Annual Report 2014-2015

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The Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the RCMP (the Commission) is an agency of the federal government, distinct and independent from the RCMP.

VISION: Excellence in policing through accountability.

MISSION: To enhance the accountability of the RCMP by providing civilian review of RCMP activities and member conduct

MANDATE: As set out in Parts VI and VII of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act, the mandate of the Commission is to:

  • receive complaints from the public about the conduct of RCMP members;
  • conduct reviews when complainants are not satisfied with the RCMP's handling of their complaints;
  • initiate complaints and investigations into RCMP conduct when it is in the public interest to do so;
  • review specified activities; and
  • report findings and make recommendations.

STRATEGIC OBJECTIVES

  • Strengthen the public complaint process.
  • Strengthen the Commission's investigative capacity.
  • Introduce specified activity reviews.
  • Enhance relations with provincial and territorial governments, as well as police review bodies.
  • Increase public education and engagement.

The Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the RCMP can be found online at:

www.crcc-ccetp.gc.ca or www.complaintscommission.ca.

Telephone from anywhere in Canada: 1-800-665-6878
TTY: 1-866-432-5837

Minister of Public Works and Government Services
Cat. No.: PS75-2
ISSN 2369-310X

The Honourable Steven Blaney, P.C., M.P.

Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A6

Dear Minister,

Pursuant to section 45.52 of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act, I hereby submit the annual report of the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the RCMP for the 2014–2015 reporting period for tabling in Parliament.

Yours truly,

(signature)

Ian McPhail, Q.C.
Chairperson

June 2015

Table of Contents

Chair's Message

The Complaint & Review Process

  • The Public Complaint Process
  • Request for Review of a Public Complaint Investigation
  • Complaint & Review Process

The Year In Review

  • Public Complaints
  • Requests for Review of the RCMP's Handling of Public Complaints
  • Effective and Timely Review
  • Notable Complaints
  • Chair-Initiated Complaints & Public Interest Investigations
  • Sample Findings
  • Research, Policy and Strategic Investigationss
  • Outreach
  • Corporate Overview
Professional photograph of Commission chair Ian McPhail

On November 28, 2014, the Enhancing Royal Canadian Mounted Police Accountability Act came into force and the new Civilian Review and Complaints Commission assumed its responsibilities as the RCMP's independent civilian oversight agency.

In the months leading up to this pivotal date, the Commission moved ahead with its transition plan, putting in place the resources, business tools and processes needed to effectively deliver on its new mandate.

A cornerstone to enhancing the credibility of both the Commission and the RCMP was ensuring a strong, accessible and timely complaint process, with established service standards, was in place.

Over the past year a number of operational and administrative changes were initiated to focus resources on the Commission's core mandate of receiving and responding to public complaints about the conduct of RCMP members.

A streamlined complaint intake process and the implementation of a case management system are two such measures that will enhance the Commission's ability to meet public expectations.

Equally important is the public expectation for independent investigations of police actions. This continues to be of concern to Canadians. In the past the work of the Commission was largely complaint-driven or reactive.

The new legislation gives the Commission explicit authority to review any activity carried out by the RCMP. This will have a positive impact on the public's perception of the impartiality of such reviews and investigations and, by extension, its confidence in the RCMP.

In the past the work of the Commission was largely complaint-driven or reactive. The new legislation gives the Commission explicit authority to review any activity carried out by the RCMP.

Over the past year the Commission has invested heavily in strengthening its investigative capacity to support an increased use of public interest investigations as well as the review of specified RCMP activities.

The benefits of these investments were evidenced in the Commission's ability to undertake a record number of Public Interest Investigations in the past year, many of which made headlines across the country. Details of the most notable of these are provided in the following pages of this report. The complexity and scope of these investigations, many of which involved an unprecedented volume of information, evidence, witnesses and legal issues, stretched the Commission's resources and its ability to generate comprehensive analysis and findings and make reasonable, remedial recommendations that make a difference in how the RCMP delivers policing services to Canadians. I am confident we met this challenge and will continue on this path in the coming year.

Over the past year the Commission has also focused on its outreach with provincial partners and stakeholders to introduce the new Commission, explain its mandate, improve the management of public complaints about the RCMP in all jurisdictions, and explore opportunities for collaboration with oversight partners that advance an understanding of the root causes of the discord between policing practice and public expectations.

It has been a busy year of change and growth for the Commission. We have welcomed our new mandate with renewed energy and focus and we look forward to contributing in meaningful ways to the accountability of the RCMP, and to strengthening public confidence in this very important Canadian institution.

(signature)
Ian McPhail, Q.C.
Chair

The Public Complaint Process

As a result of the coming into force of the Enhancing Royal Canadian Mounted Police Accountability Act, in November 2014, some changes have been made to the complaint process.

The Commission accepts complaints about the on-duty conduct of RCMP members from individuals:

  • Directly involved;
  • Who witnessed the conduct itself;
  • Authorized to act on behalf of the complainant.

Complaints about RCMP member conduct can also be made by the Commission Chair if the Chair determines that there are reasonable grounds to investigate. Chair-Initiated Complaints are processed in the same manner as a complaint from a member of the public.

UNDER THE NEW LEGISLATION

A complaint must be made within a year of the alleged conduct occurring.

If the Commission Chair is of the opinion that it would be in the public interest for the Commission to investigate a complaint instead of the RCMP, the Commission will conduct a Public Interest Investigation. Public Interest Investigations can be launched in relation to a complaint received from a member of the public, or as a result of a Chair-Initiated Complaint.

The Commission may refuse to deal with a complaint if it:

  • Is not filed within a year of the occurrence;
  • Concerns decisions regarding disciplinary measures;
  • Has been, or could be, more appropriately dealt with through a different process; or
  • Is trivial, frivolous, vexatious or made in bad faith.

A complaint can be lodged with:

  • The Commission;
  • Any RCMP member;
  • The provincial authority responsible for receiving complaints against police in the province in which the subject of the complaint took place.

Request For Review of a Public Complaint Investigation

When a complaint is made, typically the RCMP carries out the initial investigation into the complaint and reports back to the complainant.

If a complainant is not satisfied with the RCMP's handling of their complaint, they may request that the Commission conduct a review of the RCMP's investigation.
Upon such a request, the Commission obtains all relevant material from the RCMP and assesses the RCMP's investigation of the complaint.

The Commission is an independent agency and does not act as an advocate either for the complainant or for RCMP members

The role of the Commission is to make findings after an objective examination of the information available and to make recommendations that improve policy and performance of the RCMP and its members.

If, in conducting its review, the Commission finds the RCMP did not conduct a thorough investigation, the Chair can request that the RCMP make further enquiries.

Following its review, if the Commission is satisfied with RCMP's handling of the complaint, the Chair issues a Satisfied Report to the RCMP Commissioner, the Minister of Public Safety, the complainant, and the member(s) involved, thereby ending the review process.

If, at the conclusion of the review, the Commission is not satisfied with the RCMP's handling of the complaint, the Chair will issue an Interim Report, outlining various findings and recommendations directed at the RCMP, which will be sent to the RCMP Commissioner and the Minister of Public Safety.

Once the Interim Report has been reviewed by the RCMP, the RCMP Commissioner gives notice, identifying which recommendations the RCMP will act on. If no action is to be taken, the Commissioner must provide reasons.

After receiving the Commissioner's Response, the Chair considers the RCMP's position and prepares a Final Report. This report is then provided to the RCMP Commissioner, Minister of Public Safety, the complainant, the member(s) involved, and the appropriate provincial Minister. This completes the Commission's review process.

UNDER THE NEW LEGISLATION
Complainants must request a review within 60 days of receiving the RCMP's formal response to their complaint.

Complaint  & Review Process Flowchart
Text Version

1. A complaint is made to either:*

  1. The RCMP
  2. The Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the RCMP (CRCC)
  3. The provincial authority responsible for receiving complaints against police in the province in which the subject of the complaint took place.

2. The RCMP investigates the complaint.

3. The RCMP reports to the Complainant.

4a. If the Complainant is satisfied with the RCMP's report, this is the end of the process.

4b. If the Complainant is not satisfied with the RCMP's report, the Complainant may request a review by the CRCC. The CRCC requests all relevant investigative material from the RCMP.

5a. If the CRCC is satisfied with the RCMP's report, the Chair sends a satisfied report to the RCMP Commissioner, Minister of Public Safety, Complainant and Member(s) involved. This is the end of the process.

5b. If the CRCC is not satisfied with the RCMP's report, the Chair may:

  1. Review the complaint and all relevant material without further investigation;
  2. Ask the RCMP to investigate further;
  3. Initiate a CRCC investigation; or
  4. Hold a public hearing.

6a. Following its review, if the Commission is satisfied with the RCMP's handling of the complaint, the Chair issues a satisfied report to the RCMP Commissioner, Minister of Public Safety, Complainant and Member(s) involved, thereby ending the review process.

6b. If, at the conclusion of the review, the Commission is not satisfied with the RCMP's handling of the complaint, the Chair will issue an interim report outlining various findings and recommendations directed at the RCMP, which will be sent to the RCMP Commissioner and the Minister of Public Safety.

7. If an interim report is sent, the RCMP Commissioner gives notice identifying what actions will be taken. If no action is to be taken, reasons will be provided.

8. The Chair sends a final report to the RCMP Commissioner, Minister of Public Safety, Complainant, Member(s) involved, and the appropriate provincial Minister. This is the end of the process.

* The Chair can initiate his own complaint. In addition, at any stage of the process, the Chair may institute an investigation or a hearing where he considers it advisable in the public interest.

Much of the Commission’s work this year centered on providing direct service to members of the public concerned about the actions of RCMP members.

Public Complaints

The Commission processed 1,839 formal complaints against the RCMP this reporting year.

The type of complaints the Commission dealt with this year includes:

  • Improper attitude
  • Improper use of force
  • Improper use of firearms
  • Failure to follow administrative policies or procedures
  • Unsafe or improper use of police vehicle
  • Neglect of duty
  • Unlawful conduct
  • Mishandling of property
  • Irregularity of evidence
  • Oppressive conduct
  • Improper arrest
  • Improper persons / vehicle search
  • Improper search of premises
  • Policy
  • Service

Requests for Review of the RCMP's Handling of Public Complaints

The Commission received 200 requests for review and issued a total of 139 review reports in 2014-2015:

  • In 123 reports (88%), the Commission was satisfied with the RCMP's disposition of the complaint.
  • In 16 reports (12%), the Commission was not satisfied with the RCMP's disposition of the complaint, and made recommendations to address deficiencies.

In his responses to the Commission's Interim Reports, the RCMP Commissioner accepted approximately 90% of the Commission's adverse findings and 82% of its recommendations.

The Commission's recommendations vary in response to the individual complaints being reviewed, and, while some are based on broader organizational policies and processes, many are specific to the complaint in question. Commission recommendations may specify that:

  • subject members receive guidance or further training;
  • RCMP policies, procedures or guidelines be clarified or amended where a gap has been identified;
  • the complainant be provided with an apology;
  • supervisors receive guidance on their roles and responsibilities;
  • public complaint investigators receive guidance or further training regarding their role in the public complaint process; and
  • public complaint investigations be carried out even though the RCMP had determined that such investigations were not necessary

In 40 cases the Commission requested additional material from the RCMP, beyond what was initially provided, in order to complete its review. In 11 cases the Commission requested that the RCMP conduct further investigation. These requests led to a delay in the Commission’s review of these files.

Effective And Timely Review

The Commission’s new legislation requires that formal service standards be established to ensure timely responses to public complaints.

The Commission has adopted the following response times for its role in the complaint and review process:

Action Response Time
The Commission forwards public complaints it receives to the RCMP 4 days
The RCMP investigates and delivers a report to the complainant. Determined by the RCMP
The Commission requests all relevant material from the RCMP upon being notified by the complainant that they are not satisfied with the RCMP's response. 4 days
The Commission conducts its review and sends either:
  • a Satisfied Report to the complainant, the RCMP and the Minister of Public Safety; or
  • an Interim Report to the RCMP with findings and recommendations.
120 days
The RCMP responds to the Interim Report. Determined by the RCMP
The Commission issues its Final Report. 30 days

Given the complexity of some of the complaints the Commission receives, it is not always possible to meet the above response times. As such, the Commission has adopted, as a service standard, the requirement to meet these response times in 80% of the complaints and review requests it receives.

This year, 82% of the Commission's review reports were completed within the 120-day timeframe and 91% of its Final Reports were delivered within the 30-day timeframe.

Notable Complaints

Completed Chair-Initiated Complaints & Public Interest Investigations

This year, the Commission initiated nine public interest investigations. It also continued its work on fourteen ongoing public interest investigations and three Chair-initiated complaints that had been investigated by the RCMP. These include:

RCMP Response to Flooding in High River, Alberta

In response to public concerns regarding the conduct of RCMP members following flooding in High River, Alberta, in June and July 2013, the Chair initiated a complaint and public interest investigation.
Specifically, public concerns arose following reports that members had entered private residences in the area and seized firearms. The Prime Minister's Office also publicly expressed concern over the seizures.

The Commission examined the RCMP's justifications for its members' actions as well as the relevant policies, procedures and guidelines which existed at the time of the flood.

The Commission found that the vast majority of entries of private residences were directed by the municipal emergency operation centre and authorized by the common law and the Alberta Emergency Management Act. In some instances RCMP members were found to have entered without authority or to have caused an unreasonable amount of damage to facilitate entry.

The Commission found that the seizure of firearms was not originally planned, but occurred when individual members came upon them during their searches of residences.

While RCMP members, on their own initiative and with little guidance, may have acted with public safety in mind, the RCMP failed to comply with legal requirements concerning the seizure of firearms.

While the Commission found that the seizure of improperly stored firearms and ammunition was authorized by the Criminal Code, it also found that in some cases the RCMP wrongly seized firearms which were properly stored. In addition, the Commission found that the RCMP failed to report the seizures to a justice as required by the Criminal Code.

The Commission also found that the RCMP lacked a comprehensive policy on emergency management. Most importantly, ineffective public communications were found to be the result of inadequate policies, insufficient training, poor planning, under resourcing and a lack of coordination.

The lack of a public communication strategy resulted in the public’s mistrust of the words and actions of RCMP members and set in motion a number of challenges for the RCMP.

Given the significant public interest in this investigation, in February 2015 the Commission issued its Interim Report to the public. The report made

52 findings and 10 recommendations and was provided to the Commissioner of the RCMP for response.

This report can be found on the Commission’s website.

Police-Involved Shooting of Gregory Matters

In September 2012, Gregory Matters and his brother were involved in a dispute which resulted in a 9-1-1 call. Members of the Prince George RCMP Detachment had repeated contact with Mr. Matters, and a decision was made to arrest him for dangerous driving, assault, assault with a weapon, and breach of a peace bond.

RCMP members negotiated with Mr. Matters by telephone while the Emergency Response Team stood by. Ultimately, Mr. Matters was approached by a four-member Emergency Response Team. A confrontation ensued and he was fatally shot.
In cases of serious injury or death involving the police, concurrent investigations are undertaken by various agencies. The Commission generally awaits the conclusion of these other investigations prior to conducting its own.

In British Columbia, the Independent Investigations Office conducts investigations into police-related incidents of death or serious harm and determines whether or not an officer may have committed an offence. In this instance, the Independent Investigations Office concluded that no criminal offence on the part of any RCMP members had occurred.

The British Columbia Coroners Service is responsible for the mandatory investigation of all in-custody deaths in that province, and for ensuring that the relevant facts are made a matter of public record. The Coroner's report released in 2014 outlined nine recommendations, directed primarily at the RCMP, which informed the Commission's investigation.

The Commission has completed its public interest investigation and the report will be issued in 2015.

RCMP Response to Anti-Fracking Protests

Between June and December 2013, hundreds of people gathered at various sites near the Elsipogtog First Nation in Kent County, New Brunswick, to protest the New Brunswick government's grant of permits and licences to Southwestern Energy Resources for shale gas testing and hydraulic fracturing (fracking).

Several demonstrations resulted in confrontations between protestors and local RCMP members. The Commission received over 20 public complaints alleging improper arrest and excessive use of force. In addition, the Commission received a petition with more than 200 names which echoed the substance of the public complaints.

In response to this public concern, the Chair determined that the Commission would conduct its own investigation.

During the course of the investigation, additional concerns surfaced about the RCMP's response to the protests. The Commission, in December 2014, expanded the scope of its investigation beyond the individual complaints to include a broader examination of RCMP actions. Specifically:

  • the use of arrest;
  • the use of detention and search powers;
  • the use of force;
  • the adequacy of communication with members of the public;
  • the planning, management and execution of the arrests at the protest camp on October 17, 2013; and
  • whether or not there was differential treatment of First Nations Peoples compared to other protesters.

As part of its investigation, the Commission convened public meetings in different communities in Kent County in order to hear directly from the members of the community affected by the protests and provide an update on its investigation.

The Commission's investigation is ongoing.

Policing in Northern British Columbia

In consideration of concerns raised by human rights and civil liberties groups with respect to policing in northern British Columbia, the Chair initiated a complaint and public interest investigation into the conduct of RCMP members carrying out policing duties in northern British Columbia.

To better understand the state of police services in the area, Commission investigators travelled to 21 communities in northern British Columbia and conducted over 100 interviews with members of the public, the RCMP as well as community groups. The interviews were designed to obtain information regarding policing in northern British Columbia more broadly and specific concerns, if any, regarding RCMP conduct.

The Commission's investigation examined 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; and
  • the handling of files involving youth.

The investigation also examined the quality of supervision and training and the adequacy of relevant RCMP policies and procedures. These issues were examined with three themes in mind: compliance, accountability, and women and youth.

Additionally, the Commission conducted an extensive review of RCMP North District occurrence reports and use of force reports—totaling over 100,000 pages—in order to determine if they were properly completed and whether any issues existed.

The Commission is finalizing its report.

Complaint of flawed informal resolution process and inadequate RCMP investigation

A homeowner found a bullet in the south side of his home and reported it to the RCMP. The homeowner believed the bullet originated from a privately owned gun club with an outdoor range, located approximately three kilometres south of his home. The homeowner was not satisfied with the RCMP's investigation of the incident.

After expressing his dissatisfaction with the investigation, the homeowner participated in an RCMP-led informal resolution process.

He subsequently filed a public complaint alleging that he had been deceived by the RCMP into signing a form concluding his complaint.

The Commission investigated and, in July 2014, issued an Interim Report to the RCMP containing findings and recommendations. The Commission is awaiting the RCMP's response.

Concerned that the RCMP had not adequately addressed his initial call for them to investigate the source of the bullet in his home, the homeowner filed a second public complaint alleging that RCMP members failed to:

  • conduct a thorough investigation into instances of errant ammunition rounds striking residences; and
  • implement measures to ensure the safe operation of the gun club;

In March 2015, the homeowner filed a third public complaint alleging that certain RCMP members allowed the gun club to operate without a valid land use permit.

The RCMP has challenged the Commission’s jurisdiction with respect to the second and third complaints

The Commission has initiated its own investigations into both complaints.

The RCMP has challenged the Commission’s jurisdiction with respect to the second and third complaints and has not yet provided the Commission with the material relevant to these complaints despite repeated requests.

Sample Findings

The Commission addresses a variety of issues arising from complainant dissatisfaction with the outcome of the RCMP’s handling of their complaint. The following are examples taken from the reviews the Commission conducted during the reporting period.

Unreasonable force used in questionable arrest

Two individuals walking at night were arguing and drew the attention of an RCMP member. While arresting one of the individuals for public intoxication, the RCMP member used force resulting in bruising, a chipped tooth, and scrapes.

The individual filed a complaint about the validity of the arrest and the member's use of force but was not satisfied with the RCMP's handling of the complaint. During its review, the Commission concluded that the member did not have a reasonable basis to believe that the individual was intoxicated and that an arrest was necessary. The Commission also concluded that the member did not adhere to the RCMP's policy concerning such arrests. The Commission recommended that the member receive operational guidance.

The RCMP countered that the arrest was reasonable because the member observed that the individual was “stupefied or drunk to such a marked degree that she was a danger to herself or others,” and appeared to be unable to care for herself. The Commissioner asserted that it was reasonable for the member to believe that the argument could escalate and lead to a physical altercation.

In the Commission's Final report, the Chair disagreed with the RCMP's conclusions. The Chair was not convinced that, based on the member's own account, the member took sufficient steps to assess the individual's level of intoxication or consider whether or not it was in the public interest to make the arrest.

Additionally, the Commission found that there was no objective basis to support a conclusion that a physical altercation was probable. Complaint of conflict of interest and bias in fraud investigation

An executive accused by a shareholder of defrauding a company was charged and convicted following an RCMP investigation. The executive appealed the court's decision and the conviction was overturned.

Complaint of conflict of interest and bias in fraud investigation

The executive filed a public complaint alleging that the RCMP member had failed to properly investigate the fraud allegation and was in a conflict of interest because an offer of employment had been made to the member by the shareholder.

In their response, the RCMP acknowledged that the member had breached conflict of interest and other RCMP policies, but that this did not interfere with the member's investigation.

The Commission concluded that the RCMP's decision was, for the most part, unreasonable and that the RCMP should not have dismissed the allegation of bias in the investigation.

The Commission found that the member:

  • breached the RCMP's conflict of interest policy;
  • conducted an inadequate investigation;
  • intervened in a civil matter without lawful authority; and
  • behaved unprofessionally during the executive's criminal trial.

Of note, the Commission recommended that the RCMP consider including in its conflict of interest policy a requirement for RCMP members to immediately disclose all offers of outside employment or gifts from stakeholders, whether or not there is an intention to accept such offers.

The Commission is awaiting the RCMP's response in this matter.

Unreasonable decision to terminate an investigation

The complainant was engaged in an ongoing conflict with the local school district after accusing their employees of committing criminal offences. An RCMP member informed the complainant that there would not be a criminal investigation into his allegations.

The complainant filed a public complaint alleging that the RCMP member had shown bias and failed in his professional duty.
The RCMP's initial investigation into the public complaint was terminated on the basis that the allegations were vexatious and involved “repetition of unsubstantiated complaints from the same person which share a common theme.”

The Commission held that if the RCMP has sufficient information to directly address and answer the subject matter of the complaint in a Final Report, a termination is not appropriate.

The Commission found that the RCMP's termination of this public complaint was not reasonable because the RCMP had substantial information and should have concluded its investigation.

The Commissioner of the RCMP agreed with the Commission's finding and recommendation and will complete a further investigation.

Arrest under Mental Health Act justified

After receiving a report that the complainant was possibly suicidal, the RCMP proceeded with an intervention at the complainant's residence, which resulted in his arrest under the Mental Health Act. The complainant alleged that the arrest was not justified.

The RCMP's investigation into the complaint did not support the complainant's claims.

The Commission concluded that the RCMP members had the necessary grounds and authority under the Mental Health Act to apprehend the complainant and detain him until he could be examined by a medical professional. The Commission also found that the members involved acted reasonably and in fact, demonstrated their genuine concern for the complainant's safety by consulting with medical and social service professionals.

Allegation of failure to conduct a proper investigation

The complainant was involved in a dispute with her ex-husband over the ownership of a vehicle. The complainant claimed that her ex-husband had signed documents giving her ownership of the vehicle while the ex-husband alleged that the documents were forged.

The RCMP member who investigated the dispute recommended a charge of forgery against the complainant.

The complainant filed a public complaint alleging that the RCMP conducted an inadequate investigation, and handled the vehicle in question without lawful authority.

The RCMP's investigation into the complaint concluded that the member had conducted a proper investigation that involved the use of polygraph tests, fingerprint analysis and the forensic analysis of handwriting.

The Commission agreed that the member conducted a thorough and proper investigation and that the recommended charge to the Crown was reasonable based on the information provided. The Commission also found that the RCMP did not take possession of, or mishandle, the vehicle.

Roadside stop lawful and reasonable, not racially motivated

An RCMP member stopped the complainant late at night for a non-functioning tail light. The complainant alleged that the RCMP member had been travelling in the opposite direction, passed his vehicle, made a U-turn and followed the driver before carrying out the road side stop.

The complainant maintained that he was driving the speed limit and that his tail light was functioning. He alleged that the stop was arbitrary and a result of racial profiling.

The Commission found that the member checked the complainant's paperwork and released him after a few minutes, without charge. Under the circumstances, the roadside detention was lawful and reasonable and there was no indication that it was racially motivated.

Research, Policy And Strategic Investigations

The Commission's new mandate allows it to undertake a review of specified RCMP activities for the purpose of ensuring accordance with legislation, regulation, ministerial direction, or RCMP policies, procedures or guidelines. Such reviews can be initiated:

  • by the Commission;
  • at the request of the Minister of Public Safety;
  • at the request of a provincial minister responsible for policing where the RCMP provides service under contract.

Significant planning has occurred in preparation for this broadened mandate, including the development of a model to identify priority areas for review, as well as the hiring of additional investigators to carry out such reviews.

These systemic examinations could be used to review RCMP policies and program issues in areas such as use of force, use of emerging technologies, the Federal Witness Protection Program, Integrated Cross-border Maritime Law Enforcement Operations (Shiprider Program), or national security operations.

This past year, research and analytical support were provided on several public interest investigations, including: the RCMP response to the flooding in High River and the anti-fracking protests in Kent County. Additionally, while awaiting the authority to undertake reviews of specified RCMP activities, the Strategic Investigations team led the Commission’s examination of policing in northern British Columbia outlined on page 11 of this report.

The Shiprider Program allows U.S. and Canadian maritime law enforcement officers to embark on joint operations along shared maritime borders.

By working together, both countries’ law enforcement officers are able to exercise operational flexibility to pursue and interdict vessels across the international border.

During the past year, Shiprider operations took place in British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick. The Commission did not receive any complaints about these operations.

Outreach

The Commission has maintained its strong participation in the national and international communities of civilian review of law enforcement.

This past year, the Commission dedicated a full- time position to liaise with the provinces and territories to implement elements of the new legislation and assist them in addressing and managing complaints about the RCMP.

The Commission will begin formally reporting to provincial and territorial governments and has been working with them to ensure that the content of these reports is responsive to their needs.

Federal & Provincial Annual Oversight Conference

In October 2014, the Commission held its annual forum for heads of police review organizations across Canada. The group meets to share best practices, identify emerging issues and enhance working relationships.
The fall session covered issues which included:

  • Role of civilian oversight in the mental health debate
  • Militarization of the police
  • Evolution of policing
  • Use of body-worn cameras
  • Ethics of leadership

RCMP

The Commission held meetings with RCMP divisions in the eight provinces and three territories that contract for RCMP services to introduce key elements of the new legislation. Preliminary work has begun on developing an RCMP-focused pilot project which will enhance RCMP member awareness and understanding of the Commission’s role and the public complaint process.

Canadian Association For Civilian Oversight Of Law Enforcement

The Commission continued working with the Canadian Association for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement (CACOLE) as part of its executive team to advance the principles of civilian oversight of law enforcement.

In 2016, CACOLE will host its annual conference in Saskatoon, bringing together provincial and federal oversight agencies, municipal and provincial police boards, police associations and community rights groups to discuss common policing issues and concerns.

The website can be found at www.cacole.ca.

Corporate Overview

The Commission has continued to restructure its operational and administrative services over the past year. The focus on creating efficiencies in internal services has allowed for the investment of savings into new mandate areas along with enhancements to the complaint and review processes. The Commission has incorporated the Government of Canada’s Blueprint 2020 objectives and its shared services strategic approach in identifying and leveraging opportunities which would enhance its delivery of services to Canadians.

Through a partnership with another government agency, the Commission’s Information Technology platform has been updated to a more cost-effective, flexible and scalable business solution with the capacity to respond to the evolving needs of the Commission as it implements its new mandate.

A new Case Management System has been deployed to consolidate and centralize all aspects of the public complaint process into one information management system. This supports both the management of the complaint and review processes and the Commission’s new provincial reporting requirements.

The Commission received a total annual appropriation of approximately $10.2M to support the delivery of its enhanced mandate.

Below are the preliminary expenditure figures for 2014–2015. Adjustments to these figures will be made and final amounts will be reported in the Public Accounts of Canada.

Total Expenditures 2014-2015
Salaries $5,980
Operating Costs $2,739
Employee Benefit Plans $881
Total $9,600
Note: Numbers represented are in thousands.
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