Report paints a very negative picture of a toxic work environment since Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tapped Payette for Governor-General in 2017, The Globe and Mail has learned

In this 2018 file photo, Governor-General Julie Payette delivers remarks during a celebration of the 100th anniversary of Statistics Canada at its headquarters in Ottawa.
Justin Tang/The Canadian Press
An independent review of workplace harassment allegations raised by past and current staff at Rideau Hall has been completed, heightening further speculation on whether Julie Payette can stay on as Governor-General.
Sources, who have been briefed on the independent review, says it paints a very negative picture of a toxic work environment at Rideau Hall since Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tapped the former astronaut for Governor-General in 2017.
Multiple confidential sources say the review may make it difficult for Ms. Payette to remain as Governor-General amid growing signs the Prime Minister has lost patience after accepting the report that outlines allegations of bullying.
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A senior government official described Ms. Payettes tenure as a car wreck.
Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic Leblanc has been tasked with stickhandling the report, which one senior official said is not very pretty.
If Ms. Payette is unwilling to submit a resignation or refuses to leave when asked, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau could call on the Queen and request that the Governor-General be dismissed, although experts say that would be the last resort.
The federal government hired an Ottawa-based private corporation in September to independently investigate and draft a report on the nature of concerns within the Office of the Secretary to the Governor-General (OSGG).
Both current and former employees of the OSGG will be invited by the firm to voluntarily and confidentially share their perspectives, the PCO said. Sources say they interviewed between 80 to 150 people.
The independent investigations also spoke to past and current employees about behaviour of the Secretary to the Governor-General, Assunta Di Lorenzo, who is a longtime friend of Ms. Payette. Ms. Di Lorenzo has hired a lawyer to deal with PCO, sources say.
The review was first commissioned in July after CBC News cited sources saying that Ms. Payette created a toxic environment at Rideau Hall by verbally harassing employees to the point where some have been reduced to tears or have left the office altogether.
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CBC and Postmedia have also reported that hundreds of thousands of dollars have been spent on designs and renovations at Rideau Hall, some allegedly for Ms. Payettes personal privacy and accessibility. In 2018, The Globe and Mail reported Ms. Payette was frequently at odds with the RCMP over security issues, such as going for a jog by herself without informing her security detail.
Sources say that the confidential report has been delivered to the Privy Council Office, which oversees the federal bureaucracy and reports directly to the Prime Minister, and some of the findings are expected to be released as early as this week.
On July 23, Ms. Payette said in a statement that she takes harassment and workplace issues very seriously and welcomed the independent review.
The Privy Council Office said in September the independent third-party reviewer will inform participants of the contents of the review, which will include a description of the nature of the incidents and whether they meet the definition of harassment on a legally sufficient basis. The review report will also include recommendations on next steps.
Employees of the Governor-Generals office are part of the core public service. The Privy Council said those employees are also covered by federal anti-harassment rules.
New regulations for federal workers are set to come into force on Jan. 1, 2021. They include provisions such as employer obligations to take corrective measures based on the results of an investigation. The legislation, passed in 2018, defines harassment as any action, conduct or comment, including of a sexual nature, that can reasonably be expected to cause offence, humiliation or other physical or psychological injury or illness to an employee, including any prescribed action, conduct or comment.
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The 2019 Public Service Employee Survey, which measures federal workers attitudes about their jobs each year, suggested that 22 per cent of the Governor-Generals employees said they were the victim of harassment on the job, with most of those instances coming from someone with authority over them. The annual survey has suggested that the Governor-Generals office has one of the highest rates of on-the-job harassment of any federal agency or department.
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