Waterloo Region, Ontario – On May 31, 2017, the Waterloo Regional Police Services Board and the Waterloo Regional Police Association were served a class action lawsuit.
The lawsuit alleges systemic and institutional gender-based discrimination and harassment, sexual harassment and sexual assault.
“Some of the allegations attributed by the plaintiffs date back to 1988 and those have only just come to the attention of our Service,” said Bryan Larkin, Chief of Police. “Some were already the subject of an investigation by an independent law firm and dealt with appropriately.”
While Chief Larkin and the Board take these allegations seriously, it’s important to note they remain allegations and have not been proven in a court of law. Our Service has progressive policies, procedures and training to ensure that any such allegations are dealt with in accordance with the law.
Our lawyers will be first challenging the complete lack of jurisdiction to bring this claim and, if necessary, will be defending these allegations and challenging the certification of the class action. We take the position that the class action is inappropriate. The Police Services Act provides for a grievance/arbitration system pursuant to the collective agreement and would have been the appropriate means to deal with the allegations. In addition, one of the representative Plaintiffs was, until very recently, a member of senior leadership.
The Waterloo Regional Police Service does not condone or tolerate any form of discrimination or harassment in the workplace.
“The Waterloo Regional Police Services Board has shown its continued commitment to diversity, inclusion and equity,” said Tom Galloway, Chair of the Board. “Our Service has recently developed several initiatives aimed at highlighting women in leadership, recruiting and mentorship.”
Equally, the Waterloo Regional Police Association, the exclusive bargaining agent and advocate for its membership, takes all matters of harassment and/or discrimination seriously.
“Harassment and discrimination, in any capacity in our community, is inappropriate and unacceptable in the past or present,” said Chief Larkin.
Due to the fact that this matter is now before a court of law, we will be making no further comment. We will continue to work together with our members and the public to provide a safe and vibrant community.
Waterloo Regional Police Service