RCMP says too much about family’s troubles

A woman complained the RCMP disclosed too much information about the difficulties she was having in controlling her son’s behaviour.

The complainant, a school teacher from another country, was taking part in an exchange program with a teacher in British Columbia. As part of the exchange, the teachers’ families traded homes.

The complainant told an RCMP constable who came to her home that she was concerned that, since arriving in Canada, her 16-year-old son had dropped out of school, was taking drugs and was having house parties while she was away. She added her son had broken the lock in a room in the house where the owners had stored their valuables. The mother also said her son was stealing from her and she was locking her wallet in her car to stop him from taking her money.

One week later, the constable received a call from the Canadian owners of the house. They had heard from neighbours that police had been to their home in B.C. after someone complained of loud parties.

The RCMP officer told the Canadian homeowner about the loud party complaint and broken lock. He also recounted how the mother was locking her purse in the car and was becoming increasingly frustrated with her son’s behaviour.

The OPC concluded the RCMP was obligated to disclose information to the homeowners with respect to the security of their home, including the parties, the broken lock and the property damage. However, the information should not have included the mother’s efforts to protect her money from her son or reference to her growing frustrations.

While there was no indication of any malice on the part of the RCMP, this part of the complaint was well-founded.

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