Bullying, Intimidation and Harassment Class Action
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Greenwood RCMP class action about?
This class action is about the alleged failure of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) to provide a workplace free from bullying, intimidation, and harassment.
The plaintiffs, Geoffrey Greenwood and Todd Gray, claim that the RCMP has fostered and condoned a “culture of bullying, intimidation, and general harassment” in the workplace that affected all who worked for the RCMP. The plaintiffs claim that in allowing this culture to manifest and permeate the organization from its highest levels, the RCMP failed to provide a work environment free of bullying, intimidation and harassment, generally, as well as based on any grounds (including but not limited to sex, gender, race, ethnicity or religion).
The plaintiffs further claim that until recently, statutory and institutional barriers prevented RCMP Members from engaging in collective bargaining and/or obtaining redress for their grievances. These barriers amplified a stark power imbalance, and had the effect of silencing RCMP Members who fell victim to bullying and intimidation and harassment because their sole recourse was through the very chain of command who typically protected the perpetrators of the wrongful conduct. This cultivated a toxic work environment characterized by abuse of power and fear of reprisal.
The plaintiffs allege that as a result of the RCMP allowing this culture to permeate the organization, they, as well as the other Class members, suffered significant career limitations, as well as serious physical and psychological damages, along with out-of-pocket expenses and loss of income.
The plaintiffs seek general, punitive, and special damages.
Who started the class action?
Kim Spencer McPhee Barristers P.C. (“KSM”) serves as Court-appointed Class Counsel. To find out more about the firm, visit www.complexlaw.ca
What is the status of the Greenwood RCMP class action and where can I find updates?
On September 20, 2022, the Federal Court of Canada issued an order certifying this proceeding as a national class action. The Certification Order, which includes the certified common issues, can be viewed in the “Documents” Tab. For future updates on the case, visit Class Counsel’s website at: http://www.complexlaw.ca/index.html#FL-RCMP_General_Harrassment
Description of the Class Action
Who is included in this class action?
The class is defined as:
- a. All current or former RCMP Members (ie. Regular, Civilian, and Special Constable Members) and Reservists who worked for the RCMP between January 1, 1995 and the date a collective agreement becomes or became applicable to a bargaining unit to which they belong.
- This Class Proceeding excludes claims that are covered under Merlo v Her Majesty the Queen, Federal Court File No. T-1685-16, Ross et al v Her Majesty the Queen, Federal Court File No.T-370-17, and Gaétan Delisle et al c Sa Majesté La Reine Quebec Superior Court No. 500-06-000820-163.
If you are uncertain whether you are a class member, please contact Class Counsel.
Does this include female RCMP members?
Yes, the scope of this class action includes the RCMP’s alleged failure to provide a workplace free from sexual harassment of individuals of any gender, as well as general harassment, and harassment based on any grounds (including but not limited to racial, ethnic, and religious).
However, gender-based harassment and discrimination claims covered under Merlo Davidson, Federal Court Action No. T-1685-16 and Ross, Federal Court Action No. T-370-17 are excluded from this action. To find out more, please email Class Counsel at .
What are your legal rights and options?
If you meet the definition of the class, and you do nothing (i.e. don’t Opt Out), you will be bound by the outcome of this class action proceeding, and you will give up your right to individually sue Canada in relation to the subject matter of this proceeding. If you don’t want to be bound by the outcome of this proceeding, you can choose not to participate by Opting Out of the class action.
What do I have to do to participate?
You do not have to do anything at this time to participate, as everyone who falls within the certified class definition is automatically part of the class action unless they choose to opt out (see below).
If you have an ongoing lawsuit that raises the same issues or fact or law raised in this class action and you wish to participate in this class action, you must discontinue your lawsuit before 5:00 p.m. EST on November 23, 2022. If you do not, you will be deemed by s. 334.21(2) of the Federal Courts Rules, SOR/98-106 to have opted out of this class action. Please contact your lawyer to discuss your options.
Does this lawsuit cover potential claimants anywhere in Canada?
Yes. However, note that RCMP members who served and/or suffered harassment, bullying etc. in Quebec may also be Class Members in Gaétan Delisle et al c Sa Majesté La Reine Quebec Superior Court No. 500-06-000820-163, and as such, their claims may be excluded from this action. If you are unsure about being a class member, please contact Class Counsel at .
What if I was/am a class member in another class action against the RCMP (including the Ross, Merlo-Davidson and/or Delisle class actions)?
Meeting the definition of more than one class does not automatically exclude you from the Greenwood class action nor does it require you to opt out from the Greenwood class action. If you are unsure about your class membership, please contact Class Counsel.
What do I do if I don’t want to be a Class Member?
If you meet the definition of a Class Member, but you are interested in starting your own individual lawsuit or you do not want to be a Class Member, you must “opt-out” of the class action.
Please note that opting out of this lawsuit means you are giving up any entitlement to recover through this lawsuit if it is successful. If you simply do not believe you have a claim (and do not wish to put forward a claim), you do not need to opt-out. If you wish to opt out, you must sign and deliver, by mail or by email, an opt-out form to the Notice Administrator at the address below:
Trilogy Class Action Services
117 Queen Street, P.O. Box 1000
Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON L0S 1J0
Opt-out Forms must be received by the Notice Administrator or postmarked no later than 5:00 pm EST on November 23, 2022.
No person may opt out a mentally incapable person without permission of the Court, after notice to the Public Guardian and Trustee, as applicable to Class Members resident in Ontario, and to comparable or equivalent entities in the other provinces and territories, as applicable to Class Members resident in other provinces and territories.
What is a class action?
A class action is a type of lawsuit that allows a defined group of people who share similar claims to bring a single action against the same defendant(s). From this group of people, the Court appoints a single person (or multiple persons) to serve as a representative plaintiff(s) and advance the lawsuit on behalf of the group (the “class” or “class members”).
Class actions are an efficient and cost-effective way for groups of people with common legal issues to gain access to the legal system and seek justice, without having to individually retain and instruct their own lawyers and incur the out of pocket expenses and time commitment associated with prosecuting an individual lawsuit.
Class actions are subject to oversight by the Court, and certain decisions made in a class action, such as a decision to enter into a settlement to resolve the action on behalf of the class, must be approved by the Court.
What does certification mean?
Certification means that the Court has given approval for the action to proceed as a class action. The Court does not determine the merits of the action in a certification hearing. This case has been certified as a class action.
What is a representative plaintiff?
A representative plaintiff (sometimes there are several) brings a lawsuit on behalf of the members of a defined class. If the class is “certified”, the representative (“named”) plaintiff is formally appointed by the Court, and prosecutes the case on behalf of other class members that fall within the certified class definition. The representative plaintiff and the class are represented by lawyers appointed by the Court, called “Class Counsel”.
Typically, only the representative plaintiff provides evidence and makes decisions with respect to the common issues. If the representative plaintiff is successful at the common issues trial, then the class action usually proceeds to the individual issues stage, at which time individual class members will have an opportunity to present evidence specific to their own situations.
The Court-appointed representative plaintiffs for this class action are Geoffrey Greenwood and Todd Gray.
Do I have to pay any legal fees?
Class actions are prosecuted on a contingency fee basis by Class Counsel, which means they carry the cost of the action and are paid if and when a successful outcome is achieved. Generally speaking, their legal fees are deducted from any award or settlement.
How much money will I receive through the class action?
There has been no determination of liability or damages in this case yet. Class Counsel cannot advise about the likely outcome, as it will depend on a number of factors. For future developments, please continue monitoring the status of the case here.
How much will the lawyers be paid?
Class Counsel has entered into an agreement with the representative plaintiffs with respect to legal fees and disbursements. This agreement provides that counsel will not receive payment for their work unless and until the class action is successful or monies are recovered from the defendants. The agreement presently provides that Class Counsel will seek up to one third of any damages that may be awarded. The quantum of legal fees ultimately awarded depends on what the Court approves as fair and reasonable. These fees are contingent, meaning they will be paid if and only if a benefit for the Class has been achieved.
What is a contingency fee?
A contingency fee is one in which any part (or all) of the lawyer’s fees for legal services are contingent or dependent on the successful disposition or completion of the matter for which the lawyer is retained. You can read more about contingency fees here: https://lso.ca/lawyers/practice-supports-and-resources/topics/managing-money/fees-and-disbursements/contingency-fees/frequently-asked-questions-about-contingency-fees#8-what-is-a-contingency-fee--9
How do class actions proceed?
Class actions have two stages: the common issues stage, and the individual issues stage. As a class member, you are automatically represented by class counsel, who prosecute the action on a group basis. This is the portion of the lawsuit where liability is determined based on the facts of the representative plaintiff’s case, amongst other evidence. You as an individual class member do not take an active part in the common issues stage. You are bound by the decision a judge makes on common liability, as those questions are shared and common amongst every class member.
If the plaintiffs are successful at the common issues stage, the next step is the determination of individual damages at the individual issues stage. Class members do not automatically receive compensation just because liability is found in their favour commonly. Each individual class member must put forward proof that they are part of the class, they suffered damage, and there is a corresponding loss. The class member’s individual claim is then determined by an adjudicator. At this stage we don’t know what that adjudication process will look like, but it could be an individual issues mini-trial, or a paper claim form.