Human rights ruling finds sexual harassment common among Toronto police

Const. Heather McWilliam was sexually harassed for years by her supervisors, including a sexual assault in the form of a forced kiss — part of a culture of sexual harassment that exists throughout the Toronto Police Service, a Human Rights Tribunal adjudicator has found.

“The temptation will be for some to treat the sergeants and staff sergeants who made and carried out the harassing comments and actions described below as ‘bad apples’ within 23 Division. However, there was evidence in this case that comments in the form of sexual innuendo and comments calling attention to women’s appearance and sexuality were not considered unusual in the applicant’s workplace,” wrote Jo-Anne Pickel in a 153-page ruling released Monday, six years after the complaint was first filed.

Pickel ordered the Toronto Police Services Board to pay McWilliam $85,000 as compensation for injury to dignity, feelings and self-respect.


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