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Women prison guards allege sexual assault and waterboarding by male colleagues

One woman alleges a male superior “handcuffed her to a chair using her own restraints and threatened to sexually assault her” in the $43.4 million lawsuit.

Four current and former prison guards at a maximum federal facility in Edmonton, Alberta have filed a $43.4 million lawsuit containing accusations of violent behaviour by male colleagues including sexual assault and waterboarding.

A statement of claim filed with the court filed against the Union of Canadian Correctional Officers, and obtained by CBC News, paints a disturbing picture of life inside the Edmonton Institution that has previously been accused of fostering a toxic work environment rife with intimidation and inappropriate conduct among staff.


One woman identified under the pseudonym “Andrea” alleges a male colleague “handcuffed her to a chair using her own restraints and threatened to sexually assault her” while another woman referred to as “Jessica” claims she was “sexually harassed daily” at work.

The other two women were given pseudonyms as well due to the nature of law enforcement work, the document cited by CBC states.

None of the accusations have been proven in court. Request for comments sent to the CSC by VICE News have gone unanswered.

Jessica further alleges that two male superiors assaulted her by “waterboarding her and laughing about it” as well as choking her and throwing her against a wall. Like Andrea, Jessica also alleges that she was handcuffed to a chair.

The third woman in the lawsuit, called “Samantha,” states she has been on stress leave after 20 years of working at the facility due to being targeted by other employees for being gay.

The Edmonton Institution, which can house up to 324 inmates, has long faced accusations of violence among inmates and staff.

Canada’s correctional investigation Ivan Zinger last year told CBC News that his office regularly receives human rights abuse complaints from the facility. “It is shocking. There’s no doubt strong intervention is required,” said Zinger.

Last year, the prison was yet again under fire for multiple accusations of sexual harassment and intimidation by male guards towards women working there.

And earlier this year, four employees at the institution were fired after a CSC disciplinary investigation into allegations of bullying and intimidation.

“We do not tolerate employee misconduct and all allegations are thoroughly investigated regardless of the source,” CSC Commissioner Don Head, said in a press release at the time. “We are determined to improve the workplace to ensure all employees have the respectful work environment they deserve so they can perform the difficult task that they have each and every day.”