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Federal government commits $8 million to hasten reviews of RCMP labour complaints

Tuesday, October 10, 2017 @ 11:55 AM | By Carolyn Gruske

Ottawa is providing $8.1 million in funding to hire more lawyers and to help speed up reviews of Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) labour and employment grievances.

The money is coming from the Ministry of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness and is being directed to the RCMP External Review Committee (ERC), which conducts independent and impartial civilian reviews of appeals of certain labour and employment matters affecting RCMP members. The complaints can involve harassment investigation decisions, decisions to impose financial penalties or dismiss RCMP members for misconduct, and discharging members for poor performance or medical reasons.

Since 2014 when the Enhancing Royal Canadian Mounted Police Accountability Act came into force, the number of cases dealt with by the ERC has more than doubled. The expectations are that demand for ERC services will remain high for the next several years.

"The new funding recognizes the critical need for the ERC to be able to address its backlog of cases and to undertake reviews in a more timely manner. We are very aware of the impacts of delays in our review of cases on both RCMP members and on the force itself. Preparations are underway to utilize the funding as soon as possible to hire and train additional staff. We also remain committed to improving our internal efficiency to better serve members, the RCMP and Canadians," said ERC chair Elizabeth Walker.

Specifically, the funding is intended to be spent on hiring, training and integrating lawyers and other staff members to review cases.

In making the announcement, the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Ralph Goodale, stressed that the increased funding should help speed up the entire review process.

"New funding for the ERC will enable cases to be reviewed in a more timely way, helping address disputes between officers and management more swiftly. Timely review of the matters referred to the ERC is critical to the RCMP's work environment, as well as the credibility of its human resources processes," he said.