2021 GPC Policy and Motion Development Process
Editing and refining policy, amendment, and directive ideas
G21-C007 Promotion and Protection of Diverse, Equitable, Inclusive, and Safe Spaces
To establish Article 13 as follows:
Article 13 Promotion and Protection of Diverse, Equitable, Inclusive, and Safe Spaces
1. The Green Party of Canada (the Party) is committed to providing an environment free of discrimination and harassment, where all individuals are treated with respect and dignity, can contribute fully, and have equal opportunities.
2. Every person has the right to be free from harassment and discrimination. Harassment and discrimination will not be tolerated, condoned, or ignored by the Green Party of Canada.
3. The Party also recognizes that harassment and discrimination limit the ability of people to participate fully in organizations such as ours and therefore in the practice of the democratic values that our organization endorses. Concomitant with its mission to elect Members of Parliament and impact Canadian politics, then, the Party pro-actively supports building awareness of harassment and discrimination and providing for the equitable participation of all Canadians in the political process.
4. The Party is committed to a comprehensive strategy to address harassment and discrimination in the organization, including:
4.1. Establishing, publicizing, and regularly revisiting this article;
4.2. Providing training and education to ensure that all Party members and staff know the rights that are provided to them and to visitors at Party events, the responsibilities they have under this article and Human Rights legislation, and the processes and procedures to follow in the event of a complaint;
4.3. Monitoring organizational systems to help ensure their design and function minimizes opportunities for harassment or discrimination and maximizes safety and inclusivity;
4.4. Providing an effective, accessible, and fair complaints procedure for both Complainant and Respondent;
4.5. Promoting appropriate standards of conduct at all times;
4.6. Ensuring that disciplinary or restorative measures are imposed, as necessary and as determined by process;
4.7. Promoting diversity on all committees and in all decision-making bodies.
5. To achieve the goals and commitments in this Article of the Party's Constitution, the Party shall have:
5.1. The Safe Spaces Committee which shall be responsible for addressing institutional matters as they relate to this Article;
5.2. The Conduct Committee which shall be responsible for investigative processes, disciplinary matters and enforcement of this Constitution, Party Bylaws, Member Code of Conduct, and the applicable Human Rights Codes.
To make additions to Article 7.3 as follows:
Complainant: the person making a complaint of harassment or discrimination. The Complainant may allege harassment or discrimination either as a victim or as a witness.
Harassment: engaging in a course of vexatious comment or conduct that is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome.
Office: a position of responsibility or some degree of executive authority, including any and all elected positions in the Party.
Reporter: the person depositing a record in which discrimination or harassment is alleged.
Respondent: the person alleged to have committed harassment or discrimination.
Volunteer: any person doing work or performing tasks for or on behalf of the Party for which they are not being compensated.
To establish Bylaw 13 as follows:
Bylaw 13 Conduct and Discipline
1.1. This bylaw applies to any event, activity, workplace, and spaces both physical and digital in which the Party is an organizer, sponsor, or employer, and to guests and volunteers of the Party.
1.2. This bylaw applies to any representative of the Party, including but not limited to:
1.2.3. Members of any committee of the Party
1.3. This bylaw applies at every level of the organization, including but not limited to:
1.3.1. Regional or Provincial Organizations and Alliances
1.3.2. Campaigns and Campaign Teams
1.3.3. Committees of the Party
1.4. This bylaw covers disciplinary and remedial action related to:
1.4.1. The Party's Constitution
1.4.2. The Party's Bylaws
1.4.3. The Party's Code of Conduct
1.4.4. Harassment and Discrimination
2. The Conduct Committee
2.1. The Conduct Committee shall be responsible for enforcing and carrying out this bylaw.
2.2. Members of the Committee:
2.2.1. Members shall be appointed by the Federal Council except:
18.104.22.168. A position on the Conduct Committee which shall be reserved for a person whose appointment is recommended by the Safe Spaces Committee;
2.2.2. Federal Councillors shall not make up more than one third (33%) of the membership of the committee;
2.3. The members of the Committee shall elect from among themselves a Chair.
2.4. The Conduct Committee shall be responsible for the collection of reports as specified in this bylaw.
2.5. The Conduct Committee is empowered by this bylaw to investigate complaints.
2.5.1. The Committee or a member of the Committee shall conduct the investigation; or the committee may delegate this responsibility to a member of the Party or qualified professional they deem to have appropriate skills and expertise.
2.6. In the course of its duties the Committee may:
2.6.1. Request cooperation of any official in the Party;
2.6.2. Institute temporary measures for the duration of the investigation including:
22.214.171.124. Requiring a Respondent to have no contact with a Complainant or witnesses involved in the investigation;
126.96.36.199. Prohibit participation in events, meetings, campaigns, or digital forums;
2.6.3. Request contact details of any person covered by this bylaw.
2.7. Disciplinary action may be taken against anyone who victimizes or retaliates against a Complainant or a Respondent. Likewise, disciplinary action may be taken against a Complainant who makes false claims of discrimination or harassment under this bylaw.
2.8. Managers, supervisors, and others in leadership positions (such as members of the Federal Council, directors of the GPC Fund, or executives in Electoral District Associations) who fail to respond to a complaint or to impose penalties duly determined by this by-law may be subject to disciplinary action.
2.9. Failure to cooperate with the Committee in an investigation may be considered an actionable offense under these bylaws.
3. Recognizing the therapeutic role of providing contemporaneous documentation of events and to provide evidentiary value in the future for Complainants, this bylaw offers the option of depositing a record.
3.1. A person (Reporter) may deposit a written personal account of their alleged experience of harassment or discrimination.
3.2. A person (Reporter) may also deposit an account of events they witness of harassment, discrimination, or other member misconduct.
3.3. All information recorded under this bylaw shall be kept secure and confidential.
3.4. No action shall be taken on these reports unless a complaint is initiated by the Reporter within which the record has evidentiary value.
3.5. A Reporter may withdraw a deposited record unless and until it is included or referred to in a complaint initiated by the Reporter.
3.6. Records deposited shall be destroyed according to the schedule of records retention observed by the Party and in compliance with all laws and regulations to which the Party may be subject.
4.1. Any person who considers they have experienced or witnessed an incident or course of incidents of discrimination, harassment, or other misconduct within this bylaw's scope may make a complaint.
4.2. In a complaint, the Complainant and the Respondent shall both have the option of engaging personal support and/or legal representation through the complaint process at their own expense.
4.3. The Complainant has the right to discontinue a complaint at any stage of the process without repercussions except any that may arise under Section 13.2.
4.4. The Respondent has the right to respond fully to any allegations made in a complaint.
4.5. Complaints and responses will be considered confidential to the degree possible; information shall only be conveyed to others where doing so is necessary to the process, to carry out any other step as requested by the Complainant, or to ensure the safety of others.
4.6. There shall be no presumption of guilt and no determination made in relation to any complaint until an investigation has been completed.
4.7. All complaints will be dealt with according to the principles of natural justice, which obliges those making decisions to be free of bias in the matter in which they are deciding and requires a fair hearing in which both Respondent and Complainant have the right to be heard and to have equal and fair access to the process.
5. Making a Complaint
5.1. To initiate the complaint process, the Complainant should contact:
5.1.1. The Chair of the Conduct Committee;
5.1.2. The Executive Director of the Party or any member of the Federal Council should any member of the Committee be implicated in the complaint in any way;
5.2. The Complainant will submit, orally, in writing, or through an intermediary:
5.2.1. a statement of complaint which includes details of any relevant actions or events, including dates, times, and places;
5.2.2. the names of potential witnesses;
5.2.3. the impact of the actions and events on them.
5.2.4. Supporting Documentation
5.3. The Respondent will be informed that a complaint has been made, will be given the statement of complaint and will be referred to this bylaw.
5.4. Both the Complainant and the Respondent will be given an explanation of the processes used to address complaints under this bylaw.
5.5. Both the Complainant and Respondent will be advised of their right to seek support services at their own cost.
5.6. The Respondent will have opportunity to respond, orally, in writing, or through an intermediary, to the allegations made and this response will be made available to the Complainant.
5.7. The Complainant will meet with representatives of the Conduct Committee to confirm that they wish to persist in the complaint and, if so, that they wish to pursue an informal or a formal resolution to the complaint.
6. Decision to Start a Complaint
6.1. The Chair of the Committee shall determine if a complaint is within the jurisdiction of the Committee and if the complaint is an actionable offense.
6.2. Should the Respondent not be a member of the Party nor hold any title, function, or role within the Party, the Chair of the Committee has the authority to prohibit the Respondent from participation in any Party event, activity, or space both physical or digital and bypass a formal or informal resolution process.
7. Investigation of a Complaint
7.1. The investigation of all complaints shall be impartial, timely, fair, and address all relevant issues.
7.2. The investigation shall, whenever possible, be completed within 45 days of its beginning.
7.2.1. An investigation shall be considered started when an investigator or investigators have been appointed.
7.3. Notwithstanding 13.7.2:
7.3.1. The time frame may be extended with the agreement of the Complainant and Respondent, or if justifiable circumstances prevent the full process being satisfactorily completed within the time frame.
7.3.2. If the time frame is extended, the Complainant and Respondent shall be informed of the revised time frame and the reasons for the extension.
7.4. In the event that there is a substantive agreement between the Complainant and the Respondent and a willingness by the Complainant to proceed to an informal resolution as defined by this bylaw, the investigation may be concluded.
7.5. Should the Complainant be unwilling to pursue an informal resolution, the investigation may continue after the response and may include:
7.5.1. Interviews with the Complainant(s), Respondent(s), and relevant witnesses suggested by the Complainant or Respondent(s);
7.5.2. Gathering of documents relevant to the complaint.
7.6. As part of any investigation:
7.6.1. Both the Complainant and the Respondent will be given an explanation of the processes used to address complaints under this policy.
7.6.2. The investigator(s) may conduct interviews with parties involved, including the Complainant, the Respondent, and witnesses.
7.6.3. Such interviews will take place with each party separately. Each party asked to participate in an investigation (including witnesses) is entitled to have a support person present if desired.
7.6.4. The investigator(s) will comprehensively and accurately document all information obtained during the interviews, including the parties involved, timing, location, and nature of conduct reported or witnessed.
7.6.5. The investigator(s) will also document details about the interview such as the time, nature, and parties present.
7.6.6. If the investigator(s) considers it appropriate for the safe and efficient conduct of an investigation, then workplace participants, party members, or volunteers may be removed from their duties or provided with alternative duties.
7.6.7. The investigator(s) or Chair of the Committee may order Respondents to have no contact with a Complainant.
7.6.8. An investigation can be considered complete when it has collected sufficient evidence on which to base a conclusion, or when the committee determines that such evidence does not exist.
7.6.9. The findings of the investigation will be reported to the Conduct Committee.
7.6.10. The Conduct Committee's conclusion as to whether violation of conduct has occurred will be based on the evidence and on the balance of probabilities.
7.7. The investigator(s) will prepare a report for the Conduct Committee summarizing the allegations, the steps taken during the investigation, and the evidence gathered. The report may make findings of fact and recommendations for further action.
8. Informal Resolution Process
8.1. It is up to the Complainant to determine whether or not they wish to pursue an informal resolution. The Respondent has no rights under this bylaw to insist upon an informal resolution.
8.2. An informal resolution has been achieved when:
8.2.1. A common understanding of the factual circumstances surrounding the complaint has been established; and at least one of the following obtains:
188.8.131.52. The Respondent has taken responsibility for the offending behaviour and a behaviour management plan has been established to prevent further offending behaviour to the satisfaction of the Conduct Committee; and/or
184.108.40.206. The Respondent has undertaken any additional measures agreed to in the process (e.g., education, training, or restorative action); and/or
220.127.116.11. An apology has been given by the Respondent; and/or
18.104.22.168. The Complainant is satisfied that their complaint has been resolved.
22.214.171.124. The Complainant withdraws their complaint.
8.3. To achieve an informal resolution, the Conduct Committee may appoint a mediator. The mediator must be familiar with this bylaw, have no conflict of interest, and be agreeable to both parties. If both parties and the Conduct Committee cannot agree on a mediator after reasonable efforts have been made, the matter will proceed to the formal resolution process, at which time the informal process will end.
8.4. The mediator will be provided with the statements of both Complainant(s) and Respondent(s) and any supporting documentation submitted by either.
8.5. Any communication between the Complainant and the Respondent proposed by the mediator must be approved by the Complainant.
8.6. The Complainant may at any time ask that the matter proceed to a formal resolution, at which time the informal process will end.
8.7. The mediator will make a report to the Conduct Committee of the terms of resolution (if reached) to which the Complainant and Respondent have agreed.
8.8. Resolutions arrived at through informal resolution are not findings of guilt. The terms of resolution are not subject to appeal. If new evidence is brought by either the Complainant or the Respondent, a new complaint may be initiated.
9. Formal Resolution Process
9.1. A Complainant may choose to pursue a formal resolution to their complaint.
9.2. A formal resolution to a complaint includes:
9.2.1. An investigation which secures sufficient evidence so as to enable a finding of fact as to whether the alleged behaviour occurred on the balance of probabilities; and
9.2.2. A determination regarding whether the behaviour constitutes misconduct; and
9.2.3. A recommendation of disciplinary or other action to the President of Federal Council; and
9.2.4. A comprehensive report which includes all evidence leading to the conclusions, a description of the process, and any recommendations, delivered by the Conduct Committee to the Federal Council.
10. Disciplinary Action
10.1. Possible outcomes of the investigation may include but are not limited to:
10.1.1. Disciplinary action against the Respondent, including but not limited to:
10.1.1.1. Suspension of volunteer duties and/or membership rights;
10.1.1.2. Revocation of candidacy for election or for Party office;
10.1.1.3. Exclusion from participation in any events, activities, or spaces, both physical and digital, in which the Party has jurisdiction;
10.1.1.5. Expulsion from the Party
10.1.2. A formal apology and undertaking that the behaviour will cease;
10.1.3. Conciliation or mediation conducted by an impartial third party where the parties to the complaint agree to a mutually acceptable resolution; and
10.1.4. Restrictions on a member volunteering or working on a campaign or attending meetings or social events for a defined period.
To update the process for harassment and discrimination complaints within the GPC to a modern standard.
This new process will help make the Green Party of Canada a safe space for all members.
Supporting Comments from Submitter:
This is the policy currently being used by the Green Party of Ontario. It was developed by a committee of volunteers experienced in HR and human rights issues. The process is based on the Ontario Human Rights Commission Procedure for Resolving Complaints: http://www.ohrc.on.ca/en/policy-primer-guide-developing-human-rights-pol…
Participatory Democracy, Social Justice, Respect for Diversity.
Relation to Existing Policy:
Add to current GPC policy.
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