The Canadian Museum of History confirmed on Thursday that its chief executive officer has resigned after an independent investigator submitted a report earlier this year related to workplace harassment complaints.
Mark O’Neill joined the institution in 2001 when it was still called the Canadian Museum of Civilization, and was appointed to a five-year term as director in 2011. He oversaw a rebranding that included changing the name to the Canadian Museum of History.
Mr. O’Neill went on leave last August, after the museum’s board of trustees received complaints of workplace harassment. His resignation comes two months before he was to retire.
The board hired lawyer Michelle Flaherty, an independent investigator, to look into the matter. Ms. Flaherty finished her report in January, and the museum’s board provided it to the government along with a recommendation.
The Canadian Museum of History, which is in Gatineau, is a Crown corporation and also runs the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa.
Neither the report nor the recommendation has been made public.
In January, Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault’s office said the minister had received the report and was reviewing it and the recommendation from the board of trustees. His office said at the time that the report and recommendation were the subject of discussion between the board’s interim chairwoman and the minister.
On Thursday, Mr. Guilbeault said in a statement that his office has confidence the museum’s board will ensure a healthy transition and continue to “implement the recommendations listed in the investigation report.”
“In order to protect the privacy of individuals and maintain the confidentiality of the process, the report of the independent investigator that concluded in January will not be made public,” he said in the statement.
Conservative heritage critic Alain Rayes said Mr. Guilbeault has had the report for three months and “failed to take action or make a decision,” calling it unacceptable.
Mr. Rayes said those who have made allegations of workplace harassment at the Museum of History “must feel totally abandoned” by the government and the minister.
Bill Walker, a spokesperson for the museum, said the board of trustees received Mr. O’Neill’s resignation, which was effective on Tuesday, and a permanent director is expected to be appointed soon.
In a statement provided through his lawyer, Mr. O’Neill said he has resigned after a decade at the Canadian Museum of History and also from the public service. He said the history museum and the war museum are two of the country’s “great cultural institutions” and it was an honour to lead them.
“Over 33 years in the public service, I was privileged to work with some extraordinary people. Canadians should be grateful for their talent, commitment and effort,” he said.
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