Ridout Barron


Prime Minister speaks out on workplace harassment

As the RCMP gears up to launch a campaign to address multiple allegations of harassment in their workplaces, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has thrown his support behind the initiative. Calgary residents may already be aware of the ongoing workplace harassment inquest being conducted both here and elsewhere in the nation. Prime Minister Trudeau has spoken out about the initiative, calling workplace harassment "unacceptable" at any Canadian establishment, including the armed forces, the RCMP and even Parliament. 

The Prime Minister has been asked about his level of confidence in current RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson, who has been the subject of some scrutiny as the allegations of harassment of officers and workers have mounted in previous months. Trudeau's comments highlighting his own "zero-tolerance" policies against sexual assault and harassment included Paulson. Trudeau was quoted as saying Paulson was on board with any initiative to halt bullying and other forms of harassment in the RCMP. 

The Prime Minister's comments come on the heels of a groundbreaking ruling by the Supreme Court, which saw a civil lawsuit ruled in favour of the complainant who alleged years of harassment in the service. That individual was awarded damages amounting to almost $150,000. While the RCMP has yet to appeal the decision of the court, the Trudeau government has advised that assigning an external investigator to oversee the inquest into the police force might be a step in the right direction. 

Workplace harassment is an endemic issue to workplaces here in Calgary and across the nation. While it is buoying to hear the country's leadership insist on systemic change, the reality is some Canadians will still experience harassment where they work. This is why the support of an experienced employment attorney can be helpful in situations that escape the attention of the bureaucracy. 

Source: Toronto Star, "Trudeau says government serious about eliminating workplace harassment, including in the RCMP", Tonda MacCharles, March 2, 2017

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