MONTREAL, June 13, 2018 — Quebec Superior Court has agreed to hear a class-action request that seeks compensation for all RCMP officers who have been victims of harassment and bullying. The hearings will take place tomorrow and Friday at the Montreal Court House.
The application for a certification to authorize class action proceedings is being done on behalf of 22,000 front-line police officers and civilian employees of the federal force, and is the first application of its kind to be made by its members.
The hearings will begin at 9:30 a.m. tomorrow in Room 16.11 of the Montreal Court House, and will be presided by Judge Pierre C. Gagnon.
James Duggan, a Montreal-based lawyer who has represented RCMP officers nearly 40 years, filed the suit in collaboration with the Quebec Mounted Police Members’ Association (QMPMA) in November 2016 on behalf of RCMP members across Canada who have been victims of harassment and abuse of power.
“The fact that we now have two days to present our case before the honourable Judge Pierre C. Gagnon is a huge step for our cause,” said Duggan.
Duggan’s law office launched a website (https://rcmpclassaction.ca/) a year ago to allow all RCMP members — whatever their origins and wherever they are posted — who have been victims of harassment to confidentially tell their stories. The site has been visited over 6,000 times, and “several thousand” RCMP members have submitted their personal stories of harassment and bullying by superiors, said Duggan.
Duggan and the QMPMA have been at the epicentre of the RCMP’s labour movement for over 30 years and played a predominant role throughout the years in supporting members in their efforts to obtain a healthier work environment free of harassment and bullying. These efforts led to a favourable landmark decision in 2015 by the Supreme Court of Canada, which ruled that Canada’s Charter of Rights overruled the RCMP’s longstanding ban on allowing its members to unionize. The government responded by tabling Bill C-7, which excluded harassment from negotiations.
While the QMPMA represents Quebec members and francophone personnel across Canada, it filed the request on behalf of all RCMP officers across the country because “all of our members across Canada deserve to be recognized and protected. We all stand as one family,” said QMPMA spokesman Paul Dupuis, who retired last year from the force after 35 years of service.