Ongoing investigation at RSU

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By Madi Wong

The Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development confirmed that there is an “ongoing” investigation after a complaint was filed against the Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU). 

This comes after The Eyeopener previously reported that former RSU vice-president education Kwaku Agyemang resigned at the beginning of the winter term—citing “employment violations” and “internal corruption.” 

The investigation follows two complaints put forth by Agyemang who previously told The Eye he filed two provincial complaints against the student union over his fall 2019 term.

One complaint was regarding the union stating they would withhold paycheques for missed hours and the other was for alleged harassment claims within the union. He’s also raised concerns about the RSU’s work environment.

In an emailed statement, Gloria Yip, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Labour, confirmed there have been “two claims under the Employment Standards Act…against the [RSU] since October 1, 2019.” 

Yip added the ministry was notified of a complaint against the RSU on Nov. 29 and that a ministry inspector “conducted a field visit” at the RSU office on Dec. 19.  

According to Yip, it was reported that the student union has “no one to report workplace harassment to other than the persons who are involved in the harassment matter.” 

Yip added that no orders or requirements under the Occupational Health and Safety Act were issued and the investigation is “ongoing.”

In an interview with The Eye, RSU president Vanessa Henry confirmed the visit from the ministry inspector but said “there’s not a case” and the inspector was only there to determine if there will be a formal case. 

Henry added that the RSU printed off their policies, bylaws and oversight committee information for the ministry inspector to review. 

In his resignation letter, Agyemang said the ministry “[intends] on taking further action, but RSU executive director Reanna Maharaj said she has not been informed of any further action being taken. 

Vice-president student life & events Joshua Wiggins declined to comment on the ministry’s visit and said “it is not my place to comment on this matter for confidentiality purposes.” 

With files from Alexandra Holyk

Comments

  1. Chaotic. No one to report harassment other than to those involved is wrong. MOL should post a clear process on its web what is the process after a report of harassment complaining is received. In 2012, My phone call to MOL that my employer did not follow harassment procedure (in MOL’s word was ‘ineffective policy’) resulted an visit by MOL inspector. However, MOL policy dictated that the inspector did not need mention harassment except check if a proper policy was posted (which wasn’t). In 2015, I obtained the inspection notes from 2012 visit through freedom of information request. The notes had no harassment was even mentioned.

    ‘A right is only as good as the remedy’. If there is no remedy, the saying that ‘we take harassment very seriousely’ is empty words.

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