Conduct Case Summary MPCC-2011-020

The complainant was a Reservist in the Canadian Forces (CF) and an employee of a civilian government agency. He was diagnosed with several medical conditions that have affected his ability to work. In 2009 the complainant took medical leave from his civilian employment for several months, then entered into a Return to Work Agreement with the government agency’s long term disability insurance provider. He reported his earnings as a Reservist to the government agency’s insurer via fax from his computer until his computer broke down and several illnesses and deaths in his family led to an interruption in this practice.

In the fall of 2009, the complainant’s CF superior asked the complainant if he was still working at his civilian job. The complainant confirmed that he was not working and was on disability insurance. The following week, the complainant received an email from his insurance provider advising him that the CF had called to report that he had been working.

The complainant believed that his CF superior disclosed information about the complainant’s employment with the CF to the government agency’s insurance provider, thereby violating the complainant’s right to privacy. The matter is complicated by the fact that the civilian government agency and the CF use the same insurance provider. The complainant subsequently called a Military Police (MP) detachment to report a possible Criminal Code offence and violations to Queen’s Regulations and Orders. The complainant was invited for an interview at the MP Detachment. At the end of the interview, the MP members told the complainant that he would be informed of the disposition of his complaint. The MP members later concluded that no investigation would be conducted because the accusations were frivolous and vexatious. The complainant does not recall being informed of the conclusion of the MP investigation.

The complainant filed a complaint with the Military Police Complaints Commission (MPCC) about the conduct of the two MP members who received his complaint. The Canadian Forces Provost Marshal’s Professional Standards (PS) office investigated the complaint in the first instance and found that the investigation was not properly documented in Security and Military Police Information System (SAMPIS). PS recommended that the subject MP, who was still serving in the CF, be counselled on the importance of note-taking and scanning such notes into SAMPIS.

The complainant requested the MPCC review PS’ disposition of his complaint. The MPCC conducted an investigation into whether the subject MP members: 1) Failed to advise the complainant of the disposition of the complaint; 2) Failed to abide by the MP ethical principles; 3) (a) Were openly skeptical of the complaint, and (b) Failed to properly document on the investigation in SAMPIS; 4) Accorded immunity or undue advantages to the subjects of the criminal complaint due to their rank and position; and 5) Failed to transfer the complaint to Canadian Forces National Investigation Service (CFNIS) as a “serious and sensitive” matter.

The MPCC found Allegation 1 substantiated in that the senior MP member failed to advise the complainant of the disposition of the complaint. The MPCC also found Allegation 3 (b) substantiated in that the subject MP members failed to properly document the investigation in SAMPIS. All other allegations were found to be unsubstantiated.

The MPCC made one observation and two recommendations in light of the deficiencies revealed in the course of their investigation. In particular, the MPCC noted that MP policy and training materials should include best practices on how, and at what point in an investigation it is appropriate to challenge a complainant. Further, the MPCC recommended that the Canadian Forces Provost Marshal (CFPM) take steps to remind all MP members of best practices in note-taking, and ensure a system is put in place to provide reminders of required investigative steps such as contacting or updating complainants.

In response to the MPCC’s report, the CFPM accepted all of the MPCC’s findings and recommendations.

 

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