Complaints Commission Releases Report on Investigation into RCMP Workplace Harassment

Ottawa - 2013-02-14

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To learn more about the Commission's follow-up investigation into workplace harassment in the RCMP (2017), click here.

Mr. Ian McPhail, the Interim Chair of the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP (Commission), today released the Commission's report on its investigation into issues of workplace harassment within the RCMP.

The Commission's investigation, launched on November 16, 2011, responded to widespread reports alleging that female RCMP members had faced systemic sexual harassment in the workplace. The Commission assessed the handling of 718 workplace harassment complaints filed between February 1, 2005, and November 16, 2011. The Commission also accepted 63 public submissions suggesting recommendations for change and conducted a number of interviews with interested parties. Neither the Commission's jurisdiction nor its mandate extend to making findings in respect of individual harassment complaints made to the RCMP.

While the Commission was able to determine that RCMP policies addressing harassment complaints were generally complied with, inconsistent documentation and the number of ways in which harassment complaints could be handled made comprehensive assessment difficult.

"The data examined does not support the assumption that the RCMP is experiencing a systemic problem with workplace harassment, including sexual harassment," said Mr. McPhail. "That being said, the simple perception of the existence of systemic poor treatment of employees by colleagues and supervisors, regardless of gender, has a huge impact on both public confidence and the manner in which the police are regarded."

The Commission made 11 recommendations aimed at improving the manner in which the RCMP deals with workplace conflict. In particular, the Commission recommended:

  • enhanced reporting and tracking of harassment complaints;
  • centralized coordination and monitoring to increase the transparency and consistency of the process, distancing it from divisional chains of command and providing redress for those who believe they are experiencing retaliation;
  • rigorous investigative standards, including timelines, in order to increase complainants' confidence that decisions reached took into account all relevant factors;
  • improved training; and
  • continual and publicly reported evaluation of efforts to enhance the process for dealing with complaints of harassment.

"The issue of workplace conflict and harassment within the RCMP is complex," said Mr. McPhail. "A simple pledge to root out moral turpitude cannot address the many dimensions of this critical issue on its own."

Although Bill C-42, currently before the House of Commons, provides opportunities for enhancement to the RCMP's harassment and disciplinary processes, the Commission also cautions that legislation itself cannot provide a solution to the complex issue of workplace conflict.

"The most important task is changing the perception of many employees and segments of the public that the organization is complicit in the problem and as a result incapable of adequately addressing it," said Mr. McPhail. "The recommendations of this report focus on building a more rigorous and transparent process for addressing harassment in the workplace, one which will have the full confidence of RCMP employees and the public they serve."

It should be noted that the Commission's findings and recommendations are independent of other processes underway in this matter. The Commission's mandate is remedial in nature and does not address criminal or civil liability.

The full report, including all the Commission's recommendations, can be found on the Commission's website.

Follow the CPC on Twitter @CPC_CPP.

For more information, please contact:

Tim Cogan

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