May 2, 2019 – Ottawa – Military Police Complaints Commission of Canada
The 2018 Annual Report was tabled in Parliament today by the Honourable Harjit Sajjan, Minister of National Defence. On the eve of its 20th anniversary, the Military Police Complaints Commission of Canada (MPCC) has highlighted the key role it plays in upholding public trust and the rule of law within the Canadian Armed Forces.
This year, the MPCC chose the theme of public trust and confidence as a reflection on its commitment to constant, ongoing improvements to its operations. 2018 saw the Commission adopt a new executive structure and complete a redesign of the organization to strengthen monitoring mechanisms as it strives to make its processes more effective, efficient and timely.
Two ongoing Public Interest Investigations (PII) remain priorities for the Commission.
The Commission continued its work into the PII anonymous complaint relating to the alleged mistreatment of detainees in Afghanistan in 2010-11 and a subsequent investigation of the matter by the Military Police. Since July 2017, MPCC investigators travelled across Canada to meet and interview over 65 witnesses. They then interviewed the six subjects of the complaint from October to December 2018. The MPCC investigators are currently preparing the Investigation Report which will be submitted to the Commission Panel in 2019. The Panel will then prepare an Interim Report with its findings and recommendations with respect to the complaint.
The Commission also commenced a second PII in 2018, into allegations of torture and abuse of former CAF members during their training. Following the Chairperson’s decision to conduct this PII in April 2018, investigators completed a detailed review and analysis of the investigative files relating to the complaint and submitted an Investigative Assessment and Plan to the MPCC Chairperson. In September 2018, the Chairperson provided instructions on the next steps in the investigation. Witness interviews began in November 2018 and are ongoing.
The 2018 MPCC Annual Report, “Public Trust and Confidence”, provides a full review of the Commission’s activities in 2018, includes several case summaries, and contains information on financial management, mental health and wellness initiatives for staff and collaboration with members of the Canadian Armed Forces.
“Effective oversight contributes in a powerful way to building public trust. The MPCC aims to create trust in the Military Police among all members of the CAF and Canadians – the Military Police being itself an organization important to upholding public trust and the rule of law within the military as a whole.”
Hilary C. McCormack
- The MPCC was established on December 1, 1999 by the Government of Canada to provide independent civilian oversight of the Canadian Forces Military Police. The MPCC will mark its 20th anniversary with a symposium in December 2019.
- In 2018, the MPCC opened 111 new case files and issued 23 reports, decisions or rulings.
- Over 85% of recommendations made by the MPCC to the Canadian Forces Military Police over the last three years have been accepted and implemented.
- Outreach visits to CAF members increase awareness of the MPCC’s mandate and activities, build relationships with stakeholders and respond to questions and concerns about the complaints process.
- In 2018, the MPCC conducted outreach visits at 4th Canadian Division Training Centre Meaford, Ontario; CFB Shilo, Manitoba; 17 Wing Winnipeg, Manitoba; 5th Canadian Division Support Base (5 CDSB) Gagetown, New Brunswick; 4 Wing Cold Lake, Alberta and at the Ali Al Salem Air Base in Kuwait.
- The MPCC fosters a stigma-free work environment where staff can openly discuss a variety of issues. In 2018, the Commission hosted workshops on mental health, acknowledged a diverse range of holidays and promoted a number of cultural events including Asian Heritage Month and Islamic History Month.
- The MPCC held activities under the Positive Space Initiative and identified a Positive Space Ambassador to address concerns or questions from employees on topics related to LGBTQ2 communities.
- The MPCC is both administratively and legally independent from the Department of National Defence (DND) and the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF). The MPCC is not subject to direction from the Minister of National Defence in respect of its operational mandate.