Public Safety Canada

Public Safety Canada

June 14, 2010 15:52 ET

The Government of Canada Takes Action to Ensure Effective Review of RCMP Civilian Complaints

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - June 14, 2010) - Today the Honourable Vic Toews, Minister of Public Safety, along with the Honourable Denis Lebel, Minister of State (Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec) and Member of Parliament for Roberval–Lac-Saint-Jean, announced the introduction of legislation to create a new, enhanced independent civilian review and complaints body for the RCMP. The legislation also puts the interim RCMP external investigations policy as announced by the Commissioner of the RCMP in February, into law.

"This Government is committed to ensuring the RCMP has the capacity to serve and protect our communities effectively," said Minister Toews. "These newest changes build on the work already underway to strengthen and modernize the RCMP through greater transparency and accountability."

"Our action today will help to ensure the continued vitality of the RCMP, a crucial national institution recognized around the world as a symbol of Canada," said Minister Lebel.

The new independent civilian review and complaints body would replace the existing Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP (CPC), and have greater powers than the existing Commission. The strengthened review and complaints body would:

  • have greater access to RCMP information and enhanced investigative powers, such as the authority to summon, compel and enforce the appearance of persons and to give evidence and materials for all complaint investigations and hearings

  • be able to conduct policy reviews, conduct joint investigations with other review bodies, share information with other police review bodies, and provide reports to provinces and territories that contract policing services from the RCMP

  • establish a "no wrong door" policy for complainants (i.e., they may file their complaints with the RCMP, the Commission or a provincial or territorial police complaints body)

  • allow complainants a greater role in the process where a complaint leads to disciplinary proceedings

In addition, by putting into law the interim RCMP external investigations policy, today's legislation would ensure increased transparency and accountability of investigations of incidents involving RCMP members.

"Transparency and accountability are essential to maintaining the public trust and support the RCMP relies on to provide effective policing services," said RCMP Commissioner William Elliott. "The RCMP strongly supports effective and independent oversight that strengthens public confidence and trust and contributes to the modernization of the Force."

"We welcome legislation that will enhance and modernize civilian oversight of the RCMP," said the Honourable Andrew Swan, Minister of Justice and Attorney General for Manitoba. "We rely on the RCMP to provide provincial policing service in Manitoba and strongly support an independent public complaints and investigation process."

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