Ministerial Transition Information Package for Bonita Thornton (October 2021)

Key components
Bonita Thornton Bonita Thornton, Interim Chairperson
  • Effective October 5, 2021
  • Investigate
    • Monitors and investigates complaints
    • Public Interest Investigations / Hearings
    • Reports findings / makes recommendations
  • Promote
    • Military Police independence and professionalism
    • Best practices in policing
  • Independent, quasi-judicial, neutral oversight body
  • Reports directly to Parliament
  • Administrative tribunal - Not criminal / not disciplinary
  • Total Employees: 29
  • Budget: 4.7M
  • Primary location(s): 270 Albert Street, Ottawa
  • Internal:
    • Canadian Forces Provost Marshal (CFPM)
    • Judge Advocate General (JAG)
    • Chief of Defence Staff
  • External:
    • Canadian Association for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement (CACOLE)
Chairperson Selection Process
  • Term of the former Chairperson ended on October 4, 2021;
  • A process to identify a replacement started in January 2021 and is currently under way;
  • The current Interim Chairperson is only able to act as the Chairperson on a part time basis.
  • This could cause continuity issues in the Leadership of complaint investigations.
NDA Review
  • 3rd Independent National Defence Act Review (by former Supreme Court Justice Fish) completed in June 2021.
  • Previous reviews were 2011 and 2003.
  • Justice Fish validated many concerns raised by the MPCC over the years, and called for action to strengthen Military Police oversight.
  • Government accepted all recommendations in principle.
  • MPCC is already working closely with the Department of National Defence/Canadian Armed Forces stakeholders to implement the Review recommendations.
2015-005 Anonymous
  • Involves alleged mistreatment of Afghan detainees by MP members during training, and the ensuing Canadian Forces National Investigation Service (CFNIS) investigation, which resulted in no charges being laid.
  • After an extensive investigation, the MPCC determined that the CFNIS investigation was adequate and the decision not to lay charges was reasonable.
  • In addition to various recommendations for the CFPM, the MPCC made a special recommendation to the MND which called on the Minister to assist the MPCC in gaining legislative changes necessary to improve our access to relevant information.
  • Final Report issued 2 Sept 2021. Will be reissued once we receive the MND’s response to the MPCC’s recommendation.
2016-040 Beamish
  • Involved historical allegations of torture and abuse of Canadian Forces trainees during battle school training in 1984.
  • Mr. Beamish complained about the handling of the 2016 CFNIS investigation into these events.
  • MPCC investigation determined that the abuse of the trainees did occur, but the decision to end the investigation without charges was reasonable, given the low probability of a conviction.
  • MPCC’s Final Report of 31 Aug 2021 included recommendation to MND to facilitate enhanced MPCC access to solicitor-client privileged, and personal, information.
  • Report will be reissued after MND’s response to the MPCC’s recommendation is received.
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