We are presenting this morning an agreement that is subject to the approval of the Federal Court, and a claims process, both of which have been accepted by all the parties. These parties have agreed to ask me to administer the Claims process with competence and sensitivity, and to act as an independent assessor of the claims that will be submitted.
The parties are convinced, as I am, that the Agreement will only be successful if it provides for a claims process that is fair, independent of the government and of the RCMP, and carried out with sensitivity to the impact of harassment that women in the employ of the RCMP have suffered. Those conditions must not only be met, they must appear to be met so that the claimants have confidence their claim will be received with understanding.
I have had previous experience in dealing with victims of sexual assault and harassment, and I know how important it is for the women involved to have the possibility to talk about their experiences to someone who they believe will demonstrate compassion and listen to them. I intend to do my best to be that person.
This morning, I would like to reach out to all the women who are potential claimants in this process. If you are working, or have worked for the RCMP since September 16, 1974, please take a few moments to consider the following information.
The claims process is designed to ensure confidentiality to the claimants and to obtain compensation when warranted without confrontation and acrimony, and without undue delay.
In the coming weeks, a written notice will be mailed to potential claimants whose postal addresses can be found. At the same time, notices will be published in the papers so as to reach the greatest number of possible claimants.
When the time comes to do so, here is brief summary of how to proceed to file a claim.
First, the claimants will have to fill forms that we will provide and to provide supporting documentation.
Second, I will examine those forms and provisionally determine which of the six levels of compensation applies. Those levels were determined by the parties, with regard to the severity of the acts of harassment and the impact of those acts on the claimant’s welfare and career.
Third, for claimants in the four upper categories I will hold personal interviews in various parts of the country to accommodate claimants and to obtain from them information that is relevant not only to their claim, but also with regard to the efforts being made to eradicate harassment in the RCMP.
Fourth, this entire process has been carefully designed, to the satisfaction of the parties, to ensure the confidentiality of the claimants. In support of the confidentiality of claimants, the government will transfer to a fiduciary account under my control the sums required for payment, and I will make the payments directly to the claimants.
Under the Agreement, I am the sole and independent decision maker and my decisions cannot be reviewed by the RCMP or appealed by the parties.
Starting later today, potential claimants will have access to a Website that will be constantly updated to inform all those interested in the development of the process.
It is important to note that the Claims process will only begin once the Federal Court approves the Settlement Agreement. The matter will be brought before the Court in the coming weeks. The Agreement, if approved by the Court, provides that claimants must make a claim within 6 months from the date of approval. All the forms required to file a claim will be available through my website after the Court makes its determination.
Also, starting immediately, potential claimants can call a toll free confidential information line at 1 844 348 0776. Or send an e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org .