Professional Services

Our independent practitioners offer our clients a wide range of human rights and dispute resolution services including: 

 

  • Policy Development

  • Informal Resolution Services

  • Human Rights Investigations

  • Preliminary Assessments

  • Climate Reviews

  • Workplace Restoration Initiatives

  • Online Interviews

Policy Development

Our clients benefit from the broad expertise of our independent practitioners in the development and review of policies and procedures relating to their organization’s human rights framework. We ensure compliance with relevant practice guidelines, such as the Ontario Human Rights Commission’s Guidelines on Developing a Human Rights Policy and Procedures.

 

We work with organizations to:

  • develop complaint and investigation processes;

  • update existing policies and procedures to ensure legislative compliance; and

  • provide training and education on implementation of human rights standards.

Informal Resolution Services

Informal Resolution – Mediation, Facilitated Discussions, etc.

 

Many disputes in work and learning environments can often be resolved through Informal Resolution, such as mediation, conflict coaching, facilitated discussions, and restorative justice measures, among others.

 

The objective of informal resolution is to identify the interests of the parties in mutually restoring the relationship to a productive dynamic. Our innovative approach includes listening to participant needs and employing a range of skills and techniques tailored to each situation.

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Human Rights Investigations

Formal Resolutions - Investigations

When informal resolution is not possible nor appropriate, a dispute may be referred to Formal Resolution, which could include an investigation appropriate in the circumstances.

 

Our independent practitioners employ a standardized formal resolution framework to ensure consistent processes and procedural fairness for all participants. We also employ standardized methodologies and techniques influenced by professional organizations such as the Association of Workplace Investigators, the international professional association that provides accredited training on workplace investigations.

 

Our independent investigators who conduct investigations into sexual violence or sexual misconduct allegations are competent in conducting trauma-informed investigations, while balancing the obligations of procedural fairness and natural justice to all parties.

Preliminary Assessments

An investigation or Climate Review is sometimes preceded by an initial environmental scan of the department or unit to determine the root causes of the conflict and to assess whether a condition of dysfunction exists.

 

The scan involves a series of interviews among a select group of members of the department or unit to provide a high-level overview of the issues in the department. If a dysfunctional climate is found to exist, the scan is usually followed by a series of recommendations on how to move forward in resolving the identified issues, such as through a Climate Review or other focused interventions.

 

In some cases, the Preliminary Assessment may identify that the source of conflict is localized among a small group of individuals, in which case a more focused intervention may be required (such as an investigation), rather than a full-scale Climate Review.

 

The objective of the Preliminary Assessment is to assess whether there any signs of dysfunction and recommend the most appropriate and cost-effective method of resolution.

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Climate Reviews

A Climate Review is a thorough examination of conflict issues that have been identified in a department or unit. It is usually initiated under the authority of the organization’s Discrimination and Harassment Policy, or Respectful Workplace and Civility framework, where a condition of dysfunction or group conflict has been identified and where no one has been willing to come forward as an individual complainant.

 

If a Climate Review is recommended as a result of a Preliminary Assessment (or if it is agreed at the outset that a Climate Review is needed), an independent reviewer is assigned to conduct confidential one-on-one interviews with members of the department or unit. The results of the interviews are anonymized and grouped into various themes that reflect the historical sources of conflict in the department or unit.

 

The independent reviewer then develops a “shared” or “common” narrative of the themes identified in the one-on-one interviews and proposes various ways to address the issues of conflict identified in the narrative report. These could include various Workplace Restoration Initiatives or other conflict techniques, such as facilitated dialogues or mediation, conflict coaching, focused reviews or investigations, team-building exercises, communications protocols, and individualized support to the leader of the department or unit.

 

A final report is presented to the senior leader or executive, who would in turn share the report with members of the department or unit. The report also serves as a reference point and foundational document for engaging in continuing efforts towards departmental cohesion.

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Workplace Restoration Initiatives

A Workplace Restoration Initiative is often implemented as part of the recommendations contained in a Climate Review Report or following an investigation into complaints of discrimination or harassment.

 

Whether recommended as part of a Preliminary Assessment or following a Climate Review, a Workplace Restoration Initiative involves an ongoing strategy to develop team cohesion and restore the work environment to a respectful, collegial and participatory state. It can involve a review of departmental structures and governance issues, development of communication frameworks for respectful communication, and setting expectations around participation in departmental activities or meetings.