Part I - Overview
To promote and ensure the highest standards of conduct of military police in the performance of policing duties and to discourage interference in any military police investigation.
— Mission Statement of the Commission
I) Military Police Complaints Commission
The Military Police Complaints Commission (the Commission) was established by the Government of Canada to provide independent civilian oversight of the Canadian Forces Military Police, effective December 1, 1999. This was achieved through an amendment to the National Defence Act (NDA), creating a new Part IV which sets out the mandate of the Commission and how complaints are to be handled. As stated in Issue Paper No. 8, which accompanied the Bill that created the Commission, its role is “
to provide for greater public accountability by the military police and the chain of command in relation to military police investigations.”
II) Mandate and Mission
Mandate: The Commission reviews and investigates complaints concerning Military Police (MP) conduct and investigates allegations of interference in MP investigations. It reports its findings and makes recommendations directly to the MP and National Defence leadership.
Mission: To promote and ensure the highest standards of conduct of MP in the performance of policing duties and to discourage interference in any MP investigation.
The Commission fulfills its mandate and mission by exercising the following responsibilities:
- Monitoring investigations by the Canadian Forces Provost Marshal (CFPM) of MP conduct complaints;
- Reviewing the disposition of those complaints at the request of the complainant;
- Investigating complaints of interference; and,
- Conducting public interest investigations and hearings.
III) Organizational Background
The Commission is one of 14 organizations in the Defence Portfolio. While it reports to Parliament through the Minister of National Defence (MND), the Commission is both administratively and legally independent from the Department of National Defence (DND) and the Canadian Forces (CF). The Commission is not subject to direction from the MND in respect of its operational mandate.
The Commission is an independent Federal government institution as defined under Schedule I.1 of the Financial Administration Act (FAA). As an independent oversight agency, the Commission must operate at a distance and with a degree of autonomy from government, including the DND and the CF. All members of the Commission are civilians and are independent of the DND and the CF in fulfilling their responsibilities and accountabilities in accordance with governing legislation, regulations and policies.
Tribunal decisions and Commission operations and administration must also be, and be seen to be, free from ministerial influence, other than seeking the signature of the MND, as the Minister responsible to table the Commission’s Reports on Plans and Priorities; Departmental Performance Reports; Annual Reports to Parliament; and other accountability documents such as Memoranda to Cabinet and Treasury Board Submissions.
Designated as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Commission, the Chairperson is accountable for all Commission activities and for the achievement of results. Based on the Terms and Conditions of Employment for Full-Time Governor in Council (GIC) Appointees, the Chairperson has been designated as CEO, statutory deputy head or “
Deputy Head” as defined by the FAA and as designated through the GIC.
As Deputy Head, the Chairperson is accountable to Parliament for fulfilling management responsibilities, including financial management. This includes accountability for: allocating resources to deliver Commission programs and services in compliance with governing legislation, regulations and policies; exercising authority delegated by the Public Service Commission for human resources; maintaining effective systems of internal controls; signing accounts in a manner that accurately reflects the financial position of the Commission; and exercising any and all other duties prescribed by legislation, regulations or policies relating to the administration of the Commission.
IV) The Canadian Forces Provost Marshal and the Deputy Commander, Canadian Forces Military Police Group/Professional Standards
On April 1, 2011, the CFPM assumed full command of all MP members who are directly involved in policing. The CFPM also assigns MP elements to other supported commanders under operational command.
The Deputy Commander, Canadian Forces Military Police Group manages public complaints and internal MP misconduct investigations and ensures adherence to the Military Police Professional Code of Conduct.
The CFPM is responsible for dealing with complaints about MP conduct in the first instance. The Commission has the authority to monitor the steps taken by the CFPM as it responds to complaints, and to conduct its own reviews and investigations, as required. The Commission has the exclusive authority to deal with interference complaints.
Commission recommendations for improvements, contained in its Interim and Final Reports, are not binding on the CF and the DND. However, they do provide the opportunity to further enhance transparency and accountability.
Detailed information on the conduct and interference complaints processes is contained in later sections of this report.
V) The Military Police
The Canadian Forces Military Police Branch was formed in 1968 with the unification of the CF. MP members were allocated to the Army, Navy and Air Force. The stated Mission of the CF MP is to contribute to the effectiveness and readiness of the CF and the DND through the provision of professional police, security and operational support services worldwide.
The MP Branch is comprised of 2,000 plus personnel: 650 reservists and 1,400 sworn, credentialed members (officers and non-commissioned members), i.e. those members who are entitled to be in possession of an MP badge and identification card and thus peace officers by virtue of the Queen’s Regulations and Orders for the Canadian Forces article 22.02, NDA s. 156 and Criminal Code s. 2.
The MP exercise jurisdiction within the CF over both the DND employees and civilians on the DND property. The MP form an integral part of the military justice system in much the same way as civilian police act within the civilian criminal justice system. MP routinely train and work with their civilian counterparts in the provision of police and security services to the CF and the DND.
Members of the MP are granted certain powers under the NDA in order to fulfill their policing duties. For example, MP have the power to arrest, detain and search. The Criminal Code recognizes members of the MP as peace officers. They can make arrests and lay charges for offences pursuant to the NDA and the Criminal Code, and lay charges in civilian criminal courts.
VI) Conduct Complaints Process
Conduct Complaint Filed
Anyone may make a conduct complaint regarding the MP in the performance of their policing duties or functions, including those individuals not directly affected by the subject matter of the complaint. Such complaints are initially dealt with by the CFPM. Informal resolution is encouraged.
Complaint Investigated by the CFPM
As the CFPM investigates a complaint, the Commission monitors the process. At the conclusion of the investigation the CFPM provides a copy of its final disposition of the complaint to the Commission. The Commission may, at any time during the CFPM investigation, assume responsibility for the investigation or call a public hearing if it is deemed to be in the public interest.
Request for Review
Complainants may request the Commission review the complaint if they are not satisfied with the results of the CFPM’s investigation or disposition of the complaint.
Commission Reviews Complaint
At a minimum, this process involves a review of documentation related to the CFPM’s investigation. Most often, it also includes interviews with the complainant; the subject of the complaint; and witnesses, as well as reviews of relevant legislation, and military and civilian police policies and procedures.
Commission Releases Interim Report
At the completion of the review, the Chairperson sends the Interim Report to the MND, the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) and the CFPM setting out the findings and recommendations regarding the complaint.
Notice of Action
The Notice of Action is the official response by the CF to the Interim Report and it outlines what action, if any, has been or will be taken in response to the Commission’s recommendations.
Commission Releases Final Report
After considering the Notice of Action, the Commission issues a Final Report of findings and recommendations. The Final Report is provided to the MND, the Deputy Minister (DM), the CDS, the Judge Advocate General (JAG), the CFPM, the complainant and the subject(s) of the complaint, as well as anyone who has satisfied the Commission that they have a substantial and direct interest in the case.
How the Commission carries out its reviews and investigations of conduct complaints
In response to a request from a complainant for a review, the Commission follows the steps described below:
- Commission legal counsel conducts a preliminary review of the request for review and then briefs the Chairperson, who determines how to respond to the request, whether an investigation is required, the scope of the investigation warranted and how to approach the investigation. He may also delegate a Commission Member to handle the file.
- A lead investigator is assigned and, with Commission legal counsel, reviews the evidence and other materials gathered during the CFPM’s investigation of the complaint – this could be hundreds of pages of documents, emails, handwritten notes and reports, and many hours of audio and video interviews with witnesses.
- The lead investigator prepares an Investigation Plan, setting out the goals, timelines and budget for the investigation, as well as the lines of inquiry to be pursued, all of which must be approved by the Chairperson or a delegated Member of the Commission.
- The lead investigator and an assisting investigator, in consultation with Commission legal counsel and the Chairperson or the delegated Commission Member, then review any relevant legislation, policies and regulations, arrange and conduct interviews with witnesses, and request additional documentary materials as necessary.
- Following the completion of witness interviews, the investigators submit a comprehensive report on the information gathered during the investigation to the assigned legal counsel for review. The report is then submitted to the Chairperson or the delegated Commission Member.
- Subject to any necessary further inquiries, the Chairperson or the delegated Commission Member reviews the results of the investigation and determines his findings and recommendations about the complaint. On the basis of these findings and recommendations, the Chairperson or the delegated Commission Member prepares the Commission’s Interim Report. The Interim Report goes to the MND, the CDS and the CFPM.
- Following receipt and consideration of the official response to the Commission’s Interim Report, which is ordinarily provided by the CFPM in a Notice of Action, the Commission then prepares and issues its Final Report, which goes to the relevant departmental officials, and also to the complainant and the subject member(s) of the MP.
VII) Interference Complaints Process
Interference Complaint Filed
Any member(s) of the MP who conduct or supervise investigations and believe a member of the CF or a senior official of the DND has interfered with, or attempted to influence, a MP investigation may file a complaint with the Commission.
The Commission has sole jurisdiction to investigate interference complaints. A preliminary review is conducted to determine whether an investigation should be commenced, the scope of the investigation and how to approach the investigation. Once this is completed, the Commission commences an investigation.
Commission Releases Interim Report
The Interim Report includes a summary of the Commission’s investigation, as well as its findings and recommendations. This report goes to the MND; the CDS if the alleged interference was carried out by a member of the military or to the DM if the subject of the complaint is a senior official of the DND; the JAG; and the CFPM.
Notice of Action
This official response to the Interim Report indicates the actions, if any, which have been or will be taken to implement the Commission’s recommendations.
Commission Releases Final Report
Taking into account the response in the Notice of Action, the Commission prepares a Final Report of its findings and recommendations in the case. The Final Report is provided to the MND; the DM; the CDS; the JAG; the CFPM; the complainant and the subject(s) of the complaint, as well as anyone who has satisfied the Commission that they have a substantial and direct interest in the case.
VIII) Public Interest Investigations and Hearings
At any time when it is in the public interest, the Chairperson may initiate an investigation into a complaint about police conduct or interference in a police investigation. If warranted, the Chairperson may decide to hold a public hearing. In exercising this statutory discretion, the Chairperson considers a number of factors including, among others:
- Does the complaint involve allegations of serious misconduct?
- Do the issues have the potential to affect confidence in MP or the complaints process?
- Does the complaint involve or raise questions about the integrity of senior military or the DND officials, including senior MP?
- Are the issues involved likely to have a significant impact on MP practices and procedures?
- Are the issues of broader public concern or importance?
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