Systemic Racism

Date: April 27, 2021

Classification: Unclassified

Fully releasable (ATIP)? Yes

Branch/Agency: RCMP


To address concerns regarding systemic racism in the RCMP.

Proposed Response:


The RCMP is facing greater scrutiny following a series of recent incidents across Canada, including a First Nations Chief in Alberta who claims we was beaten by police over an expired licence plate tag and a man in Nunavut who was arrested by being knocked over by a police vehicle.

Recent negative media coverage involving systemic racism in the RCMP has centered around the accommodation of Sikh members who are unable to wear tight-fitting personal protective equipment for religious reasons. As communicated by the RCMP’s Chief Human Resources Officer, Gail Johnson, the RCMP is now allowing Sikh members to return to operational duties following a risk assessment by divisional Commanding Officers.  The RCMP will continue to take appropriate action to ensure the health and safety of its officers and members of the public while respecting their individual dignity.

Ove the past two years, the RCMP has initiated a review of its policies and programs to ensure they are barrier-free. This included a GBA+ of its recruiting process, which identified areas for improvement. Further reviews are underway to address areas that are barriers to diverse applicants. The RCMP is also developing a strategy to increase diversity at the senior levels in response to a recent audit of Commissioned Officer Staffing.

Over the past year, the RCMP has been working towards the development of its first Equity, Diversity and Inclusion strategy.  The strategy is designed to establish a strong foundation for equity, diversity and inclusion practice, by being clear and coherent about directions for focused action including on recognizing and living RCMP values that speak to  the fundamental dignity of all individuals.

The Strategy will support leaders at all levels of the organization and engage them to establish:

The strategy is an important component of the RCMP’s response to concerns of systemic racism from the public, the media and government.

Like many departments, the RCMP has adopted Gender-based analysis+ as a tool to examine systemic issues and inequities. The RCMP Gender based analysis is being used as the organization reviews its recruiting practices, the training offered to front line officers, and as it continues to make key changes to workplace and operational policies.

The RCMP is working with the newly created Management Advisory Board to incorporate its expertise in a number of areas, including workplace culture, human resources and governance.

The RCMP is making concrete progress in establishing the foundation for change and to address key issues including diversity and inclusion, wellness and reconciliation with Canada’s Indigenous peoples. 

The RCMP is also actively supporting the National Action Plans to address gender-based violence, calls to justice from the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Commission, as well as the Anti-Racism Strategy led by Canadian Heritage.

While there are a number of actions underway, seeing changes in its workforce in an organization as large as the RCMP will take time, but I am confident that the organization is moving in the right direction.

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