Conduct process overview
RCMP members are responsible and accountable for the promotion and maintenance of good conduct in the Force. The RCMP Code of Conduct can be found in a schedule within the RCMP Regulations, 2014. Contraventions of provisions of the Code of Conduct will be addressed in a manner that is:
- Fair and consistent;
- Dealt with at the most appropriate level of the Force;
- Emphasizes the importance of maintaining the public trust; and
- Reinforces the high standard of conduct expected of members'.
Decisions regarding any allegation of a breach of the Code of Conduct against a member are made by conduct authorities. They are responsible for initiating an investigation, determining if a member's conduct amounts to a contravention of the Code of Conduct and, if a contravention is established, to impose conduct measures that are proportionate to the nature and circumstances of the contravention and, where appropriate, that are educative, and remedial rather than punitive.
Conduct authorities are designated by the Commissioner either directly or by virtue of the Commissioner's Standing Orders (Conduct), and are typically a member's commander, or another person in the chain of command. Different "classes" or levels of conduct authorities are provided with varying authorities under the conduct management process. For example, a detachment commander may impose remedial measures, with subsequent levels of command having progressively increased authorities to impose financial penalties, demotion or to initiate a conduct board in cases where a member's dismissal is being sought.
Code of Conduct investigation
When a conduct authority in respect of a member becomes aware of allegation(s) of a possible contravention of the Code of Conduct, the conduct authority will review the allegations and may order a Code of Conduct investigation. The investigation can take a variety of forms. It should be appropriate, proportionate and timely to gather evidence, establish the facts and circumstances of the alleged contravention.
After the investigation is completed a report will be produced and reviewed by the conduct authority who will determine whether or not the information supports the allocation that the member's conduct amounts to a contravention of the Code of Conduct or whether any supplemental investigation is required.
In cases where it is clear that the allegation(s), if established, could not be adequately dealt with by conduct measures under the authority of the receiving level of conduct authority, that conduct authority must refer it to the next level of conduct authority. If dismissal appears to be an appropriate outcome, a conduct authority at the Commanding Officer level will initiate a conduct hearing. If dismissal is not warranted, a conduct meeting between the subject member and the conduct authority will be initiated.
Interim administrative measures
When the conduct process is initiated, the conduct authority must also consider if interim administrative measures should be implemented given the overall circumstances, taking into account the public interest and the necessity to protect the integrity and operations of the RCMP from being seriously jeopardized, pending the outcome of the Code of Conduct process.
Interim administrative measures include:
- Temporary reassignment (change in duties within the workplace, a change in work location within the district, a transfer to another watch, etc)
- Stoppage of pay and allowances
When it appears to a conduct authority that a member has contravened a provision of the Code of Conduct, and a conduct investigation has been initiated, the conduct authority may impose one of the interim administrative measures. A conduct authority at the line officer or Commanding Officer levels may suspend a member from duty under section 12 of the RCMP Act when the member has contravened, is found contravening or is suspected of contravening a provision of the Code of Conduct, Act or Parliament, or legislature of a province.
The implementation of interim administrative measures or a suspension from duty is not a disciplinary measure. These are administrative steps available to safeguard the Force and the public pending the outcome of the matter.
Stoppage of pay and allowances
A subject member's pay and allowances may be stopped under Section 22(2)(b) of the RCMP Act in exceptional circumstances where the subject member is clearly involved in the contravention of any provision of the Code of Conduct or an Act of Parliament or of the legislature of a province, 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.
Generally, the authority to direct the stoppage of pay and allowances resides with the Commanding Officer.
A subject member may appeal a temporary reassignment, a suspension or the stoppage of pay and allowances.
Conduct meeting (non dismissal)
In cases where dismissal is not being considered, a conduct meeting will take place.
Prior to the meeting, the subject member will be provided with full disclosure of the investigation. At the meeting, the subject member will have the opportunity to make representations (written and/or oral) with respect to the allegation(s) and conduct measure(s). The subject member may consult with a Member Workplace Advisor or any person of their choice at any time throughout the conduct process.
Once the conduct authority has reviewed all relevant information (investigation report, supplementary report, submissions by the subject member), he/she will determine, on a balance of probabilities, whether the subject member has contravened a provision of the Code of Conduct.
The conduct authority will provide the subject member with the written decision in respect of each allegation, setting out the reasons for the decision.
If the allegation(s) is established, the conduct authority may impose one or more of the conduct measures under their level of authority as provided under the Commissioner's Standing Orders (Conduct).
Under the RCMP Act, conduct authorities have several options to respond to findings of misconduct. Conduct measures must be imposed within one year of the conduct authority becoming aware of the allegation and the identity of the subject member. Conduct measures can be:
- remedial (e.g., an admonishment, direction to attend special training, or a reprimand);
- corrective (e.g., deferral of promotion for a specified period of not more than one year, forfeiture of pay to a maximum of 80 hours); and/or
- serious (e.g., demotion, ineligibility for promotion, forfeiture of pay of more than 80 hours).
The subject member has the right to appeal the final decision made by a conduct authority, and may have their appeal referred to the External Review Committee when the measures imposed include dismissal, demotion, or financial penalty of more than one day of the member's pay. The decision takes effect as soon as it is served on the subject member and is not stayed by the making of an appeal.
Conduct hearing (dismissal)
If a conduct authority is not satisfied that they have the authority to act in a case, and that dismissal may be an appropriate outcome, the conduct authority can initiate a conduct hearing. The conduct hearing is directed by a board of one or more individuals.
A conduct hearing must be initiated by a conduct authority within one year from the time the contravention and the identity of that member became known to the conduct authority who initiated the investigation or caused it to be initiated.
The subject member will have the opportunity to present their case to the board and may obtain representation from a Member Representative (legally trained employee) or any other person of their choice.
After hearing all representations, the conduct board must determine whether or not each allegation(s) is established on a balance of probabilities. If it is determined that one or more contraventions have been established, the board must impose the appropriate conduct measure(s) that is proportionate to the gravity of the misconduct, considering all aggravating and mitigating factors.
The conduct board may impose any one or more of the following conduct measures:
- recommendation for dismissal from the Force if the member is a Deputy Commissioner, or dismissal from the force if the member is not a Deputy Commissioner; or
- direction to resign from the Force and, in default of resigning within 14 days after being directed to do so, recommendation for dismissal from the Force, if the member is a Deputy Commissioner, or dismissal from the Force, if the member is not a Deputy Commissioner; or
- one or more of the conduct measures provided in the Commissioner's Standing Orders (Conduct)
A subject member or conduct authority may appeal the decision of the conduct board to the Commissioner, and may have their appeal referred to the External Review Committee when the measures imposed include dismissal, demotion, or financial penalty of more than one day of the member's pay.
The decision takes effect as soon as it is served on the subject member and is not stayed by the making of an appeal.
Conduct hearings are open to the public. Hearing dates, times, and locations, are available on the Hearing schedule site.
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