Street Culture Project releases summary of sexual harassment investigation
REGINA -- Street Culture Project has released the summary of an investigator’s findings following a third-party probe into sexual harassment complaints.
According to an update posted on the organization’s website, the investigation revealed a toxic workplace and “inappropriate behaviours and practices.” The report has been turned over to the Regina Police Service to decide if further investigation is necessary.
Street Culture said the report will not be released in full because it contains personal information.
The organization said former CEO Kim Sutherland initially spoke with the investigator, but later decided to no longer take part. Former executive director Dustin Browne declined to participate.
The investigation was initiated after allegations of abusive behaviours were made against senior staff in August.
The allegations resulted in Browne stepping down from his position as executive director. Sutherland went on leave and then retired.
In an email to CTV News, Street Culture’s board chair Cassandra Klassen guessed there were three to four other employees who left because of the investigation and “a few more may have left for one reason or another,” acknowledging that “it is not always possible to know exactly why employees move on.”
The investigator issued several recommendations and actions for Street Culture to take, including providing ongoing counselling to current and past employees, respectful workplace training and consideration of a policy and process to hire a “more representative staff reflecting the clients/participants.”
One person who is close to Street Culture and wished to remain anonymous said the investigator’s report summary did not reveal anything new. They believe more needs to be done to reinvent the organization.
“I knew [the report] wasn’t really going to resolve anything. I’m not surprised with a lot of what is released,” they said. “A lot of it we could expect because it’s literally the bare minimum that should have happened, so they shouldn’t get a pat on the back for doing the bare minimum.”
They said the fact that Sutherland and Browne did not cooperate in the investigation is a slap in the face to the victims and survivors who came forward to rehash their past traumas and experiences.
“[Sutherland and Browne] are the top two people being investigated for a lot of the harm. They’re the ones being responsible for perpetuating that and kind of creating that culture, and they just get to decline and walk away?” they said. “Those who really should be held accountable just get to choose not to participate.”
They added they would like to see a more genuine apology from Street Culture. They said it seemed like “something they had to do, not something they wanted to do.”
Street Culture’s board chair Cassandra Klassen said the organization started implementing a “support plan” last Fall, which the YWCA helped develop.
“We are working hard to restructure, repair and heal the culture of the organization. We know people are hurt and that there is pain,” Klassen said in a release.
She said Street Culture has recruited new board members in an effort to “help [the organization] move in a new direction,” adding that many previous board members have retired.
“SCP’s Board of Directors acknowledges there were issues within the organization in the past, including inappropriate actions, behaviours and practices. We apologize for the harms these issues caused,” said Klassen.
Interim CEO Scott Cruickshank will remain in that position until a permanent replacement is hired. Klassen said the board began that process in January.