The CEO of the First Nations Parliament has stepped down, another blow to a national organization that has been plagued by allegations of a toxic workplace, according to emails seen by CBC News.
In an email sent to all office staff on Monday, AFN’s vice president of operations and administration Jonathan Thompson said Janice Siavaglia submitted her resignation effective March 10.
AFN executives, comprising regional and national heads, will discuss the process of hiring a new CEO and someone in between, according to the email.
The email did not state why Chiavaglia resigned. An email sent to her AFN address came back saying the email is currently inaccessible.
“We have no comment,” said AFN’s head of public relations, Kelly Reed, when asked about her resignation.
Chavaglia lodged a complaint with the president
The CEO is the chief executive officer overseeing AFN’s non-political arm, known as the Secretariat, and has more than 170 employees dedicated to policy work. AFN defends her 600+ First Nations.
A teacher by training, Chavaglia joined AFN as Director of Education during Perry Bellegarde’s final term as president, before the Executive Committee hired her as CEO in 2020.
She helped the organization navigate the proposed $20 billion settlement of class action lawsuits over the new federal Indigenous Child Welfare Act, pandemic response, and lack of funding for reserve child and family services .
In 2021, Ciavaglia was named one of Canada’s Top 40 Leaders Under 40 for Making Positive Change in First Nation.
Chavaglia too One of five complainants who filed workplace misconduct complaints All to National Chief Roseanne Archibald under investigation.
According to a July 4 briefing note from the law firm Stockwoods Barristers, the complaint alleges Archibald displayed “paranoia” toward Cheavalia, who was accused of complicity.
Archibald called the complaint a “smear campaign” to undermine her leadership.
Murray Sinclair no longer uses AFN as a mediator
Archibald’s Deputy Chief of Staff, Joyce Hunter, filed a complaint against AFN Executive Committee member Chiavaglia and four other staff members accusing Archibald of misconduct.
Officials did not order an investigation into the complaint. A five-person investigation into Archibald is ongoing.
AFN chief was told in December Archibald was unavailable for an interview With investigators from August until then, despite repeated requests to sit with her.
Archibald also faced external scrutiny during his 2020 role as regional director for Ontario. Investigators found the allegations “credible,” but the investigation was dropped after no complainants filed a formal complaint. Archibald claimed these allegations were in retaliation for allegations of financial misconduct at AFN.
Archibald’s attorney, Aaron Detler, said he had no information about Siavaglia’s resignation. When asked if he was concerned that Chavaglia could take legal action against the head of state, he said the AFN needed fewer lawyers.
“Generally speaking, we expect to see better results with fewer attorneys and less lawsuits,” he said.
After Archibald survived an attempted ouster as president, she announced in December 2022 that the AFN was hiring Murray Sinclair, former chairman of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, to act as an intermediary to help resolve the dispute. announced.
CBC News has learned that Sinclair has temporarily stepped away from his professional commitment to managing health issues.
Mr. Chavaglia’s resignation comes as AFN seeks to fill several senior positions within the Secretariat, including heads of economic development, communications and human resources.