MPCC-2004-037

Facts and complaint

During the course of a meeting, the complainant (a civilian) allegedly submitted a written harassment complaint (a document that would be designated “Protected B”) to the Deputy Commanding Officer of a military base. After some time had passed, the complainant decided to check on the status of his complaint and was informed that it could not be located. The complainant subsequently submitted a signed copy of his original complaint and received an acknowledgement of receipt. A few weeks later, the complainant made inquires with the Military Police detachment about investigating the loss of his original harassment complaint and then proceeded to file a written complaint at the detachment. After some discussion, he was informed that his complaint would be investigated as a security issue. When, after another few weeks, the complainant telephoned the Military Police detachment to request an update, he was informed that the document still had not been located and the investigation was ongoing.

A search of the premises was conducted but the document was not found and the Deputy Commanding Officer involved stated that he could not remember receiving a formal written harassment complaint. A short while after this, the investigation was concluded as needing no further action; however, the complainant was not notified of this development. When he once again contacted the detachment to ask for information on the investigation status, he was informed that he would have to submit an Access to Information and Privacy Act request. It was at this point that the complainant filed a conduct complaint alleging that proper procedures were not followed regarding the missing “protected” document and that the investigation had not been conducted in a timely manner.

The Deputy Provost Marshal Professional Standards Letter of Final Disposition

In her Letter of Final Disposition, the Deputy Provost Marshal Professional Standards stated that she agreed with the Professional Standards investigator's findings. The Professional Standards investigator found that the allegation that proper procedures were not followed was not supported. The allegation was based on a misunderstanding during a conversation between the complainant and one of the subject members.

With respect to the allegation that the investigation was not done in a timely manner, the investigator found this to be partially supported. The investigator found that there had been a slight delay before the formal investigation of the complaint began. In her Letter of Final Disposition the Deputy Provost Marshal Professional Standards added certain information to support the investigator's findings and also added her recommendation that the incident be reviewed with the subject members to ensure that, in future, proper investigative procedures are followed.

The complainant was not satisfied with the disposition of his complaint and requested a review of the file by the Complaints Commission.

Findings and Recommendations of the Complaints Commission Member

The Complaints Commission member reviewed all of the documentation and correspondence regarding this file. With respect to the allegation that proper procedures were not followed when attempting to locate the misplaced document, the Complaints Commission member found that this was not the fault of the Military Police subject members as other individuals on the base were responsible for such matters. The Complaints Commission has no jurisdiction to review the conduct of non-Military Police personnel.

With respect to the allegation that the investigation into the missing document was not carried out in a timely manner, it was noted that while the investigation was affected by the absence of a key person during part of the period in question, the subject member could have started the investigation sooner. As well, the status of the investigation and the responsibilities of base authorities in the matter could have been better communicated to the complainant.

Reply of the Complaints Commission following the Notice of Action of the Acting Canadian Forces Provost Marshal

The Complaints Commission member was pleased to note that the Acting Canadian Forces Provost Marshal agreed with the findings reached in this review.

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