RCMP officer’s refusal to work denied

Right to refuse under Canada Labour Code requires specific risk to health faced at work
By Jeffrey R. Smith
|Canadian Employment Law Today

An RCMP constable improperly used her right to refuse work when she didn’t report to work due to an illness, says the Canadian Public Service Labour Relations Board.

Carmen Saumier joined the RCMP in 1987 as an anti-smuggling investigator in Valleyfield, Que. On Dec. 14, 1993, she was in a work-related car accident. She developed pain and fatigue and she was eventually diagnosed with fibromyalgia and post-traumatic stress in 1997. Saumier informed her supervisor she had medical limitations and couldn’t work more than eight hours in a day. The RCMP responded by giving her light work and she was transferred to the airport in Montreal in 1999 to work as an investigator.

In July 2003, a psychiatric assessment at the RCMP’s request determined Saumier suffered from an “adjustment disorder with anxiety,” but no post-traumatic stress disorder. A November 2003 exam found she suffered from chronic pain but not fibromyalgia as some of the symptoms may have been psychological from a dependence on the treatment.