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Mercer workplace review invites 'knowledgeable individuals' to come forward

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The NWT Legislative Assembly has expanded its terms of reference into the investigation into the Clerk's Officer after a notice was issued on April 30. NNSL file photo

The workplace review into the Office of the Clerk of the NWT Legislative Assembly has been updated. 

The assembly issued a news release on April 30 on behalf of the Board of Management stating Quintet, the investigating firm, is now “authorized to identify and invite knowledgeable individuals to participate in the review. 

“This would include individuals with direct knowledge of the work environment within the Office of the Clerk or those having relevant information or documents relating to the work environment during the 19th Legislative Assembly.” 

All participants will be able to speak confidentially. 

It also allows anyone “with direct knowledge” of the office work environment or “those having relevant information or documents” related to the office since 2019 to speak voluntarily. 

The review and investigation into the Office of the Clerk is tasked with investigating concerns about the work environment from October 2019 to the present. 

Quintet, an Ottawa-based firm, gained national headlines earlier this year from its involvement in the workplace review of then Governor General of Canada Julie Payette. 

Payette resigned in January following Quintet’s final report which among other things demonstrated a toxic workplace at Rideau Hall involving yelling, screaming, demeaning comments, and public humiliations. 

The process of the Clerk’s office workplace review began in February when two workers came forward charging House Clerk Tim Mercer with creating a toxic work environment. 

They included April Taylor, an NWT Legislative Assembly staff member and Nicole Latour, NWT Chief Electoral Officer. 

Allegations stemming from harassment to creating a toxic workplace have also been made by Tu Nedhé-Wiilideh MLA Steve Norn on Feb. 15. 

Mercer has been on paid leave since Feb. 16 and has denied all allegations. 

Last month, the assembly stated that there were 38 potential participants who fit the terms of reference provided to Quintet. 

Nicole Bonnell, manager of public affairs and communications said in an email on May 4 that the Office of the Clerk is not privy to the number of individuals participating because Quintet is “authorized to identify and invite individuals directly.” 

A final report is expected to be completed by the end of June, although the Legislative Assembly has said that this is subject to change. 

That document will determine if there is enough evidence to show a toxic workplace and describe any other themes that stem from interviews with participants. 

It will also make recommendations for future action. 

No identities of individuals participating will be revealed. 

Cost estimates are currently at around $90,000, but could be as high as $160,000 depending on the number of participants who end up being involved. 

The cost of the investigation is to come out of the NWT Legislative Assembly’s budget.