Equity, Diversity and Inclusion at the RCMP: Questions and answers

On this page

Diversity in the RCMP

What is the current demographic breakdown of the RCMP in terms of the four main diversity groups: women, visible minorities, Indigenous people, and people with disabilities?

The representation of employment equity groups as of October 1, 2020 was:

Category of employee Female Visible minority Indigenous People with disabilities
Regular Member 21.7% 12.1% 7.1% 1.4%
Civilian Member 50.7% 14.6% 3.5% 2.7%
Indeterminate Public Service Employee 75.6% 14.5% 5.4% 3.6%
What is the RCMP doing to increase its diversity?

The RCMP has a number of current and planned measures to promote greater diversity throughout the organization and to implement equitable and inclusive workforce and workplace practices.

The Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Strategy is one example of the organization's commitment to meet the expectations and the needs of an increasingly diverse population and workforce.

Modernizing the RCMP's application requirements and assessment processes involves identifying and removing barriers to prospective high-potential RCMP applicants from Indigenous, Black and other racialized groups.

To make the policing arm of the RCMP more attractive to candidates from diverse communities, we are looking at how to adjust our training approach as well as how to modify existing application criteria and processes. The focus will be on attracting candidates who possess the attributes and characteristics needed for policing, in a modern policing organization.

Addressing systemic racism

Where are the biggest gaps in data in identifying systemic racism in your institution?

One of the biggest gaps is the need to establish sound collection practices for race-based data. There is an initiative underway under the Vision 150 Plan to Advance Equity, Accountability and Trust to examine how best to collect, interpret and support race-based policing data.

Internally, one of the bigger challenges involves comparing self-identification data on race that we collect with data from other systems. If we can't compare data, we will not be able to establish a clear and coherent evidence base to support our actions and we will be limited in how we can benefit from the work of other departments and agencies.

Under our Digital Strategy, we have a plan to put in place a unit that will make it easier for groups to access and analyse each other's data. The Analytics, Data and Information Management Branch provide executive leadership for the RCMP data management strategy and for driving the cultural change needed to manage data as a strategic corporate asset.

Will the RCMP implement something like the 2011 Gender and Respect Action Plan that includes concrete actions to address systemic racism and discrimination?

The RCMP respects that there is a diversity of opinions about the best course of action and that Canadians want to see results from the RCMP.

The Gender and Respect Action Plan was an important step in the Force's long journey towards culture change.

Our current strategies identify many of the same areas Justice Bastarache highlighted in his report. We are aligned and we are on the right track.

One of the main differences between now and the 2011 initiative is that the RCMP realizes we cannot achieve results by ourselves, and we are involving diverse communities and external expertise in the development of solutions.

When can we expect direct and concrete action on racism from the RCMP?

The RCMP has established two plans that outline actions we will take to address systemic racism.

The Vision 150 Plan to Advance Equity, Accountability and Trust outlines a number of commitments that are directly aimed at addressing systemic racism.

In November, senior leadership approved a comprehensive and robust Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy that identifies fundamental changes, including leads in each Division and Business Line and clear accountability expectations to make sure we are doing the right things when putting actions into practice.

We continue to work with individuals and experts who have lived experience and expertise to support change in our organization.

Addressing the needs of women in the RCMP

The Bastarache report indicated that the RCMP should undertake a review of its policies and programs with a view to identifying and resolving issues that perpetuate systemic barriers to women and LGBTQ2S+ women in the RCMP. When will the RCMP undertake this review?

It is important for the RCMP to build the capacity to perform this type of analysis.

In 2017, the RCMP created a unit dedicated to deploying Gender-Based Analysis + (GBA+) throughout the organization. We have completed a GBA+ of Regular Member recruiting and our promotional process for officers. A GBA+ analysis of our Cadet Training Program is currently underway and we are planning to do a GBA+ analysis on the allocation of training opportunities.

Moving forward, our Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy highlights a number of actions that will also strengthen our ability to conduct program and policy review and address gender-based violence in the workplace.

The issue of pregnancy and maternity leave has come up in numerous claims and a recent court decision. What is the RCMP doing about this longstanding issue?

The RCMP is exploring, in consultation with the national Gender and Harassment Advisory Committee, an established commitment in the Merlo-Davidson Settlement Agreement, ways to mitigate barriers linked to maternity/parental leave. We have identified a number of areas for improvement including better leveraging existing workplace reintegration programs, and providing additional guidance for managers.

Career mobility

Do civilian members have the same opportunity for mobility as regular members and public service employees?

The RCMP has three categories of employees – Regular Members (police officers), Public Service employees, employed under the Public Service Employment Act, and Civilian Members, employed under provisions of the RCMP Act.

Public Service Employees have complete mobility across the core public service – they can apply on internal processes and transfer between departments with relative ease.

For Civilian Members, mobility and opportunities in other federal government departments are available using a mechanism similar to the Interchange Canada Program without a CM resigning their position; however, this is a temporary option. Civilian Members continue to have the option to accept indeterminate public service positions in other federal government departments, however, they are required to resign as a CM under the RCMP Act in order to accept a public service position under the Public Service Employment Act. In some cases, this may have impacts on pension and some benefits.

The RCMP has been working toward the conversion of Civilian Members to Public Service Employees through a "deeming" process that would eliminate differences in their terms and conditions of employment. The deeming date is not currently set as the RCMP and Treasury Board Secretariat continue to work with bargaining agents on a way forward to reduce barriers to civilian employees considering opportunities in the greater public service.

Within the RCMP, all civilian staffing processes within the RCMP are run as dual processes, open to both categories equally. This ensures mobility within the organization for employees who are seeking a change in their work placement.

With almost 20,000 positions spanning 150 specializations, Regular Members have a high degree of mobility within the organization.

Incidence of harassment in the RCMP

It has been reported that there are still many?

Unfortunately, harassment exists in almost every workplace, but the RCMP is taking steps at all levels to evolve our culture and processes to ensure employees understand the impact of engaging in this behaviour.

One of the RCMP's latest initiatives is the creation of a centralized, independent unit to offer a full suite of harassment resolution services. This unit, known as the Independent Centre for Harassment Resolution (ICHR), will consist of full-time civilian employees who handle the intake of complaints, case analysis, and informal resolution services.

The RCMP's goal is for employees to feel confident in coming forward to report incidents and to trust that their concerns will be taken seriously and addressed fairly.

A great deal of work is underway to get the necessary resources and arrangements in place. The RCMP's plan is to officially launch the ICHR by June 30, 2021.

The goal of ICHR is to resolve workplace conflict at the earliest stage, and ultimately prevent harassment.

Preventing harassment

How are prospective RCMP employees screened to weed out those who may be likely to engage in harassment or discrimination? What changes are you making to the screening process?

All police officers are expected to conform to behaviour standards and our code of conduct. The expectations related to behavioural standards are communicated and reiterated throughout the recruiting and application process. At Depot, cadets are rigorously tested to ensure once graduated, they embody the values and ethics of a member of the RCMP.

The RCMP application process is thorough and includes various screening tools designed to ensure that applicants meet the high standards required of police officers.

The RCMP is modernizing its recruiting process to focus on attracting applicants who possess the attributes and characteristics needed for a modern policing organization. Areas where change is being considered include the entrance exam, implicit bias testing, new mechanisms to assess applicants' suitability for policing, and increasing the use of technology to support the applicants as they navigate the recruiting program.

The Officer Candidate Process (OCP), the process by which officers apply to the senior ranks, requires candidates to go through a comprehensive assessment including a review committee, a structured interview and an extensive reference check. The process will be enhanced to require candidates to participate in a Character Leadership assessment as a condition for proceeding through the process.

Would increasing the educational requirements for applicants increase the calibre of applicants?

The RCMP is not focussing on educational requirements in the short term. Rather, we are modernizing our recruiting process by focusing on attracting and assessing applicants for the attributes and characteristics needed for policing in a modern policing organization.

Adjusting educational requirements for application as a police officer remains a consideration for the future.

The RCMP has placed a high priority on recruiting cadets from groups traditionally underrepresented in policing. What is being done to protect these recruits from systemic racism, harassment and discrimination?

The RCMP is making progress toward culture change though its Vision 150 and People Strategy and Equity Diversity and Inclusion Strategy.

The EDI Strategy, in particular, will see concrete action taken across Divisions and Business Lines to ensure that Indigenous, Black and other racialized employees are included and valued in our organization.

All troops beginning in fiscal year 2020-2021 and onward must complete the recently-developed "Cultural Awareness and Humility Course."

These efforts are coupled with modernizing the RCMP's application requirements and processes to identify and remove barriers to prospective high-potential RCMP applicants from Indigenous, Black and other racialized groups. Changes to the recruiting process focus on attracting candidates who possess the attributes and characteristics needed for policing, in a modern policing organization.

What changes are being made at the RCMP Training Academy at Depot?

The RCMP Training Academy at "Depot Division" has been modernizing its operating practices and teaching methods for many years. This is an ongoing process.
We are in the process of examining the entirety of the Cadet Training Program (CTP) using a robust diversity lens to ensure a modern, inclusive approach, including:

  • Evaluating the impact of "paramilitary" elements of training and practice and,
  • Analyzing the impact of key aspects of the Depot training format on diverse groups, including length, format and learning conditions;
  • Examining and updating policies to prevent and address misconduct, including harassment and sexual harassment at the academy.
Removing young women recruits from their support network at the beginning of their career, by assigning a posting far from family and friends, makes them vulnerable, especially if they are the only woman member in a detachment. Have you taken any steps to ensure that women new to the RCMP have the support that they need?

Female cades entering Depot are informed from the beginning that they have the opportunity to come forward to share any concerns or limitations they may face in advance of posting assignments being made. Depot works closely with the Divisional Career Development and Resourcing Offices when posting Cadets, while considering the operational needs of Divisions.
To ensure Cadets understand the supports, resources and programs available to them once they begin their careers as a Regular Member, Depot provides a Family Workshop, where Cadets and their families receive a presentation by the RCMP's Support for Operational Injury (SOSI) Program.

  • The SOSI Program, officially launched in February 2017, provides peer support to employees of the RCMP as well as veterans. The family information session by SOSI consists of educating Cadets and their families on what is an operational stress injury (OSI), common symptoms that may be indicative of an OSI, how they can help themselves and their loved ones, and if they begin to experience symptoms of an OSI what resources within the RCMP are available.

All employees have access to internal peer-to-peer resources who have been trained to listen to their concerns and provide them with information and guidance regarding the use of Employee Assistance Services (EAS) along with various internal RCMP resources.

As of October 1, 2019, RCMP members can access community-based psychological services via tele-psychology. An RCMP Regular Member can access psychological counselling via telepsychology services (telephone or online) provided by a community-based psychologist who is registered for the RCMP Health Benefits Program.

Consequences for harassers

What are the statistics related to complaints of harassment?

RCMP employees under the RCMP Act (regular members, civilian members and special constables) are subject to the Code of Conduct of the RCMP as set out in the RCMP Act, the RCMP Regulations and the Commissioner's Standing Orders.

Number of harassment complaints received by the RCMP from 2015-2020

  • In 2015 the RCMP received a total of 152 harassment complaints – including 120 regular member (RM) complaints, 9 civilian member (CM) complaints, and 23 public service employee (PSE) complaints
  • In 2016 the RCMP received a total of 242 harassment complaints – including 176 RM complaints, 29 CM complaints, and 26 PSE complaints
  • In 2017 the RCMP received a total of 296 harassment complaints – including 223 RM complaints, 21 CM complaints, and 41 PSE complaints
  • In 2018 the RCMP received a total of 252 harassment complaints – including 192 RM complaints, 31 CM complaints, and 29 PSE complaints
  • In 2019 the RCMP received a total of 190 harassment complaints – including 130 RM complaints, 15 CM complaints, and 45 PSE complaints
  • In 2020 the RCMP received a total of 213 harassment complaints – including 175 RM complaints, 18 CM complaints, and 19 PSE complaints

Code of Conduct

  • RCMP members may be investigated for infractions of the Code of Conduct.
  • Conduct matters are addressed through an internal administrative process that has a lower threshold of proof than a criminal charge, i.e. balance of probabilities.
  • The Code of conduct process is educative and corrective in nature, not punitive, however it can result in punitive sanctions such as forfeiture of pay and dismissal.
  • RCMP members are subject to the code of conduct at all times, whether on-duty or off. The Code does not apply to former members following retirement, resignation or dismissal.
  • On average, there are approximately 455 Code of Conduct files initiated per year. This translates to less than 2% of RCMP members who are alleged to have contravened the Code of Conduct per year.
  • Additional information on conduct related statistics can be located on the RCMP's web site: https://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/en/management-the-rcmp-disciplinary-process-annual-reports

Criminal Offences

  • Where the behaviour is believed to be criminal in nature, it will be investigated criminally. In the case of serious offences, the RCMP will refer the matter to an independent external investigation body, where one is available.
  • Where the evidence is sufficient to support a charge, charges may be laid, in some jurisdictions subject to approval by crown prosecutors.
  • The RCMP does not maintain statistics on members criminally charged. Criminal charges are a statutory proceeding, which is a separate and distinct system. Statutory and conduct proceedings base findings on different criteria and operate under legal requirements specific to the system. Statutory legal requirements do not apply to conduct proceedings.
Is it possible for someone with a history of harassment to be promoted?

All members being considered for promotions to or within the officer ranks are required to undergo conduct checks, which include verifying past and current Code of Conduct, discipline or harassment investigations. The information affects promotional decisions. The same process is in place for non-commissioned officer processes.

The Performance Management Process whereby officers/employees are assessed is based on their accomplishments, as well as on how they demonstrate the leadership competencies in achieving their commitments. The performance assessments provide valuable information, which is considered in all promotion processes.

The Officer Candidate Process (OCP), the process by which officers apply to the senior ranks, requires candidates to go through a comprehensive assessment including a Review Committee, a structured interview and extensive reference checks. The OCP process is being modernized to include a mandatory Character Leadership assessment for each Member progressing through the process.

Harassment, bullying, and intimidation are well-documented, persistent issues in the RCMP. How will the RCMP change harassing behaviour and the culture that supports it?

Training contributes to employees and supervisors gaining a clear understanding of their roles and responsibilities. It serves as a foundation for defining appropriate behaviours, in line with RCMP core values, and policies.

Effective training works to prevent harassment, and provides employees and supervisors with information on how to deal with instances of harassment it if it occurs. The implementation of complementary programs such as performance management, harassment complaint and misconduct processes are key to eliminating all forms of harassment in the workplace.

Working collaboratively with all stakeholders to break stigma and obtain buy-in at all levels of the organization continues and we are looking forward to engaging with various groups, including the National Police Federation, to find collaborative solutions to positively influence behaviours and promote a healthy organizational culture.

Exploring ideas and suggestions, such as the inclusion of performance management in the selection processes, could held candidates accountable for past behaviours and impact their future if it does not fit with what the organization wants moving forward.

An evaluation of Cadet Training Program is underway to examine the extent to which paramilitary aspects of cadet training (i.e. Aspects that are founded on military traditions) contribution to an inclusive learning environment and impart the knowledge and skills needed for graduates to work effectively with diverse communities.

Date modified: