Public Apology at Special Council Meeting

Tuesday, January 23, 2024

On Jan. 23 during a Special Council Meeting, City of Leduc Mayor Bob Young issued the following apology related to a lawsuit filed against the City in 2022:

“On behalf of the City of Leduc I am here to apologize to PCP Firefighter Christa Steele, ACP Firefighter Mindy Smith, and every woman who endured discrimination, sexual harassment, or sexual assault while working for Leduc Fire Services or the City of Leduc. The City of Leduc expresses our deepest regret and apologizes for the misconduct you endured, for the actions of leadership when you came forward, and the harm you suffered.  We are here today to recognize that what happened to you was wrong.

“The City recognizes that words alone cannot heal the wounds inflicted upon you and acknowledges the burden the women affected have carried for some time.  But please know that the City of Leduc has learned and will continue to learn from this experience and is committed to ensuring that what you endured does not happen to others. Changes have been made to help ensure the wellbeing of City of Leduc employees and we will continue a journey of ongoing improvement.

“It took extraordinary courage for Ms. Steele, Ms. Smith, and the others who shed light on what was happening at the City of Leduc to come forward. It is our sincere hope that this apology is a step in helping you heal from the trauma you experienced at the City of Leduc. We acknowledge that sexual misconduct occurred. And we are truly and deeply sorry. The City of Leduc will do better in upholding the values we stand for.”

Note: The lawsuit settlement required the language and timing of the apology be agreed upon by the plaintiffs and the City.

Following the meeting, Derek Prohar, City Manager in the City of Leduc, made this statement during a media availability:

“The Mayor spoke for us all tonight and said what we have wanted to say from the beginning – that we are truly sorry for what happened and that no one should ever have to endure such experiences. We have learned from this, made changes that will ensure the wellbeing of our employees, and we are committed to continuous improvement.

"Over the past year we’ve taken concrete steps forward. 

  • We’ve seen significant personnel changes – including the hire of a new Fire Chief, and two new Deputy Chiefs and seven new firefighters. 
  • We’ve updated the Respect in the Workplace policy and procedure – with zero tolerance for discrimination and harassment and improvements to reporting avenues.
  • Across the organization, our employees have taken additional training regarding respectful behaviour, and approaches to difficult conversations and conflict.
  • We expanded our benefit program to provide additional support for mental health.

“We have been working in cooperation with an outside consultant to conduct a current state analysis of the City with relation to leading practice in diversity and inclusion.

"What is clear is we all want a workplace where every individual is valued for their unique talents, perspectives, and experiences. Our goal is an inclusive workplace that welcomes diversity of thought, of perspectives, backgrounds and provides a safe and respectful environment for all.”