A look at the RCMP’s alleged campaign to get rid of Mounties with disabilities
Global News spoke to Mark Wright in connection with its investigation into the RCMP’s alleged campaign to get rid of Mounties with disabilities.
Global News interviewed several people who allege that the RCMP “has for years wrongfully sought to eject members with disabilities from the force.” Indeed, the RCMP’s “own statistics show the number of medical discharges jumped to 1,122 in the years between 2014-15 and 2018-19 from just 592 officers who left under the same circumstances in a longer period between 2007-8 and 2013-14.”
According to former RCMP members and their lawyers, the RCMP seems to be unwilling to accommodate disabilities in a meaningful way, and has used a questionable process to determine whether particular individuals can be accommodated.
Global News notes that an employer is not obligated to accommodate a disabled employee where it can demonstrate that doing so will cause the employer “undue hardship.” But this is a high hurdle for an employer to meet, especially one as large as the RCMP, as Mark Wright explained:
It’s one thing for a small bakery to claim undue hardship, says Mark Wright, a labour lawyer at Goldblatt Partners LLP. who is not involved in these RCMP cases. If you have a dozen or so employees it’s not always financially feasible to go to great lengths to accommodate someone, he says.
It’s another thing for a nationwide police service. The RCMP has over 30,000 members, including over 18,000 sworn police officers, and more than a dozen divisions whose duties include frontline policing, terrorism investigations and even the prime minister’s security.
“There’s no conceivable situation in which the viability of the RCMP would thereby be challenged,” Wright says.