Ridout Barron


Civilian governance suggested to combat discrimination

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police have been under considerable fire for some time following recent inquests regarding unacceptable workplace behaviour. Both here in Calgary and across the nation, the RCMP has been accused of turning a blind eye to discrimination and harassment in its ranks. Now, a federal watchdog is suggesting that civilian governance be brought in to combat this behaviour. 

The Chair for the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the RCMP has gone on record expressing shock and disgust at the findings of recent surveys, which suggest bullying and discrimination are at an all-time high within the organization. So much so, he says, that it directly influences the organization's ability to police the nation. He also suggested that many of the understaffing issues faced by the RCMP could be directly traced to a bad reputation brought on by this behaviour. 

Among civilian leadership, several suggestions have been made to remedy these issues. These suggestions include bringing in civilian experts to take on non-policing roles within the organization, the development of leadership training with an eye toward combatting harassment and discrimination, and the recruitment of external experts to investigate claims of such. The RCMP has been slow to change in the past, but it appears heightened media attention on these issues may be swaying them toward accepting civilian suggestions. 

While it is no doubt troubling to Calgary residents to hear that discrimination and bullying have such deep roots in the nation's police, it is heartening to know that steps are being taken to address these issues. However, not every employer is so rigorous. For individuals facing harassment, bullying or discrimination in their workplaces, legal structures are in place to help handle the cases that employers cannot or will not address. 

Source: CBC News, "Time for civilian governance at the RCMP, watchdog says in harassment report", Alison Crawford, May 15, 2017

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