RCMP culture ‘toxic,’ tolerates misogyny, racism, and homophobia: compensation report

OTTAWA — A new report evaluating the “toxic” culture inside the RCMP has concluded that Canada’s national police force tolerates misogyny, racism, and homophobia amongst its members and leaders, and is calling for external help to address the systemic problems.

These findings were part of a report prepared by an independent assessor, former Supreme Court of Canada Justice Michel Bastarache, in relation to the implementation of the Merlo Davidson settlement agreement.

“What I learned in reviewing claims and speaking to claimants has led me to conclude that the RCMP has a toxic culture which has proved intractable to change despite numerous reports and substantial litigation costs. This culture promotes, or at the very least tolerates, misogynistic, racist and homophobic attitudes among many members of the RCMP. Such attitudes cause harm and are inconsistent with the Charter values of equality. They must not be allowed to persist,” he writes.

As part of that class action lawsuit related to sexual harassment of women within the RCMP, 2,304 women received compensation out of a total of 3086 claims. The government has paid out $137,400,000.

The report, called “Broken Dreams Broken Lives,” digs into the “devastating effects” of the women who experienced this treatment within their workplace for years. Bastarache is recommending changes to training, recruitment, job postings, human resources policies and more.

He is also calling for an independent study of all aspects of the RCMP to “identify systemic barriers in place that prevent women from succeeding in the RCMP and specify ways in which those barriers can be removed.”

RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki will be addressing the findings during a 12:45 p.m. press conference. Lucki will be participating in the teleconference from self-isolation, as she is awaiting the results of a COVID-19 test after being exposed to someone who tested positive.

In advance of Lucki, Public Safety Minister Bill Blair issued a statement saying that: “No one should have to experience discrimination and harassment in the workplace, but we know that this is an everyday reality for many women and LGBTQ2S+ employees in Canada and in the RCMP.”

He called the “systemic patterns of abusive behaviour” in the RCMP as “repulsive and unacceptable.” Blair said he has spoken with Lucki and insisted the behaviour “must end now.”

In 2016 then-RCMP commissioner Bob Paulson issued an apology to hundreds of current and former female officers and employees who were subjected to the alleged incidents of bullying, discrimination and harassment.

With files from CTV News’ Michel Boyer

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