2021 National Gender and Harassment Advisory Committee - Annual Report


Establishment of the Gender and Harassment Advisory Committees

The implementation of Gender and Harassment Advisory Committees (GHACs) across the RCMP was one of the change initiatives agreed to by the RCMP in the Merlo and Davidson v. Canada settlement agreement. The settlement agreement was approved by the courts on May 30, 2017. One committee in each of the 16 RCMP Divisions, and one National committee, were established to serve as an internal advice-giving forum to Divisional Commanding Officers and the Commissioner on matters related to gender, sexual orientation, harassment, equity and inclusivity, all working to build on the RCMP's efforts towards eliminating harassment and discrimination from the workplace. The Committees were formed to reflect a diversity of identities and experiences to help encourage active discourse from a variety of perspectives.

The National Gender and Harassment Advisory Committee (NGHAC), which is chaired by the Commissioner, reviews the recommendations submitted by the Divisional Committees. The National Committee will produce a publicly-available Annual Report containing the recommendations made to the RCMP, and the RCMP will issue a response to the Committee recommendations.

Final Report on the Implementation of the Merlo-Davidson Settlement Agreement

The Merlo-Davidson Settlement also established a Claims Process overseen by former Supreme Court of Canada Justice, the Hon. Michel Bastarache, C.C.,Q.C. as Independent Assessor. The Settlement provided for the Independent Assessor to draft a report and recommendations from his work in assessing claims.

The final report, Broken Dreams Broken Lives: The Devastating Effects of Sexual Harassment on Women in the RCMP (the Bastarache Report), was publicly released on November 19, 2020. The report lists 52 specific recommendations related to addressing barriers for women in the RCMP.

The RCMP response to the final report was also publicly released on November 19, 2020. Building on efforts to date under the RCMP's Vision 150 modernization plan, the RCMP response commits to a holistic approach to culture change and an RCMP free of violence, harassment and discrimination through ongoing actions in four priority areas: harassment prevention and resolution; addressing systemic barriers; recruitment and onboarding; and leadership development and training. The final report and RCMP response provide important context for the work of the GHACs.

Committee discussions and recommendations

Divisional Committees

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic and related capacity issues, some divisional Committees encountered challenges in holding all regular meetings. Given the challenges, some Committee reports incorporate activities not necessarily led by divisional GHACs, but reflect activities of other divisional committees that contribute to broader GHAC goals related to equity and inclusion.

Divisional GHAC meetings took place between January and December 2020. Over the past year, divisional Committees explored issues such as:

  • The Bastarache Report and RCMP response
  • The new RCMP Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy
  • Initiatives related to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and two-spirit (LGBTQ2) communities
  • Bias awareness
  • Training

Recommendations from divisional Committees to the NGHAC varied, however there were two key recommendations reported across several divisions:

  • The need to ensure good communication, between GHACs and both internal employees and external stakeholders/local leaders.
  • The need for collaboration between national and divisional Committees. Specific recommendations include:
    • Merging the NGHAC and the National Council for Diversity and Inclusion (NCDI) to allow for a more coordinated approach;
    • Having more direct and regular communication between the national and divisional Committees; and
    • Reviewing the Bastarache report to identify recommendations that could be explored as GHAC initiatives.

National Committee


In 2020/21, the NGHAC was engaged on several issues raised in the Bastarache report. The Committee fed into an initial analysis on the challenges and potential solutions, for women regular members in particular, on the impacts of taking parental leave. The Committee was also engaged by the Chief Administrative Officer on the establishment of the new Independent Centre for Harassment Resolution. Additionally, GHACs were engaged on the development of the employee survey to inform the review of the RCMP core values, a key modernization initiative. National and Divisional GHACs will also be more directly engaged as part of further employee outreach on the core values review.

GHAC Selection Process

2020/21 marked year three in the establishment of the GHACs, representing a full membership term of Committee members. With the support of the NGHAC, the Action, Innovation and Modernization team launched an application process for all divisional committees; it is anticipated that new committee members will be notified in early summer 2021.


Discussions began last year to consider whether and how to join the NGHAC and NCDI, given their similar mandates for diversity and inclusion. In late 2020/21, the NGHAC joined the NCDI, with the understanding that consideration of issues related to harassment – alongside diversity and inclusion – would be maintained, in alignment with the obligations under the Merlo-Davidson Change Initiatives.

The first joint NGHAC-NCDI meeting was held on March 8, 2021, with the Commissioner, Chief Human Resources Officer, and Senior Designated Official for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in attendance. Issues discussed included: the new RCMP Official Languages Working Group; the Bastarache report and RCMP response; and the RCMP Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy.

Troop 17 Scholarship

The 2021 application process for the Troop 17 Scholarship was launched by the Action, Innovation and Modernization team in January 2021, with applications accepted until May 31, 2021. As in previous years, the NGHAC will continue to support the Troop 17 Scholarship selection process.

RCMP response to Committee recommendations

The RCMP thanks Committee members for their continued advice, efforts and contributions to help create a more inclusive and harassment-free workplace.

Over the past year, the RCMP has benefitted from engaging the national and divisional GHACs on key initiatives under Vision 150, the RCMP's modernization plan toward a healthy, modern and inclusive organization. GHACs were engaged on issues related to the development of the new Independent Centre for Harassment Resolution, backfilling maternity/parental leave, and the review of RCMP core values.

Additionally, having the NGHAC join the NCDI this year responds to recommendations received from divisional Committees in current and past years. The RCMP views this joint committee as a positive step toward a more effective way to engage a diverse group of employees to help advance an equitable, diverse, inclusive and healthy RCMP. The RCMP will ensure that efforts through this joint group will adhere to the obligations under the Merlo-Davidson Settlement Agreement.

The joint NGHAC-NCDI committee may also help to address recommendations related to strengthening communication between national and divisional committees, given the larger membership of the NCDI and connections to other divisional committees. Additionally, to address capacity issues and sometimes overlapping memberships on divisional committees, divisional GHACs are encouraged to join with other divisional equity, diversity and inclusion committees where it is deemed that this will maximize their effectiveness, while adhering to the Merlo-Davidson Settlement obligations.

In the coming year, the RCMP will continue to seek out opportunities to engage with GHACs on key issues related to their mandate, including those related to the recommendations of the Bastarache report and the continued roll-out of the Independent Centre for Harassment Resolution.

Date modified: