RCMP’s ‘toxic’ culture is rampant through entire force, finds damning report

An independent report on harassment of women in the RCMP says the national police force’s culture is “toxic” and tolerates hateful and homophobic attitudes.

The report released Thursday by former Supreme Court justice Michel Bastarache says it is well past time for the federal government to take meaningful and radical action to address these issues, which have caused incalculable damage.

It concludes that change cannot come from within the RCMP but must be initiated from the outside, and the damning report urges a federal review of the future of the force.

“The culture of the RCMP is toxic and tolerates misogyny and homophobia at all ranks and in all provinces and territories. This culture does not reflect the stated values of the RCMP, and it is found throughout the organization,” the report states.

“RCMP employees appear to blame the ‘bad apples’ without recognizing the systemic and internal origins of this conduct.”

Because the force has had years to fix the problem and failed to do so, Bastarache said, “comprehensive cultural change is required.”

“The time has come for an in depth, external and independent review of the organization and future of the RCMP as a federal policing organization,” Bastarache concluded.

Bastarache was the independent assessor who oversaw the provision of compensation to 2,304 women involved in a class-action settlement.

The report says sexual harassment and assault not only harm the victims and their families, but also undermine the reputation of the RCMP as a policing organization.

It makes 52 recommendations on systemic barriers, recruitment, training, human resources and staffing, maternity and parental leave, employment flexibility, grievances and discipline, mental health, promotions, leadership, specialized teams and medical examinations abuse.

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