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B.C. Mountie takes RCMP to court over dismissal of harassment complaint

Click to play video: 'Female constable challenging RCMP in court'
Female constable challenging RCMP in court
A female Mountie has filed a complaint in federal court, testing the findings of a harassment investigation. As Catherine Urquhart reports, the constable is seeking to have the findings overturned, after a panel deemed misogynistic comments were just a poor choice of words – Mar 28, 2023

A eight-year veteran of the RCMP is challenging the Mounties in federal court.

In a court filing, Const. Nicole Patapoff claims she was harassed and the case mishandled by the RCMP’s Independent Centre for Harassment Resolution, an agency that is supposed to promote positive change, especially for female members.

In the court filing, Patapoff references her annual firearms qualification training.

During the training, she alleges her line officer told her “to go home, get a bottle of Windex, and get into her kitchen and bathroom and just start cleaning” to strengthen her trigger finger.

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She claims the officer followed her outside, commenting, ”I didn’t even recognize you”, ”Wow,” and ”I love your hair.”

Patapoff’s complaint to the RCMP’s Independent Centre for Harassment Resolution wasn’t investigated for 10 months.

It then deemed the incident wasn’t harassment, just a poor choice of words, and that no harm was intended.

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Click to play video: 'Former RCMP officer behind multi-million dollar class action lawsuit appalled to see little has changed'
Former RCMP officer behind multi-million dollar class action lawsuit appalled to see little has changed

“This was a decision that was made by a federally-appointed harassment investigator and so the recourse in this situation is to seek judicial review of the investigator’s decision,” Patapoff’s lawyer, Sebastien Anderson, told Global News.

The Independent Centre for Harassment Resolution was established after Janet Merlo’s class action harassment case against the RCMP led to a $125-million settlement involving more than 2,300 female officers.

That was followed by a $100-million settlement for civilian members.

Despite settlements and apologies, the new system isn’t working, retired RCMP constable Lisa McKenzie told Global News.

“It’s another centre that says they’re going to oversee these harassment and bullying cases, and that’s it’s independent, but it’s not independent,” she said.

Anderson is seeking to have the harassment investigation results overturned, saying the process has been extremely difficult for his client.

She has had to take matters into her own hands, obtain legal counsel to take on this fight and it’s unfortunate because this problem has been well known to the federal government for over 30 years,” he said.

Global News has requested comment from the RCMP.

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