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November 24, 2021District’s Statement on Bullying & Harassment

The District of Vanderhoof is proud of the strong community we work to serve daily and its ability to adapt and overcome adversity throughout its history. Our Council and staff are proud to live, work and play in this vibrant and close-knit community we all call home.

The District of Vanderhoof has an obligation to inform the community of the need to respond to recent harassment by a few individuals in our community.

A demand letter signed by several individuals has been inappropriately presented to Mayor Thiessen at his private residence during the evening of November 16th, 2021. This demand letter was regarding the Provincial and regional restrictions put in place by the Provincial Health Officer (PHO) and the Northern Health Authority under the Public Health Act.

The District of Vanderhoof’s employees and elected officials have no jurisdiction over these restrictions. We must follow the same rules as all residents and have a responsibility as a local government to encourage the residents of Vanderhoof to follow the Provincial Health Officer’s orders issued under the┬áPublic Health Act.

The District believes in fully respecting people’s right to express different viewpoints, including to criticize the actions of elected officials. However, it is unacceptable for anyone to engage in bullying, harassment, intimidation, and other toxic behaviour, whether online or in the “real” world. It is unacceptable to make people feel unsafe at work, at home, or out in our community. Elected officials and municipal staff are still people who have chosen to live, work, and play in this community, deserving of respect, privacy, and the right to feel safe when in their own homes.

Residents who wish to submit documents, comments, and complaints can do so through the Municipal Office, located at 160 Connaught Street in Vanderhoof, during working hours of 8:30 am to 4:30 pm (excluding weekends and statutory holidays). Outside of these hours, the public can respectfully interact with the District through our open council and committee meetings, through pre-scheduled meetings, or submit messages by email.

The District is advising that if any employee or elected officials experience any harassment, the RCMP will become involved. These actions fall under the definition of Criminal Harassment within the Criminal Code of Canada.

The District would like to recognize that these recent actions are from a small group and do not reflect the majority of residents that have found healthy ways to discuss differences of opinion over Provincial and Procedural policies.

 

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