April 21, 2019

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Chief 'clearly contributed' to conflict: report

RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS</p><p>Fire Paramedic Chief John Lane</p>

RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Fire Paramedic Chief John Lane

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 11/10/2017 (557 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

A confidential investigation into a respectful workplace complaint filed by Winnipeg’s paramedics against Fire Paramedic Chief John Lane concluded that while the chief’s actions didn’t amount to harassment, they “clearly contributed to a ‘disruptive workplace conflict.’”

That was the conclusion of human resources investigator Pauline Clarke in a 39-page report she filed to city hall in September 2016 after investigating the complaints from 156 paramedics and their union, Local 911 of the Manitoba Government and General Employees’ Union.

The report was entered as evidence on Wednesday afternoon at an arbitration hearing into the union’s grievance over Lane’s response to the paramedics’ complaints and the city’s failure to act on the investigation.

The union alleged Lane “belittled and demeaned” the paramedics of the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service in the presentation.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 11/10/2017 (557 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

A confidential investigation into a respectful workplace complaint filed by Winnipeg’s paramedics against Fire Paramedic Chief John Lane concluded that while the chief’s actions didn’t amount to harassment, they "clearly contributed to a ‘disruptive workplace conflict.’"

That was the conclusion of human resources investigator Pauline Clarke in a 39-page report she filed to city hall in September 2016 after investigating the complaints from 156 paramedics and their union, Local 911 of the Manitoba Government and General Employees’ Union.

The report was entered as evidence on Wednesday afternoon at an arbitration hearing into the union’s grievance over Lane’s response to the paramedics’ complaints and the city’s failure to act on the investigation.

The union alleged Lane "belittled and demeaned" the paramedics of the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service in the presentation.

Clarke stated in her report Lane "allowed language to be published presenting non-fire EMS providers as spewing ‘rhetoric’ that firefighter paramedics need to ‘thwart’ with ‘facts’ and he should have known that the city’s ambulance paramedics would view this as criticism directed at them if it came to their attention."

Clarke found Lane had objected to the written summary before the conference and told the organizers it would be offensive to paramedics. He asked it be changed before it was published, but did not follow up to ensure it had been done.

Clarke said Lane should not have made his presentation to the conference when it had been billed in such an insulting manner towards paramedics.

Clarke said during her investigation into the paramedics’ complaint, Lane told her he no longer considered the summary to be offensive and said the complaint was filed only after the local union executive had agitated the paramedics.

In a written response to Clarke, Lane said the complaint against him was "unwarranted and reprehensible... If my actions have truly offended anyone, I will apologize to them unreservedly. However, I believe that at its core, this complaint is a cynical and vexatious use of the respectful workplace policy."

Clarke said the paramedics and its union had acted in good faith and had "every right" to file the complaint against Lane, adding she did not believe there had been "a conscious effort" on Lane’s part to demean or belittle Winnipeg paramedics but it had happened as a result of his "inattention."

aldo.santin@freepress.mb.ca

Aldo Santin

Aldo Santin
Reporter

Aldo Santin is a veteran newspaper reporter who first carried a pen and notepad in 1978 and joined the Winnipeg Free Press in 1986, where he has covered a variety of beats and specialty areas including education, aboriginal issues, urban and downtown development. Santin has been covering city hall since 2013.

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