Systemic Racism in the RCMP

In a statement released June 12, 2020, RCMP Commissioner Brenda Luckie acknowledged that systemic racism exists in the RCMP: “I did acknowledge that we, like others, have racism in our organization, but I did not say definitively that systemic racism exists in the RCMP. I should have. I do know that systemic racism is part of every institution, the RCMP included. Throughout our history and today, we have not always treated racialized and Indigenous people fairly.” Prime Minster Justin Trudeau further stated that more can be done by Canada’s national police force, noting that “[t]here are some deep changes we need to make in our institutions, and we need to work with people who want to make those changes, who want to be part of the solution — and I know Commissioner Lucki is one of those.”

It is a responsibility of every member and officer of the RCMP to maintain the honour of the Force and its underlying principles and purposes. Yet, in 2020, officers, members, and civilian employees being denied equal opportunities on the basis of their race and/or ethnic origin.

Employment equity is about breaking down barriers to minority groups and recognizing historical patterns of discrimination and disadvantage. It addresses previous wrongs to enable future rights. The RCMP are required by law to implement employment equity by identifying and eliminating barriers in the RCMP systems, policies, and practices, and by instating positive policies and practices to ensure designated groups achieve a degree of reflective representation. In a report released on April 1, 2019, the RCMP conceded that the diversity of the Force has “not changed by any significant measure” over the previous year, and that “[d]iversity has traditionally been a challenge for police forces in Canada, and the RCMP is no exception.” These legal employment equity obligations have clearly not been met.

Despite the promise of progress embodied in employment equity legislation and the increasing diversity of the Force, members of visible minority groups continue to face prejudice in the roles and opportunities afforded to them when they join the RCMP to serve in Canada’s national police force. More needs to be done, both to enable employment equity practices and stop systemic racism within the RCMP.

Wagners law firm has resolved multiple class proceedings which seek to address systemic discrimination, such as the settlement for the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children and systemic discrimination and sexual misconduct in the Canadian Armed Forces. Wagners is currently looking into possible legal claims regarding systemic racism in the RCMP. If you are a member or a former member of the RCMP and have experienced racial discrimination or negative impact on career opportunities and advancement a result, we are happy to answer any questions or comments you may have regarding your situation and possible legal options. Wagners can be contacted at 902-425-7330 or toll-free at 1-800-465-8794, or by email at [email protected].

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