Blais introduces Private Member’s Bill to allow for vacating a municipal councillor’s seat in cases of workplace violence and harassment

Stephen Blais, MPP for Orléans and Liberal Municipal Affairs Critic, introduced the Stopping Harassment and Abuse by Local Leaders Act today that, if passed, would create a process to vacate a municipal councillor’s seat for violations of workplace violence and harassment policies.

“Harassment and violence have no business in the workplace, and certainly no business around the municipal council table,” says Blais. “In any other work environment individuals would lose their job for these types of behaviours; municipal councillors must be held to that same standard.”

Recently, the cities of Ottawa, Brampton and Barrie have all concluded investigations into serious cases of workplace violence and sexual harassment by members of council.  In these cases, the most severe penalty that can be imposed on a municipal councillor is the suspension of pay for 90 days.  This punishment was applied in the Brampton case and was applied multiple times in the Ottawa case.

“Surely everyone can agree that there are some actions so egregious, such as workplace violence and harassment, that would warrant losing your job,” adds Blais.  “We need to give municipalities all of the tools available to protect employees from this kind of treatment.”

If passed, the Stopping Harassment and Abuse by Local Leaders Act would permit municipalities to direct the Integrity Commissioner to apply to the court to vacate a member’s seat for failing to comply with the municipalities workplace violence or harassment policies.

“I am calling on all members of the legislature to join me in trying to stop harassment and abuse by local leaders,” adds Blais.