RCMP launches national awareness campaign about sexual misconduct at work
Campaign among 28 recommendations made in wake of sexual misconduct at Canadian Police College
The RCMP has not adequately recognized the interests of its employees who claim they were harassed at work, Commissioner Bob Paulson said in announcing some of the actions taken following an internal review released last July.
The review on harassment and sexual harassment in the force followed CBC News reports about nudity, allegations of sexual harassment, bullying and other disgraceful conduct during work hours at the Canadian Police College for bomb technicians.
"Oddly, we had not built our responses to internal misconduct to recognize and address the victims' interests as much as we have in our criminal investigations. No longer!" Paulson says in an update posted to the RCMP website.
"We are also taking steps to make sure that victims of such behaviour are supported and kept well informed on the progress of their cases."
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The review, led by RCMP assistant commissioner Steve White, detailed a historically dysfunctional workplace where employees felt they couldn't complain about mistreatment without risking retaliation and being labelled "rats." The review team also found a string of "unacceptable" failures in the leadership of RCMP management, the disciplinary system and human resources practices.
White and his team made 28 recommendations.
The update says the RCMP has since launched a four-week, national awareness campaign on sexual misconduct in its workplaces. The goals are to educate staff about how to spot and report such behaviour, and to explain the consequences.
The Mounties say they have also updated training for managers and those who investigate harassment and misconduct, to better assess employee mental health.
Many of the other recommendations pertain to making the disciplinary process more transparent to complainants, witnesses and the public, as well as publicly reporting the outcome of conduct hearings are still in the works.
"While more work lies ahead," said Paulson, "I am proud that our efforts have resulted in changes to RCMP policy and training materials to facilitate the reporting of and response to, cases of sexual misconduct."