Chair's Final Report after Commissioner's Notice Regarding Issues of RCMP Workplace Harassment

Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act Subsection 45.46(3)

File No.: 2011-3791

The Complaint and Public Interest Investigation

Following concerns expressed by RCMP members and members of the public through the media that allegations of workplace harassment have not been and are not adequately addressed by the management of the RCMP, the Interim Chair of the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP (Commission) initiated a complaint in respect of this issue on November 16, 2011, pursuant to subsection 45.37(1) of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act (RCMP Act).

Specifically, the complaint was intended to examine the conduct of those unidentified RCMP members who have been notified, at any time between February 1, 2005, and November 16, 2011, of allegations of harassment by members or employees of the RCMP, and:

  1. Whether those RCMP members notified of allegations of harassment adhered to the appropriate legislation, policies, procedures and guidelines in respect of workplace harassment;
  2. Whether RCMP members conducting investigations into allegations of workplace harassment did so in a thorough and impartial manner; and
  3. Whether existing RCMP policies, procedures and guidelines are adequate to ensure that allegations regarding RCMP members engaged in workplace harassment are dealt with fairly, effectively and thoroughly.

The Commission also instituted a public interest investigation into the complaint, pursuant to subsection 45.43(1) of the RCMP Act. The Commission outlined that, in conducting its public interest investigation, it would assess either each instance or a random sample of instances identified in order to make its findings and recommendations, specifically examining such factors as timeliness of the response, choice of process, and member conduct in terms of the process used by the RCMP to respond to allegations of harassment. The Commission also emphasized that it would not make a determination in respect of the harassment alleged in individual cases, such determination falling outside of its legislated mandate.

The Commission issued its report in respect of this matter on February 13, 2013, in which it made 11 recommendations.

The RCMP Commissioner's Notice

Pursuant to subsection 45.46(2) of the RCMP Act, the RCMP Commissioner is required to provide written notification of any further action that has been or will be taken in light of the findings and recommendations contained in the Public Interest Investigation Report.

On July 15, 2013, the Commission received the RCMP Commissioner's Notice of July 5, 2013. The RCMP Commissioner agreed in principle with the Commission's Report, and stated that the RCMP is in the process of undertaking an analysis of the Commission's recommendations. The RCMP also committed to continuing to update the Commission on RCMP strategies and procedures as they are implemented. The Commission looks forward to continuing to monitor the RCMP's progress in respect of the issue of workplace harassment.

The Commission's Recommendations

In light of the foregoing, I reiterate my recommendations.

Recommendation No. 1: That the RCMP implement a systematically compiled and nationally comparable system of data collection and reporting in respect of workplace conflict.

Recommendation No. 2: That the RCMP institute centralized monitoring and coordination of the harassment complaint process, located at RCMP headquarters and reported directly to a senior executive outside the divisional chains of command.

Recommendation No. 3: That the centralized coordination function also be responsible for receiving complaints of retaliation, the procedure for which should be clearly delineated in the applicable policy.

Recommendation No. 4: That an external mechanism for review of harassment decisions be implemented.

Recommendation No. 5: That the RCMP's policy regarding fostering a respectful workplace be defined as equally applicable to precursors of harassment, such as workplace conflict, in order that its dispute resolution mechanisms may be accessed at an early stage.

Recommendation No. 6: That harassment investigators receive mandatory specialized training in respect of conducting investigations into workplace conflict and/or harassment prior to being tasked with such investigations.

Recommendation No. 7: That the RCMP develop clearly defined investigative standards specifically in respect of investigations into harassment and workplace conflict.

Recommendation No. 8: That the RCMP implement timelines for the treatment of harassment complaints, including for efforts at early resolution.

Recommendation No. 9: That all supervisors and managers, upon appointment, be required to complete a relevant training program addressing workplace conflict and harassment within a set time of assuming their responsibilities.  

Recommendation No. 10: That the online training module, which should address workplace conflict including harassment, be delivered on a regular basis.   

Recommendation No. 11: That the RCMP develop a comprehensive method of evaluation to ensure that changes are producing the desired effects, and that the results of such evaluation be regularly and publicly reported.

Pursuant to subsection 45.46(3) of the RCMP Act, the Commission's mandate in this matter is ended.

Ian McPhail, Q.C.
Interim Chair

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