I. RCMP Class Action
What is the RCMP class action about?
The RCMP class actions allege that female regular members, civilian members and public service employees were subject to systemic discrimination, harassment, and bullying on the basis of gender and/or sexual orientation, and that the RCMP failed to protect the women from this treatment.
Who started the action?
Linda Gillis Davidson launched the class action in Ontario on behalf of all regular members, civilian members and public service employees. Janet Merlo launched an action in British Columbia making similar allegations.
The claims of Ms. Davidson and Ms. Merlo were consolidated into a single claim before the Federal Court for the purpose of approving a settlement of the claims.
Who is Ms. Davidson?
Ms. Davidson began her RCMP career as a Constable in 1985. Working in multiple detachments in Newfoundland and Ontario, Ms. Davidson rapidly ascended the ranks to Inspector, only the 9th woman to receive a commissioned officer ranking. Following several years in command at the Hamilton-Niagara detachment, Ms. Davidson joined the Prime Minister’s Protection Detail as a Travel Officer in 2006, where she was personally responsible for ensuring the Prime Minister’s safety.
Throughout her illustrious career, Ms. Davidson suffered near constant harassment, assault and bullying at the hands of her male colleagues and superiors. The cumulative effects of this toxic work environment caused serious injuries, including PTSD, and forced her to take early retirement in 2012 on medical advice.
What is the status of the RCMP class action?
The action was certified on January 13, 2020 and the settlement approved by the Federal Court on May 30, 2017. The claims period ran from August 13, 2017 to May 22, 2018. The claims process is now closed.
Who is Class Counsel?
The Davidson team is represented by Won J. Kim and Megan B. McPhee at Kim Spencer McPhee Barristers P.C. You can read more about the firm here: complexlaw.ca.
II. RCMP Class Action Settlement
What are the benefits of the settlement?
The settlement provides compensation to Primary Class Members (defined below in “Who is a Class Member”?) who experienced gender and/or sexual orientation-based harassment and discrimination while working in the RCMP.
Compensation for Primary Class Members will range from $10,000 to $220,000, depending on the individual’s experience and injuries. Every single qualifying claimant will receive compensation, regardless of the number of women who come forward. Compensation is also available to certain Secondary Class Members (defined below in “Who is a Class Member”?).
In addition to monetary benefits, the settlement also contains numerous change initiatives directed at eliminating workplace harassment and discrimination in the RCMP, including:
A scholarship fund will also be established with the objective of recognizing outstanding work in the area of anti-harassment and the promotion of anti-harassment principles.
III. How to participate
Who is a Class Member?
Primary Class Members: female current and former living Regular Members, Civilian Members and Public Service Employees (who are appointed by the Commissioner of the RCMP under the delegated authority of the Public Service Commission pursuant to the Public Service Employment Act, R.S.C., 1985, c. P-32; amended S.C. 2003, c. 22, ss.12, 13), who worked within the RCMP between September 16, 1974 to the settlement approval date, who experienced and/or continue to experience gender and/or sexual orientation-based harassment and discrimination while working in the RCMP between September 16, 1974 to the date on which the Federal Court approves the settlement. For the purposes of the settlement agreement,
“Regular Members” includes Regular Members, Special Constables, Cadets, Auxiliary Constables, Special Constable Members, and Reserve Members
“Public Service Employees” includes Temporary Civilian Employees
Secondary Class Members: All persons who have a derivative claim (in accordance with applicable family law legislation) arising from a family relationship with a member of the Primary Class.
Please note that municipal employees and independent contractors working in RCMP divisions are not included in the Class Member definition.
What do I have to do to participate?
The claims period ran from August 12, 2017 to May 22, 2018 and is now closed. No further claims can be submitted under the settlement.
What do I do if I am not a Class Member or if my claim was denied?
You may be a class member under the RCMP General Harassment Class Action (Greenwood) or the RCMP Applicant’s Medical Examinations Class Action (Corriveau). For further information, please contact Aris Gyamfi at firstname.lastname@example.org or Rachael Sider at email@example.com.
If you are a current or former Municipal Employee with questions about the Tiller Settlement and Claims Process, please contact Higgerty Law LLP.
How long will it take to get compensation?
The claims process has now closed and all compensation has been distributed by the Office of the Independent Assessor.
Will my supervisors and/or colleagues at the RCMP know if I file a claim or receive copies of my claim form?
No, the claims process was designed to ensure utmost confidentiality. The claim forms were collected, assessed, and administered by the independent Assessor who has no connection to the RCMP. As the claims process has now concluded, all documentation will be destroyed.
What is a class action?
A class action is a lawsuit that allows for a large group of people with common or comparable issues to join together as a group, or “class”, and participate in one large action in suing another party. Class actions are an efficient and cost-effective way for groups of people with common legal issues to gain access to the legal system and seek justice.
The idea of a class action is that everyone who has been injured by the same act or conduct should not put up the expense of hiring a lawyer and go through the stress of a trial. Rather, a “representative plaintiff” acts to represent those people injured by the same conduct.
The Class Proceedings Act, 1992 (“CPA”) governs class actions in Ontario and sets out certain procedures that must be followed during the course of a class action. The CPA contains many safeguards to protect class members. For example, the CPA provides that the court will oversee many of the steps in the class action, including the determination of whether a case should proceed as a class action (certification) and the approval of any settlement that is reached on behalf of the class.
What does certification mean?
Certification means that the court has given approval for the action to proceed as a class action. The court does not determine the merits of the action in a certification hearing.
What is a representative plaintiff?
A representative plaintiff is a plaintiff who acts on behalf of all class members. In most litigation, each individual plaintiff has the right to appear before the court and to be heard. In a class action, one or more representative plaintiff(s) acts on behalf of all class members to represent the class and their interests before the court.
Other class members only get involved when the common issues are resolved and it comes time to deal with individual claims.
The representative plaintiffs for the national consolidated action are Ms. Davidson and Ms. Merlo.