The complainant submitted allegations concerning the conduct of a Canadian Forces National Investigation Service (CFNIS) investigation of him and these were examined in an investigation by the Deputy Provost Marshal Professional Standards (DPM PS). Following receipt of the DPM PS report, the complainant’s lawyer submitted a request on the complainant’s behalf for the Commission to review the complaint. The complainant made eight allegations associated with various deficiencies in how the CFNIS investigation was carried out and in particular, associated with appointing a unilingual English investigator to conduct the investigation when the complainant’s first official language is French. It was alleged that in addition to not observing the complainant’s legal and language rights, the Canadian Forces initially attempted to lay charges against him in his second language.

The Military Police Complaint Commission (the Commission) found the allegations concerning the deficiencies in how the investigation was carried out were not substantiated. However, the Commission found there was a failure of the investigator to make an active offer of policing services in either English or French. It would have been beneficial (and a “best practice”) at the outset of the investigation to determine if a French speaking or bilingual investigator should have been assigned.

Units within the Canadian Forces are designated either bilingual or unilingual. The Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Official Languages Act, related common law and Department of National Defence (DND) policy indicates that military police are required to make an active offer of policing services in either French or English. Certain Military Police services are to be available in both official languages. Moreover, officers and employees of all federal institutions have certain “language of work” rights to communicate in their designated official language. DND has a duty to ensure that work environments are conducive to the use of both official languages and to accommodate such use by its officers and employees.

The Canadian Forces Provost Marshal agreed with the Commission’s findings and recommendations, and advised a Policy Advisory had been issued amending existing policy to ensure respect for English and French as the official languages of status used in all Federal institutions, particularly with regard to the administration of justice.

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