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Veteran public servant, former attorney general, CFL boss on RCMP board

Group to help transform culture of bullying, harassment within force
By Jim Bronskill
RCMP vehicle
The federal government wants the board to focus on updating business practices and ensuring employee health and well-being. REUTERS/Dan Culberson

OTTAWA (CP) — A former top public servant in the federal, Alberta and Ontario governments will head up the RCMP's fledgling board of civilian advisers assigned to help the police force modernize.

Besides Richard Dicerni, others appointed to the 13-member board Wednesday include outgoing Fredericton police chief Leanne Fitch, Canadian Football League commissioner Randy Ambrosie and former British Columbia attorney general Wally Oppal.

The Liberal government announced plans for the board in January, aiming to transform the RCMP's dated culture and make it more innovative and forward-looking after years of fallout from bullying and harassment within the force.

The government wants the board to focus at first on updating business practices and ensuring employee health and well-being. Over time, it will work on issues including effective use of RCMP resources, labour relations, and corporate and strategic direction.

The board is being established on an interim basis, as passage of a measure in the federal budget bill is required to make it permanent.

Dicerni served as the federal deputy minister of industry for six years before becoming head of the Alberta public service.

``We look forward to providing the best possible advice to support a modern, healthy, safe and respectful work environment for all members and employees,'' Dicerni said in a statement.

The public-safety minister will be able to direct the RCMP commissioner to seek the board's advice and require that the commissioner report back as to what was done with it.

The board will not be involved in matters relating to active law-enforcement investigations, in keeping with the principle of police independence.

The long-anticipated measure flows from two critical reports released in May 2017.

In the first, the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the RCMP said the force lacked both the will and the capacity to address the challenges that dog its workplaces. The commission urged the government to bring in civilian governance or oversight for the paramilitary-style police force.

The second report, a review by former auditor general Sheila Fraser of four harassment lawsuits from female members, also called for substantial reforms.

RCMP commissioner Brenda Lucki said Wednesday the advisory board will hold its first meeting in coming months. ``Their advice will provide additional, valuable perspectives to help us make decisions that support our people and the communities we serve.''

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