

    Next you should perhaps ask our mayors their thoughts on this legislation – and not in supporting it only as virtue signalling meaninglessness but actually saying yes everyone in my municipality – council members and staff – should be allowed to speak out against harassing behaviour by anyone. And yes, the public also has a right to know what sort of behaviour is happening and reports on complaints should not be hidden.

    I’m guessing that if by some miracle legislation is enacted, it will say it is only for new cases going forward. As your guests pointed out, it’s very likely that the will isn’t there to fix this by those who have themselves made employees sign NDAs to cover up their own bad behaviour.

    Kudos to Jennifer for never giving up and to Julie for her tireless efforts with her group to get rid of NDAs everywhere. They are essentially a licence to commit abuse. The other major problem with them is that it means that all other and future employees are not protected from abuse by these same abusers who often do this over and over again, because the prior victims can’t speak out and warn everyone else. And of course, the abusers get to stay and carry on as usual.

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