RCMP Harassment

Classification: UNCLASSIFIED

Branch/Agency: RCMP

Issue: RCMP Harassment/Merlo Davidson Class Action Settlement

Proposed Response:


The Merlo-Davidson class action settlement was reached in October 2016, between the Attorney General of Canada on behalf of the Government of Canada and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and plaintiffs in two proposed harassment-related class-action lawsuits representing all of the approximately 30,000 female members and employees employed in the RCMP since September 1974.

The Office of the Independent Assessor was authorized to begin accepting claims as of August 12, 2017, with an initial deadline for claim submissions of February 8, 2018, subsequently extended until May 22, 2018. As of February 5, 2020, a total of 3,131 claims have been received, with decisions rendered on 2,739 of these.

The Settlement agreement contains a series of change initiatives; progress against the action plans for these change initiatives is monitored on an ongoing basis. These include: the update and communication of RCMP harassment policies and expansion of anti-harassment training, advancing goals for increased recruitment and promotion of women, and updates to promotion policies and materials. They also include the establishment of Gender and Harassment Advisory Committees across the country to advise the Commissioner and Commanding Officers on issues related to gender, sexual orientation, harassment, equity and inclusivity. Formed in December 2017, these committees represent an important new venue for ongoing engagement across the organization as part of long-term change strategies. 

A “Troop 17” Scholarship was also launched in April 2018. Named in recognition of the first troop of women Regular Members to graduate from Depot, this scholarship will be awarded annually to recognize outstanding work by post-secondary students in the area of anti-harassment.

In 2017, a new unit was established to act as centralized support for the RCMP in the advancement of gender equality, diversity, inclusion and cultural transformation objectives. This unit is also overseeing the implementation of Gender-Based Analysis+ competencies across the organization, to ensure that all RCMP internal policies and external operations are informed by the systematic consideration of gender and diversity. Two new executive-level positions were created to lead this unit, including a new Senior Executive Committee member and a subject matter expert on gender and diversity analysis.

In May 2017, the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission (CRCC) released its Report on Workplace Harassment in the RCMP coinciding with the release of the Review of Four Cases of Civil Litigation Against the RCMP on Workplace Harassment — Report to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness by Sheila Fraser (the Fraser Report). The RCMP continues to undertake efforts to address the findings of these reports.

CRCC Report

The CRCC conducted a review of the RCMP’s policies and procedures on workplace harassment and investigated whether the recommendations from the CRCC’s 2013 Public Interest Investigation Report into Issues of Workplace Harassment within the RCMP were effectively implemented. The CRCC concluded that the RCMP did not adequately implement the 2013 recommendations, and confirmed that harassment and bullying continue to be a serious problem. Consequently, ten additional recommendations to address harassment were proposed in the 2017 report. The recommendations focused on improving processes, clarifying definitions and enhancing training.

Fraser Report

In November 2015, four women with lawsuits alleging harassment during their time at the RCMP wrote an open letter to the Prime Minister and all Liberal Senators and Members of Parliament requesting that they prevent the RCMP from discharging them prior to the conclusion of their legal proceedings. The Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness committed to reviewing these cases and appointed former Auditor General Sheila Fraser to review the cases. The objective was to review how harassment policies, procedures and the legislative framework were applied by the RCMP, to identify gaps and make recommendations. The review resulted in three recommendations: strengthen the governance framework and consider the creation of a civilian board to oversee organizational changes; establish an independent harassment investigation process; and conduct an independent review of the RCMP’s Health Services and the grievance process.


The RCMP has received Treasury Board authority to increase its 2019-20 appropriations by $50.1M through the Supplementary Estimates process for the Merlo Davidson Class Action Settlement. The remaining funding of $24.9M will be received by the RCMP in 2020-21.


Prepared by: Marilyn Smith, Senior Financial Manager, Tel 613-843-3834

Approved by: Gail Johnson, Chief Human Resources Officer, Tel: 613-843-6199

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