The last crucial step for a multitude of women who are part of two class-action lawsuits against the RCMP stemming from harassment and bullying allegations is underway.
Lawyer David Klein, who represents the women, says the settlement approval application will be heard in federal court next week in Toronto.
“If we get an approval next week, the deadline for filing claims will be by the end of the year.”
If approved, processing claims would be the next step.
“It’s hard to say how long it would take for the claims to process, it could take a number of months. I would expect payments to start flowing in 2018.”
Klein says 1,000 women have now come forward with allegations.
If the federal court green-lights the settlement, he expects several hundred more women to join the class action.
“There will be several hundred more who come forwards beyond the one thousand that have contacted us. Once the settlement is approved by the judge, the claim centre will be opened and claims can start being filed. With that many complaints, it will take several months to start processing them.”
Last October, the RCMP publically apologized to women in the force and announced $100-million was set aside for settlements.
The RCMP’s national watchdog released a report on Monday saying bullying and harassment remain a serious problem in the force.
Another report from former Auditor General Sheila Fraser called for substantial reforms including the RCMP creating a separate unit for investigating workplace harassment.