Family of RCMP officer denied compensation from class action lawsuit following her death
Vancouver Island's Krista Carlé, 53, died by suicide before her case was processed
The children of a former Nanaimo, B.C., RCMP officer who took her own life last year have been denied the compensation she would have been offered for on-the-job harassment if her file had been handled faster, according to her brother.
Krista Carlé was a prominent figure in the fight to bring attention to harassment within the RCMP. She came forward to CBC News about her own experiences for the first time in November 2011. Carlé said she had endured 35 instances of harassment, sexual assault and bullying by co-workers and superiors.
A class action was launched against the government and the RCMP regarding the gender-based harassment and sexual abuse within the RCMP.
A 2016 settlement of $100 million covers female officers who were sexually harassed while working for the RCMP going back to September 1974. A second $100 million settlement was reached in 2019 for women who worked for the force in non-policing roles.
Around 2,500 women are expected to make claims under both settlements.
However, Carlé, 53, died by suicide last year before her claim could be processed. The settlement only allows a payout for living officers.
Kevin Carlé, Krista's brother and executor of her estate, said her claim had been with officials for more than six months.
"And sadly, after she died, when I was asked to ascertain the status of her claim and found out where it was and the decision was taken to close the case, because ... she didn't meet the definition of a claimant," Carlé said on CBC's All Points West.
He said the lack of compensation leaves her legacy in question.
"I would like to hope that into the future for her children, my niece and nephew, will be able to continue to hold their Mum and her effort and her legacy in high regard," he said.
"It's like a dangling question mark right now."
Guy Versailles, spokesperson for the office of the independent assessor, said that the office is sorry about what happened, but was inundated with claims at the time. Furthermore, they are bound by rules that say compensation goes only to living claimants.
Carlé said that reasoning doesn't sit well with him.
"Why did lack of capacity on the part of the independent assessor's office translate into a problem for my sister? Had they acted faster, her case would have been looked at, there may have been a discovery — which was something she was looking forward to."
Carlé wants to publicize Krista's case to see how the newly re-elected government approaches the issue. He says he also hasn't ruled out legal action.
"We'll cross that bridge when we get to it," he said. "I would like to have a discussion with the government to see what it is they think might be appropriate to remedy this distasteful situation."
Where to get help
Canada Suicide Prevention Service
In French: Association québécoise de prévention du suicide: 1-866-APPELLE (1-866-277-3553)
Kids Help Phone:
Text: TALK to 686868 (English) or TEXTO to 686868 (French)
Live Chat counselling at www.kidshelpphone.ca
Post-Secondary Student Helpline:
Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention: Find a 24-hour crisis centre
If you're worried someone you know may be at risk of suicide, you should talk to them, says the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention. Here are some warning signs:
- Suicidal thoughts.
- Substance abuse.
- Feeling trapped.
- Hopelessness and helplessness.
- Mood changes.
With files from All Points West