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ARCHIVED - RPP 2007-2008
RCMP External Review Committee

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Section I - Overview

Chair's Message

The strategic objective of the RCMP External Review Committee (the "Committee") is to positively influence the manner in which labour relations issues are addressed within the RCMP.  The Committee reviews grievance, disciplinary and discharge and demotion cases that are referred to it, and provides findings and recommendations to assist the RCMP Commissioner in making decisions that are fair and well-informed.  It also disseminates information on its role and on its findings and recommendations. 

The key priority of the Committee in this planning period is to continue to produce high quality, independent and timely case review, while maintaining efficiency.  In conjunction with this, it is important that the backlog of cases is reduced and eliminated over the next two years.

A second priority is to solidify the Committee's increased outreach activity to ensure that its work is known and understood by members of the RCMP.  As the Committee approaches its twentieth anniversary in 2008, it will also prepare events and tools to celebrate that landmark.

Other areas of priority over the next three years will be minimizing corporate risks and ensuring accountability and transparency in all our work.  To this end, the Committee is exploring various strategies to ensure a solid integration of these corporate initiatives into its entire operational framework.

On behalf of the Committee, I am pleased to be able to present the priorities for this planning period.  I welcome the coming challenges and am committed to the continuing progress of these priorities.


Signature of Catherine Ebbs, Chair

Catherine Ebbs

January 29, 2007


Management Representation Statement

I submit, for tabling in Parliament, the 2007-2008 Report on Plans and Priorities (RPP) for the RCMP External Review Committee.

This document has been prepared based on the reporting principles contained in the Guide to the Preparation of Part III of the 2007-2008 Estimates: Reports on Plans and Priorities and Departmental Performance Reports:

  • It adheres to the specific reporting requirements outlined in the TBS guidance;
  • It is based on the Committee's strategic outcome and Program Activity Architecture that were approved by the Treasury Board;
  • It presents consistent, comprehensive, balanced and reliable information;
  • It provides a basis of accountability for the results achieved with the resources and authorities entrusted to it; and
  • It reports finances based on approved planned spending numbers from the Treasury Board Secretariat.

Signature of Virginia Adamson, Executive Director and Senior Counsel (Acting)

Virginia Adamson
Executive Director and Senior Counsel (Acting)

January 29, 2007


Summary Information

Reason for existence

The RCMP External Review Committee is an independent and impartial agency that aims to promote fair and equitable labour relations within the RCMP, in accordance with applicable principles of law.  To this end the Committee conducts an independent review of appeals in disciplinary and discharge and demotion matters, as well as certain categories of grievances that can be referred to it pursuant to s. 33 of the RCMP Act and s. 36 of the RCMP Regulations.

Financial Resources ($thousands) *







* This breakdown of resources has not been adjusted to reflect the Committee's 80% (program activity 1) and 20 % (program activity 2) division for each program activity.

Human Resources (FTEs)


2008-2009 **





** 1 FTE is for 9/12th of the year.

The Committee's Priorities



1.   Focus on quality of case review and reduction of backlog


2.   Maintain optimum environment for ERC staff


3.   Ongoing evaluation of operations


4.   Solidify outreach and raise awareness of the ERC's work


5.   Development of a more robust infrastructure to address corporate requirements and integrate these in its operational framework

three years

The Committee's Plans and Priorities

Operating Environment

The primary objective of the RCMP External Review Committee (the "Committee") is to promote fair and open labour relations with the RCMP, in accordance with applicable principles of law and policy.  The Committee is an independent arms-length agency created under the RCMP Act.  The focus of the Committee's work is the impartial, independent and timely review of RCMP labour relations cases referred to it and the timely issuance recommendations to the Commissioner. 

The Committee's case review process starts only when the Commissioner refers a case to it.  By law, the Committee itself cannot initiate a review without the referral from the Commissioner.  The cases that must be referred are described in the RCMP Act and include disciplinary appeals, discharge and demotion appeals and certain categories of grievances.  When the Committee conducts a review of a case, it monitors the entire record before it: the original documents, the decision made, and the submissions of the parties.  Where the review involves the appeal of a disciplinary or discharge and demotion decision, the transcript of the Board hearing is also before the Committee, as well as any exhibits entered at the hearing.  The Chair reviews all the evidence, legal issues, relevant legislation and judicial decisions in making a recommendation. After consideration of all the issues, the Chair of the Committee provides findings and recommendations to the RCMP Commissioner, who is the final decision-maker.  If the RCMP Commissioner decides not to follow the Committee recommendations, the law requires that an explanation be given for not doing so in the reasons..

The Committee is a very small agency.  It has one member who is both the Chair and Chief Executive Officer.  She was appointed by the Governor in Council, and assumed her position on November 1, 2005.  Under the Act, anyone who sits on the Committee cannot be a member or former member of the RCMP.  Up to this year, the Committee also had a total of six FTEs.  Recent funding for three additional temporary FTEs has been received.

It is never possible to predict the number of cases that will be referred to the Committee in any one year.  With the exception of this current fiscal year, there has been an increase in cases referred.  At the present time, the Committee has a backlog of cases.  It has responded to this through implementing several internal measures to ensure a faster review of cases.  As well, the Committee requested and received additional funds for its operations.  At this time the funding is not of a long term nature and the Committee will explore the possibility of securing these funds on an indeterminate basis.  Also, the Committee monitors its case management practices to ensure effectiveness and to maintain a high quality of findings and recommendations.

The Committee also performs an important outreach function.  Its quarterly Communiqué and Web site provide summaries on all new recommendations issued, as well as discussion papers on relevant legal and policy issues.  The Committee recently undertook an informal survey of the effectiveness of its Communiqué and Web site with members of the RCMP Staff Relations Representatives Program and with the Professional Standards and External Review Branch of the RCMP, both of whom address labour relations issues.  This survey indicated that the Communiqué is considered a very helpful reference tool for the membership.  As well, staff meet with stakeholders throughout the year, and these exchanges are extremely helpful as part of its ongoing understanding of labour relations issues within the RCMP

In the corporate sphere, the Committee has taken many steps to meet federal wide objectives, and become an organization that is robust.  It has been committed to meeting these demands and thereby provide greater accountability and transparency in its entire operational framework.  This has been challenging however, because as a very small agency, it has been funded primarily for operational purposes only.  Nevertheless, the Committee considers the implementation of federal wide objectives as key to meeting the government objective of accountability.  While this is important, the Committee must deal with added reporting pressures that are equivalent to those of a large department or agency.

Below are described in more detail the priorities for the Committee's program activities in this planning period.  These include timely and high quality case review and the reduction of its backlog; maintaining an optimum work environment for staff of the Committee; ensuring the ongoing evaluation of its operations to maximize its efficiency; ensuring outreach to its stakeholders; and the integration of a corporate framework into the entire business framework of the Committee.

Plans and Priorities

1.  Focus on quality of case review and reduction of backlog (ongoing)

An ongoing priority of the Committee will continue to be the effectiveness and efficiency in its case review functions.  It will focus on ensuring that it issues case recommendations of high quality through an independent, arms length and expeditious process.

Linked to this priority is the reduction of the case backlog.  The Committee has already implemented a number of changes to its process to this end.  The Committee will continue to monitor the quality and efficiency of its case review and integrate innovative practices that make this process even more effective. 

The Committee has received funds of a limited duration to facilitate case review and reduce the backlog and will be staffing these positions as soon as possible.  These positions should assist in relieving some of the demands on staff as well as allowing greater time to be devoted to case review.  The Committee will also explore avenues toward securing resources on a longer term basis and integrating case management information technology in its operational environment.

The Committee continues to ensure that its research tools are up to date and that staff have the resources needed to conduct quality case reviews.

2.  Maintain optimum environment for ERC staff (ongoing)

Both the Public Service Modernization Act (PSMA) and the federal government wide Training Policy invite workplaces to implement policies and practices that maintain a positive working environment for everyone.  The Committee will ensure that indeterminate positions at the Committee are filled.  It will continue to hold staff meetings on a regular basis to encourage knowledge sharing and positive and collegial communication and consultation on both operational and corporate matters.  The Committee is also committed to ensuring staff receive the training they need both for the work they do, as well as training toward longer term career goals.

In addition, the Committee will monitor and evaluate the implementation of its human resource plan, and monitor the key initiatives coming out of public service modernization, such as the informal conflict management system, co-development and labour management consultation.

3.  Ongoing evaluation of operations (ongoing)

The Committee regularly evaluates its operational performance through the delivery of findings and recommendations and other measurable factors.  In addition, in the 2006-07 fiscal year, the Committee embarked on its Management Accountability Framework (MAF) self assessment.  The Committee will develop an Action Plan coming out of its assessment as well as the Treasury Board Secretariat assessment of the organization.

Other matters also provide an opportunity for review of the Committee's work.  The Committee began its operations in 1988 and will celebrate its twentieth anniversary during fiscal year 2008-2009.  This important juncture offers an opportunity to review its role in a more comprehensive manner.  The Committee will plan and prepare tools and events to celebrate this landmark.

In addition, implementation of the recommendations in the reports issued by Justice O'Connor in the Commission of Inquiry into the Actions of Canadian Officials in Relation to Maher Arar may lead to input from the Committee.  The Committee will provide observations to inform that process, should it occur.

4.  Solidify outreach and raise awareness of the ERC's work (ongoing)

The Committee will maintain its commitment to communication of its findings and recommendations, and will also ensure they are available through its Web site, and through the quarterly publication of its Communiqué.

The Committee will continue to build on the momentum it has gained in outreach over the last two years and explore other opportunities for outreach.  It will continue to meet with its stakeholders, such as the RCMP Staff Relations Representatives and the Professional Standards and External Review Branch of the RCMP, on general labour relations matters.  The Committee will also seek other possibilities for outreach, which could include knowledge sharing and capacity building with management and employees of the RCMP about the Committee and its role and mandate under the RCMP Act.

In addition, the Committee will continue to maintain a high commitment to answering requests for information as quickly as possible.

Finally, the Committee will be commemorating its twentieth anniversary in the 2008-2009 fiscal year and will be planning an outreach event.

5.  Development of a more robust infrastructure to address corporate requirements and integrate these in its operational framework ( three years)

Over the last several years, the Committee has observed an increasing number of reporting and corporate requirements coming from central agencies of the federal government.  These have arisen due to important federal government initiatives that focus on results, adopt a risk management approach, ensure sound stewardship, address both the letter and the spirit of the new PSMA, and integrate requirements to ensure accountability and transparency in the public service. 

While many of these initiatives may be categorized as corporate in nature, the requirement to implement them affects the operations of the Committee.  To ensure that such initiatives have a constructive and meaningful effect and that they are integrated into the organizational framework requires resources.  Therefore, over the next three years, the Committee will explore methods for ensuring that these issues are addressed, both on a transactional level, as well as on a strategic level.  Using tools such as the Management Accountability Framework and the Risk Management Framework the Committee will examine service delivery models, funding sources, and will also work with other stakeholders toward addressing these important issues.