Chair-Initiated Complaint and Public Interest Investigation Regarding Policing in Northern British Columbia

May 15, 2013

As Interim Chair of the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP (Commission), I am initiating a complaint and public interest investigation into the conduct of RCMP members involved in carrying out policing duties in northern British Columbia.

I am satisfied that there are reasonable grounds for me to initiate this complaint, following the concerns expressed by Human Rights Watch in its report of February 13, 2013, entitled Those Who Take Us Away: Abusive Policing and Failures in Protection of Indigenous Women and Girls in Northern British Columbia, Canada.

The Commission will examine RCMP member conduct relating to the following specific areas:

  • The policing of public intoxication;
  • The incidence of cross-gender police searches;
  • The handling of missing persons reports;
  • The handling of domestic violence reports;
  • Use of force;
  • The handling of files involving youth.

In undertaking its public interest investigation, the Commission will conduct meetings and interviews with interested stakeholders and will assess either each incident arising during a specific, current time period, or a random sample of instances identified within that time period in order to make its findings and recommendations in respect of the systemic issues laid out above.

While the Commission's intent is to make findings and recommendations of general application, the Commission is cognizant that the potential exists that specific complaints from individuals will arise during the course of the public interest investigation. If such complaints arise, they will be handled by the Commission as separate public complaints, and/or notified to the appropriate criminal process. The Commission will not, in the course of this public interest investigation, make a determination in respect of individual cases.

Member conduct is to be assessed in accordance with criteria, including the following:

  • Whether the conduct of RCMP members responsible for identified files was consistent with the applicable policies, guidelines, training and legislation;
  • Whether RCMP members responsible for identified files discharged their duties in a thorough and impartial manner; and
  • Whether the conduct of RCMP members responsible for identified files was consistent with section 37 of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act.

The Commission will also examine whether existing RCMP policies, procedures, training and guidelines in respect of the identified areas are adequate.