Canada: Ontario government lawyers being terrorized by ‘bully’ bosses, secret report reveals

February 21, 2018

The workplace at the Ministry of the Attorney General is described as a “toxic” cesspool, begging the question: Given the extreme dysfunction, is the work taxpayers are supporting getting done?

Former Ontario deputy attorney general Patrick Monahan, right, who oversaw the ministry during much of the time under scrutiny, and former assistant deputy attorney general Malliha Wilson, who left the ministry last year and did not return requests for comment.

Ontario’s Liberal government has kept secret an explosive report that paints some of its most senior bureaucrats — male and female — as bullies who have harassed and discriminated against hundreds of provincial lawyers and administrative assistants for years.

The workplace for 600 government lawyers and several hundred administrative staff at the Ministry of the Attorney General is described as a “toxic” cesspool where fear and retribution rule the day, ironically at an Ontario agency branded with the logo “Better Justice Together.”

One high-ranking government boss is described by a complainant in the report as “a classic bully drunk on her own power.” Crown lawyers working under another executive said he created “an extremely unhealthy and intolerable environment.”

“Many employees work in an atmosphere of constant fear of retribution and a culture of silence prevails,” said report author Leslie Macleod, a lawyer and former senior Ontario bureaucrat. The report was concluded in the summer of 2017.

In addition to harassment allegations, the report notes that government lawyers are sometimes forced by senior managers to change their opinions on whether or not to lay charges against individuals or companies — apparently to satisfy the special interests of other provincial ministries.


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