Quebec Superior Court gives green light to class-action lawsuit against RCMP alleging workplace abuse

Quebec Superior Court Justice Pierre C. Gagnon has approved a lawsuit filed on behalf of all RCMP officers and civilian staff that alleges they were bullied or harassed while serving in the province.

A 2nd class action was filed in Ontario on behalf of claimants in the rest of Canada

In 2016, the RCMP acknowledged a widespread culture of 'bullying and intimidation.' The force is now dealing with two class actions, one of which has been allowed to proceed. (Valerie Zink/Reuters)

Quebec Superior Court has approved a class-action lawsuit filed by men and women who claim they were bullied or harassed while employed by the RCMP in the province.

Justice Pierre C. Gagnon gave the go-ahead on Wednesday for the class action to proceed.

The suit could cover anyone who has ever worked for the RCMP, whether as a police officer or civilian employee, and who suffered through what then Commissioner Bob Paulson acknowledged in 2016 was a "culture of bullying and intimidation and general harassment."

Alexander Duggan, the plaintiff's Montreal lawyer, says the Quebec suit could apply to more than 1,000 RCMP members stationed in Quebec, but is eligible to thousands more who were abused by Quebec-based superiors.

Those prejudices may include physical and psychological harassment, reprisals, discrimination and abuse of power, the ruling states.

None of the allegations in the lawsuit has been tested in court.

2nd class action filed

Paul Dupuis, spokesperson of the Quebec Mounted Police Members' Association, said the harassment has been life altering for some of his members, who have had to take early retirement or suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder.

"The impacts are pretty phenomenal on certain members that entered the RCMP with the expectation that they would be taken care of," he said.

In June, a second class action was filed in Ontario on behalf of claimants in the rest of Canada. It seeks compensation for thousands of employees, dating back decades, but still needs approval to move ahead. 

The Federal Court has only just received the Ontario claim. The government and RCMP have not yet filed a response.

In 2016, the RCMP acknowledged a widespread culture of "bullying and intimidation" when it reached a $100-million settlement with 3,100 female officers who claimed discrimination and sexual harassment on the job.

With files from Dave Seglins and Arian Zarrinkoub