Courtenay-based RCMP member files claim for harassment

Cpl. Jill Swann alleges discrimination and harassment in reference to her physical appearance, sex, and family heritage.

A 20-year RCMP member based out of Courtenay has filed a civil claim in B.C. Supreme Court alleging discrimination and harassment in reference to her physical appearance, sex, and against First Nations people.

Cpl. Jill Swann, filed the claim Aug. 3 in Vancouver against a variety of individuals, but specifically directed many of the claims against her supervisor, Cpl. Roger Collin of the Island District General Investigations Section of ‘E’ Division.

The suit also names the Commanding Officer of ‘E’ Division and current Comox Valley RCMP inspector Tim Walton.

Swann, who served as a constable since Sept. 1996, was stationed at the Island District General Investigation Section (IDGIS) based out of Courtenay from 2006 to 2016.

While stationed at IDGIS, she was directly supervised by Collin from August 2008 until June 2016. She alleges she was harassed based on her sex, marital status, family status, physical disability and personal appearance by individual male RCMP members, and in particular, Collin.

In the claim, Swann provides a variety of allegations against Collin. In once incident, she claims he repeatedly referred to her as “meth face” following facial surgery to remove five large facial skin-blemishes and moles that were suspected to be cancerous.

She alleges between 2008 to 2015, Collin included misleading statements in Swann’s annual and mid-year assessment in order to impede the development of her career within the RCMP, and prevented her from participating in files which were of particularly interest to her.

Following the birth of her son in Oct. 2011, Swann received a bouquet of flowers from the RCMP detachment office to her residence. She alleges she was shocked to find a package of condoms wrapped up as a gift in the bouquet, and following inquires through her co-workers, was advised it was sent by Collin.

She claims when she told him she was offended by the package, Collin responded, “How do you think it felt having to go in and buy it?”

At certain times, Swann was the Team Leader for the Island District Team of hostage negotiators. The formal title for Swann’s team of negotiations is Crisis Negotiation Team with the acronym CNT. Swann wore a cap embroidered with CNT, and claims upon seeing her wear the cap, Collin stated that he would “like to buy a vowel.” When Swann did not understand what Collin meant, she alleges he proceeded by stating “C U Next Tuesday,” a reference to a gender-specific derogatory term.

In February 2015, Swann was assigned as a negotiator in a matter where a man was threatening to shoot himself in the head. Swann was unable to discourage him from doing so, and the next day when she returned to work, she was upset about the incident and was trying to process what had happened.

She claims Collin stated in front of her and her co-workers that if Swann attended as the negotiator, he too would shoot himself in the head and that he could understand why someone would be willing to kill himself just to get her to stop talking.

Swann alleges Collin regularly commented that, “women were best placed in the kitchen,” – comments which either took place generally in the detachment office setting or were in direct conversation with Swann. Additionally, she claims he made offensive and discriminatory statements against First Nations, and took them personally as her husband and children are Metis, and her brother’s wife and their children are First Nations members.

Swann is seeking general and special damages, exemplary and punitive damages, aggravated damages and costs pursuant to the court order and other relief that the court deems just.

S/Sgt. Annie Linteau, senior media relations officer with B.C. RCMP ‘E’ Division said she cannot offer a statement as the RCMP have not yet been served.

“When we do receive (the claim), we will review it with the Department of Justice and file a response.”

A message to Collin’s Comox number left by The Record was not returned.

The allegations have not been proven in court.

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