VANCOUVER — Employees of a high-profile public inquiry examining how police investigated cases of missing and murdered sex-trade workers say they encountered a “highly sexualized” workplace environment where male staff members made offensive comments about women and their bodies.
Five former commission staff members described to the National Post episodes of harassment, intimidation and conflict occurring behind closed doors at the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry, which was called by the B.C. government in 2010.
According to one former inquiry employee, a senior commission staff member made reference to a local sex-trade worker as “the fat hooker.” The same female prostitute had offered to assist the inquiry with its mandate, it is alleged. Similar remarks were made about the woman on other occasions, the source said.
A former employee alleges that another male staff member made degrading remarks about a female colleague’s body. “He said, ‘You should spend less time working behind your desk, and a lot more time working on your ass,’” the former employee recalled.
The workplace allegations may be the most serious trouble yet for a commission already beset with controversy.