RCMP toxic to women, says lawyer as hearing begins for potential class-action

VANCOUVER — A lawyer arguing for a class-action proceeding involving the RCMP says the force is toxic to women and has been for a number of years.

David Klein says hundreds of women who allege they were discriminated against and harassed while working for the RCMP must have their cases heard together to reveal the full picture of the problem.

Klein made the arguments as part of a hearing to determine whether the complaints of 362 female Mounties from across the country can move forward collectively.

The hearing begins three years after Nanaimo RCMP veteran Janet Merlo came forward with allegations about discrimination she experienced throughout her career, including lewd comments and actions from her male colleagues.

Klein says he will present key evidence from Merlo’s affidavit and an expert he calls a leading authority on gender harassment and discrimination in Canada.

The hearing is scheduled for five days in B.C. Supreme Court.

The Canadian Press