Law firm investigating Toronto housing agency’s HR practices

Employees complain of 'culture of fear'
|hrreporter.com|Last Updated: 01/30/2018
Employment law
Toronto Community Housing CEO Kathy Milsom said the agency is doing its own investigation but has not heard “one substantiated concern.” Google Street View

The law firm Rubin Thomlinson has been hired to investigate HR practices at Toronto Community Housing Corp. after several complaints were filed with the city’s ombudsman.

One current manager and five former employees described a “culture of fear” that has left employees feeling bullied, harassed and terrified amid a slew of recent firings, according to the Toronto Star.

Toronto Community Housing CEO Kathy Milsom said the agency is doing its own investigation but has not heard “one substantiated concern.”

“However, we’re obviously undertaking the investigation to ensure that if there is anything else that we haven’t yet addressed, that we have the opportunity to do so expediently and appropriately,” she said.

Less than four years ago, then city ombudsman Fiona Crean released a report criticizing the agency’s human resources practices and policies, describing a “climate of fear.”

People who spoke to the Star said little has changed. They described managers who wield inordinate power, favouritism in hirings and promotions, a lack of accountability in the HR department, a fear of complaining to HR because they would be investigating themselves, and targeting of those who question HR and other processes.

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