RCMP Frequently Asked Questions
How long will the lawsuit take?
Class action lawsuits typically take many years to resolve.
Does the lawsuit seek compensation for municipal police forces?
No. Although members and employees of municipal police forces may have legitimate claims against their employer, this lawsuit is restricted to women who are current or former Members, Civilian Members or Public Service Employees of the RCMP.
Does this lawsuit affect women outside British Columbia?
Yes. This lawsuit is brought on behalf of all female Members, Civilian Members and Public Service Employees of the RCMP, regardless of province of residence.
What are the major steps in a class action?
Each class action is unique but, in most cases, the major steps are as follows. The court will appoint a case management judge who is assigned to the lawsuit. This judge will oversee the case and hear the arguments made by lawyers for the parties. The lawyers will meet before the case management judge and set a schedule leading to the certification hearing. At the certification hearing, the court will permit, or “certify”, the case as a class action if several criteria are met as outlined in the Class Proceedings Act. A “representative plaintiff”, whose job is to fairly and adequately represent the interest of the “class”, will also be appointed. Once certified, the class action portion of the lawsuit begins. Certification is then followed by a “common issues” trial where issues common to all class members are tried before a judge. If the plaintiff is successful in a common issues trial, a process is designed to decide issues that are unique to each individual class member.
The parties may decide to negotiate a settlement of a class action at any time. Settlement negotiations are directed by the representative plaintiff. The public will be notified if a settlement agreement is reached. Settlement agreements in class actions must be approved by the court before they are considered final.
Appeals of class actions, especially certification decisions, are common. These appeals delay the class action for many months.
I am receiving Veterans Affairs Canada (“VAC”) pension benefits. Can I apply for compensation?
Yes. A VAC pension is not considered “prior compensation” under the proposed settlement. Individuals receiving VAC pension benefits are eligible to apply for compensation under the settlement, and VAC pension benefits are not deducted from compensation payable under the settlement.
How do I make a claim? Are the claims forms available in French?
If the proposed settlement receives court approval, then Notice of the Settlement Approval will be mailed to potential claimants and posted on our website. Class Members who wish to participate in the settlement will submit a confidential claim form describing their experiences, along with any documentation supporting their claim to an independent court-appointed Assessor, Justice Michel Bastarache, C.C., Q.C.
Claims forms in both English and French will be available once the settlement is approved.
What is a class action?
A class action is a lawsuit that groups people with a common claim together against the same defendant. Class action suits allow people whose voices might otherwise go unheard to fight together for a common interest. For more information on class action lawsuits, visit our Class Action FAQ page.
How can I join the lawsuit?
At this stage of the lawsuit there is no requirement to “join” or to make your name public.
If you are a woman who is a current or former Member, Civilian Member or Public Service Employee of the RCMP and you would like to confidentially add your name to receive our updates about the RCMP class action, please complete the online “Do I Qualify?” form.
No lawyer-client, advisory, or fiduciary relationship is created by communicating your name to receive updates about the RCMP class action.
An important step in a class action lawsuit is “certification.” After a certification hearing, the court will review the proposed class action and if it agrees it meets the legal test for certification, the court will permit, or “certify”, the lawsuit as a class action. At that time, a definition of who qualifies as a “class member” will be decided. It can take a matter of years to prepare for the certification hearing. Information regarding the dates of the certification hearing will be posted on this website and emailed to addresses on our email update list. The court will also set a date for class members to opt-into or out of the class action. Only after certification will class members formally join the lawsuit by registering with counsel.
Who is being sued in this lawsuit?
The governments of Canada and British Columbia are the defendants.
What is the lawsuit about?
This lawsuit alleges that female Members, Civilian Members and Public Service Employees of the RCMP were subject to gender-based discrimination, bullying and harassment and that the RCMP failed to exercise the duty to women in the RCMP to ensure that they could work in an environment free of gender-based discrimination, bullying and harassment.
I have already filed/I was going to file a grievance, lawsuit or claim. Should I continue with this?
You should seek qualified legal and professional advice with respect to your grievance, lawsuit or other claim. The RCMP class action lawsuit does not preclude you from continuing with a grievance, lawsuit or other claim. As the class action may take many years to conclude, we are unable to describe the definition of the “class” or any other information in relation to the resolution of the issues raised in the class action lawsuit.
This is not intended to be a comprehensive or detailed statement concerning your grievance, complaint or individual claim; legal or any other kind of advice. You should seek appropriate, qualified professional advice before acting or omitting to act based upon any information provided here.
Does the lawsuit seek compensation for men?
No. Although male Members, Civilian Members and Public Service Employees of the RCMP may have legitimate claims against the RCMP, this lawsuit is focused on discrimination against, bullying of, and harassment of women in the RCMP.
* The answers in this FAQ provide summary information about the settlement. Full details are in the Settlement Agreement and Appendixes to the Agreement. These FAQs are not a substitute for legal advice. For advice about the settlement, you should contact the Office of the Assessor or your lawyer.