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Cst. Justin Harris: The RCMP Flexes It’s Proverbial Muscle:

May 02

For those of you familiar with my previous posts on this website (January 10 and 22, 2013) you’re likely wondering why I suddenly stopped blogging.  Over the past few months, I have devoted considerable time and effort toward researching the “Whistle-blower” defense, and have sought legal advice whether it would be justifiable and sustainable.  This because I suspect the RCMP may try at some point, to pursue formal discipline against me should I ultimately choose to make known the details of their illegal wrongdoing in connection to the Project EPREVAILS criminal and internal investigations undertaken against me.  Moreover, in recent weeks I was dealt another blow from the RCMP in their attempt to strong arm and silence me.  For the purposes of today’s blog, I will focus on these latest antics; a matter which my intuition tells me, is something you should know about.

Today I will offer you insight into the mysterious and controversial “Return to Work Accommodation” letters which were sent out to a few RCMP members in “E” Division during February 2013 by the OIC Integrated Resource Management Team.  This is the same letter about which Dr. Webster wrote in his February 19, 2013, blog entitled, “RCMP Employee Relations: Really?”  You should know, that only me and one other member (also accused with similar allegations in connection to Project EPREVAILS) were served with this letter in early to mid February 2013.  I am unaware of any other members in “E” Division who might have received a similar letter during the same period.

As you know by now, I have been continuously away from work and seeking regular treatment from a clinical psychologist for a duty related medical condition since September 2004.  My medical condition is a direct result of the actions undertaken against me by RCMP “E” Division (British Columbia) senior management.  Moreover, in March 2009 the medical professionals at RCMP “E” Division Health Services deemed me permanently disabled for any work within the RCMP” (Class O6).

Before I delve into the chain of events which lead to my receiving the letter, it’s contents,   and events that followed thereafter, I want to assure you that unlike certain prominent individuals whose preemptive goal it has been to influence your perception and beliefs by attacking the credibility of their adversaries, it is not at all my intention toy with your intelligence.  Rather, I will provide you with a factual and chronological account of how things with the RCMP have unfolded.  From that, you can form opinions and draw your own conclusions.

The chronology of events surrounding the “Return to Work Accommodation” letter that I received from the RCMP is as follows:

The RTWF’s Desire to Meet:

 On November 23, 2012, I learned from my Staff Relations Representative (“SRR”) that a Return to Work Facilitator (“RTWF”) working with “E” Division Human Resources and dealing with members on long term medical leave, wished to meet personally with me.  The SRR inquired about my availability and indicated the meeting would be “…without prejudice…” and not related to my outstanding civil matter with the Force.

Two days later, I took initiative and contacted the RTWF.  In doing so, I alerted him to the existence of his civil lawsuit against the RCMP and the identity of his civil counsel.  As well, I asked that the RTWF provide me with an explanation outlining his specific duties and role with the RCMP, his purpose in wanting to meet with me, and the details of precisely what it was he wished to discuss.  Finally, I advised the RTWF that upon receipt of his reply, I would discuss the matter with his civil counsel and thus, be better aligned to address the RTWF’s wishes for a personal meeting.

On November 27, 2012, the RTWF contacted me to inquire about my occupational health status. Specifically, he asked if my occupational health status had improved since March 2009 and if so, whether I was interested in having discussions about a possible return to work plan.  The RTWF further suggested, that if my mental health had not substantially improved, he would like to discuss the medical discharge process in terms of both a consensual medical discharge and an Administrative Discharge on medical grounds. In saying that, the RTWF acknowledged the existence of my lawsuit but, suggested he was not privy to any of the details nor did he intend to interfere with that process.  He clarified his purpose for contacting me was confined simply to his role as a Return to Work/Medical Discharge Facilitator. He concluded by suggesting he would be pleased to respond to any questions I might have, and hoped we would be able to meet at my convenience.

Seeking Clarification About the “Permanent” Restriction:

On December 03, 2012, I contacted the RTWF. In doing so, I explained to the RTFW that I was confused given the “permanent” nature of my medical profile and the restriction placed on me by the RCMP.  Consequently, I posed a number of questions to the RTWF.  Namely, I inquired whether a permanent restriction placed on one’s medical profile was merely temporary and if so, how one could reasonably be expected to trust the RCMP when what they had previous committed to paper was not truly the case.  Second, I asked how the RCMP could possibly escape civil liability if they were to terminate a member’s employment because of an injury that they caused.  Besides my questions, I informed the RTWF that, my caregiver as well as another clinical psychologist had each tendered professional reports during mid 2011 concerning their individual assessment of my medical condition, and that those reports were likely being held by the DOJ.

It took until January 23, 2013, for the RTWF to respond.  When he did, he readily acknowledged that while the Health Services Officer (“HSO”) had assigned a permanent O6 restriction (“unfit for all duties in the RCMP”) to my medical profile on March 24, 2009, the possibility exists for my medical condition to have since improved.  Moreover, the RTWF informed me that the administrative discharge process is based one’s medical profile and if I did not wish to participate in the accommodation process or, would not agree to a consensual medical retirement, then an administrative discharge would be sought.

Willing to Explore Accommodation:

 On January 25, 2013, I contacted the RTWF.  I subsequently advised the RTWF that I was more confused then ever.  In that regard, I again posed questions to the RTWF similar to those asked on December 03, 2012.  As well, I told the RTWF that I was unaware of any new medical evidence to suggest my medical condition had since improved.  In saying that, I alerted the RTFW to the existence of the professional reports prepared by my caregiver and another clinical psychologist in August 2011, and advised that such reports were likely in DOJ’s possession.

Most importantly, I informed the RTWF that I was willing to meet him personally to hear whatever it was that the RCMP could do to bring resolution to the outstanding issues, and to then accommodate me.  At the same time, I let the RTWF know that I was not prepared to accept a consensual medical retirement unless a mutually acceptable settlement which brought resolution to the litigation, could be reached between us.

The Return To Work Accommodation Letter:

On February 10, 2013, I was served at home by a civilian process server with a Return To Work Accommodation letter from the RCMP dated February 06, 2013.   The letter afforded me two (2) options.  In essence, it indicated I had to respond to the RTWF within thirty (30) days of receipt to engage either the Duty to Accommodate (return to work) process or, in the alternative accept a voluntary administrative discharge from the RCMP.  Failing to do either within the time allotted, the letter indicated the Employee Management Relations Officer (“EMRO”) would conclude that I was not interested in pursuing a potential workplace accommodation and continue with his discharge from the Force. Of significant importance, the same letter indicated that I could obtain “…valuable assistance and guidance…” with the matter from an SRR.

Efforts to Obtain Valuable Assistance & Guidance:

On February 13, 2013, I contacted the “E” Division Member Representative lawyer (“MR”) and requested advice how best to respond to the RCMP’s accommodation letter. 

 Two days later, the MR forwarded a letter to me wherein, he indicated the mandate of the Member Representative Directorate was limited, and as such, it did not permit MR’s to become involved in an administrative discharge before the grievance stage.  Consequently, the MR suggested I consult with an SRR for advice on how to respond to the Force’s letter, and inform and seek legal advice from my civil lawyer.

Between February 20 and 27, 2013, I contacted the SRR on several occasions and requested his assistance and guidance as to the proper manner in which to respond to the Return to Work Accommodation letter.  For whatever reason, the SRR was either not willing or, not able to provide me with any meaningful help.

On February 28, 2013, I spoke to another SRR within a different district in “E” Division.  This particular SRR advised he was unable to offer any assistance or guidance in this matter since I was stationed outside of his district area. Moreover, he told me that he had neither the required experience nor necessary training to ensure I was afforded procedural fairness in this matter. The SRR expressed concern that he could face potential personal liability in the event he offered me improper advice. Finally, the SRR indicated to the best of his knowledge, that an administrative discharge (on medical grounds) had not been undertaken in “E” Division for at least ten (10) years, and because of that, he was unaware of any SRR in “E'” Division to whom he could refer me, who might possess the requisite knowledge or expertise to actually help me.

Request for LFAPE – Grievance:

Later on February 28, 2013, I sent a formal request to the RCMP seeking approval for legal fees at public expense (“LFAPE”) to enable me to obtain professional advice and assistance from my civil counsel and properly respond to the Return to Work Accommodation letter.  Included within the request was a thorough explanation detailing my unsuccessful efforts at finding, “…valuable assistance and guidance…” from within the RCMP.

On March 06, 2013, the RCMP denied my request.  Upon learning of the decision, I informed the RCMP of my intention to file a grievance, and in so doing requested that a decision regarding my employment status be held in abeyance pending the outcome and resolution of the said grievance.

On March 07, 2013, I informed the RCMP that my current occupational heath status (Class O6) was not to be construed as my not being interested in the accommodation process.   I simply explained that I had not yet been medically cleared by my caregiver for a return to work.

On March 08, 2013, the RCMP reminded my that they would carry out an administrative discharge action against me if, I chose not to participate in the accommodation process before the imposed thirty (30) day deadline.

As a result of the RCMP’s decision to deny my request for LFAPE, I filed an official grievance with the Office for the Coordination of Grievances on March 11, 2013.

Response to the RCMP’s Letter:

After exhausting efforts to obtain help from within the RCMP, I had little choice but, to resort to my civil counsel for assistance. Understandably, the fiasco surrounding the Return to Work Accommodation letter resulted in considerable financial expense to me for a matter that I was originally told was unrelated to my lawsuit against the RCMP.

On March 11, 2013, my civil counsel addressed the Return to Work Accommodation letter and responded directly to the RCMP.  In that regard, my civil counsel advised the RCMP that my caregiver did not presently advocate my return to work, and believed I would be unable to do so until resolution of the litigation is achieved and necessary time for recovery is afforded afterward. My lawyer also informed the RCMP that my caregiver’s opinion was fully supported by another clinical psychologist, and that both medicals professionals agree there are certain preconditions necessary before I could consider a return to work.  Perhaps most important though, my lawyer advised the RCMP that I was not yet medically cleared for a return to work, but that it should not be interpreted as my being uninterested in the accommodation process.  Of equal interest, the RCMP also learned that I was unable to accept a voluntary administrative discharge on medical grounds at present.   Finally, my lawyer invited the RCMP to meet with us,  to try to reach a mutually acceptable settlement to the matter.

The Notice of Intention to Discharge:

Despite our extended invitation, on April 08, 2013, a civilian process server arrived at my home to personally serve me with a Notice of Intention to Discharge pursuant to section 20(1) and 28(1) of the RCMP Regulations.  The notice itself indicates that the EMRO as the designated officer intends to seek my discharge from the Force for reason of “physical and/or mental disability”.

In response to the notice, I have since made written submissions to the RCMP which they received on April 18, 2013.  It is my understanding that a medical board composed of three licensed practitioners will next be appointed by the “E” Division Commanding Officer and will convene to review the matter, following which the C.O. will make a decision to retain or discharge me from the Force.

Despite what the Commissioner told us in his February 28, 2013, email message, it now appears like the news media was spot on when it suggested the Return to Work Accommodation letter, was the RCMP’s first step in “firing” long-term ODS members.  I have little doubt the RCMP is retaliating against me because of earlier posts I have made to this website.  In any event, I intend to keep you informed of the developments.  In the meantime, I encourage anyone interested to lawfully request materials pertaining to the “E” Division Major Crime Unit – Project EPREVAILS investigation (Files 2004-2016 and 2006-2530) from the RCMP – Access to Information & Privacy Branch in Ottawa by visiting http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/atip-aiprp/index-eng.htm.

Justin P. Harris

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5 Comments
  1. Justin my brother, keep your chin up my man. You are fighting the good fight. There are more of us there. I know your story and I feel for you.

    I think you are doing a very noble thing in reporting what is happening to you. I believe that there are many, many similar stories to be told.

    If the RCMP was smart, they would admit fault and settle this so you can get on with your life. In my opinion if the RCMP keeps trying to deny guilt, then we all have no choice but to come forward.

    Show the public truly how systemic this problem really is.

    In Support

    Rolly Beaulieu
    MPPAC – Secretary

    • Anonymous permalink

      Once again another example of dark hearted bullying tactics of the RCMP (or should I say Harper’s private SS as the commissioner is merely a Muppet)

      I think it is time the rcmp membership should demand the resignation of the srr reps who clearly are powerless to adequately represent.

  2. Anonymous permalink

    Don’t let the bastards wear you down.

  3. Hang in there Justin. As I am going through some crap of my own, and see lots of parallels that could happen to me. My own personal views is we are being run by the white shirt mafia. They bully and intimidate the hard hard working members and don’t want to negotiate. I have offered to meet face to face on numerous occasions without even a reply. It’s take it or leave it. The “change management ” a few years ago was the buzz word of the day. Today’s phrase is “respectful workplace”. Management never changed and as long as this management continues, there will be no respectful workplace.

    Stick to your guns Justin.

  4. Anonymous permalink

    Hello Justin,

    Hang in there. I’ve heard of this so many times in different capacities, that i initially wanted to call it constructive dismissal but is clearly far more underhanded antics by top brassholes. It sounds like lots of little games going on at your expense. We should not only demand resignations of certain SRRs but also the white shirt mafia (enjoyed this expression). I agree with RollyBea hoping whiteshirts would admit their faults, but guess it’s their perspective that managing members when they don’t hear what they want is for the brass to act like kindergarten children – amazing isn’t it, and they still get a paycheque, are nice and comfy in their command-and-control chairs, that there seems to be no lessons learned because they’re positively reinforced to act this way as their levels of power supersede consequences.

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