Complaint handling mechanisms

Complaint handling mechanisms

Excerpt from the Harassment Prevention and Intervention Policy, section 3.2

Resolution committee

General management is responsible for setting up a resolution committee to evaluate and deliberate on each complaint filed. The committee must receive the support it needs to carry out its mandate (access to internal or external resources as required). The Resolution Committee is temporary and consists of three people:

  • one member of the permanent staff;
  • two members of the Conciliation Board.

The Conciliation Board determines which of its members will sit on the Resolution Committee. At least one member of the committee must be a woman. Whenever possible, the composition of the committee should also reflect the diversity of the case in question.

In the event of a conflict of interest on the part of management or one of the members of the committee, a member of the Board of Directors will sit on the Resolution Committee in his or her place.

Filing a complaint

To lodge a formal complaint, a complainant must contact management or the Chairman by the means of his or her choice (in person, by telephone or by e-mail).

When an employee or a member of one of Projet Montréal's governing bodies becomes aware of a situation of harassment, even informally, he or she must provide the alleged victim and/or complainant with all the information required to formally file a complaint.

Review process

Once the complaint has been received by management, the Resolution Committee confirms its admissibility.

To be admissible, the complaint must be filed within 2 years of the last occurrence of the prohibited conduct. The complaint must concern an event that took place within the framework of the party's activities.

Following the initial examination, two decisions may be taken by the Resolution Committee.

If the complaint is deemed inadmissible, the committee informs the complainant of the inadmissibility of his or her complaint and ensures that the complaint is followed up;
If the complaint is deemed admissible, the resolution committee informs the respondent of the procedures and gathers testimony (from the alleged victim, respondent, witnesses, etc.) and any other information required for the investigation;
During the process, the committee must also advise the parties involved of the possibility of putting in place interim measures to facilitate the process and ensure a safe environment for the complainant and, in the case of a separate complainant, the alleged victim;

The resolution committee may, if necessary, consult other members of the conciliation board or any other external expertise to support its work, while ensuring the confidentiality of the identity of the complainant, the alleged victim and/or the respondent;

If the complaint involves more than one alleged victim or respondent, the conciliation board may decide to expand the resolution committee to include 4 or 5 people from the permanent staff, the board of directors or the conciliation board, to support the investigation and resolution process;

The complaint review process must be completed within 90 days.

Recourse to mediation

At any time during the complaint process, a mediation process may be proposed by the resolution committee to both parties.

If the mediation process is accepted by both parties, a mediator is appointed by the Resolution Committee. This person cannot sit on the resolution committee and must hold an officially recognized accreditation.

For a complaint to be considered settled in mediation, the mediator must present an amicable settlement outlining the terms of the agreement to the parties concerned.

Both the alleged victim and the respondent must sign the settlement agreement.

Once signed, a copy of the settlement is sent to management, who will be responsible for archiving it and ensuring that it is applied.

Stakeholders may withdraw from the mediation process at any time. In this case, the resolution committee continues with the formal complaint process.

Resolution process

Based on its investigation, the Resolution Committee reports to the Board of Directors and suggests the type of measures to be implemented. These should take into account the seriousness of the actions taken, their repetitive nature and the authority relationship between the parties involved.

Depending on the nature of the complaint, four types of measures are possible.

1. No action

If the findings of the complaint examination do not lead to the conclusion that harassment has occurred, no action may be necessary. Certain actions may nevertheless be recommended to ensure a healthy environment for those involved.

2. Non-binding measures

If the complaint is deemed to be of minor importance, the respondent must give a written undertaking to cease the prejudicial act. The complaint may be resolved through non-binding measures approved by the alleged victim. These must then be the subject of a written resolution signed by the respondent.

3. Binding measures

If the complaint is deemed to be of moderate or major severity, binding measures may be recommended. These must ensure a safe and respectful environment for the victim and for other people involved in the party, by removing the problematic person as necessary and in the appropriate manner. These measures may be temporary or permanent.

4.External measures

If the seriousness of the complaint indicates potentially serious or criminal circumstances, the Resolution Committee shall refer the complainant to the police or other competent external resources. In addition, the Resolution Committee may suggest to management and the Board of Directors measures to protect the physical and psychological safety of the alleged victim. The Policy is not a substitute for legal reporting. The alleged victim may decide at any time to initiate a formal denunciation process, and must receive the party's support in doing so.

Resolving a complaint

Once the report and recommendations have been submitted to the Board of Directors by the Resolution Committee and the action(s) to be taken have been ratified by the Board of Directors, the alleged victim and respondent are informed of the decision within 30 days.

Management and/or the President ensure that the decision is implemented and respected.

Management finally archives the file at the party. The complaint is then considered settled.

Withdrawal of a complaint

The complainant may decide to withdraw the complaint at any time by informing the resolution committee. The complaint resolution process is then interrupted.

In this case, management, the Board of Directors and the respondent are informed of the end of the complaint resolution process.

Management archives the file. The complaint is then considered settled.

Appeal process

A request for appeal may be submitted to the Chair of the Board of Directors within 30 days of the decision if the complainant, the alleged victim or the respondent feels believes that one of the following situations applies:

the measures applied are not appropriate to the seriousness of the situation;
the resolution committee did not act impartially;
procedural or policy application errors would have prejudiced the process;
significant new information has come to light;
any other exceptional situation.
The members of the Board of Directors evaluate the appeal request and decide whether it is admissible. If the request is deemed admissible, a new resolution committee made up of three people different from the initial committee is created, and a new resolution process is set in motion. The decision following the appeal process is final and not subject to further appeal.