Conduct Case MPCC‑2020‑012 Summary

In April 2020, the complainant, a civilian contractor assigned to a Military Police (MP) sub‑unit, filed a complaint with the Military Police Complaint Commission (MPCC), regarding the actions of three MP subjects.

The conduct complaint pertained to the failure of the complainant’s military supervisors to properly address a situation of workplace harassment; the conduct of an investigation into a security incident; and a Privacy Act request to obtain documents.

The conduct complaint was dealt with in the first instance by the office of Professional Standards (PS) of the Canadian Forces Provost Marshal as per subsection 250.26(1) of the National Defence Act (NDA). PS refused to investigate the conduct complaint pursuant to paragraph 250.28(2)(c) of the NDA, and so the complainant referred it to the MPCC for review.

After reviewing substantial documentation provided by the complainant and the disclosure provided by PS, the MPCC declined to review the conduct complaint on the grounds that none of the allegations fell within its jurisdiction as they did not relate to the performance of "policing duties or functions", as required by subsection 250.18(1) of the NDA, and as defined in section 2 of the Complaints Against the Conduct of Members of the Military Police (Regulations).

More specifically, the MPCC concluded that the allegation relating to workplace harassment involved the overall performance of MP members as leaders of a military sub-unit, not in their operational police work. Although this situation occurred in a MP sub-unit, it was determined to be a human resources issue that could have occurred in any other Canadian Armed Forces unit. Therefore, the alleged misconduct fell within the scope of administrative duties and functions and is a matter for the subjects’ military chain of command to address. Similarly, the MPCC determined that the alleged failure to disclose documents requested under the Privacy Act was an administrative function and could not be associated with any of the policing functions and duties set out at subsection 2(1) of the Regulations.

Finally, the MPCC concluded that the conduct of an initial investigation into a security incident was an administrative function, given that the aim of such investigation is to determine the scope of the security incident by obtaining all relevant facts, not for disciplinary or criminal purposes. This conclusion was reached after reviewing the relevant sections of Chapter 12 of the National Defence Security Orders and Directives. Therefore, while this allegation related to the "conduct of an investigation", ostensibly a policing duty or function under paragraph 2(1)(a) of the Regulations, it was determined to be outside the jurisdiction of the MPCC pursuant to subsection 2(2) of the Regulations.

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