RCMP’s new civilian board created after years of workplace harassment allegations

Darrian Matassa-Fung / January 16, 2019

The RCMP have accepted all of the recommendations made by the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission and Sheila Fraser.
(RCMP)

In 2016, the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness requested two independent reviews of harassment allegations within the RCMP. One by the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission (CCRC) and the other by former Auditor General Sheila Fraser.

Both the CRCC and Fraser reports were publicly released in May 2017. Each found the RCMP to have systemic issues contributing to harassment and bullying behaviour in the workplace.

The RCMP have accepted all of the recommendations made by the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission and Sheila Fraser. In a press release, Commissioner Brenda Lucki acknowledged the change as a positive step forward.

“Modernization is a constant process. Having an Interim Management Advisory Board will be a significant change to how we do things. I am confident it is a necessary step to ensure we can continue taking care of our people and the communities we serve.” – Brenda Lucki, RCMP Commissioner

Both reports propose ways to improve RCMP policies and procedures on workplace harassment, with a key step being the creation of the Interim Management Advisory Board. The Board will consist of 13 civilians that will be part-time members appointed by the Governor in Council, including the Chair and Vice-Chair.

A Governor in Council appointment is made by the Governor General, on the advice of the Queen’s Privy Council of Canada (i.e., the Cabinet).

“Establishing an Interim Management Advisory Board suited to the unique structure of the RCMP as a 145-year-old national policing force will provide Commissioner Lucki and the Government with expert advice and support in leading the Force through this period of transformation – a task the new Commissioner has accepted with unwavering commitment. Maintaining a modern, healthy and inclusive workplace is not a single event; it is a process that must be relentlessly pursued.” – Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Management

A report released by the Government of Canada outlines the responsibilities and objectives of the Interim Management Advisory Board including:

  • transformation and modernization plans;
  • the effective and efficient use of RCMP resources;
  • corporate risk and responses to address them;
  • policies and management controls that support RCMP operations;
  • human resources and labour relations;
  • corporate and strategic direction, and implementation plans including, financial and human resources strategies and multi-year plans;
  • operating and capital budgets; and
  • performance measurement and departmental results.

According to the report, the Board will not involve itself in any matters relating to active law enforcement investigations and the Board will “enhance accountability and will help ensure a diverse, healthy and effective” RCMP workforce.

Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Management, announced the creation of the Interim Management Advisory Board yesterday.
(Twitter /@safety_canada)

“The creation of an Interim Management Advisory Board is a critical step to help modernize our RCMP and ensure we continue to be transparent and accountable to our people and the public. The Board’s expertise will provide additional information for decisions to support a diverse, healthy and effective RCMP that is trusted for our policing excellence.”– Brenda Lucki, Commissioner, Royal Canadian Mounted Police

Slow Process

SFU Associate Professor of Criminology Bryan Kinney says the creation of the advisory board is step in the right direction but it will take some time to “right the ship”.

“Its kinda like turning around battleship, it needs lots of room and lots of time to make any one-eighty turns. So I think we need to be calm and patient, in terms of anticipating anything being particularly noteworthy at least in the next year or two.” – Bryan Kinney, SFU Associate Professor

According to Kinney, this is the best way to change or modify the culture within the RCMP without stripping the good parts of the RCMP such as discipline.

Kinney went on to say the RCMP is different than local police forces as they are part of a larger entity and have rich traditions and structuring. These traditions could possibly make it difficult for any changes to happen quickly.