Discretion to Refuse to Deal with a Complaint Policy
This policy takes effect on January 1, 2020.
The Civilian Review and Complaints Commission (CRCC) is an independent agency created by Parliament. The Commission ensures that complaints made about the conduct of RCMP members (or other appointed or employed persons) are examined fairly and impartially.
In accordance with subsection 45.53(2) of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act (RCMP Act), the Commission may refuse to deal with certain types of complaints. The Chairperson—or delegate—has the authority to refuse to deal with a complaint, and the intent of this policy is to provide guidance in relation to paragraphs 45.53(2)(a) and (b).
Prior to making a decision, the Chairperson or their delegate will review the complaint on its merit, on a case-by-case basis. In exercising the discretion to refuse to deal with a complaint, in whole or in part, the Chairperson or their delegate will notify the complainant in writing of the decision, citing the applicable provision in the RCMP Act for the refusal.
The terms used in subsection 45.53(2) are not defined in the RCMP Act. These terms are often considered interchangeable or overlapping; therefore, a single complaint might fall within more than one of these categories.
For the purpose of exercising the discretion to refuse to deal with a complaint, in whole or in part, the Chairperson or their delegate may consider the following general parameters. Specifically, the Chairperson or their delegate may refuse to deal with a complaint that they consider:
- Having been adequately dealt with, or could more appropriately be dealt with, according to a procedure provided for under the RCMP Act or any other Act of Parliament
- Following an assessment of what federal procedures have already been undertaken and whether those are satisfactory; and/or
- Following an assessment of whether the nature of the complaint is more suited to another federal legislative process.
- On its face, is of no consequence; and/or raises trifling or inconsiderable issues.
- On its face, is devoid of substance and has no serious or reasonable purpose; has no realistic prospect of success; lacks a factual basis and has insufficient level of plausibility; and/or is futile.
- On its face, is motivated by malice with the purpose to disrupt or denigrate the complaint process rather than seek a remedy; is an abuse of process; is made out of anger or the desire to seek retribution, with the intention to harass or annoy; is without reasonable or probable cause or excuse; and/or is often repetitive with a common theme.
- Made in bad faith
- Implies improper conduct on the part of the complainant for an improper purpose; generally implies fraud, deception, intentional misrepresentation or dishonesty; and/or is brought with an ulterior motive.
If, in the opinion of the Chairperson or their delegate, one or more of these elements exist, the complaint may be refused.
Roles and Responsibilities
Chairperson: Exercises the discretionary authority established in subsection 45.53(2) of the RCMP Act. Pursuant to the authority under subsection 45.31(1), the Chairperson may delegate the authority to refuse to deal with a complaint but retains the ability to revoke the delegation at any time.
Delegate: Commission employee delegated by the Chairperson to refuse to deal with a complaint. The delegate is responsible for assessing complaints on a case-by-case basis to determine if, on its merit, the Commission should refuse to deal with the complaint. The delegate is responsible for notifying the complainant, in writing, that the Commission will not deal with their complaint, in whole or in part, including citing the applicable provision for the refusal.
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