Public Safety Minister Vic Toews is ordering the RCMP commissioner to quickly draw up an action plan that will address the ongoing issue of gender bias in the force.

In a sharply worded letter delivered Thursday to RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson -- and received by various media outlets -- Toews expresses frustration over the RCMP’s apparent failure to address the issue.

Toews suggests he’s irritated that he has not yet received an action plan from Paulson on the matter.

The letter says Paulson recently gave Toews a report indicating the number of female cadets at the RCMP training depot had dropped by 52 per cent since 2008-09. Toews says that analysis only confirms issues “that we have all known to exist” in the country’s national police force.

“The time for review and report in relation to this issue has passed,” Toews writes. “Now is the time for action.”

Toews then orders Paulson to deliver a “detailed plan” to him by Dec. 11 that includes specific and measurable goals and target dates.

Among the issues Toews wants to see addressed in the plan are:

  • recruitment goals for females
  • a specific strategy to, in the immediate term, reach a force in which 30 per cent of Mounties are female
  • reductions in timelines to address complaints
  • reductions in number of complaints
  • promotion targets for female members
  • targets for recruitment of females to the officer cadre

There are currently only about 4,000 female Mounties compared to the RCMP’s 15,000 male officers.

Since Cpl. Catherine Galliford went public last year with allegations of harassment within the force in British Columbia, several other female RCMP officers have come forward with complaints of their own.