CBMS July 2022 Update

CBMS July 2022 Update  image

17th August 2022

Dear Friends, Supporters, Allies and Donors,

 

We have been amazed by the speed of developments in the campaign over the last several months. This has meant that we have been tardy with keeping you updated – but it is for the best possible reasons. Here are some headlines of our recent achievements  – read further down for more details of the most exciting developments in what is proving to be a wild ride.

 

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DONATE HERE (UK)

DONATE HERE (CANADA)

 

CANADA

 

Prince Edward Island ENACTED INTO LAW our ‘model Bill’ banning the misuse of NDAs on May 17th 2022 The FIRST place in the world to have such strong anti NDA legislation.

 

TWO more provinces – Nova Scotia and Manitoba have also introduced the Bill. We expect these to come back to the legislatures in the Fall and hope to see these also passed into law.

 

Next stop British Colombia – and we are in very encouraging talks with the Federal members about adopting our Model bill at a federal level.

 

One of our amazing volunteers Shannon Hancock BROKE her NDA in June – so far no retaliation which highlights the bad optics if companies  publically pursue their victims. Bravo Shannon – a video is in the works, stay tuned.

Popular CTV show W5 made a documentary about the campaign called “HUSH MONEY” which has brought in a lot of new testimonies and contacts from individuals who have signed NDAs. The link is below

 

UNITED KINGDOM

 

67 Universities have now signed our pledge to NEVER USE NDAs now or in the future. Protecting over a MILLION students from the threat of NDAs

TWO private members bills inspired by our ‘model bill’ have been tabled in the House of Commons – one by Conservative MP Maria Miller and the second by Layla Moran Liberal MP

Jess Phillips Labour MP recently debated amending the freedom of speech bill in higher education to ban NDAs siting our campaign and bill.

 

Our friend from #ME TU Claire Laycock BROKE her NDA with her union TSSA – the super injunction they applied for was refused and the TUC are now in talks to make change – no retaliation to Claire. Watch her breaking her NDA lower down.

 

CBMS became aware of several unethical NDAs at CH4 & ITN news so we & PTS (Pregnant Then Screwed) opened a petition signed by nearly 30,000 people to release employees of CH4 and ITN. The head of ITN Deborah Turness who has refused to release them is about to take over BBC news. You can add your name to the petition at the bottom to help the fight.

 

 CANADA IN DETAIL

 

As you know our campaign is focused on legislative change, CBMS is using a “Model Bill” (originally written for the Irish Parliament , see below, and progressing there) to ban the misuse of NDAs in discrimination, harassment, bullying and abuse cases. The Model Bill requires that for an NDA to be enforceable, it must meet all of the following conditions:

 

-Be requested by the victim

-Who is under no duress

-Who must fully understand all the implications of signing

-Who must receive independent legal advice

-Cannot endanger the safety another person now or in the future (an inevitable consequence of the NDAs we are talking about)

 

In addition the Bill specifies a number of individuals to whom access can never be denied by an NDA including police, spiritual advisors, psychologists, elders, lawyers and others.

Naturally we anticipate that the Model Bill will incorporate jurisdiction-specific changes, but this basic structure is critical.

 

On May 17, Prince Edward Island became the first Canadian province to bring the Bill into law (having been passed unanimously 6 months earlier). Congratulations to the amazing work of Lynne Lund, Deputy Leader of the Green Party, and her team who built consensus in the legislature and support in the community to make this happen!

Our CBMS one-minute video celebrating this event is here if you would like to enjoy it.

 

In April, the Bill was introduced in two more Canadian provinces – in Manitoba by Liberals (led by Dougald Lamont) and in Nova Scotia by the NDP. The Minister of Justice in Manitoba has now sent the issue of NDA abuse to the Manitoba Law Reform Commission, indicating that the government is taking this seriously. In Nova Scotia, we are in discussions with the Minister for Women about supporting the Bill when it comes up for debate in the Fall.

 

In British Columbia, the AG has referred the issue to policy counsel who are working up research and speaking with other jurisdictions to determine BC’s approach. We are talking to the Deputy AG and the Secretary for Gender Equity about supporting legislation and there are very positive signs.

 

Finally, the federal government, which employs about half a million Canadians and additionally regulates federal agencies, is in discussions with the campaign about possible amendments to existing federal legislation on sexual harassment and employment equity which will incorporate a ban on the misuse of NDAs. Again, the level of interest is high and we are encouraged by our discussions with the various ministries involved.

 

HUSH MONEY

 

To watch the W5 show about the campaign, click here

 

HOCKEY CANADA blasted into the news with the revelation that a settlement was made with a woman gang raped by a group of hockey players in a London Ontario hotel. Following an investigation she was required to sign an NDA – described by Hockey Canada’s lawyers as her “wanting” to protect the identities of the perpetrators. Four major sponsors have now withdrawn their support and Hockey Canada have been called to Parliament to testify. See links below.

 

Julie was interviewed by CTV News twice and you can watch here:

https://www.ctvnews.ca/video?clipId=2473538

 

and again here

 

https://www.ctvnews.ca/video?clipId=2474612

 

UK (& Ireland) IN DETAIL

 

UNIVERSITY PLEDGE

 

 In February this year we teamed up with the Department for Education to design and implement a Pledge for Universities and all institutions of Higher Education to agree not to use NDAs with students or faculty members going forward. This is a huge step in the culture change needed whilst we are waiting for legislation to be implemented.

 

To date 67 Universities have signed the pledge including 3 Oxbridge Colleges (and Cardiff Metropolitan University which although our Pledge doesn’t officially cover Wales, is still making the promise!). Congratulations to the 11 junior common rooms who have passed motions for their colleges to sign the pledge.

 

A huge thank you to student group It Happens Here, #NotOnMyCampus group, and People and Planet among the leading student organizations who have been working on the Pledge with us, and to the individual activists and junior common rooms that are working hard to promote a more transparent and accountable culture.

 

CBMS are also in talks with Universities Wales and Scotland and their relevant ministers to agree wording for their pledges – by popular demand.

 

Please check our list of Unis that have signed the pledge https://www.cantbuymysilence.com/uni-pledge

If yours is not there, please consider sending a letter to the VC asking them to sign  https://cantbuymysilence.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/Letter-to-VC-PDF.pdf

 

UK LEGISLATION

 

As well as the private members bill tabled by Maria Miller MP last September, a second private members bill to ban the use of NDAs at universities was presented by Layla Moran, Liberal Democrat MP for Oxford. She presented a great debate with Michelle Donelan, Minister for Higher Education and also brought up the issue of the misuse of NDAs at universities at PMQ’s directly to Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab who promised to attend to the issue… (although he infamously refused to release a woman form an NDA he holds)

 

Watch the Westminster Hall debate

 

Jess Phillips has also been very vociferous in her support of the campaign’s pledge for Universities and recently suggested the Freedom of Speech bill for Higher Education should be amended to ban NDAs – this seems like an obvious implementation of the FoS bill so watch closely..

 

TRADE UNIONS and  #ME TU

 

We have been working with several brilliant grass roots union groups and were part of the launch of #Me TU representing women throughout the trade unions who have suffered from sexual harassment, abuse and discrimination. They have been doing incredible work fighting back to end gender and race based violence and discrimination so that all members can be safe and thrive.

 

You can see some of their launch here on Reel News

 

One of their very brave members who we have been working with chose to break her NDA (WATCH HERE) which she had been forced/required to sign with her union, the TSSA (a union for employees in transport and travel services)

 

As soon as this was live online, the TSSA tried to super-injunct (prohibit) Reel News and Claire personally – someone who was just trying to warn others about sexual assault from a senior TUC official. However we then saw a fantastic development  – the court threw out the application to injunct Reel News, meaning Claire’s testimony will be available now online without threat and for ever – and shortly afterwards TSSA dropped their application against Claire.

 

This has led to an independent inquiry. Not only does this show that change is happening on a cultural level but those who have been gagging victims are now weighing up the the optics of pursuing victims and seeing they are more risky than dealing with the problem at the root….

 

However there is still a long way to go but we applaud warriors like Claire who are calling the bluff of NDAs

Claire Laycock speaks about being freed from injunction on 25 May.

 

CHANNEL 4/ITN NDAs

 

We are constantly (sadly) contacted by people who are in horrendous situations either negotiating settlements which contain aggressive non-disclosure clauses, or suffering the many mental, emotional and physical repercussions of having signed an NDA. We are working tirelessly to help these individuals but the best thing to do first is go to NDA info on our website where you will find lots of helpful advice.

 

One of these group cases turned out to be a really worrying case of public interest. It came to our attention that ITN (who supply news for independent newsrooms like CH4 and 5 as well as ITV) had some really disturbing NDA cases. Because the company is led by Deborah Turness (formally of CBS in the US which has released all employees from NDAs), we believed that she would want to know what has and is going on at ITN. However, even with Maria Miller MP calling her to account, nothing happened.

 

CBMS then joined forces with the incredible Joelie Brearly, founder of Pregnant Then Screwed, and with terrific press coverage from The Times, The Guardian, The Observer and Broadcast, and support from some very influential women including Gretchen Carlson and Carrie Gracie (see below), we started a petition asking for the release of those under these NDAs. This has been signed by nearly 30,000 people so far.

 

Deborah Turness is now moving to take the helm at BBC news – making her one of the most influential news executives in the world – yet she refuses to release her employees from NDAs hiding gross misconduct. Watch this space, we are still fighting….

 

When journalists are gagged we are in great risk of access to the truth.  See our open letter to Channel 4 from these women below:

 

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND

 

Lastly for those who remember the first newsletter and the model bill we launched with Senator Lynne Ruane’s (amendment to the Employment Equality Bill to restrict the use of NDAs) This has now gone through the Upper house with full cross party support and is now about to go to Committee stage in July. With no Government opposition we see this Bill as very likely to pass. It has been the “model Bill” for the Canadian and English propositions so we are very proud to have been so involved in its creation and it is ultimately the root of all the incredible successes we have listed above –kickstarting the University sector and public opinion – so a huge THANK YOU to Senator Ruane who is a true trailblazer.

 

AND FINALLY…..

 

These are the big picture developments only of course. Behind the headlines, there are many individual stories emerging and we are receiving more and more support. The campaign is made possible by our amazing volunteers in both Canada and the UK who are helping us with social media, story wrangling, research, video and editing assistance, and many other tasks. A big thank you to them, and to the amazing Stacey Buchholzer, our campaign coordinator. A special shout out to Liz LeClair, a professional fundraiser and also a person with personal experience of an NDA and passion about this campaign, who has been helping us with our dire need to try to get some fundraising organized. Please donate here if you possibly can!

 

 ACTIONS TO HELP THE CAMPAIGN

 

We are a small team run entirely on a voluntary basis so all the actions below REALLY help us

 

PLEASE DONATE

WRITE TO YOUR UNI VC

SHARE YOUR STORY

SIGN THE PETITION

SIGN THE CH4 PETITION

READ OUR RESOURCES ON NDAs

and suggest others that might be useful!

 

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Inquiry launched into alleged sexual harassment by union leader image

Inquiry launched into alleged sexual harassment by union leader

CBMS July 2022 Update  image

CBMS July 2022 Update

Grassroots campaign wants to reform ‘dangerous’ non-disclosure agreements in Canada, abroad image

Grassroots campaign wants to reform ‘dangerous’ non-disclosure agreements in Canada, abroad

Lyons backs NI universities’ pledge to end use of Non-Disclosure Agreements image

Lyons backs NI universities’ pledge to end use of Non-Disclosure Agreements

CBC HOCKEY CANADA COVERAGE image

CBC HOCKEY CANADA COVERAGE

Abuse and harassment survivors 'silenced' ... image

Abuse and harassment survivors 'silenced' ...

CTV NEWS HOCKEY CANADA COVERAGE  image

CTV NEWS HOCKEY CANADA COVERAGE

Hockey Canada comes under fire after for its handling of alleged sexual assault image

Hockey Canada comes under fire after for its handling of alleged sexual assault

The Government says it will look to model the legislation off a Bill... image

The Government says it will look to model the legislation off a Bill...

Workplace 'gag orders' for sexual harassment could be finished image

Workplace 'gag orders' for sexual harassment could be finished

She Said – Official Trailer Release image

She Said – Official Trailer Release

Victoria to restrict deals silencing sexual harassment victims image

Victoria to restrict deals silencing sexual harassment victims

U.K. Performers’ Union Equity Fights Back Against NDA Overreach image

U.K. Performers’ Union Equity Fights Back Against NDA Overreach

NHS ambulance service doctored documents to cover up truth about deaths image

NHS ambulance service doctored documents to cover up truth about deaths

Ending Gag Clauses image

Ending Gag Clauses

Victims no longer silenced as landmark legislation takes effect on P.E.I. image

Victims no longer silenced as landmark legislation takes effect on P.E.I.

Zelda Perkins of Can’t Buy My Silence discusses 56 MPs facing claims of sexual misconduct image

Zelda Perkins of Can’t Buy My Silence discusses 56 MPs facing claims of sexual misconduct

Lady Margaret Hall is first Oxford college to ban non-disclosure agreements image

Lady Margaret Hall is first Oxford college to ban non-disclosure agreements

How Being Legally Silenced Prolongs Workplace Trauma and PTSD image

How Being Legally Silenced Prolongs Workplace Trauma and PTSD

P.E.I. could become 1st province to limit use of NDAs to silence victims of sexual misconduct image

P.E.I. could become 1st province to limit use of NDAs to silence victims of sexual misconduct

Harvey Weinstein PA says abusers still have the legal power to silence victims image

Harvey Weinstein PA says abusers still have the legal power to silence victims

Move fast to fix NDAs if you want to avoid a ban image

Move fast to fix NDAs if you want to avoid a ban

‘I had to start over, alone and silenced’: the fight to end NDA abuse image

‘I had to start over, alone and silenced’: the fight to end NDA abuse

Harvey Weinstein's Former Assistant's Mission to Ban NDAs Explained image

Harvey Weinstein's Former Assistant's Mission to Ban NDAs Explained

Whistleblowers launch campaign to end misuse of NDAs image

Whistleblowers launch campaign to end misuse of NDAs

Harvey Weinstein’s former PA: Why I want a law banning NDAs image

Harvey Weinstein’s former PA: Why I want a law banning NDAs

The Campaign to End NDAs image

The Campaign to End NDAs