Standing Committee on the Status of Women Tuesday, February 26, 2013 Chair FEWO

Standing Committee on the Status of Women Tuesday, February 26, 2013 Chair FEWO
Standing Committee on the Status of Women
FEWO
●
NUMBER 060
●
1st SESSION
●
EVIDENCE
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Chair
Ms. Marie-Claude Morin
41st PARLIAMENT
1
Standing Committee on the Status of Women
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
● (1100)
[Translation]
The Chair (Ms. Marie-Claude Morin (Saint-Hyacinthe—
Bagot, NDP)): Good morning and welcome to the 60th meeting
of the Standing Committee on the Status of Women. Today is
Tuesday, February 26, 2013, and we are continuing our study on
sexual harassment in the federal workplace, pursuant to Standing
Order 108(2).
We welcome representatives from the Royal Canadian Mounted
Police Public Complaints Commission. Further to a motion tabled
February 7, 2013, a committee member must move a motion in order
to hear the three witnesses representing the organization.
Ms. Truppe, the floor is yours.
[English]
Mrs. Susan Truppe (London North Centre, CPC): Thank you,
Madam Chair.
I move:That, notwithstanding the motion adopted on Thursday, February 7, 2013,
the Committee hear the testimony of more than two representatives from the
Royal Canadian Mounted Police Public Complaints Commission in relation to the
study of sexual harassment in the federal workplace.
Thank you.
[Translation]
[English]
Mr. Ian McPhail (Interim Chair, Chair's Office, Royal
Canadian Mounted Police Public Complaints Commission):
Thank you, Madame.
Madame Chair, honourable members, thank you for the
opportunity to share with the committee the results of the
commission’s investigation into workplace harassment in the RCMP.
Given how fundamentally important public support is to the
RCMP's ability to carry out its duties and responsibilities, I felt it
necessary to initiate a complaint and undertake a public interest
investigation following reports that female RCMP members had
faced systemic sexual harassment in the workplace.
The commission’s investigation focused on the handling of
alleged workplace harassment. It included all forms of harassment,
not just sexual harassment. The commission examined the adherence
to RCMP policies and procedures, the adequacy of those policies,
the thoroughness and impartiality of harassment investigations, as
well as harassment-related training. In total, the commission
reviewed 718 harassment complaints filed between 2005 and
2011. We did not make findings in respect of individual harassment
complaints. Nonetheless, we assessed the handling of each
complaint filed.
The Chair: Thank you, Ms. Truppe.
I am assuming that all members are in agreement.
(Motion agreed to unanimously)
The Chair: I would like to take this opportunity to make a few
committee announcements before we hear the witnesses.
I wish to inform the members that the committee will be sitting on
March 5 because one of the witnesses was available only on that
date.
We will now proceed. From the Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Public Complaints Commission, we will be hearing from Mr. Ian
McPhail, Interim Chair, Mr. Richard Evans, Senior Director, and Ms.
Lisa-Marie Inman, Director, Reviews and Investigations.
You have 10 minutes to make your presentation, which will then
be followed by a question period. I will warn you when you have
one minute remaining.
Mr. McPhail, the floor is yours.
The investigation found that, overwhelmingly, the problem was
with abuse of authority—in other words, bullying. The investigation
also revealed that most of the alleged harassment occurred between
regular RCMP members. Over 60% of complainants and 70% of
respondents were uniformed police officers. The gender breakdown
of complainants was virtually half male and half female, while
respondents were predominantly male. The commission’s review
also found that most of the harassment complaints were dealt with in
accordance with the RCMP's harassment policy. However, that
policy was capable of being interpreted in a number of ways, which
resulted in it being inconsistently applied.
In undertaking this review, the commission was cognizant that the
formal complaint files we received from the RCMP may not reflect
all instances of harassment as some people may be reluctant to file a
formal complaint for various reasons. In an effort to address potential
under-reporting, as well as to elicit feedback, a call for public
submissions was made. The commission received 63 submissions
and, in turn, conducted a number of interviews with interested
parties.
2
FEWO-60
Although the empirical data presented to the commission did not
support the belief that the RCMP has a systemic issue with sexual
harassment, there is no proof to the contrary. Moreover, the simple
perception of the existence of systemic poor treatment of employees
by colleagues and supervisors, regardless of gender, has a huge
impact on both public confidence and the manner in which the
RCMP is regarded.
In addition, and perhaps more importantly, for those employees
who suffered harassment or workplace conflict, there is a very real
human cost. There is also a tremendous strain on the organization
when such serious issues are not addressed in an effective and timely
manner. As such, the commission’s report urged the RCMP to take a
number of concrete and measurable steps to improve its handling of
workplace conflict and harassment allegations, including revising the
harassment policy to be more inclusive; instituting a system of
centralized monitoring and coordination of harassment complaints
outside of the divisional chains of command; and establishing an
external mechanism for review of harassment decisions, separate
from, but not exclusive of, the RCMP's labour relations process.
● (1105)
The commission also recommends that the RCMP develop a
comprehensive method to evaluate respectful workplace efforts that
is both measurable and quantifiable. The results of such evaluation
must be publicly reported.
All of this is intended to enhance the transparency of the process
because only if you have what RCMP members themselves see as a
fair, open, transparent, and expeditious process will people be
comfortable in stepping forward, and the public have confidence in
its national police force.
Harassment is a complex problem requiring a complex solution.
Policy statements and written procedures are not enough to address
this issue. There must be intent on the part of the RCMP to cultivate
a more respectful workplace, and that intent needs to be followed up
with actions.
I am hopeful that the commission’s report and recommendations
will help inform the RCMP in its efforts and further build on the
commissioner’s recently released action plan.
With that, I would be happy to answer any questions you may
have.
● (1110)
[Translation]
The Chair: Thank you.
We will now begin the question and answer period.
Ms. Truppe, you have seven minutes.
[English]
Mrs. Susan Truppe: Thank you, Madame Chair. I would like to
welcome our guests today.
“Sexual Harassment in the Federal Workplace” is the name of our
study, and that's what our focus is here. It's a very serious issue and
why we're here today and have been here these past few months.
February 26, 2013
I will start with a quote from my colleague on the other side, Ms.
Ashton, at the time of Commissioner Paulson's last visit. Ms. Ashton
had indicated that “We all want to see full resources attached to an
effort to eradicate sexual harassment and harassment in the force”.
I just want to make it clear that Bill C-42 does give the
Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP an extra $5
million and the RCMP $9.8 million, so there is some funding
attached.
Mr. McPhail, or Mr. Evans or Ms. Inman if you would like to
answer, what impact would Bill C-42, the enhancing RCMP
accountability act, have on the organization?
Mr. Ian McPhail: Thank you, Ms. Truppe.
Bill C-42, in our opinion, will have a positive impact on the
organization, which is to be recreated as a new civilian review and
complaints commission.
Broadly speaking, Bill C-42 will provide the new commission
with the power to compel witnesses and testimony. It will give the
new commission the ability to instigate broad systemic reviews. It
will enable the commission to work more cooperatively and to
conduct joint reviews with our provincial counterparts.
All in all, it will result in a much more robust authority for the new
body, which I believe will have a positive effect.
Mrs. Susan Truppe: Thank you. You just said that it will give
you a broader systemic review. Can you elaborate on that? What's
the difference?
Mr. Ian McPhail: Yes, let me explain the difference between this
particular report and a systemic review.
This report is based on the current authority of the commission to
have what is called a chair-initiated complaint. It's not necessary to
wait until an individual makes a specific complaint. If the chair of
the commission is of the opinion that there is a particular matter that
should be investigated, the chair has the authority to institute such a
process.
The ability to conduct systemic reviews is broader. It's not
necessarily dependent on their being a certain issue. Let me give you
an example. Under the authority to be granted by BillC-42, the new
review and complaints commission would have the ability to
perform a systemic review of the RCMP's progress in implementing
these recommendations and to do a broader review of attitudes and
opinions of RCMP members to more accurately determine the full
extent of this particular problem.
● (1115)
Mrs. Susan Truppe: Great, thank you.
How does Bill C-42 address the issues outlined in your
recommendations?
February 26, 2013
FEWO-60
Mr. Ian McPhail: Bill C-42 gives the RCMP commissioner the
authority to implement some of the recommendations. For example,
one of the findings of the commission in this report was that there's a
multiplicity of processes in place at the present time. For example, in
our review of the files we found that complaint investigations took
anywhere from two weeks to four years to be completed. Without
knowing people's motivations, I think it's a reasonable conclusion to
reach that the prospect of spending up to four years involved in a
complex and often difficult and stressful legal process might well
cause someone just to avoid the process altogether. What Bill C-42
does is give the commissioner the authority to streamline this
process. What the commission has done has been to give the
commissioner a road map for how to use these new powers. It's then
up to the commissioner and the RCMP to implement them.
Mrs. Susan Truppe: That's very good, thank you. I have one
minute left.
You had mentioned that sexual harassment was not systemic. The
report did not support the latter claim, though I think you said there
was no proof on the contrary. How did you come to this conclusion?
Could you give just a very quick response on that?
Mr. Ian McPhail: Very simply, of the files that we reviewed, a
full 90% dealt with abuse of authority or bullying. Only 4% dealt
with sexual harassment. We also made the point that there are three
broad areas. One area is the complaint files themselves. That's what
we reviewed. Secondly, there are complaints made that result in
informal resolution. At this time there is no record kept of the results
of those cases and we recommend that this be done. The third
instance would be problems or complaints that aren't made for
whatever reason, that is, the under-reporting that I referred to in my
opening remarks. It's my belief that it's necessary to have the kind of
fair, open, and transparent process that I referred to so that—
[Translation]
The Chair: I am sorry, Mr. McPhail, but I am going to have to
interrupt you. You have gone way past your speaking time already.
You will no doubt be able to complete what you were saying in
answering other questions.
Ms. Ashton, the floor is yours. You have seven minutes.
[English]
Ms. Niki Ashton (Churchill, NDP): Thank you, Mr. McPhail, for
joining us today.
The report you released mentioned that only 4% of the complaints
came from women and were related to sexual harassment. On the
other hand, we know that more than 200 women have started a class
action lawsuit on sexual harassment in the RCMP. I'm wondering
how you can explain that discrepancy.
Mr. Ian McPhail: Very simply, on the 4%, that's what we found
from the 718 files we reviewed. Now very specifically, with respect
to the class action law suit, we extended an invitation to the
representative plaintiff in that lawsuit because we hoped to meet with
her. On the advice of counsel, she declined to do so. In terms of the
specific numbers joining in that lawsuit, until it's been certified in
accordance with the rules governing class action lawsuits, we won't
actually know specifically how many members or former members
are joining in that lawsuit.
3
● (1120)
Ms. Niki Ashton: Do you think women are afraid to come
forward?
Mr. Ian McPhail: We don't know. We do sense that there's an
underreporting, and we've made that clear. That follows on what I
was saying in response to Ms. Truppe's questions concerning what
needs to be done within the RCMP in terms of the openness and the
fairness of the process to make it clear to members of both genders
and of any status within the RCMP that they should feel more
confident in coming forward, that they will be dealt with fairly, and
that their careers and their lives will not be put on hold for years to
come.
Ms. Niki Ashton: I think that's an important point. One of the
things we've been hearing from people associated with the RCMP,
but also more broadly in the federal workplace, is that when there
isn't an indication that perpetrators will be dealt with accordingly and
in a serious manner, obviously that is a disincentive to coming
forward, amongst other reasons.
My issue is with the reticence to call this a systemic problem. We
have a class action law suit. The country has been gripped by the
allegations that have come forward. These are the people who we
entrust our safety with, and yet even some of these officers' own
safety is violated in the most gruesome way. Why were you so quick
to say it's not systemic?
Mr. Ian McPhail: We weren't quick to say it's not systemic.
Now, if I can first address the initial part of your question, one of
our recommendations dealt with the issue of retaliation. It's part of
the complaint structure that we advocate. Very simply, we followed
the evidence that was available to us. We acknowledge that the
evidence we got did not necessarily provide a complete picture, but it
was the best available. We're confident that we received all of the
files for the period of time in question. Those files did not reveal a
systemic issue of harassment. That having been said, we were very
careful to say that because of potential underreporting and the fact
that records are not kept in cases of informal resolution, it's not
possible to say the contrary definitively either.
Ms. Niki Ashton: Your fourth recommendation reads, “That an
external mechanism for review of harassment decisions be
implemented.” Could clarify this recommendation, what you are
talking about and why it's so important?
Mr. Ian McPhail: The key to credibility is independence. Now,
the format for that external review can be a senior member of the
RCMP, who occupies a position in senior management and is
reporting directly. It could be somebody outside the RCMP. But that
person should be independent of the divisional chains of command.
It cannot be seen as being responsive to other pressures, so the exact
format that independence should take is, I think, up to the RCMP.
Further with that, some people had suggested to us that the
investigation of harassment complaints, the dealings with these, be
completely removed to a separate body. We don't advocate that, and
the reason is that we believe it would be a mistake to in effect
contract out harassment problems to an outside body. If you contract
them out, they're then someone else's responsibility. As part of the
creation of a respectful workplace, harassment must be everyone's
responsibility.
4
FEWO-60
● (1125)
Ms. Niki Ashton: On that note—this will be a quick question,
because I know my time is running out—when it comes to training,
do you believe that in-person training when it comes to harassment is
necessary?
Mr. Ian McPhail: It's absolutely necessary. In terms of the kind of
in-person training that takes place now, there's very good training of
cadets when they undergo their training at Depot in Regina. The
RCMP has an excellent module of training for managers, but
unfortunately only a small minority of managers have taken that
training. We advocate that it be rolled out to cover all managers and
that follow-up online training be given to members on a regular
basis.
[Translation]
The Chair: Mr. McPhail, I am going to have to stop you there. I
apologize.
We will now turn to a member on the government side.
Ms. O'Neill Gordon, you have seven minutes.
[English]
Mrs. Tilly O'Neill Gordon (Miramichi, CPC): Thank you,
Madam Chair.
Thanks to all of you for taking time to be with us.
As you can very well understand, with all this work and study that
we're doing, it's very important to all of us that all the public servants
be free to face the daily and expected challenges of a day's work
without harassment and without fear of mistreatment by colleagues
and co-workers or supervisors. I assure you that our government
places our whole confidence in the RCMP and in the system. So we
thank you for being here, and thank you for the work you are putting
forth.
In your report, your first recommendation reads as follows: “That
the RCMP implement a systematically compiled and nationally
comparable system of data collection and reporting in respect of
workplace conflict.”
What sorts of recommendations are the Commission for Public
Complaints Against the RCMP empowered to make, and will you
address policy and procedures, disciplinary measures, and reporting?
What measures would you follow?
Mr. Ian McPhail: To begin with, with respect to the specific
recommendation that you referred to, I can tell you that the review
that the commission performed was the first time, was the first
review, that any body analyzed all of the complaint files over a
period of time and with a view to assessing how they were handled
and how that could be improved.
I would see this as being an ongoing process. No one report is
going to solve the problem. No policy statement is going to solve the
problem. What needs to be institutionalized within the RCMP—and,
frankly, I think this applies to any large organization—is the ability
to have proper training, reporting, ongoing monitoring and, at the
end of the day, outside review as to how the process has been
conducted.
February 26, 2013
Mrs. Tilly O'Neill Gordon: In your experience so far, what
would you say is the one thing that will make the biggest difference
in resolving incidents of sexual harassment in the workplace? Is
there one thing you can think of?
Mr. Ian McPhail: That's not an easy question, but what I would
suggest is perhaps a consciousness on the part of people throughout
the organization that individual respect for one's colleagues
regardless of rank, regardless of gender, is critical. If there is that
kind of respect, which is going to come from leadership and good
policy, I think that's what we're all looking for, and which our
recommendations are designed to help the RCMP accomplish.
● (1130)
Mrs. Tilly O'Neill Gordon: Yes, and I can assure you that that's
probably what we have heard a lot from the other departments. It's
things like leadership and the expectations in place that really make a
difference in the workplace and how people handle themselves with
their co-workers.
You mentioned training. What is the expectation in that regard? Is
it done on a yearly basis, is it just when new staff arrive, or how does
the training take place in this department?
Mr. Ian McPhail: There are different types of training. There is
the training of the investigators themselves. You might think, with a
police force of thousands of trained investigators, why added
training would be necessary. That's because harassment of whatever
type is different in its fundamental nature from criminal investigation. Harassment can of course become criminal, but RCMP
members are trained in performing criminal investigations. That
involves gathering evidence in preparation for lodging a criminal
charge.
With respect to harassment investigations, I believe the goal
should be early intervention. So the training of managers can enable
the managers to spot the indicia of harassment before it becomes a
serious issue. Then in terms of the investigators themselves, the
initial steps should be remedial.
Only in the cases where that doesn't work would you then
presumably move on to formal disciplinary hearings.
Mrs. Tilly O'Neill Gordon: Could you please describe in further
detail what you think would be the best way to collect and harness
data on sexual harassment in the workplace. Is there any special way
we could collect this data, or do you have any special idea?
The Chair: Be very quick.
Mr. Ian McPhail: The data is there, but it's in the divisions. It's
not accessible to the commissioner and to the leadership of the
RCMP.
[Translation]
The Chair: Thank you.
We will now turn to Ms. Sgro. You have seven minutes.
[English]
Hon. Judy Sgro (York West, Lib.): Thank you very much,
Madam Chair, and welcome, Mr. McPhail. I'm really pleased that
you accepted our invitation to be here today. I thank you most of all
for taking the initiative on your own to go ahead and do that
investigation without being asked.
February 26, 2013
FEWO-60
Can you keep your answers as short as possible because seven
minutes disappears very quickly?
When was your mandate last reviewed?
Mr. Ian McPhail: There has not been a formal review of the
mandate since the commission was established in the 1980s.
Hon. Judy Sgro: In the 1980s. So would you suggest that it might
be time to have another look at your mandate given some of the
issues we have heard over the last several years?
Mr. Ian McPhail: Absolutely. I believe that Bill C-42 is the
culmination of that process.
Hon. Judy Sgro: The issues around Bill C-42 and how thorough
and effective that will be all depend on the commissioner. It's still
putting the commissioner in charge of everything. It gives him the
extra powers, the new powers that he specifically asked for, but it
always ends up being totally up to the commissioner how this will go
and how thoroughly a lot of these things will actually be enforced, is
it not?
Mr. Ian McPhail: Legislation can give tools. Organizations such
as the CPC can provide guidance, road maps, and recommendations.
I think in any organization there's an issue of leadership, and every
organization is dependent on the leadership within that organization
to use the tools given to accomplish the goals set forth.
● (1135)
Hon. Judy Sgro: But, in effect, we still have the fox in charge of
the henhouse, to put it as bluntly as I can. Of course, ultimately, we
want the full support of our leadership, but it does put everything
back to the head of the RCMP as to how successful this will be.
Mr. Ian McPhail: With respect to our recommendations, that's
not totally correct. Here's where I might differ from you somewhat.
The final recommendation we made was that there be ongoing
review by an external body. I would anticipate this would be the new
civilian review and complaints commission, pursuant to its powers
of doing systemic reviews of the progress of the RCMP in
implementing the recommendations and dealing with issues of
harassment. I would agree with you that there need to be appropriate
checks and balances. In my opinion, the new review and complaints
commission could provide that check and balance.
Hon. Judy Sgro: How do we know that? How are we going to
ensure that it happens? I guess we're always back to checking the
one who's checking the other one, and who's checking the one after
that.
Mr. Ian McPhail: Well, there's no question that policy is often
dependent on the individuals involved. At the end of the day, I think
it's up to the Canadian public and their will, as expressed through
their parliamentarians, to insist that this take place. I would see what
this committee is doing today as part of the checks and balances in
the system.
Hon. Judy Sgro: When you talk about the independent
commission that you referred to, what do you classify as
independent?
Mr. Ian McPhail: I would classify as independent the ability of
the commission to perform its mandated function—subject always to
requests from the minister or others to perform certain functions—
without interference.
5
Hon. Judy Sgro: I thought your 11 recommendations were all
very helpful, including to the government. But when you talked
about the external review mechanism of the decisions being
implemented, why wouldn't you want that external body to do the
complete investigation and subsequent recommendations?
Mr. Ian McPhail: It's for the reason I outlined to Ms. Ashton,
which is that it is something that we considered and discussed among
ourselves, but by outsourcing that very critical function, it then
becomes somebody else's responsibility. I don't think we would want
to encourage that particular mindset.
Hon. Judy Sgro: We have independent commissions overseeing
police services throughout the country that operate very well, have
been very successful, and are at arms' length away and have
completed those investigations.
The Chair: A very quick question, please.
Hon. Judy Sgro: What makes the RCMP think they're any
different?
Mr. Ian McPhail: I may have misunderstood your question. Very
definitely, there needs to be external review of the RCMP's actions.
When I answered the question, I was thinking of the conduct of the
specific investigations into specific harassment complaints. External
review is necessary to determine how effectively those are
conducted.
● (1140)
Hon. Judy Sgro: Thank you very much.
Mr. Ian McPhail: You're welcome.
[Translation]
The Chair: Thank you.
Ms. Ambler, the floor is yours. You have five minutes.
[English]
Mrs. Stella Ambler (Mississauga South, CPC): Thank you,
Madam Chair.
Thank you very much for being here today. We appreciate it.
My question is on recommendation 11, and specifically data
collection. Ms. O'Neill Gordon's last question had to do with that,
and I noticed that you were a little rushed in your response. You
talked about accessibility and how important it was for the public to
be able to access the findings of the data collected.
Since this is a relatively new thing, having started in 2011, I also
want to know how you're doing it. What kind of data are important
for you to collect? Are you collecting data about the complainants
and the departments this is happening in? I want to know what kinds
of questions are being asked.
How detailed is the information coming in? How will that
ultimately help the way it's collected and accessed?
Mr. Ian McPhail: Ms. Inman led the team of investigators and is
very familiarity with the data, so I'm going to ask her to respond to
that particular question.
Mrs. Stella Ambler: Thank you. Please go ahead.
6
FEWO-60
Ms. Lisa-Marie Inman (Director, Reviews and Investigations,
Royal Canadian Mounted Police Public Complaints Commission): Just to clarify, I wasn't sure whether you were referring to how
we're collecting data on an ongoing basis, how the RCMP collects
data, or how we collected data for this investigation.
Mrs. Stella Ambler: I'm more concerned with how it will be done
going forward.
Ms. Lisa-Marie Inman: Okay.
The recommendation we made was directed at the RCMP. The
commission itself won't be collecting RCMP data on an ongoing
basis, although, as Mr. McPhail mentioned, it will be open to the
commission or the future commission to go in and do a specified
activities review or a systematic review, at that point, on how the
RCMP is doing with its harassment commitments.
Going forward, with respect to the RCMP's data collection, we're
suggesting having a centralized system that collects all the data,
basically relating to what's currently there, so that it's brought into
the centre. By that we mean data about the complainant, what type of
issue it is, what the allegations are, what resolution is sought and,
most importantly, what ends up happening with the complaints, what
steps were followed throughout, and how it was eventually resolved,
as well as any details of the investigation.
Mrs. Stella Ambler: Thank you.
Do you think that the process as it develops into the system that
we will have—which I believe will be more comprehensive than it
used to be—will add credibility and lead to the independence that
Mr. McPhail talked about? Do you believe there's a direct
correlation?
Ms. Lisa-Marie Inman: Our thinking was that when you're able
to point to a meaningful set of data that you can be sure is
consistently collected and is valid, and you can show what the
problem is and how you're dealing with it, that builds credibility in
the organization's ability to deal with the issues it faces. We're
hoping that this recommendation will contribute to the organization
having more credibility among employees in how it is dealing with
the issues they bring forward.
Mrs. Stella Ambler: Sure. And ultimately it will help indirectly,
as well, in that people suffering from harassment will feel more
comfortable if they can see the numbers that are being dealt with.
● (1145)
Ms. Lisa-Marie Inman: That's the goal.
Mrs. Stella Ambler: That's good.
Your investigation revealed there were 718 complaints over five
years. It was interesting to see that the 4% classified as sexual
harassment is consistent with what we've been hearing from other
federal departments. Their numbers are more akin to 3%. But I'm not
sure—
[Translation]
The Chair: Ms. Ambler, your five-minute period is over.
[English]
Mrs. Stella Ambler: Really? I was going to get to the systemic
issue and whether.... Actually, it's been covered a fair bit, but the
witness talked about it being a systemic issue, but—
February 26, 2013
[Translation]
The Chair: I am going to have to cut you off, Ms. Ambler.
We will now turn to Ms. Day. You have five minutes.
Mrs. Anne-Marie Day (Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles,
NDP): Thank you, Madam Chair.
I would like to thank the witnesses for coming here today.
My first question is for Ms. Inman.
You are the director of complaints. As a result, you receive
complaints. A short while ago, we heard Mr. Paulson, the RCMP
Commissioner, testify before the Standing Committee on Public
Safety. He stated that he did not believe women were afraid to file a
complaint.
Ms. Inman, since you receive complaints, could you tell me
whether women are indeed afraid to file a complaint? In addition, if
they do contact you, do they ever decide not to go any further out of
fear? Have you seen any evidence of that?
Ms. Lisa-Marie Inman: Thank you for your question.
[English]
In my current role at the commission, I don't actually receive
complaints. I'm the director of reviews. I'm in charge of complaint
reviews when people are dissatisfied with the first resolution of their
complaint by the RCMP.
As far as your question is concerned about whether or not women
are afraid to come forward to report harassment—and tell me if I'm
misphrasing this—while that has come up anecdotally and I'd say
that it's likely true, there was no way in our investigation to say what
the exact extent of that was.
We had made a public submission process in the hope that people
would come forward with their stories, if that is what they had
experienced. The public submissions we received didn't actually go
to that at all. As a result of what we acknowledged as likely underreporting, we made the recommendations we did, in the hope that by
making the system a bit more credible and robust and having a
mechanism to deal with complaints about retaliation, more women,
men, or whoever it might be who suffered harassment and were
afraid to come forward would step up and be more comfortable in
making a complaint.
[Translation]
Mrs. Anne-Marie Day: Thank you.
Mr. McPhail, 4% of complaints are related to sexual harassment.
The report mentions that 44% of the 718 files are related to
complaints made by women. It is about abuse of authority. I would
call that abuse of power, which is illegal, in my opinion.
Of the other 40% that are not complaints due to sexual
harassment, are there indicators that show that these complaints
could be related to pornography or other elements that do not
correspond exactly to the definition of sexual harassment, but in fact
are? The definition of harassment is restrictive.
February 26, 2013
FEWO-60
[English]
Mr. Ian McPhail: A number of good points have been raised
here. One of the things that we did discover in our review of how
other bodies define sexual harassment and harassment in general is
that there's a variety of definitions. One of our recommendations in
the report was that the RCMP adopt a more specific definition of
harassment to give greater guidance on it, because the current more
general definition results in inconsistent application.
But to get back to the specific numbers that we discovered,
approximately 90% of the files we reviewed related to abuse of
authority or bullying of one sort or another, and 4% dealt specifically
with cases of sexual harassment. Could there be an overlap between
those areas? Certainly, but that's what the actual files told us.
● (1150)
[Translation]
Mrs. Anne-Marie Day: Since I have little time left, I will go
quickly.
Mr. McPhail, you do not seem to have the same opinion as
Mr. Paulson regarding systemic harassment within the RCMP. The
word “systemic” refers to a system. That means discrimination and
harassment caused by the system.
Could you put in place data collection that would reveal whether
or not there is systemic harassment within the RCMP?
[English]
Mr. Ian McPhail: The problem is that the data are incomplete. So
the short answer to your question is no, it's not possible. That's why
we have strongly recommended that improved data collection be
implemented, because it's only—
[Translation]
The Chair: I have to stop you there, Mr. McPhail. I am sorry.
Ms. Day's time is up.
We have one last round of questions.
Ms. Young, you have five minutes.
[English]
Ms. Wai Young (Vancouver South, CPC): I'd like to thank the
panel for coming today because as a member of Parliament from B.
C., this issue is obviously very top of mind and important to us. I've
been very, very impressed by your proactive and measured response
to this very large issue. The fact that you went ahead and did this
report is quite incredible, including the fact you have statistics now
and some concrete evidence with which to back up your reporting to
us. I think that's very commendable.
I wanted to quote your conclusion. You say the
following in your report: The RCMP bears a responsibility to foster
public trust to the extent possible, and when the public perceives that the
organization is unwilling to adequately protect and discipline its own employees,
it is difficult to see how their interactions with the police and trust in the
organization would remain unaffected. It is for this reason that swift and effective
action must be taken by the RCMP in terms of dealing with workplace conflict
and harassment, and taken in a manner that engenders the confidence of both
members and the public.
And of course we fully support that conclusion, which is part
reason why we're doing this study.
7
I know that you've spoken about this earlier, but I want to give
you some more time. Does Bill C-42 answer this question of
restoring public trust and give you, as a large organization with some
of these issues, the tools to address the issues found within the force?
Mr. Ian McPhail: Very simply, I believe that Bill C-42 will give
the commissioner of the RCMP the tools that he or she requires to
perform his or her duties. It will provide the tools that we believe are
necessary to enable the commissioner to streamline an extremely
convoluted process.
You clearly reviewed the report and in one of our charts we tried
to illustrate the complaints process. It's actually far more complex
than even that chart would suggest.
Ms. Wai Young: Like many members of the public, I was actually
very shocked that it would take a four-year process, all kinds of legal
machinations, and a very dispersed process, as you were saying,
across the country, for people to get their issues acknowledged or
even their cases lodged.
Bill C-42 gives the Commission for Public Complaints Against
the RCMP an extra $5 million and the RCMP an extra $9.8 million.
Will this address the issue? Will it restore public confidence?
Mr. Ian McPhail: If properly used, the answer is, I think, yes.
The additional funding has to be intelligently used. As I said, Bill
C-42 provides the tools for the commissioner to do so, and in my
opinion this report provides a road map for the commissioner on how
to move towards this goal, which I think everyone here, regardless of
affiliation, shares.
● (1155)
Ms. Wai Young: Because timing is of the essence right now,
because I've only got five minutes, I'm going to move on.
Other departments that have come before us, like Canada Post,
etc., have indicated that their high levels of good and best practices
and positive outcomes have been because of training and leadership,
two things that you've identified that the RCMP needs to do. I see
that you've done so already. As of November 2012, I understand that
94% of the employees had already taken mandatory online training.
Is that correct?
Mr. Ian McPhail: That's correct.
Ms. Wai Young: So do you feel that the RCMP has moved
quickly—and therefore the government—to address the need to
restore confidence in our national police force? Yes or no?
Mr. Ian McPhail: The short answer would be yes.
Ms. Wai Young: We also have in front of us an international
report looking at best practices in other countries around the world,
as well as the United Nations. When I read that report and I distill
what you've suggested in your report and what we have done via Bill
C-42, would you say that you finally have the resources and the tools
necessary to align the RCMP's procedures and policies and what it
needs to do to bring itself into 2012-2013 and beyond, by
centralizing responsibility and accountability in this manner?
8
FEWO-60
Mr. Ian McPhail: If Bill C-42 does give the commissioner the
tools necessary to do the job, we have provided the road map. In
addition, Bill C-42 gives the new civilian review and complaints
commission the ability to follow up and provide the necessary
checks and balances. The new funding will certainly enable the
commission, and I trust the RCMP, to do that job.
[Translation]
The Chair: I have to stop you there. I am sorry. To help people, I
let them know when they have one minute left.
There are only two minutes left for Ms. Freeman. It is really only
two minutes because we are going to change panels after.
Ms. Mylène Freeman (Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel,
NDP): Thank you, Madam Chair.
Mr. McPhail, your report recommends that the RCMP implement
a data collection system for workplace conflicts. The data would be
compiled systematically and it would be comparable nationally. You
also recommend that a report on the subject be prepared. To what
degree have those recommendations been implemented? What about
the others?
In addition, can we expect data collection that indicates what is
related to sexual harassment in all the data on harassment?
[English]
Mr. Ian McPhail: Because time is short, I will be very specific.
With respect to the first question, I believe that you should address
it to the commissioner regarding his progress in implementing that
particular recommendation.
With respect to the second question, there's no reason why—in
fact, it definitely should be the case that the compilation of
harassment information and records should spell out the types of
harassment that the complaints deal with....
Ms. Mylène Freeman: I have a final question, then.
Given the lack of information that we currently have, we assume
that there are people who are not coming forward and that this is part
of the problem as well. Do you think that the collection of data
would increase confidence and would lead more women coming
forward? Would it lead to more women wanting to join the RCMP?
Mr. Ian McPhail: It's not possible to separate one from the other.
The collection of data is necessary to give the commissioner and the
senior leadership of the RCMP the information they need, because
you can't address a problem if you don't know the extent of the
problem. But all of the recommendations are important, right
through to better training, the independence of the investigatory
process, and the checks and balances to be provided by the new
civilian review and complaints commission.
● (1200)
[Translation]
The Chair: Thank you very much, Mr. McPhail. It is not that this
is not interesting, but our time is limited.
This is the end of the first part of this meeting. Thank you very
much for having taken the time to answer our questions this
morning.
February 26, 2013
I will suspend the meeting for a few minutes to give the other
witnesses time to come in. We know that the meeting is televised.
Therefore, there are technical aspects to consider. It will also give
members time to go get something to eat.
● (1200)
(Pause)
● (1200)
● (1205)
The Chair: I invite people to please take their seats. The more
time we have with the commissioner, the better.
Good afternoon, everyone. We are beginning the second part of
our 60th meeting. Without further ado, I would like to introduce
Bob Paulson, who is appearing before the committee for the second
time since I have been chair. Welcome, Mr. Paulson. Mr. Paulson is
the Commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
Mr. Paulson, I think you are now a regular at these meetings. You
have 10 minutes to make your presentation, and afterward we will
move to the question portion. You have the floor.
Commissioner Bob Paulson (Commissioner, Royal Canadian
Mounted Police): Madam Chair, members of the committee, thank
you for having invited me to speak to you today.
[English]
Madame Chair and committee members, thank you for inviting
me here today.
Earlier this morning I appeared before your colleagues at the
Public Safety and National Security committee, where I spoke of the
CPC's recently released report on harassment within the RCMP, and
what I'm doing about it. I raised and we discussed our action plan
entitled “Gender and Respect”, in which I have tremendous
confidence. I believe this plan will help me address issues relating
to both the culture and the composition of the RCMP. I'd be happy to
discuss these things further with you.
One of the action items in our plan calls for the ramping up of the
intake of females in the force to 50% within two years so we can
reach a 30% level of female police officers by 2025.
I've been getting a lot of raised eyebrows and skeptical reactions
to this goal. People say that there aren't that many women interested
in policing and that I'm setting myself up for failure. I disagree. I
have challenged my recruiting personnel to bring some innovation to
our recruiting strategies and I've challenged our senior leaders and
human resources personnel to develop our workplace such that it is
respectful of the people who make up the team, regardless of gender.
Policing in today's reality is frankly as challenging and as
rewarding a career as there is in Canada right now. It is not for
everybody, that's true, which is not to say that it is a man's domain. It
is a profession that is in dire need of smart, honest, communityminded, compassionate, resilient, and persistent people.
The RCMP is making progress in bringing about positive change,
but there is a lot to do.
[Translation]
It is making progress in bringing about positive change, but there
is a lot to do.
February 26, 2013
FEWO-60
[English]
Our mission meanwhile is to keep Canadians safe in their homes
and their communities. Not a day goes by that I am not amazed and
inspired by the work our men and women do to deliver on this
mission for all Canadians.
I look forward to our discussions today and I'd be pleased to take
your questions.
[Translation]
The Chair: Thank you, Mr. Paulson.
We will start now with Ms. Crockatt. You have seven minutes.
[English]
Ms. Joan Crockatt (Calgary Centre, CPC): Thank you very
much, Commissioner, for being here. I'm very impressed by the
RCMP's testimony today.
One of the things that we heard earlier was basically the size of
this issue. Our government does take sexual harassment in the
workplace very seriously. It's important that we lock in where the
issues lie so that we can make sure we are moving forward in the
right way.
We have heard that sexual harassment is about 4% of the overall
abuse complaints, which is pretty consistent with what we've been
hearing, of 3% to 4%. Is that your understanding as well?
Commr Bob Paulson: Yes it is, Madam Chair. The 4% is number
from the files reviewed by the CPC. I think our number, when we did
the overall review.... I don't take issue with 4%; it's in the area of 4%,
yes.
Ms. Joan Crockatt: Okay, so that's about 29 cases per year.
There was some discussion about whether there were some people
who were not coming forward. But then I think that Ms. Inman
suggested that wasn't the case when they opened it up to people. Are
you confident that in the system we are getting sexual harassment
fully reported?
Commr Bob Paulson: I would have to say a qualified no to that. I
know that it is a very difficult issue to unpack in the workplace. I
think we've done a lot of work towards reassuring folks that the
process and the organizational response won't be an impediment to
people coming forward, but sometimes there are other inhibitors that
may restrict people, just the embarrassment, perhaps, or other
drivers.
So while I'm confident that we do not have a situation where
people need to fear coming forward, I don't think I can say
unequivocally that people who are affected are all coming forward.
● (1210)
Ms. Joan Crockatt: You talked about the process and the
response. Can you describe the findings of the gender-based analysis
and the action plan that was released with regard to the process? Are
people familiar with the process? Do you think the process is a good
one?
Commr Bob Paulson: Very briefly on the gender analysis, it
found some things that were outside of this discussion around
harassment and sexual harassment. Frankly, it found that our policies
and our practices were generally bias-free in terms of gender issues.
9
There are a number of other troubling things that came forward,
not unlike what the CPC discovered. I think I heard Mr. McPhail
referring to a problem of bullying, and I've described it as misuse of
authority and so on.
So the gender action plan, "Gender and Respect" as it's entitled,
sets out to take on a whole bunch of issues beyond the harassment
and sexual harassment issues, towards going towards a respectful
workplace. A number of things are contemplated in that report.
I know there are 37 action items. Many of them deal with how we
respond and will respond to harassment complaints, what kind of
standards and investigative standards we would have in response to
some of these things, timelines, and so on. So we've taken a big step
forward to try to put some objective analysis around the
organizational response to harassment, but beyond that, I think we
have to recognize that there are behaviours that have to be modified
to prevent workplace conflict and harassment.
Ms. Joan Crockatt: I'm glad you raised the issue of bullying.
That's what you describe as misuse of authority and bullying,
essentially they are the same thing, so that is predominantly the
largest part of the case. It's 90%.
How are people going to be able to bring these cases forward to
resolution? Apparently the systemic issues regarding that are
something that you're really looking it.
Commr Bob Paulson: Any number of ways. Of course there are
existing ways of making a complaint to people outside of the chain
of command, but we've even begun to provide for confidential
reporting lines and other means of having people identify those. I
think we also have a responsibility to drive the reforms from the top
down so that the people who are misusing authority, the people who
have a misunderstanding of what their job is, are not committing
those sorts of conditions in the first place.
Ms. Joan Crockatt: How are you going to do that?
Commr Bob Paulson: By effective leadership, accountability,
and oversight. For example, I've restructured the organization in
terms of having all the commanding officers report directly to me.
We meet frequently, and I can go directly into an issue and make sure
they are delivering on what my expectations are.
That, I expect—without sounding overly militaristic—is how
we're going to do this. We're going to move the leadership yardsticks
forward by leading the organization.
Ms. Joan Crockatt: Are you raising these issues of bullying
when you meet with them directly one on one, on a consistent basis?
Commr Bob Paulson: On a consistent basis, what I'm raising is
style of leadership, employee engagement, and respect for other
people in the workplace. That's consistently a discussion we have.
I don't discuss bullying per se every time, but we're focused on
making sure the organization is benefiting from modern leadership
approaches to running a big organization like we have.
10
FEWO-60
Ms. Joan Crockatt: Moving to a larger number of women in the
RCMP with your recruitment targets, are you doing an appropriate
thing to make sure people are ready to accept that degree of women,
if you have that kind of a take-up? That is a fairly significant change.
Commr Bob Paulson: Yes, I think so. There's more work to be
done and we are looking at changing our HR practices to
accommodate—not to accommodate, but to react to that changing
reality, I suppose, through transfers, job sharing, and a number of
strategies that we already have, but providing for a modern
workplace.
● (1215)
Ms. Joan Crockatt: Lastly, what are some of the attributes that
females bring to “RCMPing”? That's a new verb.
Commr Bob Paulson: “RCMPing”, that's a p-verb.
I'll tell you that the value of having women in a police role is that
you take the interaction with a citizen away from the force dynamic
and you put it in the behaviour, thoughtful dynamic. It is quite a
powerful force to be reckoned with. We have this traditional notion
that we're wrestling people and jumping on people and putting
handcuffs on people, but the woman's view of the world is a much
more powerful, persuasive force than just an arm around the neck.
And they represent half the—
[Translation]
The Chair: Unfortunately, I have to interrupt you, Mr. Paulson,
because Ms. Crockatt's time is done.
A little earlier, I told you you had one minute left, but I thought it
was a five-minute round. I apologize for saying there was one minute
left when there were three.
We will now go to the official opposition with Ms. Ashton. You
have seven minutes.
[English]
Ms. Niki Ashton: Thank you.
We're glad to have you here again, Commissioner Paulson.
We just heard from Mr. McPhail, and he stated that there is no
systemic problem of harassment within the RCMP. When you've
spoken in the past, many times you've referred to a cultural
dysfunction. To a lot of people there's a parallel between these two
concepts. I'm wondering, if there is no systemic harassment crisis, as
Mr. McPhail says, what is helping to contribute to the cultural
dysfunction you see.
Commr Bob Paulson: Thank you, Madam Chair.
I think that's right. I don't think there is a systemic sexual
harassment problem in the RCMP. We can maybe debate words
around what the problem is. I've described it as misuse of authority.
Mr. McPhail refers to bullying. Other people may refer to it as
harassment. It's a deterioration of that use of authority in our
hierarchy. I've often referred to it as “absent principle, absent
analysis, absent evidence, do as I say because I'm the boss”. Police
officers are required to do their investigations individually and make
important decisions. So I think that use of authority is at odds with
that sort of independence.
February 26, 2013
Ms. Niki Ashton: Do you think there's a gendered element here,
though? There's systemic sexism that one could point to. We've
heard from others in other areas that when you have men in an
overwhelming number of decision-making positions, you end up
having an imbalance that can create an environment where not just
harassment but that full spectrum of sexist behaviour can take place.
When you talk about the abuse of authority, shouldn't we look at it
with a gender lens?
Commr Bob Paulson: Well, I think we are looking at it through a
gender lens. I don't know, though, that it is as broad and perhaps as
deep-rooted as some would have us believe. I think it's a problem. I
think we're transitioning from an older sort of paramilitary, maledominated force to a new, modern police force that is gender-free.
There are legacies; there's no question about it. It continued to be
male dominated at the very senior ranks, and it's something we're
going to have to fix.
Ms. Niki Ashton: I think the gender-free statement poses
problems because when we're talking about the need to do a
gender-based analysis you need.... I know the RCMP has been
involved with the gendered lens, and that's important to assess where
we're at today.
But having said that, I did want to move on to another question.
The fourth recommendation by Mr. McPhail spoke of an external
review mechanism for harassment that would be independent. Do
you agree with the importance of that? Mr. McPhail said that the key
to credibility was independence. How do you see that recommendation coming into reality and is that important to you?
● (1220)
Commr Bob Paulson: I think it is. I think the element of
independence in ultimately reviewing the force's response to
harassment complaints and the disposition on some of these
complaints is important.
For example, I think there's a wide range of understanding of how
that independence would be brought to bear, from independent
outside-the-force investigators for harassment complaints to the
existing mechanism that we have today, the external review
committee that ultimately reviews these things, and the Federal
Court, which has weighed in on some of these things. The CPC now
and in its new iteration as the civilian complaints review body will
be available to do these independent reviews.
I think it's important. It's important to confidence within the force
and from outside the force.
Ms. Niki Ashton: In today's news cycle there was a reference to
the RCMP expecting a cut of $58 million. Have you heard of that
figure? You've got some very bold recruitment targets here, and
financial resources will obviously be necessary to get on with that,
never mind the actual process of dealing with sexual harassment.
We're talking about the funds that are necessary here and yet we hear
news of this cut.
Have you heard about this potential cut and could you tell us
about the importance of having a strong financial base to do the
work you need to do?
Commr Bob Paulson: I have not heard of a cut of $58 million, so
I'll have to be on my Berry as soon as I'm done here.
February 26, 2013
FEWO-60
That said, we have contributed and participated in our end-of-thedeficit reduction exercise. We are well positioned to achieve those
goals.
As I said earlier this morning, I don't think this transformation
turns on resources particularly. There will be some need for
resources. As some said this morning, there's almost $10 million
provided for in the new Bill C-42, and that's to do a number of
things.
So I don't think it turns on resources; it turns on the attentiveness
of managers and executives to deliver on this action plan and to
report it to folks such as you.
Ms. Niki Ashton: Regarding the message that we've gotten that
women are often afraid to come forward about harassment and
abuse, two weeks ago the Human Rights Watch report came out
about the harrowing experience of aboriginal women in northern B.
C., and again there's this idea of their being afraid to come forward.
I'm wondering if you support the Human Rights Watch
recommendation to curb alleged abuse against women and girls,
and specifically aboriginal women and girls, and this notion of
bolstering training to counter racism and sexism in the treatment of
aboriginal women and girls by RCMP officers.
Commr Bob Paulson: Let me just say, look, I am against the
abuse of women, girls, humans. That's our job, frankly, as a police
force, to intervene when those kind of situations arise.
I'm very troubled. I said that this morning and I'll say it again now.
I'm very concerned with this notion that citizens are somehow afraid
to come forward with allegations of abuse at the hands of the police.
That's very troubling at a very significant level. That's not my
experience and that's not my officers' experience in some of these
areas, that people are afraid to come forward.
I think we need to understand that better. We need to have all of
the facts available to do a complete assessment as to what is giving
people the idea that they should be afraid of coming forward.
[Translation]
The Chair: I am sorry, but I have to interrupt you. I apologize.
The time you had is in fact up.
We now go to Ms. Bateman, who has seven minutes.
Ms. Joyce Bateman (Winnipeg South Centre, CPC): Is it seven
minutes or five minutes?
The Chair: You have seven minutes.
Ms. Joyce Bateman: Thank you, Madam Chair.
Mr. Paulson, thank you for being here today.
[English]
This is such a very important subject, and that's why we're here. I
have a number of things I want to touch on, sir.
First of all, on the resourcing, I want to commend you for the
comment you made previously about how this isn't a resourcing
issue, and that it's important enough that you would reallocate
resources to these issues.
11
The $15-million reduction is news to me too, because my
understanding is that we're giving $5 million to the complaints
commission and $9.8 million to you, sir, to use effectively. I also
understand that this morning in the public safety committee, the
NDP were very concerned about that investment of funds. You can't
have the resources if you don't put them on the table, and we are
trying, with Bill C-42, to put them on the table for you.
I'm grateful that you are modernizing and embracing a more
comprehensive governance oversight strategy. As you very rightly
point out, these are 50% of your clients. Very briefly, how is this $9
million going to be deployed? Will it be on training? Just briefly,
you've already implemented in B.C. some training and investigators'
training. Give a few examples of how this $9.8 million is going to be
used proactively and preventatively.
● (1225)
Commr Bob Paulson: Thank you, Madam Chair, for the
question.
The $9.8 million goes to the implementation of Bill C-42. The
lion's share of that money will go to training and preparation of our
NCOs.
One of the themes of this new legislative scheme is to allow for
conduct management at the lowest possible level at the earliest
possible time. In order to achieve that, we need to have our corporals
and sergeants, who have somehow stepped back a little bit from their
responsibility to look after the people they are in charge of, trained
up on how to faithfully implement the new approach to conduct
management.
Ms. Joyce Bateman: Is this mandatory now?
Commr Bob Paulson: Well, not until the act comes into force,
but it will be, yes.
Ms. Joyce Bateman: It will, with Bill C-42.
Commr Bob Paulson: We are preparing. In fact, we have a huge
working group that's preparing a number of things to manage the
new relationship, for example, with the CPC as it becomes the
civilian review and complaints body. That's going to be able to walk
into the organization and do policy-based reviews on things that
interest Canadians, you, or them.
Ms. Joyce Bateman: You've already made an assessment of the
effectiveness of the training you're about to put in, and 94% of your
employees have taken some.
Commr Bob Paulson: That's a little bit separate. That's
mandatory harassment training we get everybody trained on, what
the rules are, what the prevention is, what the identification systems
are, what the reporting streams are. There's 94% compliance with
that harassment training.
Our training in the Bill C-42 regime will be much more broad
across the force and somewhat revolutionary in bringing the
discipline and conduct management down to the front line.
12
FEWO-60
Ms. Joyce Bateman: And that's how it's effective.
As you said, 51% of the population is female. The point was made
earlier by a colleague that there's a concern about women. I
recognize the statistics that were prepared in the commission's study,
that some 44% of the complainants are female and some 49% are
male. That speaks to the importance of not just having a female filter
on this. Could you speak to that briefly?
Commr Bob Paulson: That's exactly right. Sexual harassment
has its own connotation of being completely unsatisfactory.
Harassment more broadly, as we've been talking about it, that being
bullying and misuse of authority, affects everybody equally. I think it
goes to how we interact with each other, the respectful workplace
approach that we're deploying across the country right now to
modify our workplace such that people are working together as a
team, irrespective of gender.
Ms. Joyce Bateman: You'll be using the investments from Bill
C-42 to ensure that respectful workplace environment throughout.
Commr Bob Paulson: Yes, and early intervention systems in
offices to resolve workplace conflict before it becomes a formal
complaint and heads off....
Ms. Joyce Bateman: One of your colleagues—I forget her exact
title—Sharon Woodburn, came and spoke to us. She mentioned that
she was confident in the system. From the work that you're doing in
training investigators on harassment, training harassment advisers,
training people on how to conduct themselves in a respectful
workplace, do you have projections? Obviously, you want everybody to feel comfortable and to trust the system. Is that part of the
work of Bill C-42?
Commr Bob Paulson: Yes, I think that Bill C-42 will allow me to
develop some flexibility in reacting to the workforce today and into
the future. Our action plan, which I've spoken of in my opening
comments, also sets some very real targets for us. For example, we're
shooting to reduce our harassment complaint intake across the board.
We need to track those things, we need to understand them, and we
need to demonstrate success there.
● (1230)
Ms. Joyce Bateman: Could you just speak to the governance
changes, broadly, that you're instituting? We have a minute.
Commr Bob Paulson: The governance changes in the force, or in
respect of...?
Ms. Joyce Bateman: With respect to how it's going to strengthen
the ability to have a respectful workplace, for both men and women
in the RCMP.
Commr Bob Paulson: The way I've approached it is to have my
COs, each one of them, for each division—which corresponds to a
province or territory, with the exception of A division—deploy a
respectful workplace strategy that is monitored by us at headquarters. The strategies feature the engagement of employees, the
creation of employee advisory groups, mechanisms for raising issues
that employees are experiencing, and governing the workplace and
how they interact, and explaining to them how we're tracking
harassment complaints, how we're tracking discipline issues, and so
on.
[Translation]
The Chair: I have to interrupt you, Ms. Bateman. Your time is up.
February 26, 2013
We go now to Ms. Sgro, who has seven minutes.
[English]
Hon. Judy Sgro: Thank you very much.
Commissioner, thank you very much for coming again. I hope you
will have the same courage to answer some of our questions that you
had when you were initially here, the last time. We very much
appreciated that. I have to say that you have a huge challenge in front
of you.
We saw a full page in the National Post this week on whether we
should get rid of the RCMP. There were a whole lot of comments in
there. The RCMP represents, for all of us as Canadians, something
that we're immensely proud of. That's been tremendously tarnished,
not only by the sexual harassment, but also by a lot of the harassment
complaints and so on that have come out. The government
responded following your last meeting by introducing Bill C-42.
There's some money in the budget to help you in all that.
How are you going to convince a young woman in Alberta who's
a member of your police service who's being harassed by her
supervisor, who's also her detachment commander, that she's safe to
go ahead and lodge this complaint? How are you going to build the
trust, not only of Canadians, but of all of the men and women in the
service out there who are under-reporting. We know that goes on,
because people do not report these things until they reach a point
where they can't handle them anymore. Where is she going to go
when it's her own detachment commander who's the one doing the
harassing in a small, rural Alberta area?
Commr Bob Paulson: I have two answers. One is that she's
going to have a number of avenues available to her, from picking up
the phone to making a confidential report into the centre of the
organization so that it goes around that officer in charge.
But more importantly, I want to address your question about
having our members, our employees, having the confidence to raise
these issues. I know intuitively that there is a reluctance to complain
against authority. I get that. But we have, and we continue to build, a
number of strategies from employee consultative groups, to
anonymous means of complaining, to having an increased level of
oversight and supervision and leadership on that detachment
commander. I don't want to have a condition where anybody feels
that if they're being bothered, harassed, or put out, they're incapable
of coming forward, or the organization is incapable of taking their
complaints.
February 26, 2013
FEWO-60
Hon. Judy Sgro: It's about an atmosphere. You can have all the
policies you want. It's about an atmosphere where things are either
acceptable or not. Clearly, a lot of unacceptable practices have been
allowed to continue because, you know, men are men and women
are women and things just happen. The question becomes, as we
move forward, that right after this issue broke out you appointed a
female officer in senior command and she subsequently retired right
after—she retired last April—and her job was to look into these
issues. Now, that's been almost a whole year, and nobody has been
put back into the position of looking specifically into these issues.
It doesn't send out a good message to people in the rank and file
that you're serious about this. How do you answer that question?
● (1235)
Commr Bob Paulson: Well, I'm disappointed, Ms. Sgro, that you
would suggest that Line Carbonneau retired right after.... Line
Carbonneau stood up. She volunteered to take this on and to begin to
lay the groundwork for all the things we're doing now. She is a firstrate officer, a great colleague, and she's done some important work.
As for suggestion that she retired right after, I had to persuade her to
stick around. I'm grateful to Line Carbonneau and I'm grateful for the
things she helped us lead.
I don't accept that people look at Line Carbonneau's departure as
anything less than the culmination of a very successful career of one
of the first women to join the RCMP. You have to remember that
we're just coming to the end of one cycle of careers—if lifetimes can
be measured in careers—for women in the force, and Line succeeded
tremendously.
So we're building—
Hon. Judy Sgro: But she hasn't been replaced.
Commr Bob Paulson: She has been replaced. Her job was
replaced. Peter Henschel went into her job, and he's doing a fine job
there.
If your point is that we need more deputy commissioners on the
senior executive committee, I agree with you. I don't have any
serving women as a deputy commissioner. I have two equivalent
deputy commissioners who are civilians and public servants, but I
need sworn officers at the senior executive table.
If that's your point, I'm on it.
Hon. Judy Sgro: Well, if 50% of your men and women have been
with you, as I understand, for less than five years, how are you
possibly going to get these new officers up into management
positions in the future? How are you going to move them up beyond
a basic level?
Commr Bob Paulson: The action plan discusses that at some
considerable length, and I'll briefly describe it.
We have a good feeder pool, if I can use the term, of candidates at
the NCO and senior NCO levels. We have to get those folks
interested in the commissioned officer ranks. Many of them are
interested, but not enough of them, so we are tasking our COs and
senior officers to embark on a mentoring program of reaching out to
the talented candidates and bringing them along.
Then, when they get into the officer corps, we need to be
developing those people, by special consideration, for exposure to
13
certain jobs, such as by transferring them to a command position, or
mentoring, and getting them ready for the senior executive. We're
well positioned, although you wouldn't be able to tell it by looking at
the senior executive committee right now. But we're well positioned,
and we have a good succession plan to do just that. But I agree that
we're short at the senior executive rank.
Hon. Judy Sgro: I am continually concerned because we don't
have a completely independent commission that looks over the
RCMP, in the same sense that the Toronto Police Service has, and
many of the police services across the country do. Or they at least
have a union that oversees and provides a vehicle for various of the
issues that you are trying to deal with now.
Do you not think that would be helpful to you as an organization?
Especially if you're trying to establish a new direction under your
leadership, would that not be helpful to you and the organization to
have that?
Commr Bob Paulson: I misunderstood your question.
Do you mean an independent commission to oversee the RCMP?
Hon. Judy Sgro: Yes.
Commr Bob Paulson: Well, you just heard from them.
Hon. Judy Sgro: Yes, on that one there, but an arm's-length one,
farther away from....
Who's going to appoint the people on the current one that you're
referring to, from Bill C-42?
Commr Bob Paulson: Not me.
Hon. Judy Sgro: So they'll be arm's-length from you?
Commr Bob Paulson: Absolutely.
Hon. Judy Sgro: And what are your comments on having a
unionized workforce in the RCMP?
Commr Bob Paulson: That's not for me to decide whether our
employees unionize or take advantage of the existing approach,
which is the staff representative system. That's for them to decide.
I agree with the idea that members need to be represented. Our
employees need to be represented with management, and how they
do that is up to them.
[Translation]
The Chair: I will have to stop you there, Mr. Paulson, because
Ms. Sgro's time is up.
I would ask members to be a bit more attentive. When I say “one
minute,” it's because you have one minute left. Thank you.
We go now to Ms. James, who has five minutes.
14
FEWO-60
● (1240)
[English]
Ms. Roxanne James (Scarborough Centre, CPC): Thank you,
Madam Chair.
Welcome back, Commissioner Paulson.
I don't think anyone has touched base on the particular topic of
your zero tolerance policy. I believe it was back in November that we
were told that the policy was actually being enforced.
I'm wondering if you could talk about or comment on the value of
that type of policy. Is that still first and foremost when dealing with
issues and talking about workplace harassment, whether sexual
harassment or bullying, or whatever the case may be? I wonder if
you could comment on that and whether that's still at the top of the
list of things you're enforcing.
Commr Bob Paulson: I think the zero tolerance approach is
better understood as one where we are making sure that all of our
supervisors and leaders are acting proactively when they see
circumstances that may give rise to some of those complaints, and
that when people do make complaints they'd better be acting on them
in accordance with our policies and our best practices and so on. So
that's how I understand the zero tolerance approach to these kinds of
discipline and harassment issues.
But I think that what we are trying to do, more broadly, is to get
our leaders and our members, frankly, engaged in these issues, to
make sure that even the entry-level constable has a full understanding of what harassment is and what the dynamics of a
workplace are, how workplace conflict can lead to these sorts of
protracted problems. So we're doing that at Depot, we're doing that
in field training, we're doing that with supervisors at their first level
entry into the corporal supervisory world, we're doing that with
middle managers, and we're doing it with executives.
That's what we need. We've tinkered and we have a plan to refine
our process in response to some of these complaints, but I'm much
more interested in avoiding these complaints, and that will come
from the behaviours of the officers in the workplace.
Ms. Roxanne James: Thank you very much. We've actually
heard numerous witnesses stress the importance of being proactive
and dealing with a situation at the very lowest level and making sure
that employees recognize the signs of harassment and that it doesn't
escalate to a higher degree, which we now have seen.
I'm not sure if it was to one of my colleagues to someone across
the floor, but you mentioned with regard to Bill C-42 that part of that
is going to involve training leaders, or different levels within the
RCMP, about different policies. I'm glad that you did mention that.
Thank you for that.
We actually heard from Ian McPhail in the previous hour, and I'm
going to try to quote him. I wrote it down in scratchy writing, which
I'm going to try to read. He indicated that Bill C-42 is part of the
process and that it's going to give the Commissioner of the RCMP
the tools to perform his duties, and the right tools to streamline a
very convoluted process.
Do you agree with that statement?
February 26, 2013
Commr Bob Paulson: Yes, I do.
Ms. Roxanne James: So when we talk about a convoluted
process, we're talking about the process of how we've been dealing
with sexual harassment and harassment. The measures within Bill
C-42 and the additional funding are going to assist in that particular
application.
Questions have come up at committee a number of times, from the
other side, with respect to there being too much power or authority
left in one person or office's hands. Bill C-42 is actually going to
assist in centralizing the responsibility and the accountability into
one office, and that office is yours. Do you have any concerns about
that?
The question is that someone has to be in charge. At the end of the
day, someone ultimately has to be in charge of something, regardless
of whether it's this or any other factor in our day-to-day life.
Someone has that responsibility. Do you think that responsibility
does lie within your office and is that the right direction to go in?
Commr Bob Paulson: I think it is. I've heard similar criticism.
There's a concern that too much power is being centralized in my
office. I don't think that stands the test of examination because there
are ample mechanisms for accountability as well with that increased
authority I'm going to be asked to discharge.
What's more important from all this is that it will give me and the
force in the future the flexibility to adapt. We've been stuck with this
sort of antiquated system of discipline and human resource
management because it's statutorily prescribed. Now the strategy is
one that is going to use regulations and commissioner's standing
orders to allow us to react to a changing environment and changing
workplaces. So the accountability to the external review committee,
to the....
I'll stop talking.
● (1245)
[Translation]
The Chair: Thank you, Mr. Paulson. Thank you, Ms. James.
You see, when I don't say there's one minute left, it doesn't go
well. We don't know how much time is left. It is my mistake.
We go now to Ms. Ashton, who will, I think, share her time with
Ms. Day. You have a total of five minutes.
[English]
Ms. Niki Ashton: I have a couple of quick questions from my
side, Commissioner.
I'm guessing that you realize that Bill C-42 doesn't actually make
any reference to sexual harassment. So here we are talking about a
piece of legislation that is meant to deal with it but doesn't actually
mention the problem.
Do you feel we're moving fast enough, whether it's the mandating
from the Minister or Parliament and the RCMP, to curb sexual
harassment in the RCMP?
February 26, 2013
FEWO-60
Commr Bob Paulson: Yes, I think we are. The bill also doesn't
say anything about police officer corruption or police officers doing
burglaries or police officers assaulting people, but it's understood
that the conduct and the discipline that is attached to our employees
in discharging their duties as police officers is what's being centrally
considered. That includes harassment and harassing behaviour,
including sexual harassment.
Ms. Niki Ashton: One might say, though, that sexual harassment,
of course, is the elephant in the room, or in this case it's what we talk
about as a principal focus, so the fact that it's actually missing from a
bill that's meant to deal with it is problematic. That's one of the
points we've raised.
I just want to go back, Commissioner, to the final point around
missing and murdered aboriginal women. Next week at the UN
commission, this is going to be a major issue for Canada. When
we're talking about women being afraid to come forward, which is
similar to the situation of officers in their instances of sexual
harassment, what is the RCMP doing on the ground in places like
northern B.C., or even where I come from in northern Manitoba, in
terms of training? What is being done within the RCMP so that
people feel they can come forward?
Commr Bob Paulson: Thank you for that question, because the
RCMP is very active in training our members and in insisting that
our members are plugged into their communities where they have
the responsibility of policing. So our members get front-line training
in terms of awareness issues and cultural-sensitivity issues. Across
this country, we bring in people from the groups that we are asked to
police to help train our officers in sensitivity issues and issues unique
to those cultures.
As I did this morning, I will point to Project Devote in Manitoba,
which is looking at missing and murdered aboriginal women there;
Project KARE in Alberta, and formerly one in Manitoba; Project
Even-Handed in British Columbia, and the Highway of Tears
investigation—E-PANA as it's called. All have very sophisticated,
elaborate, deliberate outreach programs into those communities,
because we recognize that we're not going to solve those crimes and
those terrible circumstances without the engagement of those
communities. My officers and I have been to the north frequently.
I have met with my officers, and I would invite you and your
colleagues to come out to Prince George, to spend the night with us
in a police car, to see what we do, and to see how we interact with
these people, because it's not accurately reflected in some of the
reports that you've been reading.
Ms. Niki Ashton: I would quickly add that it was problematic that
we heard that the RCMP was challenging the figure of 600 plus
women, when in fact city police from across the country are involved
with this matter as well and have their own figures. When we're
talking about the importance of dealing with women, whether they're
—
[Translation]
The Chair: I am sorry, but Ms. Truppe has a point of order.
[English]
Mrs. Susan Truppe: Madam Chair, we're talking about sexual
harassment in the federal workplace, and if we're going off on
another tangent, we're not on the same page.
15
[Translation]
The Chair: I could have said the same thing to Ms. James, but I
understand your concerns.
Ms. Ashton, I would ask you to ensure that your questions deal
directly with the subject of sexual harassment.
[English]
Ms. Niki Ashton: I don't think it's a tangent at all. I'll pass it on to
my colleague.
[Translation]
The Chair: I see we have another point of order.
[English]
Ms. Roxanne James: On a point of order, sorry to interrupt, but I
just heard you say you could have said the same thing to Ms. James.
What did I say that was out of line with regard to RCMP and so
forth?
[Translation]
The Chair: Yes, in fact, your questions focused much more on
Bill C-42 than on sexual harassment. I let you continue because I
thought that at some point there would be a link to sexual
harassment. That is what happened. I asked the same thing of
Ms. Ashton.
Do you have any other questions, Ms. James?
● (1250)
[English]
Ms. Roxanne James: I just find it funny that you singled me out
when other members of this committee have also mentioned Bill
C-42 and the effects and the direction that bill has taken. So I would
respectfully ask you to take that back.
Thank you.
[Translation]
The Chair: I refuse to withdraw my comments. I am sorry,
Ms. James.
In fact, other members discussed Bill C-42 in relation to sexual
harassment.
This is unfortunate because the commissioner is with us and we
are wasting time. I will repeat what I told you. I thought you were
taking a lot of time, but I listened to you thinking that at some point,
you would make the link. That is what happened. I think Ms. Ashton
did the same thing.
Does that answer your question?
[English]
Ms. Roxanne James: Actually, no. I would still like you to
withdraw that comment, because I feel that you have singled me out
on this committee for referencing a bill that has been spoken about at
this committee by other members. I think that is completely
inappropriate from the chair, who is supposed to be neutral and
unbiased.
16
FEWO-60
Thank you.
[Translation]
The Chair: I am indeed very neutral and unbiased, as you have
seen since I became chair of the committee, in March of last year. I
have always made sure each party is treated fairly on this committee.
Therefore, I will not allow my credibility on such things to be called
into question.
Ms. James, I am sorry, but I will not withdraw what I said. I
explained myself and that is that. I am sorry.
Ms. Day now has the floor.
Mrs. Anne-Marie Day: I will ask a few short questions. I don't
know how much time I have left.
Mr. McPhail stated that in-person training was very important to
prevent harassment. Recommendation No. 10 focuses a lot on online
training. We were told that 94% of people would be taking it.
I will ask you a few questions very quickly. How do you ensure
this training is provided? How is it evaluated? Is the training
different for regular, civilian, subordinate or management staff?
What could happen if a person refused to take this training or did not
complete it?
Commr Bob Paulson: Thank you for the question.
The training is provided to all categories of employees. Everyone
has to take this training. Regarding evaluation, I can tell you the
following.
[English]
That's done according to the percentage of people who are taking it
and succeeding at it, and the response we're getting from the
members who are taking it.
We're talking about online training here, but I want to go back to
the face-to-face training, the in-person training that is being left out
of the equation, because we do, in that training, in our supervisors,
our managers, and our executives, who are all going through these
training processes for their new duties, all feature face-to-face, inperson training, discussions, and testing on leadership and on
harassment as well. It's not to be left just to the computers and online
training. There's an in-person component to it.
[Translation]
The Chair: Thank you. I am going to have to stop you there.
We have one last five-minute period for questions.
Ms. Truppe, you have the floor.
[English]
Mrs. Susan Truppe: Thank you, Madam Chair.
Thank you, Commissioner Paulson, for being here.
Earlier today, my colleague Madam Bateman was talking about
the number of officers being trained to investigate harassment. Some
are also being trained as harassment advisers. That's very important,
because it shows that there are multiple ways of resolving an issue.
February 26, 2013
Could you describe the harassment advisers in a little more detail
and provide an update for the timeline of integrating them into the
workplace?
Commr Bob Paulson: Okay. Those are part of the respectful
workplace initiatives that the COs are delivering province by
province by province. I know that in British Columbia, which is
perhaps what some people were referring to, there was discussion of
100 additional investigators being trained. Those are investigators
who have substantive day jobs and who, over and above their police
responsibilities, are being asked and trained to address the sort of
harassment backlog, as it were, in British Columbia.
The harassment advisers are being brought into the workplace.
Again, in some cases, these are full-time positions where the
numbers of personnel support that, and in other cases these are parttime duties, additional duties in terms of their substantive duties. As
we roll out the respectful workplace program division by division
within the next few months—and I know that the timelines are in the
action plan—we will be monitoring that and providing reports to
folks on it.
● (1255)
Mrs. Susan Truppe: That's great. Thank you.
Do you know how many have been trained so far? Is there a
number?
Commr Bob Paulson: I'm sure there is, but I'm afraid I don't
know it.
Mrs. Susan Truppe: That's okay.
We keep hearing that one of the major factors in preventing sexual
harassment in the workplace is clear leadership. During the last
meeting we had with the RCMP, they mentioned that you had begun
the Every Employee Engaged initiative, I think in July, to emphasize
key points on leadership and a respectful workplace. Can you update
us on the status of that initiative?
Commr Bob Paulson: Thank you, Chair.
That initiative was to satisfy myself that every employee of the
organization was having these issues put before them in such a way
that the supervisor could be satisfied by looking into the whites of
their eyes, making sure they're having that conversation, and getting
feedback from them. That has gone on. I'm satisfied that this has
taken place across the country.
My corps sergeant major is adopting a new role and prominence in
the organization and is, with his warrant group, who are the sergeant
majors across the force, taking on the follow-through of that
initiative to make sure that new employees, as they come in, are sat
down and met by supervisors. Specific issues relating to harassment,
job performance, the mission, and a respectful workplace are all
canvassed with them. That's going very well.
Mrs. Susan Truppe: Have you noticed any changes in the
supervisors or managers as a result of the discussions?
February 26, 2013
FEWO-60
Commr Bob Paulson: As I've gone across the country and I've
met with supervisors, I have noticed that they're stepping up a little
bit. Some of them have some reservations and are looking forward to
some of the changes that will come forward with Bill C-42, but I
have noticed a renewed attentiveness to supervisory and managerial
duties.
Mrs. Susan Truppe: My colleague across the way was talking
about the mandatory online training and how 94% had taken this
training. Have you noticed any effects from the training?
Commr Bob Paulson: There's just a broader awareness. I don't
know that we needed the training to get the awareness of the issue; I
think the issue is front and centre in every Canadian's mind. But yes,
I have noticed an awareness of and a sensitivity to the issues of a
respectful workplace and how prevention is key, including
discussing the issues with supervisors, raising objections with
supervisors, engaging with supervisors. That's coming.
Mrs. Susan Truppe: Thanks.
Just out of curiosity, if 94% have had this training what happens to
the other 6%? Is there a way to make sure the other 6% have it?
17
Commr Bob Paulson: As I said this morning, it's mandatory
training, and I'm touting 94% as a success. It should be 100%. We're
trying to close that loop. There are a number of reasons for that, and
the reasons relate to our network and members getting online and
some guys and gals just having to get to it from some more remote
spots.
Mrs. Susan Truppe: Great. Thank you.
[Translation]
The Chair: Thank you. Thank you very much, Ms. Truppe.
This is the end of our meeting today.
Thank you very much, Mr. Paulson, for having appeared before
our committee again. The points you raised will certainly be very
helpful for our study.
Thank you to all of you and have a good afternoon.
(The meeting is adjourned)
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