Presentation to the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence

Ottawa - 2014-05-26

Delivered by Ian McPhail, Interim Chair of the CPC

Mr. Chairman, Honourable Senators, thank you for inviting me here today.

When I last appeared before you, in April 2013, we discussed a number of your concerns relating to Bill C-42, the authorities it would provide to the new Civilian Review and Complaints Commission and how these would enhance the accountability of the RCMP.

Bill C-42 received Royal Assent in June 2013 and at that time I anticipated that a coming into force order and transition to the new CRCC would take place early in 2014.

It appears that I was a bit optimistic on that front.

Timing aside, the CPC has continued its preparations for the eventual change, getting the necessary resources and processes in place for a smooth transition to the new CRCC and its expanded mandate and authorities.

We have secured the full $10 M funding envelope which was attached to the new CRCC mandate. This almost doubles the A-base funding the CPC received over the past few years, keeping in mind that the government had provided the Commission with year-to-year interim funding, which allowed us to meet our responsibilities.

Over the past year we have worked closely with the RCMP in the development of a memorandum of understanding which is intended to foster a spirit of cooperation and the ability to resolve issues at appropriate levels. Key points in the memorandum include defining critical timelines for various phases of the complaint and review processes, CPC access to RCMP information necessary for the Commission to carry out its mandate, guidelines for the consistent management of complaints, and a notification protocol when serious incidents occur.

We have established a new unit which will undertake specified reviews of RCMP activities as set out in Bill C-42. The team has developed a process which will assist in strategically identifying and investigating key issues, before they result in critical situations, with a view to providing analysis and recommendations which respond to public expectations and the realities of front-line policing.

We have also continued our outreach with provincial partners and stakeholders, outlining for them the changes the new legislation will bring. For example: providing complaint reports to provincial ministers, tailoring annual reports for each province, undertaking specified activities reviews at the request of the province and undertaking joint investigations with provincial oversight bodies.

Finally, we have restructured our operational and administrative services and created efficiencies which will allow for investment in new mandate areas and enhancements to the complaint and review processes. By way of example, we have modernized our complaint and case management system and are working towards the implementation of a fully integrated complaint intake solution that will meet the needs of the RCMP and our provincial counterparts and provide a seamless user-friendly service to the public.

During this time, the Commission has also continued to deliver on its core mandate of addressing public complaints about the RCMP on a wide range of member conduct issues. A topic this Committee has taken particular interest in has been the issue of workplace harassment within the RCMP.

As you know I completed a public interest investigation of this issue in 2013 and released a report which made 11 recommendations aimed at fostering a more respectful workplace.  The RCMP Commissioner has since accepted these in principle, undertaken to review them and committed to keeping the CPC apprised of new RCMP strategies and procedures, which address the issue of harassment, as they are implemented.

In closing Mr. Chairman, let me say that the coming into force of Bill C-42 and the establishment of the new CRCC will bring new tools and energy to oversight which will assist the Commission in addressing, in a more strategic and systematic fashion, the critical issues, such as harassment in the workplace, that challenge the success of the RCMP.

I am confident that we have put in place the structures, resources and processes necessary to launch the CRCC on a strong footing and ensure that it can meet its mandate in the years to come.

I would be happy to respond to any questions you may have.

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