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I am pleased to present the Military Police Complaints Commission's (Commission) 2007-08 Departmental Performance Report (DPR).
The Commission was established by the Government of Canada on December 1, 1999. This was executed by amendment to the National Defence Act, Part IV of which sets out the full mandate of the Commission and how complaints are to be handled. The purpose of the Commission is to provide independent, civilian oversight of the Canadian Forces military police. As stated in Issue Paper No. 8, which accompanied the Bill that created the Commission, its role is "to provide for greater public accountability by the military police and the chain of command in relation to military police investigations."
In addition to fulfilling our mandate, the Commission identified, in its 2007-2008 Report on Plans and Priorities, two priorities: improving the effectiveness and efficiency of the complaints resolution process and improving management accountability. I am pleased to report that the Commission has been successful in addressing these priorities and has made significant progress, including strengthening the management accountability framework. The Commission received slightly fewer complaints in fiscal year 2007-08 but many of the complaints received were more complex and more involved, resulting in additional research, an increase in documents to be reviewed, and more interviews and investigations to be conducted. These complex, larger cases are being reviewed to identify innovative ways to address such complaints on a timely basis and in an effort to keep costs down. In addition, the Commission is reviewing its information gathering and storage practices, which benefit the more complex cases, to ensure that evidence, once filed, can be found and retrieved in an efficient manner. Evidence tracking software solutions have been examined and one is being utilized as a test case. The visibility of several of our cases and the challenges related to them is again motivating the Commission to find better ways to improve on the effectiveness and efficiency of its complaints handling processes.
The Commission has continued with its outreach visits to Canadian Forces Bases. These visits are important for several reasons. They afford the Commission the opportunity to increase awareness of its mandate and its processes for identifying and reporting complaints and they provide an opportunity for members of the military police to familiarize themselves with the Commission's mandate and the complaints resolution process. In addition, as the Commission moves from base to base, it gains further insight into issues affecting military police in the performance of their policing duties. This year eight (8) bases were visited.
The Commission, like most small agencies, faces significant corporate challenges. One challenge is staff turnover. Failure to have the right people in the right place at the right time could impede the Commission's ability to conduct detailed investigations, release timely reports and make sound, complete and timely recommendations. As the year was drawing to a close, the Commission achieved a cohesive mix of well qualified, experienced and dedicated personnel. External service providers, other government departments and contractors, were utilized as a means to complement the Commission's internal capacity. The Commission strives to create a work environment that is more stimulating and challenging and in so doing, is retaining its employees for a longer period of time, thereby stabilizing the work environment and improving on the already high quality of service provided. This has achieved a better balance, including a more focused approach to fulfilling the Commission's core mandate.
During the year, the Commission realigned several management and administrative functions between the General Counsel and the Chief of Staff to allow the General Counsel to focus exclusively on the complaints resolution process and to provide the Chief of Staff with full responsibility for all of corporate services, including communications.
Successful changes have been made throughout the year and these efforts will continue as the Commission strives to meet its mandate and deliver on its priorities in a cost effective manner.
As the year drew to a close, a series of events unfolded that presented a significant challenge to the Commission. In February 2007, the Commission received a complaint from Amnesty International Canada and the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association concerning the conduct of military police members in the handling of detainees in Afghanistan. Shortly thereafter, a public interest investigation was initiated due to the seriousness of the allegations, the potential threat to public confidence in the military police and the fact that the complaint indirectly called into question directives, orders and procedures developed or approved at very senior levels within the Canadian Forces and the Department of National Defence. In March 2008, a public interest hearing was launched into this complaint in which the Commission has the power to compel testimony and documentary evidence in order to conduct a complete investigation into the grave allegations raised in the complaint. The Attorney General of Canada responded by submitting a Notice of Application, calling into question the Commission's jurisdiction in this matter. The matter is to be heard before the Federal Court.
In order to preserve its mandate, the Commission intends to vigorously address these challenges in Federal Court. In so doing, the Commission will continue to play an essential role in ensuring the highest standards of policing within the Canadian Forces, at home and abroad, in contributing to the effectiveness of the Canadian Forces and in benefiting people living or working in Canada's military communities.
Peter A. Tinsley
I submit for tabling in Parliament, the 2007-08 Departmental Performance Report (DPR) for the Military Police Complaints Commission.
This document has been prepared based on the reporting principles contained in the Guide for the Preparation of Part III of the 2007-2008 Estimates: Reports on Plans and Priorities and Departmental Performance Reports:
Peter A. Tinsley
Strategic Outcome and Program Activity Architecture
The Commission was established by the Government of Canada on December 1, 1999. Its purpose is to provide independent, civilian oversight of the Canadian Forces military police. It is an independent commission, accountable to Parliament, through the Minister of National Defence.
The Commission receives and inquires into complaints independently and impartially and arrives at objective findings and recommendations based on the information provided by complainants, the subjects of the complaints, witnesses and others who may assist in uncovering the truth concerning the events being investigated. The role of the Commission is to provide for greater public accountability by the military police and the chain of command in relation to military police investigations.
The Commission formulates recommendations based on the findings of its independent and impartial reviews and investigations of complaints. Although not binding, if the authority responsible for dealing with these recommendations does not act on them, the reasons for not acting must be provided to the Chair and the Minister of National Defence. While the Chair's recommendations may result in the censuring of the conduct of those who are the subject of a complaint, the recommendations are directed first and foremost at correcting any systemic problem that may have played a part in allowing the situation that gave rise to a complaint in the first instance.
The Commission is an organization that exhibits fairness and impartiality in the performance of its investigations and reviews, inspires trust in the results of its decision-making, and contributes to a climate of confidence in military policing.
The Commission has one strategic outcome: a military police organization that performs its policing duties in a highly professional organization, free from interference and with the confidence and support of those it serves.
|Financial Resources ($000)|
|2007 – 2008|
|Planned Spending||Total Authorities||Actual Spending|
|Human Resources (FTEs)|
|1. Improving the effectivenessand efficiency of thecomplaints resolution process||Ongoing||Successfully met|
|2. Improving management accountability||New||Successfully met|
Program Activities by Strategic Outcome
|Expected Results||Performance Status||2007-2008||Contributes to the following priority|
|Planned Spending||Actual Spending|
|Strategic Outcome: A military police organization that performs its policing duties in a highly professional manner, free from interference and with the confidence and support of those it serves|
|Complaints Resolution||Timely implementation of corrective action by DND to improve on the quality of military policing||successfully met||3.434||2.909||Priority 1 and 2|
|Increased awareness on behalf of the military police, the Canadian Forces and the public of military policing issues, and an overall improvement in military policing practices||successfully met||(included in spending above)||(included in spending above)||Priority 1 and 2|
The Commission was established to provide independent, civilian oversight of the Canadian Forces Military Police. By its efforts, the Commission contributes to the professionalism of the military police, helping to ensure the military police continue to enjoy the confidence of the Canadian Forces, and that of the Department of National Defence and of all Canadians.
The Military Police Complaints Process
The Commission is mandated to review and investigate complaints concerning military police conduct and investigate allegations of interference in military police investigations. Findings and recommendations are made directly to the military police and Canadian Forces leadership.
There are two types of complaints – conduct complaints and interference complaints. A complaint about the conduct of military police in the performance of their policing duties or functions can be made by anyone, a civilian or a member of the Canadian Forces, whether or not they are directly affected by the subject matter of the complaint.
The Canadian Forces Provost Marshal (CFPM), the chief of military police, has primary responsibility for the investigation of complaints about the conduct of military police. The Commission has the authority to monitor the investigation and disposition of the complaints by the CFPM and to independently investigate complaints as appropriate, such as upon request of the complainant when he or she is dissatisfied with the result of their complaint by the CFPM (or his delegate).
When the Chair determines it is in the public interest, the Commission can exercise its power to assume immediate responsibility for the investigation of a conduct complaint and, if warranted, to hold a public hearing.
The Commission has exclusive jurisdiction for the investigation of complaints of interference in a military police investigation. Any member of the military police who conducts or supervises a military police investigation and believes that a member of the Canadian Forces or a senior official of the Department of National Defence has interfered with, or attempted to influence, a military police investigation, may file a complaint with the Commission. This process recognizes the special situation of military police who are both peace officers and members of the Canadian Forces subject to military command.
The processes involved with each type of complaint are set out below.
Complaints About Police Conduct
Perhaps the most significant authority provided to the Commission under the legislation is the authority conferred by the National Defence Act subsection 250.38(1) to, "... at any time the Chairperson considers it advisable in the public interest", initiate an investigation into a complaint and "... if warranted, to hold a hearing...". In the context of such a hearing, the Act gives the Commission powers similar to those of a public inquiry – to compel the attendance and testimony of witnesses and to require the production of documents and other evidence.
The Commission's involvement in investigating complaints about military police conduct or interference complaints results in the Chair preparing reports (interim and final) of findings and recommendations. The interim report requires a response from a senior designated National Defence or Canadian Forces official regarding the action taken or planned for each of the recommendations. Such recommendations, and the responses to them, help to ensure the highest standards of military policing and to strengthen the professionalism, integrity and independence of the military police.
Managing the Workload
An analysis of the past and present caseload over the past few years indicates that the complexity and size of many complaints has increased dramatically. Previously, the majority of the complaints were relatively straightforward, with interviews involving a few people, often in the same location, and were concluded in a relatively quick turnaround time. With the advent of the large, complex case type, an investigation now involves interviewing, in some cases, dozens of individuals spread across the country and internationally, as well as the review of thousands and thousands of pages of documentary evidence. Consequently, the Commission must manage its activities and allocate its resources so that complaints, both big and small, are thoroughly investigated in a timely and cost-effective manner.
A constant challenge of the Commission's operating environment is the Commission's lack of control over the volume and complexity of the cases received. It is impossible to predict with any degree of accuracy how many complaints will be received or deemed to be in the public interest - complaints that will result in more costly public interest investigations and/or hearings by the Commission. The possibility became a reality in March 2008 when the Chair exercised his authority under subsection 250.38(1) of the National Defence Act to call a public hearing. Given the size, complexity and visibility of the complaint, the Commission will be forced to carefully manage its resources and in fact seek additional funding in order to be able to acquire the resources necessary to discharge its mandate in a proper manner.
Cooperation and working relationships
The Commission requires the cooperation of others to be successful. The Chair cannot issue a final report in any given case until the appropriate authority within the military or the defence hierarchy has provided a response to the Commission's interim report. Furthermore, the recommendations for improvements issued by the Commission in its interim and final reports are not binding on the Canadian Forces or the Department. Establishing and maintaining good working relationships with the CFPM, the Chief of Defence Staff and other stakeholders within the Department will help to ensure that the recommendations are quickly and completely implemented.
The Commission recognizes the importance of increasing the awareness of its mandate and activities among three key groups – members of the military police, the military chain of command and those who may interact with military police because they live, work or pass through a military base. As a result, the Commission operates a very active outreach program, consisting of a series of base visits. These base visits provide an opportunity for individuals in all three groups to gain further appreciation of how the Commission functions and how it could potentially impact them. Commission members and staff learn first hand of the challenging environment and working conditions in which the military police operate.
The Commission is a micro-agency with a workforce average of 16 employees. The organization is, for the most part, flat and opportunity for advancement is limited. Turnover has, in the past, been an issue. But the implementation of a series of human resource renewal activities such as the awards and recognition program, the application of succession planning principles and strategies to potential vacancies and the adherence to the Public Service values of fairness, accessibility and transparency have resulted in the Commission achieving a cohesive mix of well-qualified, experienced and dedicated personnel.
The Commission continues to implement the Management, Resources and Results Structure (MRRS) policy in conjunction with Treasury Board. The Commission, at the suggestion of Treasury Board, will review its strategic outcome to ensure it is still aligned to government priorities. The performance measurement framework will continue to be revalidated and enhanced to ensure it properly measures the large, complex cases.
The Commission measures its performance against the achievement of its strategic outcome in two very critical areas – are complaints resolved in a fair and timely manner and are recommendations resulting from investigations implemented by the Department of National Defence and/or the Canadian Forces. In both areas, the Commission is performing well. Concerning fairness, to date, there have been no judicial reviews requested of any of the Commission's findings and recommendations set forth in its final reports. And as noted below, the Commission's recommendations are being implemented. As for timeliness, the timeframes and deadlines are in the process of being reviewed due to the arrival of the complex complaints, which have become more frequent. With regard to the acceptance and implementation of recommendations, it should be noted that the Notice of Action, the official response to the Interim Report, outlines what action, if any, has been or will be taken in response to the Commission's recommendations. Generally, prior to the issuance of the Final Report, the Commission satisfies itself that its recommendations have been implemented. In some cases, follow-up is required where major changes are being made to a policy or training program. For the 2007-08 fiscal year, 100% of the Commission's recommendations were accepted and implemented.
The Commission developed a series of strategic plans for each of its two priorities. To improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the complaints resolution process, the plans were as follows:
To improve management accountability, the plans were as follows:
The Commission accomplished the majority of what it planned to do. A brief summary of some of its major accomplishments will illustrate this positive performance.
Details of the Commission's case activities can be found on the website at www.mpcc-cppm.gc.ca
The Commission is aware that its case load is changing. The size, complexity and visibility of recent complaints have increased dramatically. The recently implemented standards, practices and performance measures will have to be revisited and adjusted to encompass these large, complex cases. Information gathering processes, more than adequate in the past, have been reviewed given the influx of these large complex cases. Evidence tracking systems were reviewed and were implemented in one complex file as the Commission's first test case.
The Commission will continue to use operational and strategic staffing information in its planning processes. The stable workforce makes a positive contribution to the quality of investigations conducted, reports released and recommendation made.
The integration of risk management principles and practices into the decision-making processes will help to ensure that the Commission will apply operational resources to best meet operation requirements in a cost effective manner. This is the second year that the Commission has successfully operated within its reduced reference levels.