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RCMP pension plan discriminatory, unfair against women: Supreme Court

The Saskatchewan RCMP Major Crimes Unit North along with officers from the Ahtahkakoop RCMP Detachment are investigating a suspicious sudden death in the RM of Shellbrook.
The Saskatchewan RCMP Major Crimes Unit North along with officers from the Ahtahkakoop RCMP Detachment are investigating a suspicious sudden death in the RM of Shellbrook. THE CANADIAN PRESS

The Supreme Court of Canada says women who took part in the RCMP’s job-sharing program while raising young children were unfairly denied the chance to bolster their pensions.

In a decision today, the high court accepted the arguments of three mothers who worked reduced hours on the national police force in order to devote time to their children.

The women argued the RCMP pension plan breached their equality rights under the charter by denying them the benefit of accruing full-time pension credit for periods when they temporarily worked reduced hours for family reasons.

Read more: $220M and counting: The cost of the RCMP’s ‘culture of dysfunction’

They pointed out that under the plan, RCMP members can accrue pensionable service during leaves of absence, such as maternity, sick or education leaves, provided the member pays both the employer and employee contributions for the leave period.

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But members who temporarily reduce their hours of work see their pensions diminished, as they are not given the option of “buying back” full-time pension credit for the hours not worked.

Click to play video 'Lawyers detail range of compensation women in RCMP sexual harassment case could claim' Lawyers detail range of compensation women in RCMP sexual harassment case could claim
Lawyers detail range of compensation women in RCMP sexual harassment case could claim

The women, all now retired from the force, were unsuccessful in the Federal Court and in a subsequent appeal, but the Supreme Court agreed to hear their case.