Bullying and harassment remain an endemic and persistent problem within the RCMP — and may require outside help to solve — according to a pair of highly critical reports released Monday.
One report was penned by the force’s Civilian Review and Complaints Commission, while the other was conducted by former Auditor General Sheila Fraser, and looked specifically at how the force handled complaints from several female members.
The Chair of the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP Iain McPhail says bullying and abuse of authority runs rampant within the RCMP — and it’s so bad, it’s crippling the force.
The commission is calling for Ottawa to bring in civilian oversight of the force, which it says lacks both the will and the capacity to handle the problem.
Public safety Minister Ralph Goodale ordered the commission report to review whether the force had followed through on recommendations aimed at tackling the problem made back in 2013.
The RCMP introduced new harassment policies and processes in 2014 aimed at promptly dealing with workplace conflict before it escalates.
However, Monday’s report finds persistent problems — largely surrounding complaints of managers abusing their authority, using abusive language such as “you’re dirt,” “people here don’t like you” and “nobody wants to work with you.”
Others complained of being publicly berated, or punitive transfers or having leave denied for no reason.
The second report, released by Fraser, looks specifically at the force’s handling of four harassment lawsuits from women who worked for the Mounties in BC.
Minister Goodale tasked former Auditor General Sheila Fraser with looking into the cases of Catherine Galliford, Alice Fox, Susan Gastaldo and Atoya Montague.
Fraser says all four women chose to file lawsuits because they felt it was the only way to effectively deal with their cases.
She’s now recommending the RCMP create a separate unit to investigate workplace harassment and conflict within the force — with investigations carried out by experts in the field who are not RCMP members.
Fraser also recommends the creation of an RCMP board of management that brings in expertise from outside the force, pointing to the fact most senior officials are police officers.
As for the lawsuits, the RCMP settled the suit brought forward by Galliford, but the other three lawsuits are still before the courts.
With files from Charmaine de Silva and the Canadian Press.