Lawsuit says RCMP fails to help cops traumatized at work
Rebekah Funk, The Canadian Press
Published Friday, April 12, 2013 9:06PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, April 12, 2013 9:08PM EDT
VANCOUVER -- A former Mountie has launched a lawsuit in British Columbia Supreme Court, claiming the RCMP failed to provide adequate counselling and treatment for work-related trauma.
James Ward, who was once an officer in Surrey, B.C., claimed in court documents filed Thursday the force didn't act on, or didn't have, sufficient procedures in place to treat or counsel officers who experience trauma on duty.
While he was continually exposed to traumatic situations on the job, Ward said he never underwent treatment, counselling or de-briefing sessions and was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder two years ago.
"The RCMP has a duty of care to provide ... debriefing, counselling and treatment to every member exposed to a traumatic work-related event immediately after," the lawsuit states, adding the force is, as a result, in breach of Ward's employment contract.
Ward has named the federal and provincial governments as the defendants liable for wrongdoing by the RCMP and other public officials.
The allegations haven't been proven in court, and the RCMP has yet to file a statement of defence.
An RCMP spokesman declined to comment on the case or the force's policy for treating or counselling members who experience trauma on duty.
The document states Ward was involved in "a substantial number" of traumatic work-related events, including civilian deaths and maimings, as well as suicides, gunfire and horrific car crashes.
It states Ward's disorder was a result of the "cumulative effects of traumatic work-related events."
While the lawsuit states Ward is looking for general, special, aggravated and punitive damages, as well as costs, it didn't mention a specific monetary amount.