RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson apologized Thursday to hundreds of current and former female officers and employees for alleged bullying, discrimination and harassment of women since they were allowed on the force.
Paulson made the apology as he announced a settlement of two class-action lawsuits stemming from the allegations, which date back to September 1974.
“Instead of succeeding and thriving in a supportive and inclusive workplace, many women have suffered careers scared by gender and sexual discrimination, bullying and harassment. Some of these women left the RCMP heartbroken, disillusioned and angry. Others stayed and were forced to find ways on their own to cope with this inexcusable condition. Still others courageously tried to make themselves heard by management, only to find they were denied movement and opportunity or judged adversely and punished within the RCMP for their efforts.?
$100 million will be earmarked for the compensation which will be handled independently from the RCMP.
It also paves the way to end potential class-action lawsuits brought forward by former RCMP members Linda Davidson and Janet Merlo. Merlo was emotional but thankful at today’s news conference. She also referred to the hundreds of women who stood up for better treatment.
“They all wanted change too. They all loved the RCMP, they loved their jobs. They just wanted it to be a better place to work. A place for their daughters to want to work, a good career. And for that I’m very thankful that today finally arrived.”
Today’s settlement likely marks the beginning of the end a difficult episode in the force’s history, one that has haunted Paulson’s tenure as commissioner.
Photo from Global News