Public Interest Cases
At any time, if 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 interest 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 the Military Police (MP) or the complaints process?
- Does the complaint involve or raise questions about the integrity of senior military or Department of National Defence (DND) officials, including senior MP members?
- Are the issues involved likely to have a significant impact on MP practices and procedures?
- Are the issues of broader public concern or importance?
If it is a conduct complaint, this decision by the Chair relieves the Canadian Forces Provost Marshal (CFPM) of the obligation to deal with the complaint.
The Commission has substantial powers in the conduct of hearings, including administering oaths, calling witnesses, by subpoena if necessary, and compelling them to give evidence under oath, and to produce documents. The Commission is also empowered to receive evidence and information, whether admissible in a court of law or not, subject to certain restrictions in the National Defence Act.
In most instances, hearings are open to the public, although exceptions can be made when factors such as privacy and national security are a concern.
Any person who appears before the Commission can choose to be represented by legal counsel at a hearing.
The Commission is required to give both sides notice of hearing. In addition, the Commission has the discretion to pay travel and living expenses to both parties to a complaint and their respective counsel, subject to the National Defence Act.
If the complaint relates to conduct that is the subject of a disciplinary or criminal proceedings before a Court or tribunal of first instance, the Commission's hearing may not take place until those proceedings have been completed.
The Rules of Procedure for Hearings Before the Military Police Complaints Commission (SOR/2022‑9) outline the procedure to be followed by all persons involved in a hearing before the Military Police Complaints Commission.
Current Public Interest Investigations and Hearings
This section contains the public interest cases conducted by the Military Police Complaints Commission of Canada (MPCC):
- House Fire Attempted Murder Public Interest Investigation (MPCC‑2016‑027)
The MPCC is conducting a PII into a complaint about the handling of a military police investigation into a house fire/attempted murder-suicide
- Hiestand Public Interest Investigation (MPCC‑2022‑017, MPCC‑2022‑041, MPCC‑2022‑043)
The MPCC is conducting a public interest investigation into the Military Police’s handling of a sexual assault investigation.
- Fortin Public Interest Investigation (MPCC‑2023‑006)
The MPCC is conducting a PII into the handling of a Canadian Forces National Investigation Service (CFNIS) investigation of a sexual assault.
Military Police Unit Interest Investigation (MPCC‑2021‑012, MPCC‑2021‑017, MPCC‑2021‑026)
The MPCC is conducting a PII into the handling of two MP Unit investigations into one of its own officers.
Registrar Public Interest Investigation (MPCC‑2020‑013)
The MPCC is conducting a PII into Military Police Investigations into incidents that occurred at the Royal Military College of Canada (RMCC) during 2019.
- Beamish Public Interest Investigation (MPCC‑2016‑040)
The MPCC is conducting a PII into a historical complaint that alleges torture and abuse of former CAF members.
- Public Interest Investigation into Anonymous Complaint (Treatment of Detainees) (MPCC‑2015‑005)
The MPCC is conducting a PII into allegations concerning the treatment of Afghan detainees by members of the Military Police (MP) in 2010‑2011, and related investigations in 2011‑2012.
Other public interest investigation and hearings reports
The following protocol was developed for and is applicable to all final reports issued in public interest cases.
- Protocol for Handling of Notice of Action
Acknowledging that both the MPCC and the CFPM share a responsibility to protect privileged, designated, classified, sensitive and/or potentially injurious information to the national interest from disclosure, and also have an obligation to ensure to the greatest extent possible, that MPCC public interest hearings and investigations are public proceedings, the parties hereto agree to govern the handling of Notice of Action documents in the context of MPCC public interest hearings and investigations.
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