Policy: Discretion to Change or Restrict Access to Staff or Services due to Unreasonable Complainant Behaviour
This policy takes effect August 19, 2020.
The Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (CRCC) is an independent agency created by Parliament. The Commission examines complaints made about the conduct of RCMP members (or other persons appointed or employed under Part I of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act [RCMP Act]) fairly, impartially and in the most effective way possible.
The Commission seeks to foster a safe, supportive and healthy workplace for all staff, free of harassment, bullying and other abusive, offensive or threatening behaviours. Complainants engaging in unreasonable behaviour, either verbally or in writing, regardless of how stressed or frustrated they may be, may result in the Chairperson or their delegate limiting or restricting the complainant's access to the Commission so as not to adversely affect staff and/or the successful administration of the public complaint process.
The intent of this policy is to provide guidance that is fair, consistent and transparent in relation to managing unreasonable complainant behaviour. Any restrictions or limitations imposed on the complainant has no effect on the processing and handling of the public complaint. Unreasonable complainant behaviour does not preclude there being a valid complaint and therefore all complaints are to be treated objectively and considered on their merits; this policy is not an attempt to limit the ability of individuals to make a complaint.
In response to unreasonable complainant behaviour, the decision to change or restrict a complainant's access to staff or services may be made by the Chairperson or their delegate. In exercising these restrictions, the Chairperson or their delegate will notify the complainant in writing of the restrictions or limitations that have been imposed.
The Commission recognizes and abides by its obligation under the Canadian Human Rights Act to reasonably accommodate the needs of a complainant accessing its services, as well as its duty to provide reasonable assistance to complainants under subsection 45.53(9) of the RCMP Act.
A new complaint, from an individual who has been or currently is subject to action under this policy, will be treated on its merits, just like any other complaint.
For the purpose of this policy, unreasonable complainant behaviour is behaviour of a person, either verbally or in writing, that, because of its nature or frequency, hinders the Commission's consideration of that person's complaint, or other peoples' complaints, and/or that adversely affects the Commission's ability to do its work and provide services to the complainant or others. Specifically, unreasonable complainant behaviour can be divided into five categories of conduct (though unreasonable conduct might fall under more than one category):
- Undue persistence
- -- Continued, incessant and unrelenting conduct by a complainant that has a disproportionate and/or negative impact on the Commission, its staff, services, time and/or resources.
- Excessive demands
- -- Any demands (express or implied) that are made by a complainant that have a disproportionate and/or negative impact on the Commission, its staff, services, time and/or resources.
- Undue lack of cooperation
- -- An unwillingness by a complainant to cooperate with the Commission, its staff or the complaints system and processes that results in a disproportionate use of Commission services, time and/or resources.
- Argumentative conduct
- Communications that are incomprehensible, false or inflammatory, trivial or vexatious, and/or that disproportionately and/or needlessly impact upon the Commission, its staff, services, time, and/or resources.
- Inappropriate conduct
- -- Conduct that compromises the health, safety or security of Commission staff, other service users or the complainant themselves (including discriminatory, hateful, criminal, threatening or offensive conduct).
For the purpose of managing unreasonable behaviour, the Chairperson or their delegate may consider changing or restricting a complainant's access to Commission services and/or staff using some or all of the following general actions:
- restricting or limiting which Commission staff the complainant can have contact with;
- restricting or limiting what matters the complainant can raise with the Commission;
- restricting or limiting when the complainant can have contact; and
- restricting or limiting how the complainant can make contact.
Once a complainant has been notified in writing of the restrictions or limitations that have been placed upon them, the restrictions will remain in place for six (6) months, unless otherwise stated, and will be reviewed by the Chairperson prior to expiry. The restrictions may also be reviewed at any time on request by a staff member, or following any further incidents of potentially unreasonable behaviour. Communications made in contravention of a restriction or limitation will not be reviewed or processed by the Commission.
Roles and Responsibilities
Chairperson: Pursuant to subsection 45.31(1) of the RCMP Act, the Chairperson has supervision over and direction of the work and staff of the Commission, and as such, may delegate the authority to impose restrictions or limitations on a complainant's access to the Commission. The Chairperson retains the ability to revoke the delegation at any time.
Delegate: The Commission employee delegated by the Chairperson to impose restrictions or limitations on a complainant's access to the Commission. The delegate is responsible for assessing a complainant's behaviour on a case-by-case basis to determine if, on its merits, the Commission should restrict or limit access, and for periodically reviewing the restrictions or limitations to determine whether they should be lifted or modified. The delegate must notify the complainant in writing of the restrictions or limitations placed upon them. The delegate is also responsible for recording, monitoring and reviewing all cases where this policy is applied to ensure consistency, transparency and accountability.
Complainants: Complainants are responsible for treating Commission staff with courtesy and respect in all methods of interaction (i.e. phone, fax, email, letter mail). They are also responsible for:
- clearly identifying, to the best of their ability, the issues of complaint, or asking for Commission staff to assist them in doing so;
- providing Commission staff, to the best of their ability, with all available information about the complaint in an organized format at the time of making the complaint;
- being honest in all communications with the Commission;
- cooperating with the staff who are assigned to take their complaint or review the outcome of their complaint; and
- notifying the Commission if their contact information changes.
- Date modified: