Harassment at RCMP a 'deep-seated' problem, says Ralph Goodale

With the RCMP facing another potential class-action harassment lawsuit, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said it's clear the RCMP has work to do on developing a healthy, respectful workplace.

Proposed new class-action suit aims targets harassment of male officers

"It is obviously a deep-seated problem," Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale says about harassment in the RCMP. (CBC News)

With the RCMP soon to face another class-action harassment lawsuit, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said it's clear the RCMP has work to do on developing a healthy, respectful workplace.

"This is obviously a deep-seated problem and one that the government of Canada is absolutely determined to end," Goodale said today outside the House of Commons.

The comment comes on the heels of news a Toronto law firm that recently helped settle harassment lawsuits on behalf of female RCMP employees, will soon file another claim on behalf of male Mounties and civilian employees. 

"We feel this is a systemic issue. The RCMP's own studies recognize bullying and harassment is a systemic issue within the force and those studies don't differentiate between the genders," said Megan McPhee, lawyer with Kim Orr Barristers.

McPhee told CBC News she's already spoken to hundreds of men who say the culture of bullying and intimidation inside the national police force is so severe their careers and mental health suffered.

She said their stories are consistent; that those who speak out of turn, question decisions of their superiors or don't fit in are regularly told they'll never be promoted, find themselves transferred to undesirable locations or socially isolated at work. 

Goodale said it doesn't matter if you're a man or a woman, harassment has no place at the RCMP.

"The principles of non-tolerance with respect to harassment and sexual violence apply right across the board. They are not gender-specific," the minister said.

Goodale also said the prime minister took the "rather extraordinary step" of asking him to ensure the RCMP is free from harassment.

"And I have been pursuing this aggressively from the very early days of my time as minister," he said.

The suit has not yet been filed in court and would need to be certified before becoming a class action.

About the Author

Alison Crawford is a senior reporter in CBC's parliamentary bureau, covering justice, public safety, the Supreme Court and Liberal Party of Canada.