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e-3812 (Employment and labour)

E-petition
Initiated by Susan Rabichuk from Winnipeg, Manitoba

Original language of petition: English

Petition to the Government of Canada

Whereas:
  • In 2017, the government of Canada adopted a National Action Plan that aims to support women's and girls' empowerment and advance gender equality;
  • To date, the federal government has failed in achieving these aims;
  • Sexual and gender-based violence continues within the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP);
  • Officer-to-officer organizational violence combined with the failure of the RCMP to investigate complaints adequately places female officers at greater risk, thus hindering gender empowerment and equality; and
  • The result is unsafe and hostile workplaces, which negatively impact police women's mental and physical health, personal relationships, and financial status.
We, the undersigned, residents of Canada, call upon the Government of Canada to:
1. Hold a debate in the House of Commons to review the current system of investigation and accountability within the force with regard to sexual and gender-based violence and propose the implementation of an independent review board;
2. Provide professional legal counsel to victims of internal organizational violence and workplace injury compensation until the completion of the investigation;
3. Require the federal government to report on an ongoing basis the level and cost of legal and workers' compensation resources they are utilizing to defend their positions against victims' complaints; and
4. Honour its commitment to ensuring the National Action Plan aims are wholly fulfilled relating to female officers.

Response by the Minister of Public Safety

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): PAM DAMOFF, M.P.

The Government of Canada recognizes the devastating impacts of gender-based violence, harassment and discrimination in the workplace and is committed to eliminating it in all its forms. Ending gender-based harassment and discrimination is critical to the success of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) as a modern, healthy and inclusive organization.

External reviews and reports over the past decade have provided recommendations on improving workplace culture and preventing harassment and discrimination in the RCMP. In response, building on efforts to date under the RCMP’s Vision 150 and Beyond modernization plan, the RCMP is advancing a holistic approach to culture change and an organization free of violence, harassment and discrimination. The RCMP’s current actions cross four key areas, many of which are already underway as part of a long-term approach to a healthy and inclusive workplace.

 

Strengthening harassment prevention and ensuring trusted resolution processes are critical to the RCMP’s approach. The new Independent Centre for Harassment Resolution launched in June 2021 as an important response to past reports and reviews, and continues to evolve. Additionally, aligned with RCMP’s mandate commitment, in the Fall of 2021, an external expert with no ties to the organization was hired to undertake a review of RCMP conduct measures and their application to ensure fairness, transparency and effectiveness. Phase one of the review, related to harassment and sexual misconduct, is complete and the RCMP is reviewing the expert recommendations. The RCMP will implement any necessary changes to ensure measures are meaningful. To complement this, the RCMP has also recently engaged with employees, partners and stakeholders to renew the RCMP core values, and is working with outside experts to help develop implementation plans to identify effective ways to ensure employees live out the core values in their daily lives and in the workplace.

 

Alongside this, the RCMP is focused on enhancing inclusion within the organization by examining and addressing  systemic barriers. Gender-based Analysis Plus is being used as a key tool in RCMP modernization to identify, prevent and remove barriers from RCMP policies, programs and operations. Additionally, the first ever RCMP Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy was launched in 2021 to address systemic racism and discrimination in the organization. The RCMP also continues to work with external experts to carry out an Organizational Culture Inventory, a tested approach to guide culture change in large organizations.

 

Many reviews have pointed to the need to modernize RCMP recruitment and training. Recent changes have been made to the recruitment process, including to improve the proactive recruiting program, pilot implicit bias testing, and modernize the screening entrance exam. Regarding training, a number of changes have been made to the Cadet Training Program in recent years. Currently, the RCMP Management Advisory Board has created a Training and Education Taskforce and are engaging with the cadet training academy to review various aspects pertaining to equity, diversity and inclusion in the Cadet Training Program. 

 

Another priority area focuses on improving leadership development at all levels across the organization. The RCMP has introduced the Character Leadership model to select and develop leaders that are strong in character and judgment, alongside skill. Character Leadership is being incorporated into all leadership development courses and will be integrated into recruitment, promotions and other human resources processes.

 

Efforts will continue across all priority areas over the long-term. To enhance transparency, the RCMP regularly reports to the public on progress toward a healthy, inclusive and modern RCMP. For further information, please visit: Change at the RCMP (grc-rcmp.gc.ca)

 

Independent Centre for Harassment Resolution

In June 2021, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) officially launched the new Independent Centre for Harassment Resolution (ICHR). The ICHR’s mandate is to oversee the harassment resolution process through a centralized, independent unit, staffed by civilian employees. The unit follows up to ensure that post-investigation recommendations are fully implemented across the organization, working with workplace health and safety teams.

The ICHR model is rooted in a trauma-informed approach to ensure that it provides a safe space, with a focus on the needs and experiences of those who access ICHR services.

The RCMP is currently working with stakeholders to develop options to make the ICHR external to the RCMP to ensure there can be no conflicts of interest while reviewing complaints.

The goal of the ICHR is to help restore trust in the harassment resolution process among all RCMP employees, and to resolve occurrences of workplace harassment and violence. Prevention of harassment remains the ultimate goal, and in this respect, the link with ongoing culture change efforts will continue to be critical.

The ICHR is available to all RCMP employees – at all levels and locations across Canada, including cadets at Depot and those stationed abroad. An effective harassment resolution process, which internalizes ongoing feedback particularly in the first year of the Centre’s operation, will contribute to enhanced trust and credibility among RCMP staff.

It is crucial that all RCMP employees have a safe and confidential place to go to report incidents of harassment, and have the allegations assessed and addressed appropriately.

Between January 1 and December 31, 2021, the ICHR has received 373 notices of occurrence (i.e., complaints), compared to 213 in 2020 and 190 in 2019 prior to its existence. This volume indicates that employees are willing to engage with this new independent unit. The increase in the number of reported incidents was expected with the creation of the Centre.

The majority of alleged incidents reported to date relate to either abuse of authority or discrimination. The third invoked incident type is interpersonal deportment (i.e., behaviour causing offence) and ranking fourth is sexual harassment (about 10%).

The ICHR is made up of full-time employees who receives and analyse notices of occurrence as submitted by RCMP employees, refer employees for informal resolution, as needed, monitor the measures implemented to improve the workplace and offer support to current and former employees who have been victims of workplace harassment and violence.

As part of the ICHR, a Support Services Unit was formed to enhance the support provided to employees, victims and survivors of workplace harassment and violence.

The Support Services Unit offers support to employees who have submitted a notice of occurrence to the ICHR and also provides supports to current and former employees who have been victims of a criminal offence related to workplace harassment and violence.

Further to the recommendations in the Final Report on the Implementation of the Merlo Davidson Settlement Agreement, services and support offered by the dedicated resource are available on request to all current and former employees who have been victims of a criminal offence in the workplace.

When the unit is contacted, a dedicated resource will provide information about the different resources and programs available, direct individuals to the appropriate police of jurisdiction, if they wish to report the crime and finally, provide the appropriate external victim support resources (if applicable).

Awareness and Prevention

To raise awareness and prevention, the ICHR has made over 50 Divisional talks with staff since January 2022. in order to present the mandate of the ICHR, to raise management and employee awareness towards workplace violence and harassment and to raise management awareness towards conflict resolution. Communication directly to employees is undertaken by the ICHR, to provide updates as required.

A fulsome national prevention education and training campaign is planned for the Fall of 2022. These discussions are one part of broader engagement that takes places across the organization on workplace health and safety.

Open for signature
January 28, 2022, at 4:33 p.m. (EDT)
Closed for signature
April 28, 2022, at 4:33 p.m. (EDT)
Presented to the House of Commons
Nathaniel Erskine-Smith (Beaches—East York)
May 10, 2022 (Petition No. 441-00427)
Government response tabled
June 21, 2022
Photo - Nathaniel Erskine-Smith
Beaches—East York
Liberal Caucus
Ontario
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