Toronto's female police officers are struggling to be heard. A group of female officers have been locked in a legal battle for years after bringing disturbing allegations of sexual harassment about Toronto Police Service supervisors to light. However, a recent letter from The Human Rights Tribunal Of Ontario has dashed their hopes for justice. The letter informed the women’s legal team that their final hearing on the allegations will no longer be taking place, CBC reports.
Constable Heather McWilliam filed a formal complaint with the Humans Rights Tribunal. In the complaint, McWilliam claimed that she had been “humiliated” by those in charge at the 23 Division for almost eight years. McWilliams allegedly faced a slew of inappropriate sexual jokes from superior officers who called her a “dyke” and even passed around photographs of her and other female officers in bikinis, according to CBC.
On March 4th, a letter informed McWilliam’s attorney Kate Hughes that she and her client's five-year struggle to hold her supervisors accountable has been shut down. "This is a matter that's been going on for five years. We've completed 34 days of hearings. We've had over 30 witnesses. There were many decisions," Hughes explained to CBC.
In a separate case, two other women being represented by lawyer Barry Swadron filed similar complaints with the Human Rights Tribunal. Several accusations of discrimination and sexual harassment were again levelled against Toronto Police Services to no avail. Swadron explained to CBC that pursuing the case has cost the women greatly.
"The complainant is not usually a millionaire. It is usually the case, if it's a contested hearing, that the complainant can't afford it. The lawyers that do take it on probably reduce their fees,” Swadron explained.
So far, none of the allegations levelled against the Toronto Police Services have been proven in court. It is unclear at this point whether the female officers involved in the case will continue to pursue the case.