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External Agency for Sexual Harassment Investigations in Politicing - 2020

Category: EMPLOYMENT CONDITIONS
Sub-Category: OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH & SAFETY
Resolution Number: 200.50.14
Club: Trenton & District
Year: 2020
Status: Open
Reaffirmed:
Comments:

BACKGROUND - Trends in political, media, entertainment, and businesses show workplace sexual harassment is an epidemic as of 2018. Organizations are under intense pressure to ensure zero tolerance exists within their policies. A key challenge is the lack of a standard definition of sexual harassment (Human Resources Professional Association [HRPA], 2018). Sexual harassment as defined by the Canada Labour Code states, “sexual harassment means any conduct, comment, gesture, or contact of a sexual nature (a) that is likely to cause offence or humiliation to any employee; or (b) that might, on reasonable grounds, be perceived by that employee as placing a condition of a sexual nature on employment or on any opportunity for training or promotion (Government of Canada, 2019, p 236)”. However, sexual harassment is not a criminal offence in Canada (HRPA, 2018).

The 2012 Canadian Ministry of Status of Women’s Canadian Police Services Gender Audit found that over the past 40 years, only 20% of Canadian police are women and policing conform to hegemonic masculinity (Bikos, 2016). Hegemonic refers to, “the social, cultural, ideological, or economic influence exerted by a dominant group (Merriam-Webster Dictionary, n.d.). Hegemonic masculinity is the practice of accepting the problem of legitimacy in patriarchy and guaranteeing the dominant position of men and the subordinate position of women. The hyper-masculinized police subculture maintains male dominance and leaves female officers at a disadvantage. These realities have a profound impact on police officers and demonstrates police culture is problematic for gender equality (Bikos, 2016).

While little has changed in police culture in the past 40 years, some improvements including increased promotional activity, decreased harassment, and increased sense of social acceptance has occurred. These changes tend to be incremental and superficial to address human rights legislation and the public. Informal mechanisms continue to maintain the hegemonic masculine culture. These results have also been found in the United States and Europe (Bikos, 2016). Statistics Canada (2014) reported only 17 percent of middle management positions and less than 10 percent in senior management positions are female officers.
Social position such as more education and a better career record is critical to advancement. If a female officer is not liked or speaks out regarding discriminatory practices, she risks her career. Where trust and reputation are key components of policing and a female officer’s reputation can be ruined by rumours (e.g. “sleeping around”), told by both their peers and management, results in male officers reducing competition for advancement by making their female colleagues appear incompetent for promotion. Female officers understand speaking out or reporting sexual harassment effectively ends their career. In order to fit in, many female officers have participated in acts of harassment and discrimination (Bikos, 2016).

The Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP identified several recommendations, which can be applied to other police services. Recommendations 2 and 4 provide a framework for addressing sexual harassment in all police services:
• Recommendation No. 2: That the RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) institute centralized monitoring and coordination of the harassment complaint process, located at RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) headquarters and reported directly to a senior executive outside the divisional chains of command...
• Recommendation No. 4: That an external mechanism for review of harassment decisions be implemented (Government of Canada, 2019a, pg. 29, 30)

While these recommendations were made for the RCMP, they could be implemented in all police services across Ontario.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that BPW Ontario strongly urges the Government of Ontario, specifically the Solicitor General and the Minister of Labour, Trade and Skill Development, to oversee the enactment of legislation requiring the Ontario Provincial Police to use the recommendations in the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the RCMP’s Report, specifically Recommendation 2, to create a department located at OPP headquarters to provide centralized monitoring and coordination of the harassment complaint process and to ensure direct reporting to a senior executive outside the divisional chains of command;

FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED that BPW Ontario strongly urges the Government of Ontario, specifically the Solicitor General and the Minister of Labour, Trade and Skills Development, to oversee the enactment of legislation requiring the Ontario Provincial Police to use the information found in the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the RCMP’s Report, specifically Recommendation No. 4, to ensure the creation and implementation of an external mechanism for review of harassment decisions;

AND FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED that BPW Ontario strongly urges the Government of Ontario, specifically the Solicitor General, the Minister of Labour, Trades and Skills Development, the Attorney General, and the Associate Minister Responsible for Children and Women’s Issues to oversee the enactment of legislation requiring all municipal police services to use the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the RCMP’s Report’s recommendations, specifically Recommendation 2, to create a department located at the municipal office to provide centralized monitoring and coordination of the harassment complaint process and ensure direct reporting to a senior executive outside the divisional chains of command;

AND FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED that BPW Ontario strongly urges the Government of Ontario, specifically the Solicitor General, the Minister of Labour, Trades and Skills Development, the Attorney General, and the Associate Minister Responsible for Children and Women’s Issues to oversee the enactment of legislation requiring all municipal police services to use the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the RCMP’s Report’s recommendations, specifically Recommendation 4, to ensure the creation and implementation of an external mechanism for review of harassment decisions;

AND FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED that BPW Ontario strongly urges the Government of Ontario, specifically the Solicitor General, the Minister of Labour, Trades and Skills Development, the Attorney General, and the Associate Minister Responsible for Children and Women’s Issues to oversee the enactment of legislation to ensure an independent external agency is used to objectively perform sexual harassment investigations when a complaint is made by a police officer against another officer.

 

©BPW Ontario www.bpwontario.com

Article ID:4408

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