When I took on the position of Commissioner, I vowed to address the very serious issue of harassment within the organization. It is a commitment to which I have remained steadfast during my tenure. Significant progress has been made; however, there is always more work to do on this ongoing organizational priority.
Today, two reports focussing on harassment within the organization were released. The first was completed by the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission (CRCC) as a follow-up to its 2013 Public Interest Investigation Report into Workplace Harassment in the RCMP. The second is a review of four cases of civil litigation against the RCMP regarding workplace harassment completed by the former Auditor General, Sheila Fraser. Both reports were requested by the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness following renewed media interest in the cases referenced above. As noted in both reports, the RCMP fully cooperated with the authors in the interest of transparency.
These reports make recommendations that require careful review and consideration. They will no doubt help improve policies to further support a healthy and respectful workplace as the RCMP continues moving forward.
It should be noted that many of the reports' judgments rely on the historical context of RCMP transformation efforts that are not, in my view, reflective of current RCMP environment, policies or processes.
In 2014, the updated RCMP Act and new Commissioner's Standing Orders came into force, enabling an overhaul of grievance and conduct processes and structures, including harassment. These changes represented the culmination of years of work informed by all of the reports and recommendations that took place before it, as well as extensive consultation with employees and stakeholders. Although the CRCC characterized the RCMP's efforts to respond to previous reports and recommendations as piecemeal, it was really the integration of all that work which shaped the legislative reforms that marked the most significant changes to how we manage the RCMP in more than three decades.
A second-year review of the accomplishments, progresses and challenges facing the RCMP since the legislative changes came into effect was recently posted to the RCMP website. While the changes represent a pivot point for the organization, they are in their infancy, and cultural change takes time: some have described it as generational. We continue to amend and improve our processes and the recommendations made by both Sheila Fraser and the CRCC can help us to do this.
In addition to legislative changes, the RCMP has implemented new programs and initiatives that support a safe and respectful workplace. These include new policies and guidebooks, improvements to training and an informal conflict management program. A complete overview is available on the RCMP website.
Lastly, the RCMP created a new branch earlier this year focussed on improving workplace culture and employee engagement throughout the organization, with a seat on our Senior Executive Committee. The branch will play a coordinative role with other policy centres to make sure that considerations like diversity, inclusion and Gender-based Analysis Plus (GBA+) are part of decision-making, development and application of RCMP policies, programs and operational planning.
We will continue to refine our approach to grievance, conduct and harassment processes. I anticipate further changes will be required if we transition to a unionized workforce for our regular members.
There is no place for harassment in the RCMP. The vast majority of our employees are conducting themselves in a professional manner, in accordance with our core values of respect, integrity, honesty, compassion and accountability while working to keep Canadians safe. However even one harassment complaint is too many.
The RCMP and your senior leadership will continue to take the steps necessary to provide all employees with a safe, healthy, respectful and productive work environment.