Government announces panel of experts who will help shape new restorative engagement program for the federal public service

News release

October 23, 2023 – Ottawa, Ontario – Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat

The Government of Canada is fostering a diverse and inclusive public service that is free of workplace discrimination and harassment. This includes acknowledging and addressing the experiences of current and former employees.

Today, the Government of Canada announced the members of a panel of experts that will provide recommendations to the government on the design and creation of a new restorative engagement program (REP) for public service employees. The panel comprises 4 recognized experts in clinical psychology, mediation, dispute resolution, and restorative justice:

  • Jude Mary Cénat is an Associate Professor in the School of Psychology, Director of the Interdisciplinary Centre for Black Health and of the Vulnerability, Trauma, Resilience and Culture Research Laboratory at the University of Ottawa.
  • Linda Crockett is an international expert on the topic of workplace psychological harassment and founder of the Canadian Institute of Workplace Bullying Resources as well as the Canadian Institute of Workplace Harassment and Violence.
  • Gayle Desmeules is an Indigenous mediator, facilitator and trainer, as well as the founder and Chief Executive Officer of True Dialogue Inc., which provides customized training, facilitation, mediation and consulting services in restorative resolution services.
  • Robert Neron is a senior arbitrator and workplace investigator with experiences in handling workplace grievances and complaints in the public and private sectors. He is a member of the Law Society of Ontario and was an adjudicator for the Independent Assessment Process of the Indian Residential School Secretariat.

The REP is part of a broader government-wide strategy to identify, address and prevent harassment, discrimination, and violence in the workplace. The panel’s work will cost approximately $550,000, part of the $6.9 million that was committed over two years in Budget 2023 to advance a REP.

The goal of a restorative engagement program is to identify, through open dialogue, ways to address harm and promote healing for employees who have reported experiencing harassment, discrimination and violence in the workplace. By placing individuals at the centre of the process and focusing on understanding the connections, root causes, circumstances, and impacts related to harm, the REP will help drive cultural and systemic change within the public service.

Convening a panel of experts is the first step in designing and putting in place the REP for the public service workforce. Over the coming months, employee networks, bargaining agents, organizations representing public servants from equity-seeking groups, and departments and agencies will be invited to submit written submissions to inform the panel’s recommendations.

The expert panel will then produce a public report on their findings during engagements in early 2024, and recommendations will be submitted to the government for the design of the REP in spring 2024.


“We are working to create a safe and inclusive workplace where everyone can be their true self. This panel of experts will bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to help shape the new restorative engagement program. Their insights and contributions will be instrumental in shaping recommendations that support truth, healing, and respect.”

-        The Honourable Anita Anand, President of the Treasury Board

Quick facts

  • In Budget 2023, the government committed $6.9 million over 2 years starting in 2023–24, to the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat to advance a restorative engagement program to empower employees who have suffered harassment and discrimination, and to drive cultural change in the public service. Funding will also support a review of the processes for addressing current and historical complaints of harassment, violence and discrimination.

  • The work of the panel members will cost approximately $550,000. 

  • Public Service Employee Surveys show public servants from equity‑seeking groups are more likely to report experiencing harassment, racism and discrimination in the workplace. 

  • Restorative engagement programs are being used increasingly across diverse sectors in Canada. Similar approaches have been used by the Canadian Armed Forces and the Department of National Defence, among others. 

  • The Government of Canada continues its work to address issues of racism and discrimination in our institutions by amending legislation and creating support and development programs. Substantial efforts have been made to advance these goals and these include:

    • reviewing the Employment Equity Act
    • amending the Canada Labour Code and the Public Service Employment Act
    • creating the Anti-Racism Secretariat
    • developing new programs, such as the Mosaic Leadership Development program, a public service-wide program to equip equity-seeking employees to enter the executive cadre and create an inclusive, diverse and representative public service leadership
    • establishing a mental health fund and supporting career advancement for Black federal public servants
  • In parallel, the Clerk of the Privy Council is advancing work in this area, specifically implementing the 2021 Call to Action on Anti-Racism, Equity and Inclusion in the Federal Public Service.

Associated links


Ezechiel Nana
Press Secretary
Office of the President of the Treasury Board of Canada

Media Relations
Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat
Telephone: 613-369-9400
Toll-free: 1-855-TBS-9-SCT (1-855-827-9728)

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