Public Interest Cases
At any time, if it is in the public interest, the Chairperson may initiate an investigation into a complaint about police conduct or interference in a police investigation. If warranted, the Chairperson may decide to hold a public interest hearing. In exercising this statutory discretion, the Chairperson considers a number of factors including, among others:
- Does the complaint involve allegations of serious misconduct?
- Do the issues have the potential to affect confidence in the Military Police (MP) or the complaints process?
- Does the complaint involve or raise questions about the integrity of senior military or Department of National Defence (DND) officials, including senior MP members?
- Are the issues involved likely to have a significant impact on MP practices and procedures?
- Are the issues of broader public concern or importance?
If it is a conduct complaint, this decision by the Chair relieves the Canadian Forces Provost Marshal (CFPM) of the obligation to deal with the complaint.
The Commission has substantial powers in the conduct of hearings, including administering oaths, calling witnesses, by subpoena if necessary, and compelling them to give evidence under oath, and to produce documents. The Commission is also empowered to receive evidence and information, whether admissible in a court of law or not, subject to certain restrictions in the National Defence Act.
In most instances, hearings are open to the public, although exceptions can be made when factors such as privacy and national security are a concern.
Any person who appears before the Commission can choose to be represented by legal counsel at a hearing.
The Commission is required to give both sides notice of hearing. In addition, the Commission has the discretion to pay travel and living expenses to both parties to a complaint and their respective counsel, subject to the National Defence Act.
If the complaint relates to conduct that is the subject of a disciplinary or criminal proceedings before a Court or tribunal of first instance, the Commission's hearing may not take place until those proceedings have been completed.
The Rules of Procedure for Hearings Before the Military Police Complaints Commission, S.O.R./2002-241 outline the procedure to be followed by all persons involved in a hearing before the Military Police Complaints Commission.
Public Interest Investigations and Hearings
This section contains links to the public interest cases conducted by the MPCC:
- Beamish Public Interest Investigation
The Military Police Complaints Commission of Canada (MPCC) is conducting a public interest investigation (PII) into a historical complaint that alleges torture and abuse of former CAF members.
- Public Interest Investigation into Anonymous Complaint (Treatment of Detainees)
The Military Police Complaints Commission of Canada (MPCC) is conducting a public interest investigation into allegations concerning the treatment of Afghan detainees by members of the Military Police (MP) in 2010‑2011, and related investigations in 2011‑2012.
- Fynes Public Interest Hearing
On September 6, 2011, the Chairperson of the Military Police Complaints Commission of Canada (MPCC) decided, due to the nature and seriousness of the issues raised, to hold a public interest hearing (PIH) into a complaint from the parents of a soldier who committed suicide at Canadian Forces Base Edmonton in March 2008. The complaint was about the investigations conducted by the Canadian Forces National Investigations Service (CFNIS) into matters related to the soldier’s death.
- Afghanistan Public Interest Hearings
On March 12, 2008, the Chair of the Military Police Complaints Commission of Canada (MPCC) directed that the PII launched on February 9, 2007, move to a public hearing process. This was largely due to the delays and difficulties in obtaining relevant documents and information from government authorities.
- Afghanistan Public Interest Investigation
On February 9, 2007, the Military Police Complaints Commission of Canada (MPCC) launched a public interest investigation into allegations involving military police personnel serving at the Joint Task Force Afghanistan base at Kandahar Airfield (KAF) in the Kandahar province of Afghanistan. This decision related to a formal complaint received by the Commission on January 29, 2007. The complainant cited evidence of possible abuse of individuals apprehended by members of the Canadian Forces (CF) in April 2006 in the Kandahar Region of Afghanistan, which the military police are alleged to have not investigated, nor provided appropriate medical care.
The following protocol was developed for and is applicable to all final reports issued in public interest cases.
- Protocol for handling of Notice of Action
Acknowledging that both the MPCC and the CFPM share a responsibility to protect privileged, designated, classified, sensitive and/or potentially injurious information to the national interest from disclosure, and also have an obligation to ensure to the greatest extent possible, that MPCC public interest hearings and investigations are public proceedings, the parties hereto agree to govern the handling of Notice of Action documents in the context of MPCC public interest hearings and investigations.
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