Review Process: Frequently Asked Questions
The Civilian Review and Complaints Commission (CRCC) is not part of the RCMP.
We are an independent federal government agency.
CRCC decisions are made by Commission members appointed by the Governor in Council and who, by law, have never worked as an RCMP member.
What is a review?
A review is an independent assessment of the RCMP's decision concerning a public complaint.
If you have filed a public complaint and have received a decision letter from the RCMP (sometimes referred to as a "Letter of Disposition" or a "Notice of Direction"), you can ask us to review the decision.
Why would I request a review?
If you are not satisfied with the RCMP's decision in your public complaint, you can ask us to review it.
What do I need to request a review?
To request a review, you must have already received the decision letter from the RCMP (often called a "Letter of Disposition" or a "Notice of Direction").
Only the original complainant or their authorized representative can request a review.
What if I missed the 60-day deadline to request a review?
If you missed the 60-day deadline, you will be asked to provide written reasons explaining why it was not possible to make a request in time. We will consider your reasons and, based on your explanation, we will notify you of whether we will proceed with your review.
What happens when I request a review?
Within 10 days of receiving your request, we will inform the RCMP of your request for review and ask them for all the information that relates to your complaint.
This will include any information you have already shared with the RCMP, as well as information from the police file such as witness statements, police reports and notes, 911 calls, video recordings, court transcripts, and RCMP policies and procedures.
The RCMP are required by law to provide us with all relevant information pertaining to your case.
The RCMP will usually provide the information to us within 30 days. We will analyze this information for completeness and if anything is missing, we may request additional information from you or the RCMP.
Once all the information is received, we will do a thorough and impartial review of your public complaint and the RCMP's response.
What additional information should I send to assist with my review?
Any information you previously provided to the RCMP will be provided to us.
We also have access to the complete RCMP file pertaining to your case. This includes any materials in the possession or control of the RCMP that are relevant to reviewing your matter.
You do not need to resend any of this material and you do not need to make an Access to Information Act or Privacy Act request for us to have access to the police file.
In most cases, we are able to review a file without additional submissions. However, if you believe that you have relevant information that is important to your case that has not already been shared with the RCMP, you may send it via the contact information at the end of this document.
You have 30 days from the date of your request for review to provide us with any supporting information.
We will only accept up to 50 pages of written material, and up to 60 minutes of audio or video material.
If you need to send additional materials or are unable to send materials within the 30‑day period, please contact us with details.
Will the information I provide to the CRCC be shared with the RCMP?
Any information that you provide to us may be shared with the RCMP as part of the public complaint process, in keeping with the provisions of the Privacy Act.
What does a review involve?
We will thoroughly review all the materials that you and the RCMP have provided.
We will consider your public complaint, the RCMP's public complaint investigation, any RCMP files related to your case, and the RCMP's decision letter.
We may also consult publicly available information, such as related court decisions or transcripts. Please note that in a standard review, we do not conduct new interviews or collect new evidence.
We will then analyze the law that pertains to your case, such as legislation and case law.
We will generally assess the conduct of RCMP members against the reasonableness standard. This means that we will ascertain what a reasonable police officer would have done in a similar situation.
Once the review is complete, you will receive a copy of the CRCC's decision in the form of a final report.
What results can I expect from the review process?
The review process will assess whether we are satisfied with the RCMP's handling of your public complaint.
If we agree with the RCMP's decision we will provide you and the RCMP members involved in your case with a report that explains our decision.
If we are not satisfied, we will make recommendations to the RCMP to help improve their performance.
We will provide the RCMP with our findings and recommendations about your complaint.
By law, the RCMP will then have to provide a response indicating what will be done about the complaint and, if any of the recommendations are not followed, to explain why.
Once we receive this response, we will provide you, the RCMP members involved in your case, the RCMP Commissioner, and the Minister of Public Safety, with our final report into your complaint. This report will include our findings and recommendations and the RCMP's response.
Examples of typical recommendations include:
- Additional training, mentoring, or guidance to individual RCMP members
- Formal apology to be issued by the RCMP
- Changes to RCMP policies, training, or practices at the national, provincial, or detachment level
- Payment of money as an award for RCMP misconduct
- Charging a person with criminal or regulatory offences
- Withdrawing, pardoning, or otherwise interfering with outstanding criminal or regulatory charges or convictions
- Terminating, demoting or imposing specific discipline for RCMP members
What if I am not satisfied with the result of my review?
Once we issue a final report, the Commission's review process ends and we cannot take any further action. If you are not satisfied with the result, you may be able to apply for judicial review to the Federal Court of Canada. A private lawyer or legal aid lawyer may be able to assist you. Note, however, that there are strict time limits for such an application.
Will I be contacted during the review process?
In most cases, the information provided to us by you and the RCMP is sufficient for our review and we will not directly contact you or the involved RCMP members.
For this reason, it is important that you promptly supply us with any additional information that you believe is important for us to consider.
Will my final report be made public?
To protect your privacy, we do not release our regular review reports to the public.
We do, however, publish summaries of our reviews on our public website and in our annual reports to Parliament. These summaries do not include identifiable personal information such as your name, location, or other personal details.
Under the Access to Information Act or Privacy Act, portions of our reports may be released. In those cases, personal information will be removed as required.
You, your authorized representative, or anyone else who made a complaint about the same incident, may share the report with others or the media.
What if I want a new investigation of my public complaint?
In a standard review, we do not conduct new interviews or collect new evidence. However, we do have the power to either ask the RCMP to conduct a further investigation or to conduct a further investigation ourselves in the rare cases where it is needed. You do not need to specifically ask us to do this. If, during our review, we decide that a further investigation is required, we will let you know.
How long will the review take?
It is difficult to provide an estimate for exactly how long your particular review will take. The timeline is affected by:
The complexity of your case: Cases that involve a large volume of documents, complicated legal issues, or many allegations may take longer.
Other legal proceedings: Sometimes we may wait for related court cases to finish before beginning our review.
For example, if your case involved criminal charges, we may wait for the criminal case to finish if the outcome could affect our decision. In some cases, this may be mandatory.
The time needed to obtain information from the RCMP or other sources: Sometimes it takes more than 30 days to receive all the materials from the RCMP. In addition, if we need to access other records—such as court transcripts—this may cause additional delays.
The results of our review: When we identify issues with the RCMP's handling of your matter, we are required to provide the RCMP Commissioner with an interim report detailing our findings and recommendations.
We must wait for the Commissioner to respond to our report before we provide you with our final report.
For best results, please make sure we have your updated contact information. If you supply us with an email address, we can email you our final report.
The Commission's service standards are available here.
Communicating with our staff
The Commission is committed to communicating with you in a respectful, professional and civil manner. Similarly, we ask complainants to extend the same courtesy to our staff.
We understand that the complaint and review process and the circumstances that give rise to complaints can be stressful. However, we will not accept threatening, discriminatory or harassing behaviour or profane communications.
The Commission is required by law to protect staff from harassing, discriminatory and threatening behaviour. Please note that repeated behaviour of this kind may result in the Commission restricting communications or no longer communicating with you beyond advising you of the outcome of your complaint.
Additionally, threatening or other abusive conduct during the public complaint process may be reported to the police of jurisdiction as potentially criminal conduct.
What if I have questions about my review?
You may contact us:
Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the RCMP
P.O. Box 1722, Station B
Ottawa, Ontario K1P 0B3