RCMP action plan aims to tackle sexual harassment



OTTAWA — On the same day the RCMP released its gender and respect action plan, the complaints commissioner released a report arguing that bullying is a greater systemic problem on the police force than sexual harassment.

A 37-point action plan to help the perceived old boys' club adjust to “diversity” in the workplace was met with mixed reaction in the House of Commons Thursday.

Part of the plan includes increasing the number of women employees and sending out video messages to all staff regarding responsibility and respect.

“These actions will contribute to the RCMP’s ability to hire and retain a diverse and competent workforce and will encourage dialogue and the timely resolution of issues,” Public Safety Minister Vic Toews said.

The action plan’s release coincided with the RCMP complaints commissioner’s report, which concludes bullying is a greater system problem than sexual harassment.

But, ultimately, complaints commissioner Ian McPhail said the perception of system problems in the RCMP is the most significant issue.

“The most important task is changing the perception of many employees and the public that the organization is complicit in the problem and, as a result, incapable of adequately addressing it,” McPhail said.

NDP public safety critic Randall Garrison said the action plan is an important first step, but that cuts to the RCMP will diminish its ability to follow it through.

“You can’t do this without resources, and the minister has repeatedly said he won’t make any new resources available.”

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