The RCMP said it is studying whether it can automatically dismiss the Mounted Police accused in multiple sexual harassment cases and prevent other alleged perpetrators from retiring early.
The force said it is also seeking legal advice on whether it can fire a mounted police officer who has been found to have committed more than one type of harassment.
Both of these ideas came from a report last winter by Michel Bastarache, a former Supreme Court judge of Canada, whose task was to evaluate claims made through landmark sexual assault and harassment lawsuits. His stern final report called for changes in the culture and discipline of the RCMP.
“Just like the Catholic Church, they just moved them to another parish. I have a list [of RCMP officers] They were found guilty up to 15 times. These people have been promoted,” he said when testifying before the Public Safety and National Security Committee of the House of Commons in November 2020.
He suggested that more effective sanctions be imposed on members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police who harass people in the workplace. He said that these sanctions should include longer suspension of pay, demotion, long-term exemption from supervisory responsibilities, and a ban on applications for promotion.
“The second discovery of harassment should result in automatic dismissal,” Bastarache said.
Submitted documents To the Public Safety Committee and made public last week Provides updates on how the Royal Canadian Mounted Police responded to the report.
In these documents, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police stated that it already has a system to identify members involved in multiple harassment files. It stated that it is seeking legal advice on the feasibility of “automatic dismissal.”
A document submitted to the committee by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said: “Under the current legislative context, automatic package dismissal will not be enforced; however, previous misconduct is clearly an aggravating factor considered by the board in dismissal cases.”
The RCMP said it is also seeking legal advice on its ability to prevent members from retiring before the end of disciplinary proceedings.
‘A huge slap in the face’
Labor lawyer Muneeza Sheikh, a partner of Toronto LSCS Law, said that if this force interferes with the due process of RCMP officials, it may be held liable.
Sheikh also stated that the RCMP can better protect its employees by sending the accused officer home at the end of the procedure for paid or unpaid suspension.
“When you file a complaint, it is an extremely harmful environment. Not only does your complaint have not been investigated in a timely manner, but you see that your perpetrators are actually rising in the rankings,” she said.
“This is the exact opposite of hearing your complaint. On the contrary, it is a huge slap in the face, because not only has this person not been disciplined or terminated, but their lives are actually going on as usual.”
Sheikh said that the RCMP should speed up the investigation of allegations of sexual misconduct so that victims can feel protected and supported at work, while respecting the rights of the defendant.
“Establish a mechanism to deal with these things quickly,” she said.
“I think what we really need to see is the changes on the ground level. This means zero tolerance. If accusations are made against them, people will be suspended from work and go home, quickly adjust the reporting structure, and make sure that serious allegations are raised against superior employees. , Other female subordinates are isolated from that person, and they are not allowed to continue harassing when dealing with the first matter.”
The spokesman of the National Police Federation Fabris Dedongo said that the Federation supports the RCMP in obtaining legal advice. He said the federal government is particularly concerned about what happens to the pensions of RCMP officials in this situation.
He said the goal of the union is to protect a fair process for everyone.
Behavior is also under review
CBC News comments on the public RCMP Conduct Committee decision It is discovered that the reasons for retaining a RCMP officer who was found to have engaged in sexual misconduct can be very subjectiveThese reasons may include an assessment of duty performance, past accusations of misconduct, or expressions of regret.
In the past five years, six mounted police officers have been found guilty of shameful sexual acts by the Conduct Committee, and their actions have been dismissed.
Another 14 Royal Canadian Mounted Police were punished for sexual misconduct but were allowed to stay; their actions ranged from unsolicited touching to voyeurism to establishing relationships with minors.
The RCMP said it will soon hire external experts to evaluate its behavioral measures.
The RCMP stated in the submission: “The RCMP Code of Conduct has been implemented since 2014. Although it strengthens conduct and disciplinary procedures, people recognize the need to ensure that procedures and sanctions are effective and meet modern expectations.” .
Commissioner Brenda Lucki of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police pledged to eliminate sexual assault, harassment and discrimination in the team.
She said in November 2020: “It must stop and will not be tolerated. In the RCMP, there is absolutely no room for sexual assault, harassment, discrimination, bullying, sexism, racism, homophobia, or transphobia .”
“The important thing is to let people know that it will not be tolerated.”