Conduct Case Summary MPCC-2016-034

The thrust of this complaint, filed on September 23, 2016, is that the Canadian Forces Provost Marshal (CFPM) had failed to respond to issues the complainant – himself a Military Police (MP) member - had raised in an email originally sent to the CFPM in August 2015. In the email, the complainant cited grievances against members of his chain of command (CoC). His grievances or complaints against these personnel related to alleged harassment, discrimination, intolerance and various alleged failures of leadership; the failure of those CoC members to take any remedial action after the complainant had brought these issues to their attention; alleged reprisals taken against him by members of the CoC in response to his raising these issues; and a further failure of the CoC to respond to his claims about being subject to such reprisals.

In discussions between the complainant and Military Police Complaints Commission (MPCC) personnel, the complainant clarified that he did not wish to pursue complaints against the individual MP members whose conduct he referenced in these documents. Rather, he expressed his wish to pursue his complaint in respect of the lack of a response by the CFPM to these and other issues raised in his August 2015 email.

Due to the fact that the complaint was against the CFPM himself, it was referred in the first instance to the Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS), in accordance with National Defence Act (NDA) subsection 250.26(2).

In February 2017, the CDS issued his decision on the complaint. The CDS directed that no further investigation be undertaken in the matter. His reasons, which follow, were twofold.

Firstly, the CDS noted that the issues that the complainant sought to raise with the CFPM were administrative in nature.  Thus it would follow that the CFPM’s alleged inaction in response to the complainant’s August 2015 email was also an administrative matter, and therefore excluded from the “policing duties and functions” that may be the subject of a Military Police (MP) conduct complaint, in accordance with subsection 250.18(1) of the NDA and the regulations made thereunder: Complaints About the Conduct of Members of the Military Police Regulations (specifically, section 2).

Secondly, the CDS concluded, pursuant to NDA paragraph 250.28(2)(b), that, even if he had not determined that the complaint related to matters outside the scope of the MP conduct complaints process as set out in Part IV of the NDA, he would still consider that the complaint would be more appropriately addressed through a different statutory process. In this case, the CDS felt that the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) grievance process set out in Part II of the NDA – and which the complainant had already been using – would be the most appropriate.

In October 2017, the complainant requested a review of his complaint by the MPCC. The MPCC agreed with the CDS’s conclusion that the issues raised by the complainant with the CFPM were matters of internal personnel management within the CF MP Group CoC and thus fell within the domain of administration, rather than policing duties under the legislation governing the complaints process.

The MPCC also agreed with the CDS’s assessment that the issues raised in this complaint, even if they were not found to be outside the scope of the MP conduct complaints process (and therefore the jurisdiction of the MPCC), they would be better addressed under other processes available within the CAF, such as the grievance process. Therefore, further treatment under the MP conduct complaints process need not be undertaken.

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