Amended RCMP Act
In June 2013, the Enhancing Royal Canadian Mounted Police Accountability Act (Accountability Act) received Royal Assent, setting in motion the reform of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act (RCMP Act). On November 28, 2014, both the Accountability Act and the amended RCMP Act came into force.
The modernization of the RCMP Act has resulted in changes to the following processes:
The new conduct process allows misconduct to be addressed in a more responsive, timely and effective manner, while balancing fairness:
- Most conduct issues can be resolved at the lowest appropriate level, often locally;
- The majority of conduct matters will be dealt with through a meeting process to provide the member with an opportunity to be heard while also giving managers and employees greater flexibility when dealing with conduct issues;
- Conduct hearings are only initiated in cases where dismissal is being sought and a conduct board has broader authority to manage proceedings;
- There is a greater focus on remedial, corrective and educative solutions to conduct issues rather than punishment;
- Informal and formal discipline sanctions have been replaced by remedial, corrective and serious measures
- Grounds for suspension are based on whether the integrity or operations of the Force would be seriously jeopardized and consideration of the public interest;
- Grounds for a stoppage of a subject member's pay and allowances require exceptional circumstances where the subject member is clearly involved in the contravention of the law or any provision of the Code of Conduct and the conduct has a highly detrimental impact on the integrity or operations of the RCMP, or the subject member's ability to perform his/her duties;
- The decision of a conduct authority or a conduct board takes effect as soon as it is served on the subject member and is not stayed by the making of an appeal.
Harassment Investigation and Resolution
The new harassment process brings requirements of the Code of Conduct and Treasury Board approaches into one timely and efficient harassment process:
- Harassment is now specifically identified as a contravention of the RCMP Code of Conduct;
- Rather than dual processes dictated by Treasury Board policy and Part IV of the RCMP Act, there is now a single RCMP-specific process created under the Commissioner's Standing Orders to deal with harassment complaints involving members;
- A complaint alleging harassing behavior of a member will benefit from having the same decision maker holding the authority to decide on whether harassment has occurred, and, if appropriate, to impose conduct measures;
- A new national Office for the Coordination of Harassment Complaints (OCHC) has been established to intake and monitor all harassment complaints;
- Parties have the opportunity to pursue informal resolution of a complaint up until the making of the final decision. The informal resolution process is supported by a professionalized informal conflict management program;
- Greater transparency in the harassment complaint process and improved communication with the complainants and respondents, including being provided with updates every 30 days; opportunity to respond to the preliminary report and to object to investigators and /or decision makers where there is a reasonable apprehension of bias;
- Harassment investigators must have completed specialized training in order to conduct investigations;
- A simplified appeal process for complainants that will include a review by the External Review Committee and access to the Commissioner for a final and binding decision.
A new employment requirements process has been developed for taking administrative actions and decisions in respect of the stoppage of pay and allowances for unauthorized absence or the loss of a basic requirement, the revocation of an appointment, an administrative discharge and demotion, the authority to direct a member to undergo a medical examination or assessment to determine fitness for duty, and the discharge of a probationary member.
Employment requirements processes will be applied in an equitable and timely manner that is appropriate to the circumstances and preserves procedural fairness.
- The four basic requirements that a member must possess for the carrying out of their duties are:
- legally authorized to possess a firearm;
- hold a license issued in Canada to operate a motor vehicle;
- have the required reliability status or security clearance (new); and
- not being subject to an order issued by a court or justice of the peace prohibiting or restricting entry into any place within the policing jurisdiction for which the member is responsible.
Stoppage of Pay and Allowances:
- A member's pay and allowances may be stopped if the member has lost a basic requirement, is absent from duty without authorization or leaves any assigned duty without authorization.
Administrative Discharge and Demotion:
- A member may be subject to an administrative discharge or demotion for reasons such as unsatisfactory performance, being unable to continue to serve due to a disability, the loss of a basic requirement, unauthorized absence, conflict of interest or being convicted of an indictable offence.
- Discharges for unsatisfactory performance or reasons other than a contravention of the Code of Conduct must be for "cause".
- The goal of the RCMP is to retain members whenever appropriate. The RCMP will commit expertise, time and resources to work with the member to identify opportunities for retention. It is only after these efforts have been proven unsuccessful that a discharge process may be initiated.
- The probation period for new RCMP members remains two years, however the probationary period may be interrupted by any of the following:
- a period of leave without pay;
- any hours of leave with pay in excess of a total of 360 hours;
- a period of full-time language training;
- a period of suspension for contravening any provision of the Code of Conduct under section 12 of the RCMP Act;
- a period during which the member is at work but is unable to perform the duties required of a member on probation;
- a period during which the member is relieved from duty as part of an administrative process.
- A probationary member may be discharged with two weeks' notice or pay in lieu of notice if it is determined that he/she does not possess the suitability to continue to serve as a member beyond the probationary period.
Grievances and Appeals
To process and manage grievances and appeals more efficiently and quickly, these processes have been streamlined, reducing approximately 18 processes or sub-processes down to two:
- Grievances and appeals will be handled by one central office, the Office for the Coordination of Grievances and Appeals;
- The adjudicators' authorities have been enhanced giving them the discretion to, for example, meet formally and informally with the parties, join grievances or appeals that are very similar, dismiss grievances or appeals that are frivolous, vexatious or where there has been an abuse of the process, and to allow or deny grievances or appeals when a party does not comply with an adjudicator's direction; and
- The RCMP External Review Committee will review and provide recommendations for only the more serious matters in dispute such as appeals related to: conduct, harassment, administrative discharges and demotions, and stoppages of pay and allowances following a suspension.
The Enhancing RCMP Act includes the creation of the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission (CRCC) to replace the Commission for Public Complaints against the RCMP and provides the CRCC with enhanced, streamlined and updated authorities to conduct reviews and investigations, bringing it in line with other modern international, federal and provincial systems:
- The CRCC authorities now include the ability to conduct specific activity reviews, to summon and compel witnesses during investigations or hearings to provide oral and documentary evidence, and to have greater access to RCMP information; and
- An increased emphasis on informal resolution means scarce investigative resources don't have to be used to conduct a formal public complaint investigation and fosters both the public's confidence in the system and a willingness to assist the RCMP both prevent and investigate crime.
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