EDMONTON – A workplace investigation that followed the shooting of two Mounties in Alberta last year says the RCMP contravened Canada Labour Code health and safety rules.
Const. David Wynn and auxiliary Const. Derek Bond were shot on Jan. 17, 2015, during a struggle with a suspected car thief in a St. Albert casino, just north of Edmonton. Wynn died a few days later.
A review of the St. Albert RCMP detachment by federal Labour Department investigators says the portable radios assigned to Wynn and Bond failed to transmit and receive inside the casino and that a radio in a police cruiser could not transmit or receive from the officers.
The investigation also found that the RCMP did not have safe alternative communication procedures for situations where radios are known to fail or not transmit or receive messages clearly.
It also determined that Bond’s actions that day appear to have exceeded the expected duties of an auxiliary RCMP officer.
Last October, Bradley Tetarenko, a health and safety officer, issued a “direction” to the RCMP to fix the contraventions by Nov. 13, 2015, and to ensure that they don’t happen again.
“The said official delegated by the Minister of Labour is of the opinion that the following provisions of the Canada Labour Code have been contravened,” reads the order obtained by The Canadian Press from Occupational Health and Safety Tribunal Canada.
The direction document orders the RCMP to ensure that equipment used by employees is safe under all conditions of its intended use. It also directs the RCMP to identify, assess and take measures to prevent hazards associated with its communications system.
The order also deals with auxiliary constables. It calls on the RCMP to ensure that activities of every person granted access to a workplace do not endanger their health and safety.
“(The) employer shall identify and assess the hazards associated with the activities of the auxiliary constables … and take steps to ensure the activities of the auxiliary officers do not create a hazard for themselves or RCMP members.”
The direction order was sent in October to Deputy Commissioner Marianne Ryan, commanding officer of RCMP in Alberta.
A month later the RCMP filed an appeal of the direction, which has not yet been heard.
RCMP national headquarters staff declined to comment on the appeal.
Staff-Sgt. Julie Gagnon said the RCMP on Jan. 16 approved changes to the auxiliary constable program after conferring with provinces, territories and municipalities.
The changes include no longer allowing auxiliary constables to go on ride-alongs with Mounties or to take firearms familiarization training.
The RCMP is also working on a new national training standard and policy for auxiliary constables, she said in an email from Ottawa.
The RCMP website says auxiliary constables are unarmed, unpaid, uniformed volunteers that participate in community events, school crime prevention, traffic control, ground patrols, search and rescue and parades.
There are about 1,600 auxiliary constables across Canada.