Federal court overthrows harassment finding against ex-CRTC commissioner due to ‘witch hunt’

In yet another instalment in the CRTC’s recent harassment saga, a verdict that found ex-CRTC commissioner Raj Shoan harassed a senior colleague, has been overthrown by the Federal Court.

Judge Russel Zinn stated, “In my view, Commissioner Shoan was denied procedural fairness and natural justice. The investigation turned into a ‘witch hunt’ where the investigator looked into essentially every detail and interaction Commissioner Shoan had with CRTC staff to try to find harassment rather than examining the complaints themselves to determine if harassment occurred.”

Shoan, who previous to his approximately three-year stint as Ontario commissioner at the CRTC spent about a year at the CBC and three with Bell Media, was accused of making “repeated insinuations and unfounded accusations” about Amanda Cliff, an executive director with the CRTC, in 2014. Outside investigator Diane Laurin found those accusations to be true, and CRTC Chair Jean-Pierre Blais took action that ultimately led to Shoan’s dismissal on June 24th.

Shoan appealed the dismissal, arguing that the CRTC should wait until this judgement was heard. Whether or not Shoan will return to his position (which is still listed as current on LinkedIn) is unclear, but Shoan was awarded $30,000 in costs.

Among other things, the judge stated that Laurin made “troubling” comments to witnesses revealing bias, and that the investigation took into account statements made by Blais that Shoan had created a toxic work environment.

As for Shoan, the judge had criticisms for him, too, stating he had a tendency to use “direct and often confrontational” language.

Related: Terminated Ontario CRTC commissioner challenges his dismissal


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