Class action lawsuit alleging RCMP discrimination against Indigenous people certified in federal court

(File photo/CKLB)

A federal judge has certified a class action lawsuit against the attorney general representing the RCMP in the North.

The claim named the attorney general of Canada as the defendant as a representative of the RCMP in the Northwest Territories, Nunavut and Yukon.

Joe David Nasogaluak of Tuktoyaktuk is the lead plaintiff in the class action suit.

Nasogaluak alleged in the suit, filed in 2018, that he was assaulted by RCMP officers when he was 15-years-old.

“With no provocation, the RCMP officers pushed Mr. Nasogaluak to the ground. He was beaten, choked, punched and tasered by RCMP officers,” the statement of claim reads.

It also alleged RCMP officers used racial slurs while assaulting Nasogaluak.

The allegations have not yet been proved in court.

The suit is seeking $500 million for damages and $100 million in punitive damages from the RCMP on behalf of Indigenous people who have been subjected to excessive force by officers across the North.

The federal government objected to the suit, arguing it failed to meet the legal grounds for certification.

The federal government said individuals could sue on their own, but the claim couldn’t succeed.

However, Justice Glennys McVeigh rejected that argument.

“I disagree with Canada’s characterization of these claims as individual because the framing of the pleadings is not,” she wrote. “This is because the claims do not ask if an RCMP officer illegally assaulted a class member, but rather whether the operations of the RCMP create a system where illegal assaults happen.”

The plaintiffs still have to prove their claims at trial.

About the Author

Luke Carroll
Luke Carroll is a journalist originally from Brockville, Ont. He has previously worked as a reporter and editor in Ottawa, Halifax and New Brunswick. Luke is a graduate of Carleton University's bachelor of journalism program. If you have a story idea, feel free to send him an email at luke.carroll@cklbradio.com