- Conduct Complaints Process
Anybody, whether they are a civilian or a member of the military and whether or not they were affected, may complain about the conduct of Military Police (MP) in the performance of “
policing duties or functions.”
To help ensure an effective and fair investigation, it is desirable that complaints be made in as timely a manner as circumstances permit (Note: there is a one-year deadline, subject to reasonable extension on application to the Chair of the Commission). Persons considering making a complaint should know that they are not required to provide evidence in support of their allegations when filing complaints. Unlike a court action, the complaints process is not adversarial. The Canadian Forces Provost Marshal (CFPM) and the Commission will conduct their own investigations of the complaint and, in particular, they will obtain any MP or other Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) records necessary to investigate the complaint.
The Complaints about the Conduct of Members of the Military Police Regulations state that any of the following constitute “
policing duties or functions”:
- the conduct of an investigation;
- the rendering of assistance to the public;
- the execution of a warrant or another judicial process;
- the handling of evidence;
- the laying of a charge;
- attendance at a judicial proceeding;
- the enforcement of laws;
- responding to a complaint; and
- the arrest or custody of a person.
It should be noted that the regulations specifically exclude from the description of policing duties or functions “
a duty or function performed by a member of the military police that relates to administration, training, or military operations that result from established military custom or practice.”
Under the legislation, the CFPM is responsible for dealing with conduct complaints. The Commission monitors the CFPM’s handling and disposition of these complaints.
Conduct Complaints Process
Conduct Complaint Filed
Anyone may make a conduct complaint regarding the MP in the performance of their policing duties or functions, including individuals not directly affected by the subject matter of the complaint. Such complaints are initially dealt with by the CFPM.
The legislation encourages the CFPM to attempt, if appropriate and consistent with the regulations and with the consent of both sides, to resolve conduct complaints in an informal manner.
If a complaint is informal, the CFPM is required to prepare a written report of the details, to be signed by both sides, and provide notice of the informal resolution to the Chair of the Commission.
Complaint Investigated by the Canadian Forces Provost Marshal
As the CFPM investigates a complaint, the Commission monitors the process. At the conclusion of the investigation, the CFPM provides a copy of the Report of Findings and Actions to the Commission. The Commission may, at any time during the CFPM investigation, assume responsibility for the investigation or call a public hearing if it is deemed to be in the public interest to do so.
If the CFPM’s examination and/or investigation of a conduct complaint is not completed within 60 days, the CFPM must provide a status report to both sides, and every 30 days thereafter, until the investigation is completed and the results have been reported to all concerned.
Normally, a complaint must be filed within one year of the incident in question. However, at the request of the complainant, the Chair can decide if it is reasonable in the circumstances to extend the time limit.
In applying for an extension of time to file their complaints, complainants should include as much detail as possible, including relevant dates and time periods, in explaining the reasons for the delay in bringing forward their complaint. The decision of the Chair of the Commission on a request for an extension of time to file a complaint is final, subject only to an application for judicial review in the Federal Court of Canada.
Request for Review
Complainants may request the MPCC review a conduct complaint if they are not satisfied with the results of the Canadian Forces Provost Marshal’s (CFPM) investigation or disposition of the complaint.
A request for review must be made in writing. It may be submitted by email, fax, letter, or in person. While there is no time limit to request a review, it is best to do so as soon as possible to ensure a complete, accurate and timely investigation into the events.
The review process involves a review by the MPCC of documentation compiled by the CFPM’s office during its investigation, as well as reviews of relevant legislation and military and civilian police policies and procedures. However, depending on the case, the MPCC's review may involve interviews with witnesses, including the complainant and the subject of the complaint.
Chair's Review of the Complaint
After completing the investigation of a conduct complaint, the CFPM must provide a written report of the findings to both sides.
If a complainant is not satisfied with the CFPM's findings, he or she can ask the Commission to review the complaint. If so, the Commission is required to provide status reports as noted above.
This provision for review by the Commission also applies to conduct complaints that may be dismissed by the CFPM on the grounds the complaint is “
frivolous, vexatious, or made in bad faith,” or that the complaint would be dealt with more appropriately under another legislated procedure.
Commission Reviews Complaint
At a minimum, this process involves a review of documentation related to the CFPM’s investigation. However, depending on the case, the MPCC's review may involve interviews with witnesses, including the complainant and the subject of the complaint.
Commission Releases Interim Report
At the completion of the review, the Chairperson forwards the Interim Report to the Minister of National Defence (MND), the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) and the CFPM setting out the findings and recommendations regarding the complaints.
Notice of Action
The Notice of Action is the official response by the CAF to the Interim Report and it outlines what action, if any, has been or will be taken in response to the Commission’s recommendations.
Commission Releases Final Report
After considering the Notice of Action, the Commission issues a Final Report of findings and recommendations. The Final Report is provided to the MND, the Deputy Minister, and the CDS, the Judge Advocate General, the CFPM, the complainant and the subject(s) of the complaint, as well as anyone who has satisfied the Commission that they have a direct and substantive interest in the case.
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