Policy: Discretion to Change or Restrict Access to Staff or Services due to Unreasonable Interested Party Behaviour
Responsible Authority :
Senior Director of Corporate Services
Approved by :
The Military Police Complaints Commission of Canada (MPCC) is a civilian quasi-judicial oversight agency that operates at arm’s length from the Government of Canada. The Commission reviews and investigates complaints concerning military police conduct and investigates allegations of interference in military police investigations. It reports its findings and makes recommendations directly to the military police and national defence leadership. The Commission’s vision is to be an organization that exhibits fairness and impartiality, inspires trust and contributes to a climate of confidence in military policing. The Commission values mutual respect (within the organization and externally), integrity, fairness, dedication, open and effective communications and professionalism.
The Commission seeks to foster a safe, supportive, and healthy workplace for all staff, free of harassment, bullying and other abusive, offensive or threatening behaviours. Complainants engaging in unreasonable behaviour, either verbally or in writing, regardless of how stressed or frustrated they may be, may result in the Chairperson or their delegate limiting or restricting the complainant's access to the Commission so as not to adversely affect staff and/or the successful administration of the complaint process.
This policy takes effect September 1, 2022.
Interested Party is defined as a complainant, a subject of a complaint, an individual requesting Access to Information and Privacy (ATIP), and any other stakeholder external to the department of the Military Complaints Commission of Canada.
The intent of this policy is to provide guidance that is fair, consistent, and transparent in relation to managing unreasonable interested party behaviour. Any restrictions or limitations imposed on the interested party has no effect on the processing and handling of their complaint or request. Unreasonable interested party behaviour does not preclude there being a valid complaint or request and therefore all complaints or requests are to be treated objectively and considered on their merits ; this policy is not an attempt to limit the ability of individuals to make a complaint or a request.
In response to unreasonable interested party behaviour, the decision to change or restrict a interested party’s access to staff or services may be made by the Chairperson. In exercising these restrictions, the Chairperson will notify the interested party in writing of the restrictions or limitations that have been imposed.
A new complaint or request, from an individual who has been or currently is subject to action under this policy, will be treated on its merits, just like any other complaint.
For the purpose of this policy, unreasonable interested party behaviour is behaviour of a person, either verbally or in writing, that, because of its nature or frequency, hinders the Commission's consideration of that person's complaint or request, or other peoples' complaints or requests, and/or that adversely affects the Commission's ability to do its work and provide services to the interested party or others. Specifically, unreasonable interested party behaviour can be divided into five categories of conduct (though unreasonable conduct might fall under more than one category) :
- Undue persistence
- Continued, incessant and unrelenting conduct by an interested party that has a disproportionate and/or negative impact on the Commission, its staff, services, time and/or resources.
- Excessive demands
- Any demands (express or implied) that are made by an interested party that have a disproportionate and/or negative impact on the Commission, its staff, services, time and/or resources.
- Undue lack of cooperation
- An unwillingness by an interested party to cooperate with the Commission, its staff or the complaints system and processes that results in a disproportionate use of Commission services, time and/or resources.
- Argumentative conduct
- Communications that are incomprehensible, false or inflammatory, trivial or vexatious, and/or that disproportionately and/or needlessly impact upon the Commission, its staff, services, time, and/or resources.
- Inappropriate conduct
- Conduct that compromises the health, safety or security of Commission staff, other service users or the interested party themselves (including discriminatory, hateful, criminal, threatening or offensive conduct).
For the purpose of managing unreasonable behaviour, the Chairperson may consider changing or restricting an interested party’s access to Commission services and/or staff using some or all of the following general actions :
- restricting or limiting which Commission staff the interested party can have contact with ;
- restricting or limiting what matters the interested party can raise with the Commission ;
- restricting or limiting when the interested party can have contact ; and
- restricting or limiting how the interested party can make contact.
Once an interested party has been notified in writing of the restrictions or limitations that have been placed upon them, the restrictions will remain in place for six (6) months, unless otherwise stated, and will be reviewed by the Chairperson prior to expiry. The restrictions may also be reviewed at any time on request by a staff member or following any further incidents of potentially unreasonable behaviour. Communications made in contravention of a restriction or limitation will not be reviewed or processed by the Commission.
Roles and Responsibilities
Chairperson : Pursuant to subsection 250.11 (1) of the NDA (National Defence Act), the Chairperson is the chief executive officer of the Complaints Commission and has supervision over and direction of its work and staff.
In addition, section 250.15(a), (b) and (c) of the NDA gives the Chairperson discretion to make rules respecting the manner of dealing with matters and business before the Commission, the apportionment of the work among its members and the performance of the duties and functions of the Commission.
As such, the Chairperson may delegate the authority to impose restrictions or limitations on an interested party's access to the Commission. The Chairperson retains the ability to revoke the delegation at any time.
Interested party : Interested parties are responsible for treating Commission staff with courtesy and respect in all methods of interaction (i.e. phone, fax, email, letter mail). They are also responsible for :
- clearly identifying, to the best of their ability, the issues of complaint or request, or asking for Commission staff to assist them in doing so ;
- providing Commission staff, to the best of their ability, with all available information about the complaint or request in an organized format at the time of making the complaint or request ;
- being honest in all communications with the Commission ;
- cooperating with the staff who are assigned to take their complaint or request, or review the outcome of their complaint or request ; and
- notifying the Commission if their contact information changes.
Employees : The Commission employee who is subject to the unreasonable interested party behaviour will advise the interested party in a calm and respectable manner that their unreasonable conduct will not be tolerated.
- By telephone : If the interaction is by telephone, the employee will politely inform the interested party that the conversation will be concluded if they do not show respect for the employee (by lowering their tone, not using foul language, etc.). The employee will try to the best of their efforts to reference the Policy on the MPCC website. If the interested party does not subside, the employee may advise the interested party that the conversation is ending and invite them to communicate with the MPCC at another time when they are more respectful, and/or the MPCC will communicate with them, providing they have all the interested party’s information, for the next steps in their complaint or request.
- By writing : If the interaction is by writing (email or letter), the employee will politely inform the interested party that the correspondence must be completed in a respectable manner and refer the interested party to the policy to inform them of the further steps to be taken if mutual respect is not achieved.
- Employees will reference this policy and understand their role and responsibilities to be aware of the measures to take during an incident of unreasonable behaviour by an interested party.
- Employees will inform their supervisors immediately after an interaction with an interested party where unreasonable behaviour was initiated. The supervisor and employee will discuss the next step forward if an altercation of unreasonable behaviour occurs again with the interested party, keeping in mind to protect the health and safety of the employee. The supervisor could choose to be the next point of contact at this time depending on the conversation with the employee. The supervisor will direct the employee to the appropriate resources, as the Employee Assistance Program.
- If after two interactions with the interested party from any MPCC employee, the unreasonable behaviour does not cease, the supervisor will approach their Director with the subject. At this time, the Director will bring it forward to the MPCC Executive Committee by email or at their next scheduled meeting for discussion of next steps.
- The MPCC Executive committee will decide the way forward and/or to try to resolve the incident in other manners. This may lead to considering changing or restricting an interested party’s access to the Commission services and/or staff, using some or all of the general actions identified under the section Guiding Principles.
- The interested party will be advised in writing by the Director of Operations or the Director of Corporate Services that a review is being conducted by the MPCC Executive committee due to their unreasonable interactions with the MPCC staff. The outcome of the review may be restrictions or limitations to future interaction(s) with MPCC employees, by changing or restricting an interested party’s access to the Commission services and/or staff due to their unreasonable behaviour. The outcome of the review may be restrictions or limitations to future interaction(s) with MPCC employees, by changing or restricting an interested party’s access to the Commission services and/or staff due to their unreasonable behaviour.
- As this is a matter of protecting the health and safety of employees, the Executives should conclude a decision within a week after the initial discussion. The Executives should also advise the Health and Safety Committee of the incident, as a psychological hazard.
- If the Chairperson agrees with changing or restricting an interested party’s access to the Commission services and/or staff, the interested party will be notified in writing by the Chairperson of the decision of the restrictions or limitations that have been placed upon them, and that the restrictions will remain in place for six (6) months, unless otherwise stated. The interested party will be advised in the letter that the review of the decision by the Chairperson will be reviewed prior to expiry. The restrictions may also be reviewed at any time on request by a staff member or following any further incidents of potentially unreasonable behaviour. Communications made in contravention of a restriction or limitation will not be reviewed or processed by the Commission.
- Prior to the six (6) month mark, the decision will be reviewed by the Chairperson. The decision will be communicated to the interested party of either the extension or the withdrawal of the restrictions or limitations.
- Date modified: