Mounted Police Professional Association of Canada Raises Alarm Bells re: RCMP Member Medical Discharge Process

SURREY, BC, July 18, 2016 /CNW/ - The Mounted Police Professional Association (MPPAC) is raising alarm bells about an about-face the Commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and management have made to protect members from being terminated after developing a work-related stress injury.

MPPAC has learned that RCMP management has issued a notice of termination to an RCMP member suffering from an occupational stress injury triggered by the murder of 4 RCMP Members in 2005 near Mayerthorpe, Alberta. This incident was one of the worst RCMP tragedies in Canadian history in which four officers, Constable Anthony Gordon, Constable Lionide (Leo) Johnston, Constable Brock Myrol and Constable Peter Schiemann were murdered by a drug dealer who also died during the incident.

"Three years ago Commissioner Bob Paulson publicly declared protection of employees who face work-related injuries, and yet this member has been terminated for an injury triggered by the Mayerthorpe tragedy" said MPPAC President Rae Banwarie. "This could be just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the RCMP management's unchecked powers and how and when they terminate members."

RCMP management is using section 6.05(a) of the Commissioner's Standing Orders (Employment) that purports to allow the RCMP to dismiss members with a disability, notwithstanding the Canadian Human Rights Act. In response, the member is making an application for judicial review in Edmonton's Federal Court alleging that this Section of the Commissioner's Standing Order is discriminatory contrary to Section 15 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms

In 2013, Commissioner Paulson told RCMP Members during a town-hall meeting in Edmonton that if they get sick or injured on the job, the force will endeavor to accommodate them back into the workplace.

"This flies in the face of an employer's duty to accommodate employees injured in the workplace, and it contravenes the tenets of the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms," added Banwarie.  "This power is unchecked, unrestricted and appears that it is being used without independent oversight," said Banwarie.

"It is apparent RCMP management has no boundaries save for the court process," said MPPAC spokesperson, Rob Creasser. "MPPAC has and continues to take action in matters that affect the health, safety and wellbeing of RCMP members nationwide."

In 2014, MPPAC fought against measures within the RCMP's Enhancing Accountability Act that give the Commissioner and RCMP management unchecked control over termination processes including medical and administrative discharges as well as code of conduct incidents. MPPAC pushed unsuccessfully for an independent oversight body to be included when this Act was up for debate.

"We are now seeing the ramifications of this flawed Enhancing Accountability Act, and employees are now more vulnerable in the cases where members develop a work-related stress injury," said MPPAC spokesperson Rob Creasser."This is just one case that we are aware of where management is using the Act to discharge a member in a top-down and heavy-handed process." 

MPPAC also takes issue with the inadequacy of a new "Members Workplace Services Program" controlled by RCMP management, due to its failure to protect members in these very cases.

"This program is an incomplete measure which has been instituted by management. This program is similar to the previous SRR program found unconstitutional by the SCC (Jan 2015).  It will, unfortunately, continue until an association receives certification as a bargaining agent. This can't come soon enough," added Creasser. "Not only will we stand for justice in this case, but we are asking every member who is in a similar situation to contact MPPAC."

MPPAC is a national, non-profit police association established at the initiative of members. It has been involved in the RCMP association movement since 1994, and independent of management and any management-controlled programs. Its mandate is to represent RCMP members in all aspects their relationship with management. MPPAC does not seek nor support the right to strike. MPPAC is seeking to become the certified bargaining agent for all non-commissioned members of the RCMP.

SOURCE Mounted Police Professional Association of Canada

For further information: Rob Creasser, Media Relations, Mounted Police Professional Association of Canada, Association Canadienne de la Police Montée Professionelle, T: (250) 371-1071, E: national@mppac.ca; Terry McKee, Media Relations, Mounted Police Professional Association of Canada, Association Canadienne de la Police Montée Professionelle, T: (506) 850-3907, E: national@mppac.ca


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