Backgrounder - The Military Police Complaints Commission of Canada
What is it?
Canadian citizens have the right to file a complaint about the conduct of any of Canada's 1,245 military police officers. To ensure the process is fair and transparent - for both the complainant and the police - the Military Police Complaints Commission provides essential independent oversight.
Created by federal legislation, the MPCC officially opened its doors on December 1, 1999 as part of a major effort to modernize Canada's military justice system.
The Commission also hears complaints from military police officers who have reasonable grounds to believe that a member of the Canadian Forces or a senior official with the Department of National Defence (DND) has interfered with a police investigation.
Canada is among the world leaders in bringing such a high degree of accountability to its military police service. The Commission reports to Canadians and Parliament through the Minister of National Defence and operates independently of DND and the Canadian Forces.
What does it do?
The MPCC has four main areas of responsibility:
- Monitoring the investigation of conduct complaints
When a complaint is lodged against a member of the military police, the Canadian Forces Provost Marshal carries out the investigation. The Complaints Commission is responsible for monitoring the investigation.
- Reviewing conduct investigations
A complainant who is not satisfied with the way the investigation was carried out by the Provost Marshal can ask the MPCC to review the matter.
- Investigating complaints of interference
A military police member who has reasonable grounds to suspect there has been interference with an investigation can lodge a formal complaint with the Commission. Interference can take many forms, such as abuse of authority or intimidation
- Conducting public interest investigations or hearings
The MPCC Chair can call a public interest investigation into either a conduct or an interference complaint. The Chair may also decide to call a public hearing and has the power to compel witnesses to testify under oath.
The Commission was built on the RCMP model for police oversight. Civilian oversight of police forces is virtually universal in democratic societies. For every conduct complaint or allegation of interference, the law requires a comprehensive response.
In the case of the MPCC, that process starts with a detailed investigation and concludes with a final report.
Who is the MPCC?
There are fifteen full time employees, four contract lawyers and eight contract investigators working at the Military Police Complaints Commission. Chairperson Glenn Stannard, former Chief of Police for the City of Windsor and past President of the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police was appointed May 14, 2010.
Where can I find out more?
Visit the Military Police Complaints Commission Web site at www.mpcc-cppm.gc.ca. You can reach the Commission by phone in Ottawa at 613-947-5625 or toll-free at 1-800-632-0566. Email enquiries should be sent to: email@example.com.
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