RCMP Commissioner's response clarifying the RCMP's Internal Framework
May 18 2016
Mr. Ian McPhail, Q.C.
Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the RCMP
P.O. Box 1722, Station "B"
Dear Mr. McPhail:
I understand that you recently testified before the Senate Standing Committee on National Security and Defence (SECD) and stated that the Commission's specified activity review regarding issues of workplace harassment in the RCMP had been delayed by a directive requiring members to notify the Commissioner's Office prior to speaking with them.
I enclose for your convenience the RCMP's "Internal Framework on Interaction with the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission (CRCC)", issued March 16, 2015. As I thought you were aware, the Framework was issued consistent with a request for a "single point of contact" at the RCMP made by the CRCC's Senior Director, Mr. Richard Evans, to the RCMP's Professional Responsibility Officer, Assistant Commissioner Craig MacMillan.
This Framework does not prevent employees from speaking to the CRCC without first speaking to the Commissioner. The Framework clearly states that if executive-level managers are contacted by the CRCC (my emphasis) they are to advise the Commissioner in writing of the nature and content of the contact. Non-executives in the same circumstance are to notify their divisional Professional Responsibility Unit. In both cases, the single point of contact - the National Public Complaints Directorate - will be informed of the contact.
I wish to assure you that the intent of the Framework is to ensure that the RCMP's interactions with the CRCC are informed, consistent and coordinated. It does not speak to members who may reach out to the CRCC and was not meant to apply in such cases. I apologize for any confusion the wording of the Framework may have caused you in that respect.
In your letter of April 20, 2016, you state: "I request that you authorize and encourage all members and employees who wish to contact the Commission directly be allowed to do so, for the purpose of this investigation." (sic). In light of what I've laid out above, it is clear that I need not specifically "allow" employees to contact the Commission directly, and it must therefore go without saying that reciprocal contact or an ensuing dialogue is equally without need of permission.
Permit me to suggest an alternative, more collegial means of accomplishing your objective. I would be pleased to have information regarding your specified activity review, including the Commission's contact information, posted on our internal website.
With respect to your request in the same letter that I provide you with a commitment that the RCMP will not seek the disclosure of information obtained from interviews, submissions, surveys or focus groups, I remind you that the Privacy Act, to which both of our organizations are subject, includes at its paragraph 3(f) along with the more commonly understood categories of personal information: "correspondence sent to a government institution by [an] individual that is implicitly or explicitly of a confidential nature ... ". I would expect that working cooperatively and within the confines of privacy legislation we will be provided with foundational information on the basis of which findings and recommendations are made, for example aggregate information derived from surveys and focus groups, that does not alter the confidential nature of information provided by individuals.
The RCMP has cooperated and will continue to cooperate with the Commission's efforts towards civilian review, and I look forward to your results.
c.c.: The Honourable Ralph Goodale, M.P., P.C.
- Review of workplace harassment in the RCMP
- Request to the RCMP for an update on the implementation of the Commission's 11 recommendations (November 4, 2015)
- Notification to the RCMP Commissioner of the Commission's follow-up investigation (February 22, 2016)
- RCMP letter of acknowledgement (March 9, 2016)
- Request to the RCMP Commissioner seeking his full support and collaboration (April 20, 2016)
- Request to the RCMP to have information about the Commission's investigation posted on the RCMP's internal website (June 1, 2016)
To learn more about the Commission's Chair-Initiated Complaint and Public Interest Investigation regarding issues of RCMP workplace harassment (2013), click here.
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