RCMP Operational Stress Injuries
McQuade, Combden, Walsh v. Attorney General of Canada
(formerly Moore et al v. Attorney General of Canada)
Federal Court File: T-1105-20
On September 16, 2020, Wagners filed a proposed class proceeding against the Attorney General of Canada in the Federal Court of Canada. The proposed class proceeding was filed on behalf of four Plaintiffs and seeks damages on behalf of themselves and a class of persons who are or have been enrolled as Regular Members in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and who have been diagnosed with, or suffered from, an Operational Stress Injury. This particular injury refers to any persistent psychological difficulty that results from operational duties with the RCMP, including but not limited to diagnosed conditions such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, depression, anxiety, and panic attacks.
The claim alleges that the Crown has failed to provide adequate and timely Mental Health Support services that address the complex needs of members of the RCMP and that it acted negligently in the face of mounting evidence of a mental health crisis within Canada’s national police force, where responding to dangerous and traumatic situations is a condition of their employment. The claim also alleges that the Crown condones and perpetuates a discriminatory workplace culture, where RCMP Officers and Members are subjected to differential treatment based on mental disability.
The four proposed representative plaintiffs will seek to certify the class proceeding and to obtain damages arising from the Crown’s negligence and its violation of the Class’ section 15(1) Charter rights. The claim will also seek punitive and exemplary damages as a result of the Crown’s conduct.
To inform us of your interest and determine if you qualify for inclusion in Wagners’ prospective action, please fill out this registration form. If you have any concerns or questions please contact us by phone or email at [email protected].
Pour nous informer de votre intérêt et déterminer si vous remplissez les conditions pour être inclus dans l’action prospective de Wagners, veuillez remplir ce formulaire d’inscription. Si vous avez des préoccupations ou des questions, veuillez nous contacter par téléphone ou par e-mail à [email protected].
Updates & Latest Developments
A schedule has been set for the filing of materials related to the Plaintiffs’ appeal of the Federal Court’s certification decision.
The parties’ arguments will all be filed by February 16, 2024 and a hearing date will be requested in mid-March, 2024.
It is unknown when the hearing will be at this time, but a further update will be provided when available.
On June 20-22, 2023, Wagners appeared in the Federal Court seeking to have the proposed class proceeding certified in order to advance to a trial. The Plaintiffs also responded to a motion to stay brought by the Defendant.
On August 8, 2023, the Federal Court released its decision. The application for certification was dismissed, with leave granted to the Plaintiffs to amend the claim and file further evidence. No decision was rendered with respect to the Defendant’s stay motion, in light of this conclusion.
The Plaintiffs will be appealing the decision. A further update will be provided once details of the schedule relating to the appeal are known.
The claim was amended on November 14, 2022 to remove one of the former proposed Representative Plaintiffs. As a result, the style of cause (the name of the case) has changed to McQuade, Combden, Walsh v. Attorney General of Canada, which may also at times be referred to as McQuade et al v. Attorney General of Canada.
The Defendant (the Crown) takes the position that a number of other cases filed against the Crown regarding discrimination, bullying and harassment, and differential treatment in the RCMP overlap with this proposed class action, Moore. Accordingly, the Defendant seeks to bring a motion to stay (“pause”) this proposed class action. We take the position that Moore is sufficiently distinct from these other actions, and that there is very little to no overlap with these other cases.
On May 6, 2022, and then on June 1, 2022, both parties attended a case management conference before case management judges, the Honourable Justice Southcott and Prothonotary Alexandra Steele, to discuss when the Defendant’s proposed stay motion should be heard – either before or at the same time as the certification motion. The Defendant wished to bring the stay motion before the certification motion. We argued the stay motion should be heard at the same time, so as not to delay the certification motion. We were successful in our arguments, and Justice Southcott ultimately determined that the Defendant’s stay motion will be heard at the same time as the certification motion.
Thus, the Defendant’s Stay Motion will be heard on June 20, 2023, and the Certification Motion will be heard on June 21 and 22, 2023, with volumes of materials to be filed and exchanged between now and then. The Plaintiffs’ certification motion record was already filed with the Federal Court on December 3, 2021 and the Defendant’s responding certification motion record was filed on June 30, 2022. Both motions will be heard by the Honourable Justice Southcott at the Federal Court.
Cross-examinations of experts and affiants, a major step leading up to the Certification Motion, are scheduled to occur in November and early December, 2022.
The Statement of Claim was amended on August 18, 2021, and the current proposed class definition is:
“Class” and “Class Members” means all persons who are or have been regular members (as defined in section 1 of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Regulations, 2014, SOR/2014-281) and who have been diagnosed with, and/or suffer or have suffered from, an Operational Stress Injury. For certainty, the Class excludes civilian and public service members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
The next major step in a proposed class proceeding is to be certified. The certification hearing deals with the form the lawsuit will take (i.e., can the action progress as a class action), not the fault or liability of the Defendant (in this case, the Attorney General of Canada). The Defendant’s fault is later determined at a common issues trial, which takes place after the certification motion and only if the case is certified by a judge.
On November 25, 2021, Wagners filed the Plaintiffs’ motion record electronically with the Federal Court. This included affidavit evidence (written evidence) from the four proposed representative plaintiffs and two expert reports. We are now waiting for the Defence to file their motion record by June 30, 2022. Dates for cross examinations and the filing of legal arguments for certification will be determined at the next case management conference scheduled for June 1, 2022.
A proposed class proceeding was filed on today’s date in the Federal Court of Canada. A copy of the Statement of Claim may be viewed in the Documents section.