Wednesday, 12 December 2018
featured Inclusion Labour Media release

Media release: Back Story – Liane Tessier and the Halifax Regional Fire Service

This leaflet was handed out by her supporters prior to the public apology to Liane Tessier on Monday, December 18

This is the story of a fire service which is corrupt, a city hall which cares little and a human rights commission which went along with both of them—for many years.

This is a story about the Halifax Regional Fire and Emergency Services (HRFES) which for the last nearly thirty years has turned a blind eye, if not encouraged, sexual harassment, racism and physical threats against employees who dared to speak up.

This is the story of an ongoing campaign against women—one of whom – Liane Tessier — has just won her case at the NS Human Rights Commission. Tessier, who served as a volunteer captain of her Halifax firehall endured insults, threats and degrading treatment by male firefighters and by fire service management and by a counsellor hired as an EAP officer by HRM from 2005 to 2008.  In 2008, Tessier was forced out of her job. She filed a complaint of sexual harassment with the NS Human Rights Commission.  The Commission refused to deal with her complaint and dismissed it.  It was only after Tessier took the Commission to the NS Supreme Court in 2012, that the judge overturned the Commission’s decision and forced the NS Human Rights Commission to re-examine her case.

This is a story which follows the public apology given to Halifax’s Black Firefighters who faced discrimination for 16 years –before it was addressed.

This is a story which explains that weeks before a public board of enquiry into Tessier’s complaint in October 2017, Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) came to a settlement with Tessier.  The settlement included a financial award, policy changes and a public apology, from the Fire Service to Tessier and for the systemic discrimination that it perpetrated on her and other women.

What will not come out in the Chief’s apology:

FACT:  Years ago, one female professional firefighter was thrown down the stairs by her colleagues.

FACT:  One male firefighter who waged a sexist campaign against Liane Tessier is now doing the same to another woman – and the male firefighter has been rewarded with a career position.  

FACT:  One female firefighter, who dared speak out against racism in the fire service, was physically threatened by male colleagues.

FACT:  HRM’s new fire chief, and two senior women from Human Resources at HRM, heard about these cases in a meeting and never took down any details or names of Tessier’s tormentors. This made it abundantly clear that neither the Chief, nor his bosses in HRM plan to do anything about the harassers – the majority of whom continue to work in the Fire Service.

To find out more information about

Liane Tessier’s case including

  • The names of perpetrators —still in the Fire Service
  • the incident about the employer-hired EAP counsellor who passed on rumours spread by fire officials and attempted to elicit confidential information from Tessier’s therapist.
  • specific incidents involving the ‘old boys club’ at the fire service
  • and more
  • See  Tessier’s blog https://lianetessier.wordpress.com

 

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