Presentation to the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence

Ottawa - 2013-04-29

Delivered by Ian McPhail, Interim Chair of the CPC

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Mr. Chairman, Honourable Senators, thank you for inviting me and my colleagues here today to speak to Bill C-42.

A robust civilian review regime, with the necessary authorities to investigate and assess public complaints and concerns, is essential to maintaining public trust and confidence in any policing organization, including the RCMP.
I believe a review mechanism should offer constructive, remedial recommendations which address both:

  • concerns about the conduct of RCMP members in the execution of their duties, and
  • policy, procedural and training gaps that risk contributing to systemic problems. 

The critical role played by the Commission has been underlined most recently in the Commission`s completion of its investigation into workplace harassment within the RCMP, which I was pleased to discuss with this Committee shortly thereafter.  In response, the RCMP Commissioner committed to implementing the Commission's recommendations for improvement.

We are in an era of change with respect to how policing organizations are held to account.  Bill C-42 creates the new Civilian Review and Complaints Commission, or "CRCC" which will contribute to enhanced RCMP accountability by providing:

  • greater access to information;
  • authority to compel witnesses and evidence;
  • the ability to initiate reviews of specified RCMP activities;
  • authority to conduct joint complaint investigations with our provincial counterparts
  • And finally, providing better control of the complaint process;

As Minister Toews noted to this Committee last week, the bill was amended to address concerns I previously raised, including immunity for the Chair, and ensuring that the Commissioner cannot refuse to investigate a Chair-initiated complaint.

I had also raised concerns about the requirement for the RCMP to flag privileged material released to the Commission and the need for service standards for the RCMP with respect to how they respond to public complaints.  Through discussion with the RCMP we have found solutions to these concerns.  I would be happy to elaborate further during today's question period.

As we move forward, the enhanced authorities set out in Bill C-42, along with an increase and stabilization of funding will set the new CRCC on firmer ground and allow it to accomplish even more for the RCMP and for Canadians.

I believe that Bill C-42 is a strong step forward.  I welcome the Committee's interest, and the Minister's support, in reviewing the bill in three years.

I would be happy to respond to your questions.

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