January 26, 2017 – The Independent Assessor responsible for administering the claims process under the Merlo Davidson Class Action Settlement Agreement, the Honourable Michel Bastarache, will publish a Notice of Certification and Settlement Approval Hearing on January 28, 2017. The Notice of Certification will describe the nature of the class action, the persons who are eligible to participate, the terms of the Settlement Agreement reached by the parties and how class members may opt out of the class action.
The Notice of Certification will be published in Canadian daily newspapers and on social media as well as on the website of the Independent Assessor www.merlodavidson.ca and on the websites of class counsel www.kimorr.ca and www.callkleinlawyers.com. It will also be posted in RCMP offices.
An Order of the Federal Court required the RCMP to provide the Independent Assessor, by way of a process designed to protect the confidentiality of the information, with the names and addresses of all women, to the best of its knowledge, who are or have been employed by the RCMP since 1974. The Independent Assessor will send the Notice of Certification, either by mail or by email, to those whose addresses have been provided to him.
On October 6, 2016, the plaintiffs, the RCMP and the Government of Canada reached a Settlement Agreement the terms of which include an official apology by the RCMP and financial compensation for women who were victims of workplace harassment, bullying or discrimination based on their gender or sexual orientation by RCMP employees.
On January 13, 2017, the Federal Court certified the class action for the purpose of approving the proposed Settlement Agreement and named Janet Merlo and Linda Gillis Davidson as the representative plaintiffs of all women included in the Class Action.
The Merlo Davidson Class Action is open to all women who work or have worked at the RCMP since September 16, 1974, including female members of the RCMP, civilian employees and Public Service employees who worked at the RCMP. In some cases, certain family members of the claimants may also be eligible for compensation.
Possibility of opting out
Class members who wish to opt out of the class action must do so before March 29, 2017, in accordance with the process outlined in the Notice.
On May 24, 2017, the Federal Court will be asked to approve the Settlement Agreement reached October 6, 2016. Subject to any appeal, the claims process outlined in the Settlement Agreement will begin on a date to be determined after the Court’s approval of the Settlement.
A further Notice, beginning the claims period, will be published by the Independent Assessor in newspapers and on social media, and sent by mail or email to the women who work or have worked for the RCMP and have not opted out of the class action. Claimants will have 180 days from the date of the publication of this second Notice to make their claims to the Independent Assessor, in the manner set out in the Settlement Agreement. The Independent Assessor may not accept any claims for compensation prior to that date.
For further information
The proposed Settlement Agreement of October 6, 2016, the Notice of Certification published January 28, 2017, and other information, are available on the Independent Assessor’s website at www.merlodavidson.ca and on the websites of class counsel www.kimorr.ca and www.callkleinlawyers.com.
Persons wishing further information about the class action should contact class counsel. They may also consult a lawyer of their choice, at their own expense.
Persons wishing further information on the claims process outlined in the Settlement Agreement should consult the Independent Assessor’s website where they will find complete and current information. If additional information is required, individuals may contact the Office of the Independent Assessor by phone or by email:
Toll-free telephone: 1 844 348-0776
All communications with the Office of the Independent Assessor are kept confidential.