Report of the committee
Thursday, June 6, 2019
The Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence has the honour to table its
Your committee, which was authorized to examine the subject matter of those elements contained in Divisions 10 and 21 of Part 4 of Bill C-97, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 19, 2019 and other measures, has, in obedience to the order of reference of Thursday, May 2, 2019, examined the said subject-matter and now reports as follows:
Division 10 proposes to amend the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act to establish the Management Advisory Board, which would provide advice to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Commissioner on the RCMP’s administration and management. Your committee supports these proposed changes but makes several observations.
Your committee is concerned that many of the recommendations regarding harassment in the workplace and modernization of the RCMP, from recent reports by the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the RCMP and by former Auditor General of Canada Sheila Fraser, remain only partially implemented. In addition, your committee notes that some of the witnesses were skeptical about the independence of the proposed Management Advisory Board and about whether its proposed mandate, as currently outlined in Bill C-97, is appropriate to ensure that the RCMP’s senior leaders make the necessary governance reforms and create an environment in which cultural change occurs. Your committee suggests that, to be effective, the proposed Management Advisory Board should be adequately resourced, seek to understand the RCMP’s organizational culture, and focus its advice on how the RCMP Commissioner can implement the reforms needed to modernize and transform the RCMP.
As a general observation, your committee notes that the establishment of the proposed Management Advisory Board should be considered as only one of the many steps needed to address the harassment, bullying and sexual misconduct that occur in the RCMP workplace. Your committee strongly urges the Government of Canada to consider other actions that may be needed both to eliminate these harmful, and sometimes criminal, behaviours within the RCMP and to ensure the well-being of all of its employees. These actions may include monitoring the effectiveness of the proposed Management Advisory Board and its advisory role, as well as providing a mechanism for rank-and-file RCMP employees to express their concerns and share their experiences with the RCMP’s senior leaders.
Finally, your committee notes that Division 21 would amend the Veterans Well-being Act to make members of the Supplementary Reserve eligible for the Education and Training Benefit as of 5 July 2019. Your committee supports this change, believing that members of the Supplementary Reserve, who primarily are former Canadian Armed Forces members who are no longer in active service, should have access to this benefit to support them financially as they undertake education and training. Also, your committee has learned that their current ineligibility for this benefit deters some from joining the Supplementary Reserve.