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Mounties to offer up to $100M compensation for harassment, sexual abuse against female members

The RCMP is offering compensation to female officers and civilian members in a settlement that could cost up to $100 million.

It covers all women in the RCMP since 1974 and anyone can make a claim, it was announced at a news conference in Ottawa this morning.

CBCNews.ca is carrying the news conference live.

While 20,000 women could file a claim, it is expected about a thousand will seek compensation. Right now there are 500 plaintiffs in a civil litigation case. Compensation could fend off a class action lawsuit against the federal government over sexual harassment and discrimination in the RCMP.

RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson teared up as he apologized and praised the women for their courage.

“You came to the RCMP wanting to personally contribute to your community and we failed you. We hurt you. For that, I’m truly sorry,” he said.

Paulson also apologized to all Canadians for the “shameful” examples of conduct within the ranks that stained the reputation of the national police force.

Const. Janet Merlo is the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit, which was filed nearly five years ago and joined by more and female officers and civilians from across Canada.

Allegations included rape, unwanted sexual touching, physical assault, sexist comments, threats, gender discrimination, harassment and bullying.

Plaintiffs

Some of the 500 female RCMP officers and civilians with claims ranging from gender based discrimination to sexual assault on the job. (Natalie Clancy/CBC)