Proceedings of the Standing Senate Committee on
National Security and Defence
Issue 14 - Evidence - Meeting of April 22, 2013
OTTAWA, Monday, April 22, 2013
The Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence, to which
was referred Bill C-42, An Act to amend the Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts, met this
day at 4:05 p.m. to give consideration to the bill.
Senator Daniel Lang (Chair) in the chair.
The Chair: Honourable senators, welcome to the Standing Senate
Committee on National Security and Defence for Monday, April 22. Before we
welcome our witnesses, I would like to begin by introducing the people
around the table. My name is Dan Lang, a senator from Yukon. On my immediate
left is the clerk of our committee, Josée Thérien. On my right are our
Library of Parliament analysts assigned to the committee, Holly Porteous and
I would like to go around the table and invite the senators to introduce
themselves and state the region they represent, starting with the deputy
Senator Dallaire: I am Senator Roméo Dallaire, and I represent the
Gulf of St. Lawrence and the Magdalen Islands.
Senator Mitchell: Grant Mitchell, Alberta.
Senator Day: Joseph Day from New Brunswick.
Senator Campbell: Larry Campbell from British Columbia.
Senator Patterson: Dennis Patterson, Nunavut.
Senator Nolin: Pierre Claude Nolin from the province of Quebec.
Senator Duffy: Mike Duffy, Prince Edward Island.
The Chair: Thank you. Today we are beginning consideration of Bill
C-42, An Act to amend the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act and to make
related and consequential amendments to other Acts. With us, on what is a
very busy day, are the Honourable Vic Toews, Minister of Public Safety;
François Guimont, Deputy Minister of Public Safety Canada; and Bob Paulson,
Commissioner, Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
Honourable senators, you will recall Minister Toews was last before the
committee almost one year ago during our study of Bill C-38, and
Commissioner Paulson appeared before us on October 22 last year to discuss
reforms and changes within the RCMP. At that time, Commissioner Paulson
provided an overview of Bill C-42, which was before the other place.
We are pleased to welcome the minister and commissioner back to this
committee. The minister will be available, I am hoping, until 5:15, and
Commissioner Paulson and the deputy minister will remain in attendance until
Minister, before you begin, I would like to offer our thanks and
congratulations to you, the commissioner, members of the RCMP and CSIS, as
well as our local police forces for the arrests of the two terrorist
suspects in Toronto and Montreal earlier today. Thank you for keeping our
Minister, welcome. I understand you have some opening comments you would
like to make.
Hon. Vic Toews, P.C., M.P., Minister of Public Safety: Thank you,
Mr. Chair. Honourable senators, I am very pleased to be here to assist in
your study of Bill C-42, the enhancing RCMP accountability act. I am joined,
as you have indicated, by Public Safety Deputy Minister François Guimont and
RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson.
I would also like to express my thanks to the RCMP for a very thorough
investigation, as well as to our American counterparts; I know the
commissioner was very appreciative of the help we received from the
Americans in the investigation that culminated in the two arrests today.
I would like to thank this committee for its ongoing interest in the
challenges facing our national police force. I have followed your study on
RCMP harassment, and I am happy to have the opportunity to discuss how Bill
C-42 will help address this serious issue.
I will also today address some concerns and misconceptions about the bill
and outline some important amendments that have been made during its review
in the other place.
Over the past several years, our government has worked with the RCMP and
the commissioner to find the best way forward to strengthen civilian review,
modernize the HR system within the RCMP and address issues of harassment.
The result is Bill C-42, a comprehensive piece of legislation that will make
several significant changes to the RCMP Act and create a modern,
accountable, national police force for the future.
Honourable senators, I would like to start with what Bill C-42 will not
do. There have been calls for our government to make the RCMP a separate
entity with separate employee status, as well as a board of management to
oversee the management of the RCMP. Our government feels that these changes
are not necessary for creating a revitalized, accountable police force.
Allow me to explain further.
Since 2007, we have seen great progress under the RCMP's transformation
agenda. We have seen the establishment of the RCMP Departmental Audit
Committee, as mandated under the Federal Accountability Act, which consists
of three prominent individuals independent of the RCMP. This committee
provides advice and recommendations on the adequacy and functioning of the
RCMP's risk management, as well as its control and governance frameworks and
As part of the renewed police services agreements, the RCMP Contract
Management Committee provides an opportunity for provinces and territories
to have real and meaningful input into decisions concerning accountability
and keeping policing costs low.
I would like to thank the commissioner for his leadership in respect to
that police services agreement, the 20-year agreement; and I want to thank
the various provinces and territories that worked very diligently with
members of my department, with the RCMP and, indeed, with discussions
involving myself to conclude that agreement.
With the passage of Bill C-42, a board of management would only create
unnecessary redundancies and complications in the RCMP's accountability and
oversight structures. I have talked about the redundancies that would occur
if this concept were to be adopted.
Next, I will address concerns that have been raised about this
legislation. It is important to point out that much of Bill C-42 deals with
the maintenance of internal discipline and integrity within the
organization. These measures are designed to regulate conduct related to
being a responsible member of the RCMP and thereby enhance public trust. Our
government is of the view that these measures are consistent with the rights
enshrined in the Charter. In fact, the tools provided by Bill C-42 are
similar to measures widely used in regulating the conduct not only of police
but also of many other types of professionals across Canada.
There are claims that RCMP members will be forced to incriminate
themselves during investigations. The authority to compel RCMP members to
respond to questions during internal investigations about members' conduct
has been in existence since 1988 and does not change under Bill C-42.
Indeed, the requirement that responses be provided to questions during the
investigation of allegations of misconduct is common in most professional
fields. It is important to note that, consistent with the protections
provided under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, any response given to a
question during a conduct proceeding cannot be used against the member in
any civil, administrative or criminal proceeding, except in a conduct
proceeding involving an allegation that the member knowingly gave a false
We have also heard claims related to the power of the RCMP to conduct an
ex parte search warrant on a member's home for non-criminal
administrative measures. The authority to obtain a search warrant or
production order for the purposes of an internal administrative conduct
investigation would not be unique to the RCMP. Indeed, these authorities
have existed in police statutes in British Columbia, Ontario and
Newfoundland and Labrador for several years. A search warrant is also
available to Ontario police investigators during an investigation into
performance issues of police.
Similar to the authorities found in the British Columbia, Ontario and
Newfoundland and Labrador statutes, Bill C- 42 has a built-in judicial
safeguard in that only a justice or provincial court judge has the authority
to grant a search warrant or production order. Bill C-42 goes further than
these other regimes by requiring that internal authorization be sought from
a designated officer prior to an application being brought before a justice.
Finally, the third claim is that Bill C-42 will prohibit members from
speaking publicly about issues within the force. The current RCMP code of
conduct regulations, and not Bill C-42, prohibit members from publicly
criticizing the force, which is the obligation that generally exists for all
public servants. Members are not, however, prevented from exercising their
rights as authorized by law relating to allegations of wrongdoing, including
the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act. This is what exists for all
public service employees employed by the government.
I have spent some time reviewing what Bill C-42 will not do. I will now
move on to what it will do, because I strongly believe that this legislation
will help bring about the changes we are looking for — changes that have
been called for by Canadians and RCMP members alike.
In terms of this committee's recent study, when implemented, Bill C-42
will undoubtedly have a positive and significant impact on the ongoing
efforts to address harassment and conduct issues in the RCMP by overcoming
the current situation, which requires parallel processes that struggle to
meet the separate requirements of the Treasury Board policy on harassment
and the RCMP's own code of conduct. It will do this by modernizing the
internal human resources management structure, which includes the discipline
and grievance systems within the RCMP. For example, Bill C-42 will provide
the Commissioner of the RCMP with the authority to establish a single,
comprehensive system for investigating and resolving harassment concerns.
The RCMP Commissioner will also have the authority to appoint and promote
most commissioned officers and establish rules with respect to the stoppage
of pay and allowances for members who are ordered dismissed by a conduct
board or who have been suspended from duty pending the resolution of their
During this committee's study of RCMP harassment, you heard about the
current challenges and the pressing need for change. By modernizing the
human resources regime and the grievance and discipline procedures, Bill
C-42 will provide a solid foundation to implement this change.
In her testimony before this committee, the Chair of the RCMP External
Review Committee noted that Bill C-42 will provide the flexibility necessary
for the RCMP to renew, revitalize and reform their internal processes, and
that it will thereby help restore some confidence on the part of RCMP
members and the public. This further cements why we need to move ahead
swiftly with the current legislation. A major cultural shift in our national
police force can only go so far and needs changes to the underlying
legislative framework. While legislation alone cannot bring about cultural
change, it can serve as a catalyst for change.
Our government introduced amendments in the other place that further
strengthen Bill C-42. In addition to some technical amendments, three
substantive amendments were introduced, including allowing retired RCMP
members to work as reservists for six months or more to provide more
flexible staffing options to commanding officers; clarifying that the
chairperson of the civilian review and complaints commission, like all
commission members, is immune from legal action or from testifying on
matters related to the work of the commission; and ensuring that the RCMP
Commissioner cannot refuse to investigate a complaint initiated by the
chairperson of the new committee.
Our government believes firmly that we are on the right path to transform
the RCMP into the modern, accountable police force that Canadians expect and
deserve. From the RCMP Commissioner, from senior management and from RCMP
members, we have seen a collective desire to meet this goal.
Before I close, I want to address one final concern. There is a concern
that Bill C-45, the Jobs and Growth Act, 2012, will adversely affect RCMP
civilian members converting, specific to the pension amendments increasing
the retirement age to 65 for all new public service employees. The Treasury
Board, as the employer, will determine whether this will occur and when, and
I can assure the committee and RCMP civilian members that this will not
occur until RCMP and Treasury Board pension officials have reviewed the
policy considerations and mechanics of converting civilian members to public
servants in light of the amendments in Bill C-45, the Jobs and Growth Act,
Thank you. I am now happy to answer any questions you may have.
The Chair: Thank you, Mr. Minister. Before we start the
proceedings, it is my understanding that you will have to leave at five
o'clock. Is that correct?
Mr. Toews: Apparently, I do.
The Chair: Apparently you do.
Mr. Toews: It appears I have an appointment somewhere else. I am
sorry about that.
The Chair: I just want to clarify for the proceedings here.
Mr. Toews: I just thought in fairness to the committee, since I
had come a little late I was prepared to stay, but if there are other
commitments I will have to honour those.
The Chair: Commissioner Paulson, are you able to stay until 5:30?
Bob Paulson, Commissioner, Royal Canadian Mounted Police: I can
stay as late as needed.
The Chair: Thank you.
Mr. Minister, your comments were very helpful in setting the stage for
our consideration of Bill C-42, and I would like to begin by asking two
questions as chair.
First, given this bill would be largely guided by regulations, which have
yet to be presented, and that as written the current bill does not contain
any review provisions, would you have any difficulty if Parliament or, more
specifically, this committee were to seek to review this bill in three years
as part of ensuring it achieves what you and the commissioner are proposing?
Mr. Toews: Well, Mr. Chair, I think that in view of the
substantive changes that are being made to the operational framework of the
RCMP, I would not have any concern about that. I think that is a prudent
step to take, and if the Senate is willing to undertake that kind of review
I am certainly not going to stand in its way.
The Chair: Thank you, minister. Also, this bill delegates
significant powers to the commissioner, including new powers to appoint
deputy commissioners, officers, et cetera. What are the checks and balances
available to you and the members of the RCMP regular forces to ensure that
these new powers are not abused?
Mr. Toews: That is a good question. Do you want to deal with that,
Mr. Paulson: Thank you, minister; thank you, Mr. Chair, ladies and
While the bill speaks to the appointment of senior officers, the practice
at present is recommendations for order-in- council orders at my
recommendation. The new vision for these appointments is, much like we are
doing in the new contract for the contract provinces, to consult with
provincial authorities on the appointments of commanding officers and deputy
commissioners where they are deputy commissioners, and the same thing with
minister and the government, to check with them for those senior
appointments. In terms of checks and balances, I would think my HR practices
and the transparency with which those appointments are made will be
available to review perhaps even by the new CRCC envisioned by this
legislation because they can do policy reviews. If it became of interest to
them that they might want to see how the commissioner is appointing some of
his officers, then they would be free to come and have a look at that. That
is the check.
Mr. Toews: There is that remedy that the commissioner has
indicated. In fact, the practice is that when the commissioner recommends an
appointment I cannot recall of any appointment not being approved by the
government. Certainly in my experience I have never witnessed that. That, in
fact, is the practice when the commissioner makes a recommendation, and
given the external independent review that can occur now, we believe that if
the commissioner were in any way to abuse the authority or there were a
perception of abuse it would be the jurisdiction to look at that.
This is a further step to indicate that the RCMP is independent of
government, and the more we can foster that while still maintaining strong
accountability is a good step for the RCMP.
The Chair: Thank you, minister.
Senator Dallaire: Welcome again, minister. The last time we spoke
formally you were hoping Bill C-42 would permit the RCMP to have the
authorities it needs to maintain the discipline within the force, to develop
its ethos and its sense of responsibility to its members, as well to the
Canadian public, and ultimately this reform would change the image that the
RCMP has amongst its own troops, let alone the outside world.
I am looking at what the commissioner had as tools. That is why I am
looking at the two of you synchronizing here. The RCMP had the RCMP
Regulations, 1988, and, pursuant with the RCMP Act, the commissioner's
standing orders to work and to permit the RCMP Act to allow the commissioner
to make significant decisions in regard to standing orders and rules within
I am trying to compare it to where I have come from in looking at this.
Although this legislation is explicit in generally what you want to do and
there are regulations, why did those tools of the past break down? If they
broke down, can you actually say that this thing is going far enough to
rectify and to give that authority? As an example, the Chief of the Defence
Staff has within the Queen's Regulations and Orders the National Defence
Act. Will there still be a delta there in order to establish that same sense
of responsibility and protection for the troops and the senior leadership?
Mr. Toews: Thank you, senator. In fact, it was your comments that
stayed with me when you indicated that as a senior officer in the Canadian
Armed Forces you had a significant amount of authority to exercise
discipline in respect of many matters, including I think sending someone to
jail for a period of time.
Senator Dallaire: The gallows for a while, too.
Mr. Toews: We will not go there. However, it struck me that as an
operating organization we could learn from the military and see whether we
could utilize some of those tools. When looking at the authority of RCMP
line officers, sergeants and corporals, they virtually had no authority to
do anything. In fact, as soon as there was any kind of administrative
concern or administrative offence it went into a very formal, convoluted
process that simply bogged down the system for years in respect of
relatively minor complaints. Matters that should have been dealt with
expeditiously and summarily were in fact aggravatingly long.
I believe that giving that authority, as we do with the Canadian Armed
Forces, to the lower level officers will in fact enhance the ability of the
RCMP to hold people accountable at the line and still provide a protection
for the officers being disciplined. I am satisfied we have achieved that
balance. Given the differences between the military and the RCMP, I would
not want to go any further than we have already gone.
Senator Dallaire: By bringing in this capability that was not
there and delegating not only responsibility but authority to lower levels,
what does not come out in your HR reform — because the term "reform'' is
used, which is not an insignificant term; it is stronger than "renewal''
and all those other things — is how that whole officer cadre will be
realigned in order to handle the significant power in the process of its
implementation and subsequently ensuring that it will be credible and
ethical in so doing. That does not come across as part of the package in
Bill C-42. Is there a way that that will be presented to us?
Mr. Toews: I think that reform is implicit in the substantive
changes being made in the law. The RCMP will have to take on that
responsibility to carry out that legislative mandate at an operational
I am wondering whether the commissioner can add anything to that.
Mr. Paulson: Yes, thank you, minister. Mr. Chair, what I would say
is that the structural changes have already started to happen, so we have
eliminated two regions of the country. We have eliminated a layer of deputy
commissioners and the associated bureaucracy. We are realigning how regions
were organized and the HR responsibilities that were being managed within
these regions, so we have eliminated that as well.
When we say that we are putting the responsibility for discipline down to
the lowest level, we are going down to NCOs, corporals and sergeants. The
COs, the commanding officers of the divisions, are reporting directly to me.
I have a central body in our HR world that is overseeing the administration
of all these things. There will be a much more direct line of accountability
with a line of sight for me and for my professional integrity officer, whom
I believe you have heard from, perhaps. We are building that office as well
to give that overlay of accountability to this new approach. There is no
question that it is a little revolutionary, given how our previous system
had worked, but I think we are persuaded that the solution lies in the front
line's discharging of the responsibilities to lead these men and women in
these important jobs they do.
Senator Dallaire: I have a follow-up question on oversight.
The Chair: I would ask everyone to keep their preambles to a
minimum because we only have the minister for 30 minutes. I will call on
Senator Plett: Thank you, minister and commissioner, for being
here. I will keep my preamble short. Minister, would you be able to comment
on the overall budget associated with Bill C-42 and specifically with the
new complaints review commission, as well as modernizing the human resources
Mr. Toews: As I understand it, that will involve approximately $15
million more a year, with $5 million to the complaints commission and $10
million to the rest of the initiative.
Senator Plett: What do we have now?
François Guimont, Deputy Minister, Public Safety Canada: If I may,
my understanding is that right now the current commission functions at about
$5.4 million. That is their A base. It will be augmented by $5 million, so
they will be operating with a budget of $10 million overall. There has been
an adjustment. Their original budget was around $5.4 million, as I
mentioned, and there was a program integrity augmentation that was provided
per annum, so they were at about $8.5 million. Net will be $1.9 million more
for an overall $10 million for operations.
Senator Plett: As you are aware, this committee is right now
dealing with harassment in the RCMP, and we will be writing a report. Would
you or the commissioner be able to comment on what Bill C-42 will do to
improve the ability of the commissioner to possibly be able to deal with
disputes relating to harassment?
Mr. Toews: It is, in fact, a very important issue. I know some
observations were made in the other place that the word "harassment''
itself does not appear in the legislation. That is a strange way of looking
at a piece of legislation. What we are concerned about is inappropriate
conduct, which clearly falls into the context and which would include
With the manner in which we have devolved responsibility to lower level
officers, as well as the independent oversight that is now present in the
RCMP, I think we are well positioned to deal with individual complaints as
well as any systemic concerns.
Mr. Paulson: I might add that the way to a more efficient and
effective approach to harassment through Bill C-42 is arrived at through a
recognition that the RCMP currently, in the case of regular members engaged
in a harassment situation, takes a very criminal investigative approach to
it. You heard the minister in his opening comments talk about this
bifurcated system that complicates moving forward to address the harassment
so we end up in this protracted disciplinary grievance process. We are
streamlining that, giving me the authority to be able to devise and
implement a streamlined approach to have respectful workplace or early
intervention offices in every division, and they are fostering and
encouraging the early resolution of these workplace conflict issues that
give rise to harassment. A number of initiatives within the act provide me
the specific tools I need to streamline the response, that is, the process,
but also to get to the heart of the matter, which is how we interact with
each other on the front line.
Senator Mitchell: Thank you, Mr. Minister, for being here and for
your support for the efforts of the Senate. I know you were behind this
inquiry and this study of ours, and we appreciate that.
I am not quite as optimistic that Bill C-42 will accomplish what it is
that we all want to accomplish. I do not deny that it is a tool in the tool
box but, when you think about it, almost every feature of it is dealing with
a problem after the fact that the problem has occurred — firing power after
a problem has occurred, a grievance procedure after something needs to be
grieved, a serious incident investigation after a serious incident. I am not
convinced that it really addresses, and this is Senator Dallaire's point,
the cultural problem that has allowed and engendered these problems to exist
in the first place.
You mentioned the transformation that has been going on for five or six
years, since 2007. Well into Commissioner Paulson's new mandate, we find
that a young woman was sexually harassed, slapped twice inappropriately in a
social incident and ridiculed in that environment. In the end, she was
vindicated to the extent that the constable who did it was told to apologize
and lost seven days' pay, but she had to move. The message that sends to the
organization on behalf of that woman, about that woman, is that somehow she
was wrong. I am not convinced that the change deep in the culture is there.
We find as recently as a year ago that a sergeant exposed himself and was
convicted by a tribunal, and the tribunal could have fired him but did not.
The conduct board, now in this bill with three people, could be the same
three people who refused to fire him this time, so they could actually be
put back in place.
The point is, where do we get the comfort and conviction that there
really is an understanding that, beyond just good intention, something much
deeper and more is being done than simply a bill? I am not saying it is
nothing because it is of some consequence, but it is a bill that simply
deals with the problems after they occur.
Mr. Toews: Let us address that, and let us think about what
legislation should accomplish. In my view, there will be very few pieces of
legislation that will address those kinds of issues proactively. I do not
know how you do that through legislation. You can put into a statute that
the guiding principle of the RCMP will be to not harass anyone. Again, it is
a relatively meaningless statement if there is not a desire among senior
management to accomplish that end.
What I think happened with the RCMP, from a legislative point of view,
was that the ability to move quickly to impose appropriate discipline was
simply not there. That bred an inappropriate attitude and inappropriate
conduct with the feeling that you could get away with acting
inappropriately. Unless you respond virtually immediately to these matters,
that type of conduct will be seen as being condoned, whether it is or not.
The legislation brings the right of the officers to move very quickly to
immediately stop it.
Then the issue is how we break out of this cultural mould, and that is
what the RCMP commissioner has to do in terms of proactive initiatives.
Policy reviews is one proactive step that can be taken under the
legislation. How do we change this culture from a policy point of view?
There are certain things that can be done proactively, but again it depends
each on the goodwill of the officers in place. We also have that independent
review committee that takes these steps and ensures that if the commissioner
is not doing his or her job, then there will be some way to hold them
Senator Mitchell: That is certainly reassuring, and I do not
disagree with you at all. I agree with you that Bill C-42 legislation cannot
fix it. What I am trying to get at is what, besides that, is fixing it? I
will get to that because, in fact, there are those who would argue that if
you give the power to fire to lower and lower echelons and disperse it, you
possibly give power to the harassers to fire the people who have complained
that they are being harassed by them.
My point will come to — Commissioner Paulson alluded to it and he will
undoubtedly do so again — the respectful workplace. When we had senior
members here, I asked someone who should have been responsible for this,
"What is your budget, not for Bill C-42, but for respectful workplaces,''
and that senior officer did not know. We asked someone else who had
responsibility for implementing — no national standards. I asked the
auditor, "Have you done a baseline audit?'' The Simmie Smith study done in
B.C. was a great study. Why is that not being done all the way across? In
B.C. 462 members were able to present their case, and it is a powerful
report. Why do we not do that across the country to create a baseline?
Then I asked, "Have you got an audit process for a year or two years
from now?'' No, the auditor had not, so what I will suggest is the
suggestion that while there are good intentions, there is not really a grasp
of what needs to be done. If you were managing this, you would say, "I will
have an audit, I will have it now and later, and I will have all these
things in place; I will have a budget, and the person responsible will know
the budget,'' but I do not think that is happening.
Mr. Toews: My understanding from the RCMP is in fact that they are
doing exactly that. I do not know if you could give a quick summary of that.
Mr. Paulson: We are doing exactly what you were just saying. We
are implementing a respectful workplace plan by division. The minister gave
me clear marching orders to keep up with a plan for gender and respect. We
developed a comprehensive action plan called "Gender and Respect,'' and we
are implementing that now. We have appointed a senior officer who is doing
that, so I do not know why you would think it is not getting done, because
Senator Mitchell: Just the answers I got. I will send you the
Mr. Toews: I appreciate that.
Senator Nolin: Minister, Mr. Guimont and Mr. Paulson, thank you
for accepting our invitation to be here. I was glad to hear your reference
to the relationship between Bill C-42 and Bill C-45 in your introductory
Minister, the civilian employees of the RCMP are concerned — and you made
reference to that in your remarks — about the fact that, basically, they do
not want more rights. They just do not want fewer rights than they had prior
to the end of December 31, when Bill C-45 kicked in with the Treasury Board.
They want to be reassured by you as minister, and of course by the
government, that they will be somewhat grandfathered, like all other public
servants were, on December 31, 2012, when Bill C-45 kicked in. That is what
they are waiting for from you. Of course, I totally respect that the
government will find the proper way, and of course there will be discussions
between Treasury Board and their own representatives to ensure that will
transition smoothly to Bill C-45, but they want to be reassured that they
will not lose anything in that process.
Mr. Toews: As has been stated, while I might be responsible for
the RCMP, I am not the employer. I want to assure you that the concerns you
have raised and that I referred to in my opening statement will be raised
with Treasury Board.
Senator Nolin: I understand that we will receive representatives
from Treasury Board later on in the study on Bill C- 42, and I will put to
them a more specific question about how they want to achieve that policy
question that you understand as being important.
Senator Campbell: Do we have any ongoing, forward-looking plan for
the civilian members? We have been getting lots of emails; there are 3,800
civilian members. I know it will be Treasury Board who will be addressing
them, but they have some legitimate areas of concern.
As a former Mountie, I know how important civilian members are, and I
would not want to say there is a lack of trust if you are not a civilian
member, but there is certainly something there for a member to be talking to
a civilian member or to know that it is a civilian member who is involved.
Why are we doing this? Why would we take civilian members and place them
under the public service?
Mr. Paulson: For a couple of reasons. First, we call it the
category of employee discussion, where we effectively have three large
categories. We have what we call regular members, civilian members and
public servants, but you will know, senator, that there are also municipal
employees and provincial employees. This has been a long-standing effort to
bring efficiency to the force.
You may also note that in the current legislation, there is no provision
to have civilian members in the RCMP. In fact, there has never been any
legal basis to have civilian members in the RCMP. There is some legal basis
to have some pension matters, but in any case, the idea is to bring it
As I have said in my town halls, if we could have one category of
employee, that would be ideal. A public servant category of professionally
developed, motivated, instructed and trained people doing the same work that
our civilian members are doing now is a much more efficient approach to HR
than having three.
The back office that is here at headquarters supports all the pay
systems, management systems and developmental systems for civilian members
and brings us closer together as an organization, allowing for some
Senator Campbell: Would you go to one single category of regular
member and one category of public servant? Would those be your two
Mr. Paulson: That is exactly right, yes.
Senator Campbell: There would be no civilian member in the middle?
Mr. Paulson: That is right.
Senator Campbell: Is there an opportunity to grandfather the
people who are already there as civilian members? They have some
expectations with regard to the pension and in getting service pay after
five years. There is a bunch of stuff wrapped up in that. People have made
life decisions according to this, so is there an opportunity to grandfather
the civilian members in, have a start date and from now on you will be a
Mr. Toews: That is essentially the discussion that will occur with
Treasury Board, to ensure that this is done in the most equitable way.
Certainly, as I have indicated to some of the other senators, I will ensure
that Treasury Board is aware of the concerns raised by individuals, as you
say, who have made decisions in their career and now find themselves
potentially impacted by changes in the legislative framework.
Senator Campbell: Thank you very much, minister and commissioner.
Senator Patterson: I wanted to thank the witnesses. I would like
to ask the minister, I know there has been quite a background leading us to
this new legislation. Could you briefly outline the process of consultation
that has gotten us here today?
Mr. Toews: The process has been quite extensive. As you may know,
the legislation and the legislative package originally included provisions
related to the unionization of the RCMP. That came about as a result of
certain court decisions. The problem was, when you read the court decisions,
they did not seem to make very much sense — I say that very respectfully —
in terms of actually applying it into the workplace. It seemed to me, given
my labour and constitutional law background, that there was something wrong
with that decision. The decision was appealed and we waited and waited. We
consulted extensively — the commissioner, prior commissioners and others —
with members about how change should occur. Eventually, I made the decision
that we could not wait for the courts any longer in terms of the
unionization aspect and simply said we would proceed on Bill C-42, which you
essentially find before you today, and we left the unionization.
Subsequently the court came out and overturned some of the disconcerting
aspects of the union aspect of the legislation. By that time we had already
gone too far down the path to include those aspects of the legislation, so
we left that alone.
Perhaps the commissioner can add something; I know the consultation was
done before your time.
Mr. Paulson: We have consulted extensively within the
organization. In fact, we are building a planning section, in the event that
this legislation is passed, that incorporates all of the component parts of
the organization. We have been outside of the organization to other
organizations, to other police forces, and we have compared some of the
proposed practices with the most modern approaches to police HR systems, so
we have been extensively consultative.
Senator Day: Gentlemen, the first area I would like to explore is
the parallel with the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and its
oversight body, the Security Intelligence Review Committee, and, in
particular, access to documents. My understanding is the members of SIRC are
Privy Councillors and they are given that level of authority. Do you
contemplate a similar type of clearance for the new civilian review
Mr. Paulson: I think we do anticipate that, subject to some
privileges, which I think are in place in all the applications of a similar
Mr. Toews: It is fairly expansive, if you look at the legislation.
I know we have had some fairly significant discussions about the appropriate
extent to which that should be released and which privileges should remain.
We felt there should be a greater ability to access that documentation, with
Senator Day: That supports the parallel that SIRC has worked
fairly well with respect to CSIS.
Mr. Toews: Yes; it is a different context; there are some
differences. I cannot remember them off the top of my head, but I know when
I was involved in those discussions, certainly the CSIS and the SIRC review
and the disclosure issue was discussed thoroughly and we came to the
conclusion that this is about as appropriate a situation that we wanted to
Senator Day: My other area, which follows on from that, is with
respect to the relationship between the civilian review group that is
contemplated by this legislation and the provision in here in relation to
serious incidents that can be referred to an oversight or a review body in
one of the provinces, if there exists such a group.
Can you describe the relationship with respect to a serious incident? It
could possibly be something that the civilian review agency might want to
look into, but you might also want to refer this to an oversight body in the
province where the serious incident occurred. How will that be worked out
and who will be the referee here?
Mr. Toews: The jurisdiction is quite different. One relates almost
exclusively to criminal investigations. That is why we would rather not have
police investigating police insofar as it is available to give that to an
independent agency. The proposed civilian review and complaints commission
would have a slightly different, non-criminal review power.
Mr. Paulson: In our contract context, British Columbia just stood
up a new independent review mechanism for police incidents where people are
seriously hurt or killed or for other incidents. There is discretion to do
the investigation. What is contemplated here for the CRCC is that they are
able to make that determination and refer it. Currently, there is a
legislative impasse between the CPC and these bodies coming up, province by
province. It is a mechanism to allow the CRCC to refer these things in that
context to those review agencies.
Senator Day: From a jurisdictional point of view, we have a
provincial agency investigating federal employees.
Mr. Paulson: Right.
Senator Day: Is that something that you would have to get involved
in in each case to delegate to that authority to the provincial authority?
Mr. Paulson: No. We are doing it in the provincial force context
or in a municipal context. One of the challenges that we are meeting with
this new legislation is the idea that the RCMP has always been open to
independent review and independent investigation of incidents that are of
public interest, but in some of these provinces they have not existed. Now
they are popping up in all the jurisdictions. The minister and I have taken
the position that we are not opposed to being reviewed in that respect. As
for what we do as a federal police force, the CRCC will have the
jurisdiction to come in, open our filing cabinets and ask us questions about
our policies and about ongoing investigations. I think it is a good balance
in terms of striking a balance between our activities.
Senator Day: I would like to go on, but I think the minister's
time is up.
Mr. Toews: It does get a little confusing sometimes — not to those
who will actually work with the legislation, but for a layperson and for
those of us on the outside. Ultimately, those provincial review bodies do
not have the power to discipline the officer; that still remains in federal
Senator Day: That is helpful.
Mr. Toews: The review that occurs could be recommending criminal
charges, for example. That then goes to the Crown attorney, who looks at it,
and then it might go to the courts. Ultimately, the issue of discipline will
still remain in federal jurisdiction as opposed to the jurisdiction of those
provincial ones because of that constitutional issue.
Senator Day: That is helpful, Mr. Minister; thank you.
The Chair: One more question for the minister, Senator Dallaire.
It will be a short question, as we are coming up to five o'clock.
Senator Dallaire: Regarding the CRCC, this states that "the
Commission may, on the request of the Minister'' — and I am addressing this
question to you, sir — "or on its own initiative, conduct a review of
specified activities of the Force.'' So you are bringing in a whole set of
tools for the commissioner. I am relating you to the CDS sort of thing. You
are getting a whole new set of tools to do the job better, but in your role,
minister, will you create an oversight body that will be either that CRCC
that you will give direction to or some other body that will ensure that
that plan of reform that the commissioner wants to do will actually happen
to the level that will bring about for him, as well as for the Canadian
people, the sense that they have conducted a reform and that they have done
it, very rapidly? For $5 million or $10 million, I am surprised you will be
able to do that. We had to create a new Canadian Forces Leadership Institute
and a bunch of other assets over years to bring that about. Do you not think
maybe your role will be significant in that implementation plan?
Mr. Toews: Certainly there must be some degree of leadership and
direction from the government. However, given that it is an independent
police force, we have to be very clear. That is why it is so good that I can
simply refer a matter to the proposed civilian review and complaints
commission and let them then do the appropriate investigation, or they can
do it of their own accord. Ultimately, there still has to be a reporting
back to me of the CRCC's findings. As well, I can also go directly to the
commissioner and say, "I am very unhappy with what has gone on in the
police department. I have a report here from the CRCC and they say certain
things but I want to hear directly from you as well.'' This does not excuse
the responsibility of the minister to remain responsible in a parliamentary
sense for that organization.
I see this as an additional tool that will provide the RCMP with a degree
of oversight but will still hold ministers accountable for how they deal
with the RCMP.
The Chair: It is now five o'clock. We will excuse the minister.
Minister, thank you very much for your leadership on this bill — I know it
has been a long road — and for taking time once again to appear before the
committee. We always appreciate your time.
We will continue our questions with Commissioner Paulson and Deputy
Minister Guimont as part of this panel. Mark Potter, Director General,
Policing Policy Directorate, Public Safety Canada, is joining the panel to
support the deputy.
Senator Dallaire: I am looking at the deputy minister now, if I
may, and his area of responsibility in the implementation of this bill and
meeting the requirements that the commissioner may call for in relation to
how those regulations will be articulated in order for him to meet the
reform that he is articulating he needs.
Are there any queries at all in implementing Bill C-42 from the RCMP that
are not being met because of a resource limitation of any sort?
Mr. Guimont: Thank you for the question. In the references to the
budget that I made earlier on, I did indicate that the current budget of the
program integrity of CPC as it stands was augmented and there will be a
further top-up of $1.9 million. This was based on a business case, which I
am sure Mr. Potter will be able to refer to. There are obviously
projections, but we feel confident that with this increment, this permanent
budget for the new body, they will be able to function and discharge their
Senator Dallaire: I wish to pursue that, if I may. I am looking at
the enormous responsibilities that are being brought to the commissioner in
his reform of the structure, and remembering that we moved authority and
responsibility down lower. There will be a significant amount of reform, of
education, of training and of development of his officer corps, both senior,
middle, the NCO corps and potential changes even in Depot in some of the
length of training that is required there because you will be adding some
elements. If their depots are like any others, they are already chockablock
full and there is no room in the syllabus and you may need more time.
We are using the term "formation'' of budgetary cuts. I am looking at
you most deliberately, sir. Is there any way, shape or form that to
implement the significance of this change, which is difficult to quantify at
this point, there would be restrictions or restraints or unavailability of
resources to actually bring about that reform?
Mr. Guimont: I would simply say that, with the new commission, we
believe the resources allocated will be adequate.
I would, however, like to draw a distinction, Mr. Chair.
A lot of the human resources management regime of the RCMP, which I will
let Commissioner Paulson speak to, is not tied to the budgetary envelope
that will come with the commission.
Senator Dallaire: That is only one thing.
Mr. Guimont: That is only one thing. I am sure Mr. Paulson can
speak to this. That is very important because certain efficiencies may just
help save resources, but I will let Commissioner Paulson address that.
Mr. Paulson: Just speaking to the broad arc of your question,
senator, we have a fairly robust or sizable HR component. In fact, we are
bringing efficiencies to our HR machine right now, with a view to maximizing
the available resources within our HR machine from headquarters out to the
divisions. We are also planning to use this $10 million, which is a sizable
sum of new money that was set aside, to build the training that will be
required to deliver on this bill. That includes the training of the NCOs,
the training of the officers — the central oversight. We are absolutely
persuaded we can do it for that amount of money and our existing
considerable HR machine. However, as I think you realize, you cannot put a
dollar figure on the revolution we are trying to bring to our leadership
training, to our management training and to our HR machine more broadly.
Senator Duffy: Commissioner, just following up on that very point,
is any instruction given at the moment at your training depot to new
recruits about a respectful workplace and how they should get along with
Mr. Paulson: Yes, there is. In fact, it is a piece of their
development through Depot and as they go out into field training and as they
go off and begin to assume more and more responsibilities. I am very
satisfied with how we are addressing an approach to a respectful workplace
with our young, new people. They do not seem to be the lion's share of the
Senator Duffy: As we often see in life, some of this may be a
generational thing, so get them early.
One of the differences between the RCMP and the military, which some
Canadians may not understand, is that you started out and every other
officer in the RCMP started out as a constable and went through the same
training. That is unlike the military, which has an officer corps that is
trained separately from the enlisted ranks. How do you think that will help
you in this important project, in that everyone gets exactly the same
Mr. Paulson: It helps me to understand both the perspective of our
front line officers and also our middle managers and our senior managers. I
feel very fortunate to be able to look to those various perspectives. That
said, I recognize that there needs to be a push — and the senator and I have
talked about this before — towards our professionalization, or
re-professionalization of our officer corps. We are actively engaged in that
as we speak.
Senator Duffy: Finally, in relation to morale in the force, how
many people, both civilian members and public servants, are we talking
Mr. Paulson: In total, just a little over 30,000.
Senator Duffy: You are the size of a small city. In P.E.I. it
would be a big city. What would be your assessment of the harassment
problems in that 30,000 corps compared to the industrial workplace
generally? No one wants to minimize this, but I think it is important that
for this national institution, which we all hold in highest esteem, the
complaints and comments about it are seen in perspective with society. After
all, your 30,000 are ordinary Canadians who are trained to do extraordinary
Mr. Paulson: Yes, senator, and I will say that our harassment
statistics — I have them here and I can dig them out in a second — are
comparable, if I can use that term, to those of other police forces. In fact
they are lower than some other police forces and comparable to industry, but
I think what is at stake is the enormous expectation and pride that
Canadians have in the RCMP. When we have episodes of misconduct that have
been so very public in recent years, people are disappointed and they expect
better. I cannot reason it away. We have to conduct ourselves at a much
higher standard, and my officers are up for that.
Senator Mitchell: There was a report in the newspaper not that
long ago that outlined, commissioner, that you had started recording and
going back and getting stats on problems, and that is excellent. The point
was made that a number of these problems had been brought to tribunal and,
of those, 35 cases were of sexual assault or assault, 30 officers were
deemed to have been impaired on the job or while driving, and 29 Mounties
were deemed to have given false or misleading statements. I would like to
give you the chance to clarify this because I am sure this is not the kind
of message you want to send. It says that you said that 95 per cent are just
things where people have made mistakes. That is not the kind of message you
would want to send to your force in dealing with these kinds of issues,
because clearly sexual assaults and being impaired on the job are not
mistakes. They are way past that. Would you like to address that?
Mr. Paulson: I will address what I think I understand you to be
asking, but I really do not see what the question is, particularly. If you
are asking me if I think that sexual assault, showing up drunk and doing the
other things that you have enumerated constitute just mistakes, then you are
right and that is not what I meant.
I want to take a second to go back, because I remember making those
comments. My members, as I was responding to some of these episodes in the
public domain, have been looking to me and saying, "Hey, commissioner, do
not lump us all in the same boat as some of these characters. Do not do it.
We are doing a Cadillac job, day-in and day-out, busting our guts for
Canadians. Stop doing that, commissioner.'' My point in the 95 per cent
number was to illustrate that. By and large, our membership, as evidenced
today, does exceptional work for Canadians, and we have been tarred by a few
bad apples, as they have been called in the media. I think what this is all
about is to try to get tools so that we do not have those things detract and
distract from public confidence in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
Senator Mitchell: What would you do in a situation that I just
related to earlier? The young woman is not at fault. It has clearly been
determined by your processes that she is not at fault. She is the one who
has to move. Could you not pick up the phone and say, "No, I will step in
and make everyone else move?'' Would that not send a powerful message?
Mr. Paulson: Absolutely. What we are trying to say, senator, is
that we want to get in front of these workplace conflicts immediately. We do
not want to get to the point where we have to go to a disciplinary tribunal
because people are not getting along in the workplace. We want supervisors
to intervene in the first instance. I want my leaders to know their people
and to be accountable for their people.
I think I know the case you are referring to. When you say that she was
forced to move, I think the circumstances gave rise to her being forced to
move, but I think she agreed and sought a move. I am not taking it out of
Senator Mitchell: She may not have had any choice.
Mr. Paulson: That is right. I give you that.
Senator Mitchell: Finally, the point that you are making, which is
a powerful one, is that this has to go down and people have to learn and you
are getting processes in place. I notice that you have a supervisor
development program and a manager development program, and those have been
mandatory. However, statistics we saw in one report showed that of the 1,872
people who took the supervisory development program, only 699 completed it,
and of the 699 who took the manager development program, only 276 completed
it. Clearly, that has to answer to harassment.
The Chair: Get to the question. We have three other senators who
want to ask questions.
Senator Mitchell: How do you get people to understand that it is
important that they take these courses, listen to your orders and listen to
your command structure?
Mr. Paulson: I can be brief in the answer. I have addressed that
specific concern. I share that concern with you. You start to make promotion
dependent on completion of that.
Senator Nolin: I am not sure whether the answer should come from
Deputy Minister Guimont or the commissioner, but I would like to explore the
relationship between Bill C-42 and Bill C-45 a bit further.
I assume that when Bill C-42 was brought forward, in June 2012, you
expected that it would be passed before Bill C- 45 and that the whole
transition would happen properly.
What was the plan, in June, when you finally received the authorization
to introduce Bill C-42? Was the idea to transfer the responsibility for
civilian employees to Treasury Board with their existing RCMP rights?
Basically, I would just like to reassure those who are following our
proceedings and who started writing us in January. I have been hearing about
the matter since January and February of this year; people realize that an
unexpected relationship between the two pieces of legislation has emerged
and they want to know what is happening with their rights.
What were you planning at the time? I assume it was not to take away any
of their rights. I am not sure who out of the two of you would like to
Mr. Guimont: Who out of the three of us, in fact. Unless Mr.
Paulson has the answer, I will turn that over to Mr. Potter.
Mark Potter, Director General, Policing Policy Directorate, Public
Safety Canada: As the minister indicated, this is really an employer
issue. There is an enabling provision in the bill to allow for the
conversion of civilian members to public service employees. The Treasury
Board is responsible for that, as the employer. The Treasury Board, I
understand from comments I have heard, will be called before this committee.
They can give you an update on the process of their analysis related to this
conversion. However, in looking at the implications for civilian members and
their terms and conditions of employment, they would certainly take into
consideration broader government changes with respect to public service
pensions. I have no direct knowledge of where they are in that process, but
I know it is an ongoing analysis.
Senator Nolin: I understand what Mr. Potter just said. But I would
like to know what the initial thinking was. How did you intend to deal with
those people? I assume you were not going to take away any of their rights.
Mr. Paulson: No, absolutely not.
Senator Nolin: I would just like you to say that publicly.
Mr. Paulson: I will answer in English.
Senator Nolin: Go ahead.
Mr. Paulson: As has been pointed out, Treasury Board is the
employer, and there is a recognition that this transition, if it comes to
pass, would require a number of administrative engagements. Our Public
Safety staff are working with the Treasury Board Secretariat to identify
categories within the public service where they exist or where they do not
exist within the public service in describing them, all with a view to being
fair. I do not want to go any further than that, because Treasury Board is
the employer, but we are working actively now to try to lay out a framework
to make this transition as fair and as equitable as possible in the
tradition of the Government of Canada.
Senator Day: I would like to go back to the question we were
talking about, and I am trying to get clear in my mind this role of
delegation to a civilian oversight body. I thought I heard you suggest that
this would only be in the case where the activity is a contract that the
federal authority has with that province to do contract policing, which
would exclude, for example, an airport, which is federal jurisdiction.
Therefore, if a serious incident took place in an airport in Vancouver,
would we, under this new legislation, anticipate that the commission could
delegate to a provincial oversight body, if one existed?
Mr. Paulson: I will ask Mr. Potter to speak to this, because he is
more up on it than I am. As I understand, it separates along the lines of
criminal investigation of our members, which is a provincial responsibility.
The other oversight of our practice, of our behaviours, of our conduct, is
another matter, and perhaps I should stop talking.
Mr. Potter: Thank you, senator. I think it is probably helpful to
say at the beginning that any particular incident in which a member of the
public has an interaction with the RCMP can give rise to three separate but
sometimes related processes. There can be a public complaint process, there
can be a criminal investigation process, and there can be an internal
discipline process. Any one incident can actually give rise to all three of
those tracks or those processes being started. I think what you are getting
at is the criminal investigation track, and here we are getting at the issue
of police investigating police, a key issue in terms of public confidence
and public accountability.
In terms of the framework we are building, we are striving to have
appropriate checks and balances to ensure independence and impartiality in
the nature of those investigations because they are so vital to ensuring
public confidence in the RCMP.
We have a three-step hierarchy. If there were an incident, let us say, in
British Columbia involving an RCMP member and a member of the public, an
alleged assault, in the first instance, the RCMP Commissioner is required to
contact the designated authority in the provincial government, within the
Attorney General's office, and tell them of the nature of the incident. That
provincial official has an obligation to engage the independent police
investigation review body. There is a fairly new one in B.C. They are a
completely independent civilian-led body, and they will conduct the
investigation. That works in B.C., Alberta and Nova Scotia, where there are
these existing provincially created bodies that are independent
investigative bodies oriented towards investigating police. That is the
first step. That gets you your maximum level of independence of an
investigating police incident.
If, for example, you are in Saskatchewan and there is not one of these
bodies that has been created by the provincial government, you go to the
next step on the hierarchy, which is a requirement for the commissioner to
engage a separate police force. Let us say it is in rural Saskatchewan; you
would ask Saskatoon city police, a completely separate police service, to
investigate the matter.
If you are in the Northwest Territories or Nunavut and there are no other
municipal police bodies, it may be a requirement, also for operational
reasons, for the RCMP to investigate itself. In that instance, you respect
the protocols that have been created by the existing Commissioner of Public
Complaints, and the RCMP has existing protocols to ensure impartiality.
In addition, we have created another level of accountability for those
second and third tiers, so if it is Saskatoon police or if it is the RCMP
investigating itself, you can appoint an observer. An independent observer
would be appointed by the civilian review and complaints commission, and
they would monitor and survey that entire investigation to ensure that it is
impartial. If they had any concerns at any point during that investigation,
both at the midpoint or at the end, they would share those concerns with the
commissioner, they would share them with the Chief of Police of, let us say,
the Saskatoon police and they would share them with the head of the civilian
review and complaints commission. If those concerns could not be addressed,
they would be shared with the Attorney General in that province to take
appropriate action to alter that investigation.
There are a number of checks and balances being built into this sensitive
area of police investigating police, which deals with the criminal
Senator Day: You had the commissioner doing what he does if it is
a criminal investigation, but then you started referring to the civilian
commission getting involved by virtue of not a criminal investigation but a
complaint point of view?
Mr. Potter: Exactly.
Senator Day: The policy reason for this, as you have stated a
number of times, is that the RCMP should not be a police force investigating
itself. We are now creating this independent civilian review and complaints
commission, which is independent of the police, but still you are providing
for a delegation of authority down to a provincial authority in this
instance when you do not really need to for the policy reason that the
police force is investigating itself.
Mr. Potter: There are a couple of tracks we are talking about, and
it is important to keep them separate just so we ensure that it is fully
understood. There is a criminal investigation track. I laid out the three
tiers, and the commissioner is well aware of them.
Senator Day: I understand that. The commissioner has an obligation
to refer that to the province where the incident took place.
Mr. Potter: Exactly. That is the criminal track. At the same time,
you could also have a complaint track. The same Canadian who was involved in
that incident not only is part of a criminal investigation process but also
launches a complaint, and in the first instance the RCMP would look at it,
but if they were not satisfied with the response they got from the RCMP,
this independent civilian review and complaints commission, which builds on
an existing body — the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP —
gives it enhanced powers. That body would conduct the complaint
investigation, so you could have two separate tracks.
Senator Day: That body would not delegate that down to the
Mr. Potter: No.
Mr. Guimont: Actually, the terminology that was used in the
context of the consultation was to give Canadians a no- wrong-door policy.
That was the idea. Instead of only having to go to the commission, they
could use a provincial body that would then make a referral, but that is for
non-criminal types of activities, which was described as needing to be done
independently for obvious reasons.
Senator Day: I understand now. That was very helpful. Thank you
Senator Plett: Some concerns have been fairly clearly articulated
here by members opposite. What concerns have generally been identified in
relation to the RCMP's current discipline process? How does this proposal
address those concerns?
Mr. Paulson: There are a number of complaints, and it depends, I
guess, on whom you are talking to. You are talking to me, so I will tell you
what my complaints are.
Senator Plett: Thank you.
Mr. Paulson: The RCMP discipline process has evolved into a very
adversarial system. It is a very legalistic, very adversarial, protracted
process and really not helpful in the principle of corrective behaviour.
That is arguable; that is my view. Sometimes these things take years to get
before a tribunal. The tribunal has to be composed of three officers, one of
whom is legally trained. They are taking Charter arguments at these tribunal
hearings. It is not really an administrative process that goes to the
corrective drive to discipline.
Some of the provisions of Bill C-42 allow for a very streamlined approach
to discipline, so a less legalistic, less adversarial, more exploratory and
consequently a more efficient effort at getting to the heart of discipline.
What is at stake there, of course, is the fairness factor for the members
who are affected by these proceedings, so we still propose that there be
lines of appeal to some of these decisions where, in the worst cases, people
are recommended for dismissal, but there are lines of appeal and so on. That
is still contemplated. It is an efficiency and an effectiveness system.
Senator Plett: I will ask another question, and I guess it might
be a bit hypothetical. Senator Mitchell clearly referred to a certain
situation where a lady had to be moved instead of the other people moving.
Would Bill C-42 absolutely prevent that from happening, or would any other
process that you can possibly imagine be a 100 per cent safeguard against
Mr. Paulson: My view is that there is no 100 per cent; there are
no guarantees. I think a lot of people have spent a lot of time on this, but
this gives us the latitude and the flexibility, either by a commissioner's
standing orders or by regulations, to adapt our disciplinary system to the
times. It is not perfect, but it is as good as I or anyone else could come
Senator Plett: Thank you very much.
The Chair: I want to thank the witnesses for appearing here today.
I am pleased to welcome back Superintendent Michael O'Rielly, Director,
Legislative Reform Initiative, Royal Canadian Mounted Police; and Mark
Potter, Director General, Policing Policy Directorate, Public Safety Canada.
Gentlemen, we appreciate your being here to provide a further technical
overview of Bill C-42. I understand that you do not have an opening
statement, so let us begin with the first round of questions. I will go
straight to the deputy chair to lead off with his questions.
Senator Dallaire: I am back into some equivalencies in regard to
the disciplinary processes and the oversight of that methodology, that
instrument that is being created in Bill C-42 that is more powerful than
what it was before, meaning more powerful than the regulations from 1988 and
also the commissioner's standing orders.
Does Bill C-42 actually change the standing orders formally? Does he or
can he, as the military do, have summary trials or courts martial in that
methodology because of Bill C-42, or is he still limited in producing that
level of discipline and authority of discipline?
Superintendent Michael O'Rielly, Director, Legislative Reform
Initiative, Royal Canadian Mounted Police: Thank you, senator. The idea
of the design behind Bill C-42 was to provide for flexibility. Instead of
having to rely on the formalized boards and the very judicial form that our
internal discipline has taken over the years, Bill C-42 was intended to take
us away from that process save for when there is a dismissal, in which case
the member would have access to a panel of some form. Outside of those very
serious issues where dismissal is being sought, the intention was to have a
process whereby a manager, a commander, an NCO, et cetera, would have the
ability to deal with an issue immediately.
It would not look like a summary trial, as a summary trial would look
like in a military; it would be closely related to what we would see in a
public service system, or in a general employment law system, which would be
more along the lines of an interaction between a manager and an employee.
The intent of the code of conduct system is to hold members of the RCMP
accountable for their actions — that is, accountable to the profession, to
the RCMP — while at the same time recognizing that overall we are all
accountable to the people of Canada.
The intention is to move away from the trial system that we had back in
1873, and right up until 1986 or 1985, when the act was changed last time.
We are very much still rooted in our military traditions. Up until 1985, we
did have the ability to sentence a member to up to a year in prison. We no
longer have that capacity. We have been moving away from our traditional
military roots and more into the civilian police world, which is more akin
to labour law in general as opposed to that very military system of dealing
with discipline. We are trying to come up with a hybrid that would allow us
to modernize, apply the concept again of this being between the manager and
the employee, a manager and a police officer. That is, let us deal with it.
Let us move past the issue. Let us learn from it. Let us correct it and take
remedial action, if necessary. Yet if we must be punitive, we need to be
able to do that as well, while ensuring procedural fairness. We are trying
to find a balance.
Senator Dallaire: I have a culture problem when I look at the red
serge, and it is not because I am French Canadian. When I see that red serge
I do not see a classic police force. If I wanted to see a classic police
force, I do not think it would be dressed like that anymore. It would not
have horses or that hat and boots and the whole nine yards. I am looking at
a paramilitary structure that has a higher plane of responsibility of
policing in our nation. Therefore I cannot stand the term "manager and
employee'' when talking about this, but there are a whole series of
misdemeanours that are essential in establishing an atmosphere of
confidence, of respect, an ethos in an organization, and we used to put it
all under "conduct unbecoming of.'' In fact, it was article 119. Under that
local commanders could do summary trials on and you could even put people in
jail for some of that stuff.
When I still read this, I am not sure that you guys have gone that far in
order to ensure that all these misdemeanours that have been created and
exploded into some other complex problems are not being eradicated by a more
solid disciplinary process.
Am I reading this incorrectly, or have you gone far enough to do that?
Mr. O'Rielly: I believe you are reading it exactly right, senator.
The bill itself is a framework, and then the details will be worked out in
regulations in commissioner's standing orders, so the answer to your
original question of whether this will require a rewrite of the
commissioner's standing orders is absolutely. Under the commissioner's
standing order we would have that ability to have a member investigated for
an allegation or suspicion of a contravention of the code of conduct.
Senator Dallaire: Would that be at a lower level than now?
Mr. O'Rielly: Exactly; right now as a commander I am able to
initiate an investigation. However, if I feel that anything more than a
reprimand is appropriate given the circumstances then I need to refer it up
to a board. The idea is that, as an officer, I would have the ability to
implement or apply measures that we will identify underneath, again, in
commissioner's standing orders, that allow me to be remedial, corrective or
punitive, including up to a fine or suspension of pay and opportunities for
corrective teaching. As a commanding officer, we are proposing that at the
different levels of command the commanding officer have an unlimited ability
to implement a measure but not up to dismissal. Again, dismissal would look
like a typical tribunal, save for the fact that the board itself would very
much be the master of its own proceedings rather than the way it is right
now, which is every step is set out in the act. We are moving away from that
and moving into what you see with most adjudicator tribunals, which is the
board gets to say this is what we need in order to make a fair and fully
informed the decision.
Senator Dallaire: Our punitive used to be considered remedial in
our own jails, so you may want to consider that option too.
Mr. O'Rielly: I think it has been the same for us, but it has been
Senator Plett: Thank you, superintendent, for being here. Are
there time limits associated with filing a complaint against the RCMP to the
Mr. O'Rielly: There are. I will turn that over to Mr. Potter.
Mr. Potter: There is a one-year limit; however, the chairperson of
the commission has discretion, so if there are valid public interest reasons
why it should be greater than a year they can extend it beyond that. The
ideal is within a year, because after that the evidence around the complaint
becomes less and less fresh.
Senator Plett: At their own discretion could they increase the
Mr. Potter: At the discretion of the head of the independent
complaints review body, yes, that individual could extend the time beyond a
Senator Plett: One of the complaints we have heard in the past is
that some of the complainants have not been able to be involved or informed.
Will that be improved where the complainants might be informed about
disciplinary proceedings arising from the complaints? Will they have an
opportunity to have any input in these proceedings?
Mr. Potter: That is a good question. It comes back to those three
tracks. There is the criminal investigation track, the public complaints
track and the internal discipline tract. There are crosswalks between these
tracks. Let us say an individual launches a public complaint against the
conduct of an RCMP member. At the same time that gives rise to an internal
discipline or code of conduct investigation. In the past there were no links
between those two processes, so if I made the public complaint I would have
no knowledge of what is happening with this discipline process, which did
not seem reasonable. We have now built crosswalks into the legislation that
require the RCMP to provide information to the complainant on the discipline
process, including the timelines for that and, most important, the
opportunity to make representations, to go into that discipline process and
say, "This is the incident that happened to me; this is how it has impacted
me, and when you make your decision on the discipline of this member it is
important that you take that into consideration.'' They have an opportunity
to be part of that discipline process, to be kept informed of its process
and be kept informed of the outcome of that discipline process.
Senator Plett: Could you tell us what a "serious incident'' is?
Mr. Potter: I will just step back a little bit. There are three
aspects when you have that provision kick in. The first is death, which is
pretty clear, then there is serious injury and then there is public
interest. You are getting at the second part, which is serious injury, so a
serious incident has those three components: death, serious injury or public
We are going to define the second component, serious injury, through
regulations. We are in the process now of examining various definitions that
exist, because in B.C., in Alberta, in Nova Scotia, in Ontario, in other
parts of the world, they have defined "serious injury.'' We are trying to
find the appropriate definition, so that will go through a process of
scrutiny as we bring forward those regulations, but we have not yet defined
what exactly "serious injury'' means.
Senator Mitchell: Thank you for the briefing you gave me. It was
just excellent. This was several weeks ago and I applaud their
professionalism and expertise.
The minister said in his opening comments that one of the things that are
covered in this is that it will ensure that the RCMP Commissioner cannot
refuse to investigate a complaint initiated by the chairperson of the new
commission. However, the RCMP Commissioner can stop an investigation by the
new commission if he determines that it runs counter to or across an
investigation being done internally. How can we be sure that that will not
Mr. Potter: I think we are getting at a couple of things here. The
first thing to bear in mind is that the vast majority of complaints that the
current body deals with and it is expected the future body will deal with
are complaints by individuals. I am involved in an incident, I am not happy
with the behaviour of the RCMP officer and I make a complaint. That is the
vast majority of their work. However, the chair of this independent civilian
review and complaints commission has an important authority to launch what
is called a chair-initiated complaint. That chair could be keeping abreast
of news, what is happening in the country, and decides that they become
aware of an incident. For whatever reason the person may not have
complained, but they become aware of it and they decide they will launch a
chair-initiated complaint. It is the chair himself launching that complaint.
In that case the Commissioner of the RCMP is positively obliged to cooperate
with that investigation. He could not say he does not want to participate in
that. He is required to do that.
The second component is more what you are getting at where there is a
regular public complaint that goes forward, the independent commission
begins investigating that regular public complaint, and at the same time,
recalling those three tracks, a criminal investigation starts on the same
matter. In that case the commissioner may be of the view that it would
unduly jeopardize or call into question the quality of the criminal
investigation if you allowed both processes to continue at the same time.
The commissioner in that case can provide written reasons to the chairperson
of the independent commission to say, "For these reasons I believe you
should pause your complaint investigation and allow the criminal
investigation to run its course,'' which the chair is obliged to do, and the
chair, at the end of that criminal process, has the option of resuming the
Typically, if something is in the criminal realm, the complainant, the
person involved in the incident, is much more focused on that criminal side
of it, and once there is a resolution there, that is usually their greatest
Senator Mitchell: One issue that has come out over time is this
idea that often there appear to be things that were criminal but very few
criminal charges are laid. The case of the sergeant who exposed himself is a
criminal offence, but he was never charged criminally and he was moved to
B.C. once it was determined that he should not have done it. Is there
anything in here that will make it more likely that when a member, and let
us hope it never happens again, but if it were to happen, does something
criminal, that they actually get charged and it does not get worked off into
an administrative process and soon he ends up in B.C. to get out of the way?
Mr. Potter: To some extent, this comes back to Senator Plett's
question of how you define serious injury. The commissioner would be
obliged, because it is provincial administration of justice under the
Constitution, to inform the Attorney General of that jurisdiction that an
incident took place and that it involved a serious injury, and therefore the
three-step process kicks in of the independent police investigation, the
separate police force or the RCMP. That must happen, according to the law.
Senator Mitchell: Maybe it was not a serious injury. Maybe it was
harassment or a sexual assault of an RCMP officer by another officer.
Mr. Potter: That would be internal, either a code of conduct
matter or the RCMP member making a complaint to the provincial Attorney
General and dealing with that through that process. That is one member to
another, which is not dealt with as directly through the process I have
Senator Patterson: Thank you, witnesses. Superintendent O'Rielly,
this bill introduces a modernized human resource management framework, as I
think it has been described. Could you tell me how that new framework could
make the RCMP more efficient?
Mr. O'Rielly: Thank you, senator. We have a series of different
means. The first is if we look at something as simple, or what should be as
simple, as an internal grievance process, for example. Right now, if someone
were to grieve something as simple as a denied meal claim, that process by
itself is required to drag through a system that necessitates the provision
of written submissions, an exchange of written submissions over time, a very
formal way of exchanging information. We did implement a few years back an
attempt to seek early resolution opportunities, but we are finding that in
some cases the people who are responsible for implementing the early
resolution and the griever, by the time the grievance had gone in, the level
of — I am not sure how to describe it. In some cases animosity was such that
people did not want to talk to one another. Once the system had gone through
where it was now into written submissions, then it goes to an adjudicator
who has a whole bunch of different files that they are trying to go through.
Some of this system takes years. The ability to fast track that or get it
back to its basics is one of things that Bill C-42 would allow for.
In addition, we have approximately seven different appeal and grievance
systems in the RCMP Act and RCMP Regulations right now. The idea of Bill
C-42 is to be able to provide the commissioner with all the authorities
necessary to bring all of those different types of appeals and grievances
and disputes between the organization and a member and put them into one
office so that we have a streamlined process of managing these differences
and addressing them in a more rapid fashion.
It is the same thing with something as simple as the promotion of an
officer. In the RCMP, you have the non- commissioned officer ranks up to
staff sergeant, and then you have the commissioned officer ranks, beginning
with inspector and ending with the commissioner. Right now, the commissioner
is not able to actually promote any of us into commissioned ranks. In order
to achieve a promotion, the commissioner makes a recommendation, but then we
need to stand by and wait for the Governor-in-Council to be able to actually
make the order-in-council so that we can receive a promotion. In some cases,
that can happen very rapidly. In other cases, it can take several months. In
the meantime, you sit with no real rank because you are no longer what you
were and not quite yet what you are going to be. It causes issues with
pension and back pay, and also with your ability to assume your full duties.
Small delays like that, while not significant in and of themselves, are
irritating, and it has a certain amount of administrative burden behind it
that must be met and respected before the promotion can actually happen. The
intention of Bill C-42 is to knock down the administrative walls and get
this done in an effective and efficient manner that is fair to everybody.
I could go on. The conduct system is similar in terms of the delays that
we achieved through that or realize through that. The commissioner has
previously described under the new system the idea that an issue happens, so
let us deal with it now, within a couple of weeks or months, rather than
waiting three to five years before you get a final outcome. When my children
mess up, it is no good for me to wait a couple of years and then go and tell
them they should not have done that. When I am a member of the RCMP, if I am
trouble, I want to deal with it right away so I can recognize the mistake or
deal with it and then move on so it is behind me. Right now, our systems
just do not allow that. It is very wearing. Being subject to an internal
investigation takes a lot of your thought. A lot of your time is spent
wondering what will happen to you.
Senator Patterson: Did I understand you to say that a meal claim
dispute had taken years?
Mr. O'Rielly: Yes. We had one example that I was advised about by
an adjudicator, no names of course, but he advised me of something that was
kind of an irritant with him, where a member had made a claim for a lunch
during a course, and it took approximately three years before that was
finally settled. It was approximately $10.
Senator Duffy: Witnesses, thank you for coming. On the three to
five years of delay, Superintendent O'Rielly, what I hear is that not only
do those delays sap the morale of those directly involved, but also there is
a spinoff effect on those in their offices who know about it and also have
this feeling of frustration that, if they ever become involved, then they
will enter a similar morass. Is part of the problem of the continuing
competition between the staff relations association, which I understand has
the majority of support, and those who want to make labour relations at the
RCMP, in other words, to have a union rather than an association, and do we
have some people then urging delay and more confrontational techniques
because they believe the staff association has not been hard line enough? Is
that aggregating this delay problem?
Mr. O'Rielly: Senator, that is a very hard question. I have been
part of this process since September 2009. Initially, when I became involved
in this, it was very much focused on the labour relation question.
My initial response would be very much that it is actually the structure
that we are forced to live with right now. The form of labour relations and
representation really would not make that much of a difference, in my
opinion. This is just my opinion, of course, based on my experience. You are
still faced with having to make these series of written representations.
Even if you had an association or a staff relations rep who wants to go
forward and resolve this, they are actually not in a position where they can
go ahead and make actual representations or speak with the adjudicator or
the decision maker. They can try to negotiate, for example, with the
respondent and see what they can come up with. That can be successful.
Senator Duffy: This legislation will help in that process?
Mr. O'Rielly: That is the intention of it. Let us get people
talking again. If we are in a position where we can negotiate this and
resolve it, let us do that. If it is clear we cannot, then let us get it to
where someone can make a decision in a timely fashion rather than these
undue delays that are caused.
Senator Day: Will the civilian review and complaints commission
that is contemplated by this legislation have a separate budget, or will
that just be part of the operating budget of the RCMP?
Mr. Potter: It has its own budget. To recall comments by the
deputy minister earlier, they have an A base or base budget annually of $5.4
million. Going forward, once implemented, they will have a base budget of
$10.4 million, which is an increase of $5 million. That can be a little
confusing because in reality over the past several years they have actually
had a budget of $8.5 million because they received an additional $2.9
million from the Treasury Board as program integrity funding.
In reality, their budget over the past several years has been about $8.5
million and going forward it will be $10.4 million. The additional monies
are for those policy reviews, the observer program, increased outreach and a
few smaller areas, but those are the main incremental needs of this new
Senator Day: I saw in the legislation that they are charged with
outreach and promotion of their activities and an explanation of those
activities. I also noted that if the commission decides on its own
initiative to conduct a review of the specified activity of the force, one
of the tests is that sufficient resources exist. Does that mean it looks to
its budget to determine whether it has enough money to do this? Is that what
Mr. Potter: Yes, it would, exactly, senator. There are a couple of
conditions. The one you have mentioned would not unduly compromise their
main line of business, which is investigating public complaints.
The second is that no other body is currently reviewing the same matter,
so you would not want to duplicate a study in the same area. This is a very
important new power for the commission, so that is why the government is
putting these incremental resources into the commission, so it has the
additional monies to be able to conduct policy reviews.
Senator Day: There are a number of places in the legislation that
require the commission to set rules and to outline its procedures. This
legislation has been around for a while. Has that work been done? Are there
now rules that have been generated by the commission that outline its
activities, the responsibilities of each of the members and all of those
different things that are outlined in this legislation?
Mr. Potter: The current Commission for Public Complaints Against
the RCMP, which is the existing body and which will evolve into the new
civilian review and complaints commission, has been quite proactive over the
last several years in terms of establishing service standards and turnaround
times for the processing of complaints. What we are doing through the
legislation is, in a sense, validating the progress they have already made
and continuing to require them by law now to have those service standards in
place. They have done a very good job, and I am sure you will hear more
directly from them about improving efficiencies in the way they process
Senator Day: I see that at section 45.37, the service standards
and setting out exceptions and why they might not meet the standards, how
quickly they would deal with complaints, et cetera. They are likely, then,
just to adopt the standards that are already in place?
Mr. Potter: Yes, they have standards in place right now for many
aspects. Recognizing that the nature of these complaints can vary
considerably — some are very straightforward to investigate, others are much
more complex and take much more time — they have put in place service
standards, and my understanding is they are constantly reviewing those and
seeing how they can continue to become more and more efficient.
Senator Day: Section 45.49 talks about rules. Service standards
are in one place and a set of rules is in another place in this legislation.
Have they generated the rules yet? That is at page 48 of the bill. It is
It may be that these are the same rules or very similar rules to what
already exist for the current body, with some exceptions, because there will
be five members now, regional appointments and that kind of thing.
Mr. Potter: I think this very much mirrors some of the powers they
have in place now. It is really just the rules around their operations, such
as when the commission will sit, the fixing of quorums, how they will deal
with matters, procedural rules.
Senator Day: The apportionment of work amongst its members, that
kind of thing?
Mr. Potter: Exactly, operating their agency.
Senator Day: Where do I find those rules?
Mr. Potter: I would speak directly to them. I understand they will
be appearing here.
Senator Day: That is what we will do. Thank you.
Senator Nolin: Both of you seem to have been around since the
conception of Bill C-42, so I wonder how much Justice O'Connor's report of
2006 influenced your work. Give me some examples, and I may have a follow-up
Mr. Potter: Thank you very much, senator. That was a key report,
and there have been a number of reports. This is an issue that, in fact, the
Senate has released reports on RCMP oversight that have been the subject of
a number of reports.
Justice O'Connor talked about issues like the degree of access to
information, having very broad access to information. You will appreciate
that information is the oxygen of investigations, so having the broadest and
deepest possible access to information is absolutely vital. That was a key
recommendation. There is a reverse onus on access to information now; it
will be the commission that will determine the relevancy of information
rather than the RCMP.
The new commission will be able to compel documents and testimony. The
new commission will have these policy review powers, which Justice O'Connor
recommended. Those are some of the areas Justice O'Connor commented on.
There are other areas he also commented on, such as inter-agency review,
which are not the subject of this bill.
Senator Nolin: It is not?
Mr. Potter: It is not addressed through this bill.
Senator Nolin: However, it is not impossible if the government
decides to do so?
Mr. Potter: Exactly.
Senator Nolin: What about the international obligations of Canada,
dealing with other countries or foreign agencies? Justice O'Connor, of
course because of the Arar report, was quite preoccupied by the openness of
the force in doing that. Does Bill C-42 include those kinds of new
responsibilities for the new commission?
Mr. Potter: I would answer that, senator, in a couple of different
respects. Very much the genesis of this bill is to align the powers of the
review body with best practices, both in Canada and internationally, so
being aware of what the powers of other review bodies in other countries
You are getting at a specific question dealing with information sharing
with other jurisdictions. The policy review power that I have referred to
that this commission has, which is a new power, would be exactly one area
they could look at.
Senator Nolin: Could they look at it from their own decision, or
do they need to be asked to do so by the minister or the
Mr. Potter: It can happen both ways. It can be their own
initiative, or they could be asked by either a federal or a provincial
minister through the federal minister to look at an area like that.
Senator Nolin: Justice O'Connor delivered a very, not strange, but
specific sentence when he referred to investigation: ". . . obligations''
and "the standards of propriety expected in Canadian society.''
That is almost like section 1 of our Charter. Is that the kind of
authority the new commission will have on its own?
Mr. Potter: I am not sure this gets at your question, senator, but
let me give it a shot. Very much this bill is about continuing the
modernization of the RCMP, but a key driver is the evolving values of
Senator Nolin: That is exactly what Justice O'Connor referenced.
Mr. Potter: Exactly. The expectations in terms of transparency and
accountability are much higher than they were 20 to 25 years ago.
Senator Nolin: They have evolved with time.
Mr. Potter: Exactly. When I talk about best practices, what other
bodies are doing to fully respond to those public expectations for
transparency and accountability, that is what we are trying to do, to be on
the leading edge of the sort of powers you need to have in an oversight body
to ensure effective accountability, which ultimately leads to the key goal
of public confidence in your police. Without that, you are lost.
Senator Nolin: Thank you.
The Chair: I would like to ask a question. I would like to follow
up on Senator Day's line of questioning, which is with respect to putting
into effect the regulations and policy directives that will basically be the
backbone of this bill.
Could you tell me, for example, about the code of conduct and other items
that you are obviously working on with members of the association and maybe
other departments as well? How long will it take to put all the policies
together and implement them so that when this bill comes into effect, it
comes into effect as a package? What timeline are we looking at?
Mr. O'Rielly: For the coming into force of the various human
resource management pieces, we are looking at approximately a year,
following Royal Assent of the bill, to have all of the processes up — that
is, the new rules or the new regulations in place, the policies and the
training pieces. As you note, senator, we are already heavily engaged in
consultations and also in determining exactly what we need to do to get the
most effect in a very short amount of time.
The Chair: When will the code of conduct policy be made public and
then promulgated for the purposes of the RCMP? What are your plans on that?
Mr. O'Rielly: Right now we are looking at the code of conduct to
determine whether it would be appropriate to modify it or change it up. In
terms of timelines, it is hard to say because there is a series of different
processes. If it is in fact amended and it goes to the regulatory process,
there is publishing and prepublication in the Canada Gazette. There
is also the timing on that. If we combine it with other regulations, that
is, if we do one massive regulation, that could impact on timing. I cannot
give you an estimated month when it might come out. We are working on it as
furiously as we can. I am hoping sooner rather than later, although again
that is not very exact.
The Chair: To pursue the code of conduct, my understanding is that
you are rewriting it in a totally different manner than what it is at the
present time. That is, in a positive direction as opposed to the punitive
direction in which it is written at the present time. Is that correct? We
will see changes to that, will we not?
Mr. O'Rielly: Yes; that is our intention. At this time, however,
it is still strictly at the evaluation stage. We are coming up with a model.
We have developed a model that we are now cautiously advancing out into the
RCMP to take a look at it and to see, first, if it is workable, if it makes
sense. It is very much designed, as you say, around the concept of positive
obligations around responsible, ethical, accountable leadership as opposed
to more of a "thou shalt not'' approach to conduct management.
Senator Dallaire: We have no access to classified material, so as
parliamentarians we have no oversight on any of the security or the defence
world. We have queried but we have no oversight. I find it interesting that,
coming to the right of access to information side of the house, the
commissioner can establish certain elements that are not accessible by the
commission, which are not clearly defined, unless I have misread; they are
sort of vague.
The Chief of the Defence Staff has no authority at all to interfere in
information being made available to a court martial; he cannot even come
close to the judges in a court martial. How can you argue that, contrary to
the Communications Security Establishment Canada, the SIRC, who have
extensive classified material, have access to that? Yet, for the RCMP, the
commissioner is holding a hammer over some of the material that is not
Mr. Potter: Senator, you have hit on a key point, which is access
to information to be able to conduct a proper complaint investigation. This
bill gives very broad access to information, including classified
information, up to cabinet confidences. That is the only type of information
that is explicitly excluded. The powers that this new body will have very
much mirror the SIRC-CSIS relationship in terms of the level of access to
In this case we have built a very specific, modern legal model, which has
two thresholds. For most information that the independent commission deems
to be relevant to the investigation, the RCMP is obliged to provide that
information. The commission will simply say I would like this, this and
this, and they will be obliged to get that information from the RCMP. That
is a change from the way it used to be. In the past it was the RCMP telling
the commission what was relevant. That is completely reversed. That is the
first key element.
The second, higher threshold relates to privileged information, so
solicitor-client, informer, very sensitive operational information. For that
there is a somewhat higher threshold. The first threshold is relevant; the
second threshold is relevant and necessary. In that case, if the
Commissioner of the RCMP, upon the commission's request for certain
information of a privileged nature, did not think that was appropriate, then
there is this other process, this other check and balance, that kicks in.
There is a third party, a retired federal judge, let us say, who will listen
to both sides, ask them why the commission wants the information, why it
would be relevant and necessary. This third party will have full access to
all of the information that is at play and will make an independent,
third-party determination, an observation, with respect to whether it is
relevant and necessary or not.
This is a means to avoid the two bodies going to Federal Court.
Ultimately they could still do that. That would be the next step, but this
is very much mirroring what would happen in the Federal Court anyway. You
have a retired Federal Court judge giving you their professional opinion on
whether that information should be transferred or not. Based on that, the
two parties would look at it and that would determine how they proceed next.
By and large, it is fully expected that the two parties would respect
whatever the observations are coming from that retired individual.
The Chair: Do you have a supplementary, Senator Nolin?
Senator Nolin: Yes; thank you, chair. They still can go to the
Federal Court, though. Whatever they have agreed to before, if they are not
happy with anything that comes along with that new process, they still can
go to the Federal Court and then be heard?
Mr. Potter: Yes.
Senator Nolin: Good. I think it is important to understand that
you are adding a new step in the new process but the old system still is in
Mr. Potter: You are exactly right, senator.
The Chair: Supplementary, Senator Day?
Senator Day: To round it out here, I am looking at page 41, where
there is a procedure that the commission can go to, if the commissioner
refuses to give the privileged information. So to say that they have access
all the time to the privileged information, it is subject to the
commissioner saying no, and then there is another test that has to be
Mr. Potter: Exactly.
Senator Comeau: That is what can be appealed, I presume, in the
Mr. Potter: Exactly.
Senator Nolin: That decision from the commissioner can be appealed
to the Federal Court.
Senator Day: There is a process.
The Chair: Order.
Mr. Potter: Yes.
Senator Nolin: I think it is important that we understand the
basics of what is behind this bill.
Senator Day: I agree.
Senator Dallaire: I fully support using this opportunity to
I come back to this new commission because to me it is a fundamental
element of this whole new process of rebuilding or giving people that sense
of oversight, versus the minister actually creating a completely separate
oversight body to, for example, do an oversight on the reform of your whole
HR program, development, and so on. He could actually do that, as we went
through in the 1990s at National Defence. He is not doing this; he is going
to use this outfit of the CRCC to do it. I suspect, by the way he explained
it, he was probably going to give them instruction as to what he wants them
to sniff into in the implementation of that.
I am trying to look into the selection process of the people going on
this body. There are criteria that say they are not allowed to be this and
this. How much staff are they going to actually have to do all the old
civilian stuff, plus this very extensive engagement in the internal
disciplinarian process, including things like reforming the culture and
things of that nature? What are you building there?
Mr. Potter: I will start with the selection process for the chair
and possibly the vice-chair. There can be up to five chairpersons, one
full-time chair and up to four additional vice-chairs, either full-time or
In terms of the selection of the chair, there are only two criteria. One
is they have to be a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident and they
cannot be a current or former member of the RCMP. That is pretty limited.
Having said that, there is a whole PCO-led appointment process through to
the Governor-in-Council, so it goes through that. There will be a job
description, a profile, what have you. It will go through that whole
Right now there is the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP.
They will be able to give you detailed information on their budget and their
number of staff and how that might need to evolve given these new powers.
Right now, in the Ottawa office, I believe there are around 50 people
focused on individual complaints. You rightly note that the policy review
power will require additional resources. I would imagine they will require
new staff. The additional money they are getting to take them from around
$8.5 million to $10.4 million should cover that. Part of their challenge
going forward, through their annual reports and reporting through the
minister to Parliament, there will be an opportunity for this committee and
others to see how that is progressing and to question them on whether they
have the right resources to achieve their mandate.
Senator Dallaire: Thank you very much.
Senator Mitchell: You have alluded to the question of budget, as
did the minister and the deputy minister, and that was the budget that
applies to Bill C-42 and its implications. Are you aware of how much budget
is going to be put to the Respectful Workplace Program? Has that been
allocated a specific budget of which you are aware?
Mr. O'Rielly: That is a bit out of my realm, so I cannot help you
Senator Mitchell: That is a fair comment. It is out of your realm,
Mr. Potter: Yes; it is in the HR management side.
Senator Mitchell: Fair enough.
The commissioner indicated he consulted with some police forces about
what are the mechanisms of a modern police force. That is not quite the same
as consulting about how to change a culture. Therefore my first question
would be this: Are you aware of any consultative process that brought in
expertise, maybe consulted with the military or brought in people on site?
It is huge to change a culture. The commissioner is a great police person I
am sure, but this is a huge organization with a budget of $3 billion and
30,000 people. You need some expertise to figure out how to change a
culture. Are you aware of any budget for that or any initiative in that
regard other than Bill C-42 and respectful workplace?
Mr. Potter: I can speak to the public complaints side of the
equation, so I will comment on that. There was a very high level of
engagement and consultation. In fact, I have been involved in it directly
for five years. There were the various reports by Justice O'Connor and a
number of others. There was the Brown task force in 2007. There was a lot of
material out there to draw upon to look at how we can strengthen the
oversight of the RCMP. Then we looked at the SIRC-CSIS relationship and we
looked at the military situation. We looked at other countries and what they
have been doing to evolve their review bodies.
Then we had very in-depth discussions with the provinces and territories
because, as you know, the RCMP is the provincial or territorial police
service in all but Ontario and Quebec. They have a direct interest in
ensuring that there is appropriate oversight of the RCMP. We had a number of
very detailed discussions, at pretty senior levels, with the provinces and
territories about this proposal and ensuring that it met their needs.
Senator Mitchell: One thing that was almost universally pointed
out and recommended in the kind of reports you mentioned, such as O'Connor
and Brown, was public oversight. The CRCC is not exactly public oversight.
It is public oversight of complaints. When the commissioner went to other
police forces to find out what is modern about them, one of the most
significant and consistent things was the fact that certainly the Edmonton
police force and the Calgary police force have very strong public review
bodies. In the Edmonton case it has the final word and direct participation
in developing the annual plan, the final word and direct participation in
developing the budget. I was told that 80 per cent to 90 per cent of it
stays the same as what comes from the police chief, but often there are
other things in place. If that seems to be such a clear initiative,
recommended by so many different bodies over such a long period of time,
that it was something that was indigenous to successful police forces across
the country, why would it not be included in this initiative?
Mr. Potter: To some degree I think, senator, you are getting at a
question that was posed to the minister and that I think he addressed in his
opening remarks, which is that between the Brown task force report in
December 2007 and today there have been a number of developments with
respect to the governance of the RCMP. They have been on a track of internal
modernization and leadership development that gives their leaders the
capacity to better manage a very complex, challenging organization. That is
one part of it.
The minister spoke to the audit committee, which is comprised of three
very senior individuals who provide advice to the commissioner on the risk
management processes of the RCMP. You now have in place, since April last
year, with the provinces and territories that contract for RCMP police
services, a much more robust governance framework. It is somewhat akin to
almost a co-management relationship, where they are very much involved in
any decision of the RCMP that substantially affects the quality and the cost
of policing that they provide in their jurisdictions.
You have a number of governance changes that have happened in the past
six or seven years that I think continue to facilitate the modernization and
strengthening of the RCMP.
Senator Mitchell: With respect to the criteria for appointments to
the CRCC, you said they cannot be in the RCMP and they cannot be retired
RCMP members. Is there any provision to have a woman?
Mr. Potter: There is no explicit provision. I suspect the PCO
processes to appoint the individual look at a whole range of considerations,
including that one. I should mention there is an explicit requirement in the
act with respect to regional representation, but there is not a specific
reference to gender.
Senator Day: It does not define region?
Mr. Potter: No.
Senator Mitchell: Liberal senators and MPs had hearings this
morning where we heard from a number of victims. It was very powerful. I
will provide you with their testimony. One of the continual themes was that
there is a grievance process, but once they get to it they are then singled
out and become an outcast and are targeted. The other is that the people who
are grieved to are part of the command structure and ultimately their career
is based upon what happens when they integrate back into it from this role.
There is always a concern that it is not going to be objective and that they
go to it and are not necessarily going to be handled fairly. In fact, it
will beg the very question, which is that they feel like the young woman
who, at the end of all of this, must move and the people who have made it
impossible for her to stay do not have to move.
The Chair: Your question, senator?
Senator Mitchell: How can you ensure the objectivity of that
grievance process if it remains within the command structure, which it seems
to me is what will occur?
Mr. O'Rielly: The investigation of harassment and workplace
relations is a very complex situation. One of the main focuses of Bill C-42
and the Respectful Workplace Program that is starting to be developed now
nationally with great vigour is let us deal with these issues before they
get to that point. Part of what Bill C-42 will offer us is the ability to
reset expectations, that it is not acceptable to make a joke that someone
else may find offensive, but, more than that, we already have that general
understanding throughout society yet it still happens quite a bit.
What we are looking at doing through the code of conduct and through the
obligations and responsibilities and accountability of all members of the
force, all employees of the force, but certainly the members, is that if you
see something that needs to be dealt with, deal with it. If someone is doing
something that is offensive, that any reasonable person would construe as
offensive, then you have an active obligation to step in and deal with it
or, if you see it happen, to report it up to someone who can address it.
Right now there is a requirement for us to report, as members, when we
are aware of something that could be a contravention of the code of conduct,
but we want to take that one step further and make it an active
Senator Mitchell: With respect to the audit provisions, it just
seems that we should have a baseline audit, one would think, before we
start, to see if improvement is made, and then we should have a plan to
audit periodically. The minister has made the commitment that at least every
three years, thanks to the chair's initiative in asking that question, the
Senate committee would be invoked to do that, which is excellent. It seems
to me that internally, if I were running that organization, I would want to
know where we were and I would want to have a way of measuring where we are
going and how we are getting there. Are you aware of any of that being
provided for in this bill or elsewhere?
Mr. O'Rielly: Part of what I am doing with the group that I am
responsible for, the legislative reform initiative, is exactly that. It is
to go out there and set the baseline data, to take a look at all of the
surveys, for example, that have been done, plus surveys that are being done
across Canada on a variety of different issues, but certainly harassment, a
respectful workplace and what a respectful workplace looks like. That is
something we need. One of my responsibilities is to arrive at an IT
solution, because right now we have a variety of different systems gathering
a variety of different data. We really need to come to ground in terms of
being able to track trends and be able to identify issues as they come up so
that we can start to focus on how to stop the same issue from happening
again and again. That is one of the responsibilities I bear. Certainly
something we are doing is figuring out what our baseline data is, seeing
where we are with numbers right now to be able to come back and compare it
as we move forward to ensure we are actually making a change.
The Chair: Superintendent, could you provide us with that study
once it is completed?
Mr. O'Rielly: I can. Again, I am running into when I could
possibly do that, because it a living process. Certainly as we move further
along our process, by the end of the year, early next year, as we get closer
to implementation, I should be in a good position to have more information
at that point.
Senator Nolin: As long as it is before the three years. We like to
have long memories.
Senator Dallaire: Superintendent, you have been given quite a
significant task. I look back at how we handled it. We put in a three-star
general to do it. We were asking you when you did your assessment and
bringing all the material together and then helping the legal people to put
this legislation together. I gather you will then be responsible for
overseeing the implementation of this through the regulations and then its
actual implementation, so you are in this this for a couple years yet. It is
a big job, and I did not ask you if you volunteered for it either.
You look at all the options when you do your assessment. Why do we not
just crash all this and let them have a union, as an example. As you were
saying, you are trying to bring together different processes. In front of
us, can you tell me whether you have enough authority to be able to bring it
about? You stand there doing this reform. Have you the responsibility you
need to be able to pull in all the recommendations you feel are essential,
not necessary, not nice to have, but essential to be able to implement a
reform so that, at the end of it, we can actually call it that?
Mr. O'Rielly: That is quite a question. I actually did volunteer
for this back in September 2009. It has been an honour to be part of it. The
advantage I have had is that it is not up to me. I am the person
coordinating, managing and putting it all together. I have the technical
expertise to make it happen. Yet, at the same time, I do not have to make
all the decisions, because I have the ear of the deputy commissioner in
charge of HR and the professional integrity officer and the ear of the
commissioner, if need be.
The approach we are taking on this is that this is an RCMP-wide
commitment. Every member and employee has to be engaged. Otherwise, we will
fall flat on our faces. This is not something that one individual can do. It
is way too big for that. With the reforms that came to the forces, it took a
huge amount of time and commitment, and that is what we are looking at here
as well. We have been at this since 2009. We have learned a lot as we went
through the Bill C-43 processes. We have been fortunate to have the support
of two commissioners now as well as a series of chief human resources
officers. When we need to go to the senior executive to get advice and
guidance, it is immediately available. If we need to go to legal services,
it is immediately available.
We set up a consultative process, as we did on Bill C-43 and as I intend
to do over the next few months, where we go out and speak to the membership,
and the return on that effort has been incredible. There has been lots of
engagement and interest. It is an organization-wide approach. I just happen
to be the one responsible for coordinating it.
Senator Dallaire: Subsequent to this effort, there will an audit
of how it went and whether or not you achieved your aim, as we saw the Chief
Justice of the Supreme Court do it for DND five years later. In order to
respond to that, they created a senior review board, which was mandated to
provide advice and direction. Does such a body exist, or is it the
commissioner or deputy commissioner? What is your senior body? Is there
another one specifically created to give you that direction and to monitor
how it is going and provide that audit trail?
Mr. O'Rielly: Right now we are still setting up what exactly we
will measure. As we determine what we will measure, we have the departmental
audit committee that we keep informed as we are able to start to move
forward. We will be able to say, "Back in 2013, this is what it looked
like; this was 2012; and now in the 2014 and 2015, there is where we are
at.'' It will take time to get there, but I am confident we have the ability
internally with the department audit committee, with the senior executive
committee, the commissioner, all the senior advisers, plus we have the
commanding officers to turn to, plus we have the member representatives,
plus the members themselves. We are all accountable for demonstrating this
has actually made a change.
It will take some time to actually see some change. As you have pointed
out, Senator Mitchell, and yourself, sir, it is tough to swing. It is tough
to make culture change. It is hard to swing an aircraft carrier around in a
small harbour, and that is where we are right now. We are still moving
forward. We have a good idea where we have been, but we need to clarify
where we have been to ensure we can evaluate where we are in the future so
we are able to come back and say, "This is where we have made advances, and
this is where we have dropped the ball, and this is where we have to
improve.'' We do have internal audit processes established for that as part
of this program. As part of this plan, that is indeed a big piece of it. We
need to be able to demand that we have moved ahead and made changes.
Senator Dallaire: You raised the possibility of perhaps going back
to this within three years, which I consider a very reasonable time frame. I
would like to hear your plan of implementation once this legislation is
approved. You mentioned that in a year you could have all the courses for a
senior officer development program, but that does not mean everyone will
have taken the courses.
If you could give us a feel for the exercise, steering could look at it,
if that is suitable to the chair.
The Chair: Do you have any comments on that, superintendent?
Mr. O'Rielly: No, I do not. It is definitely —
Senator Dallaire: Doable?
Mr. O'Rielly: I think so. I do not see why not.
Senator Dallaire: Good man.
The Chair: I would like to thank our witnesses for being here. We
appreciate your presentation and the details you have provided us. It gives
us a good foundation for the study of Bill C-42.