Chapter 5: Accountability and Investigation

5.3 The Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act is comparable to British Columbia’s Police Act in that it provides a legal framework that defines the way in which disciplinary procedures will be administered. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act contains two provisions for investigating wrongdoing by the RCMP, the External Review Committee, and the Public Complaints Commission.

The External Review Committee reviews appeals made by RCMP officers who have been disciplined under the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act. The Public Complaints Commission is an independent team of civilians that rule on the outcome of investigations of police complaints. Critics suggest that the investigators will favour the police officer and investigate an offence with bias.

In June 2013, the federal government passed Bill C-42, which created the Enhancing Royal Canadian Mounted Police Accountability Act that is designed to enhance accountability and transparency by:

  • Creating a new Civilian Review and Complaints Commission (CRCC) for the RCMP to replace the existing Commission for Public Complaints (CPC) against the RCMP and providing it with enhanced powers
  • Establishing a statutory framework for handling investigations of serious incidents involving RCMP members, which will improve the transparency and accountability of these investigations
  • Modernizing the RCMP’s discipline, grievance, and human resource management processes, with a view to preventing, addressing, and correcting performance and conduct issues in a timely and fair manner, which includes enabling the commissioner to establish a specific process for the investigation and resolution of harassment when a member of the Force is a respondent

This following text is a copy of an official work that is published by the Government of Canada. The reproduction has not been produced in affiliation with, or with the endorsement, of the Government of Canada.[1]

This enactment enhances the accountability of the RCMP by reforming the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act in two vital areas. First, it strengthens the RCMP review and complaints body and implements a framework to handle investigations of serious incidents involving members. Second, it modernizes discipline, grievance, and human resource management processes for members, with a view to preventing, addressing, and correcting performance and conduct issues in a timely and fair manner.

It establishes a new complaints commission, the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission (CRCC) for the RCMP. Most notably, it sets out the authority for the CRCC to have broad access to information in the control or possession of the RCMP, it sets out the CRCC’s investigative powers, it permits the CRCC to conduct joint complaint investigations with other police complaints bodies, and it authorizes the CRCC to undertake policy reviews of the RCMP.

It establishes a mechanism to improve the transparency and accountability of investigations of serious incidents (death or serious injury) involving members, including referring the investigations to provincial investigative bodies when possible and appointing independent civilian observers to assess the impartiality of the investigations when they are carried out by the RCMP or another police service.

It modernizes the RCMP’s human resources management regime. In particular, it authorizes the Commissioner to act with respect to staffing, performance management, disputes relating to harassment, and general human resource management.

It grants the Commissioner the authority to establish a consolidated dispute resolution framework with the flexibility to build redress processes through policies or regulations. It provides for a disciplinary process that will empower managers or other persons acting as conduct authorities to impose a wide range of conduct measures in response to misconduct and that requires conduct hearings only in cases when dismissal is being sought.

Jurisdiction of the Current Commission for Public Complaints

The Commission for Public Complaints (CPC) has jurisdiction over a complaint from a member of the public that concerns the conduct of an RCMP member while performing a policing duty or function. These duties and functions include criminal investigations, public complaint investigations, policing public events, security assignments, and intelligence operations.

A complaint must also involve:

  • An RCMP member or other person appointed or employed under the authority of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act.
  • An RCMP member or other person who, when the complaint is made, is not deceased, retired, or resigned, or has been dismissed from the Force.
  • Conduct that occurred after September 30, 1988, the date the CPC became authorized to take complaints.

 


  1. Enhancing Royal Canadian Mounted Police Accountability Act, http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/annualstatutes/2013_18/FullText.html

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5.3 The Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act by Steve McCartney and Rick Parent is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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