Bill C-43 (Historical)
Royal Canadian Mounted Police Modernization Act
An Act to enact the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Labour Relations Modernization Act and to amend the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts
This bill was last introduced in the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session, which ended in March 2011.
Stockwell Day Conservative
Introduction and First Reading
(This bill did not become law.)
October 29th, 2012 / 4:35 p.m.
Staff Sergeant Gaétan Delisle President, Quebec Mounted Police Members' Association
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
I retired from the RCMP 3 years ago. I was a staff sergeant at the time. I spent 40 years with the RCMP, 33 of them as a division staff representative, meaning I represented members internally. Initially, you heard from Mr. Townsend. I did the same type of work he did. I spent 33 years representing RCMP members. I think I am well-placed to describe what happens in harassment cases, disciplinary measures and so forth.
However, I would like to point out that the current version of the RCMP Act was initiated in 1976, in response to the famous Marin report, put out by the commission headed by Justice René Marin. I hope you have a look at the report and the 200 or so recommendations it made. Two of the main recommendations called for the independence of both the external review committee for public complaints and the external review committee for RCMP member grievances. The report recommended not only that they be independent, but also that their decisions be binding. It took 10 years for that recommendation to become law. It did not happen until 1988. So a tremendous amount of work went into that component.
In addition, two years ago, Bill C-43 was introduced in the House of Commons. My colleague will cite a few passages from it later. That said, since the legislation was passed, this is where things stand.
One of the things I want to draw your attention to is the fact that multiple reports have been prepared: the Brown report, the Université de Montréal report and the submissions pertaining to the task force. I have them all here so you can look at them. You will see precisely what the RCMP's problems are as regards harassment, intimidation and the inability of senior management to show accountability in this area. I say “show accountability” because all this time, these people have not been held accountable to anyone, as my colleague pointed out.
That is why, as parliamentarians, you always have this ambiguity on your hands, in terms of how to handle a large organization like the RCMP. They are not formally accountable to anyone.
For comparison purposes, a police chief is accountable to a board. So a group of individuals review his or her decisions. Those decisions are made independently. As you can see, the brief we provided to the committee was prepared with organization and concision in mind. We wanted you to understand exactly what we mean.
I will give you an example of the kind of decision made regarding grievances filed by members. Decision TG-192—which I will leave with you—says this:
This grievance also challenged a Force decision not to uphold a member's complaint of harassment.
That's just one example of a decision, but you'll see there are many.
The decision rendered reads as follows:
The Commissioner disagreed with the Committee's finding of harassment with respect to the first incident and denied the grievance.
That has always been the case at the RCMP because the committees aren't independent in their ability to make a decision. That's what happens when you leave the decision to a person in a position of authority. That is how things work at the RCMP now, and this bill won't change a thing. You'll see the same kinds of situations triggering all the investigations that have taken place and that will continue into the future.
October 22nd, 2012 / 5:25 p.m.
Director General, Adjudicative Services, Royal Canadian Mounted Police
I originally was the senior special adviser to the legislative reform initiative, so I had participation in this.
While it's correct to say that the staff relations representatives were not consulted in the drafting component of it, because of the unique way it unfolded, where you had Bill C-43 as a predecessor bill, there was consultation and discussion with various stakeholders, presentations, town hall meetings, and feedback on what was essentially going to be a public service model. That did inform and influence what we did, and it was taken into account.
After the bill was introduced, we entered into, as Staff Sergeant Townsend confirmed, the consultation phase that we will continue on.
So, yes, I was consulted.
Enhancing Royal Canadian Mounted Police Accountability Act
September 17th, 2012 / noon
Vic Toews Minister of Public Safety
moved that Bill C-42, An Act to amend the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts, be read the second time and referred to a committee.
Mr. Speaker, with its roots stretching back to the 1870s, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police has evolved into one of the world's most respected police forces. It is clear that the RCMP is a vital national institution but even the deepest roots need tending to remain strong.
RCMP members are hard-working and dedicated Canadians who put their lives on the line to protect us each and every day.
As an organization, the RCMP is respected around the world as a symbol of who we are as Canadians and what we value: professionalism, honesty, integrity and compassion. However, these ideals and Canadians' confidence in the RCMP has been tested over the past few years. As parliamentarians, we are all aware of the high profile events, public inquiries and, most recently, allegations of sexual harassment within the force. I know there is a consensus in this chamber that changes are needed.
There is also no doubt that the leadership of the RCMP deserves modern, updated tools to do its job.
Earlier this year, we signed 20-year contracts with our provincial and territorial partners, further demonstrating our government's commitment to the RCMP. We remain committed to ensuring that Mounties can effectively serve and protect our communities for generations to come. I therefore was very proud to enable the enhancing RCMP accountability act on June 20.
Before outlining the major provisions of the bill, I will paint a larger picture of why these changes are so necessary.
Over the past four years, the RCMP has been busy addressing deficiencies to strengthen the trust and the confidence of Canadians. Most important, in November 2011, our government appointed Mr. Bob Paulson as the new Commissioner of the RCMP. A senior police leader with extensive experience across the RCMP's complex mandate, including in British Columbia, Commissioner Paulson is well-positioned to deal with the challenges associated with maintaining the RCMP as a key Canadian institution.
While we have seen progress in several areas, for example, the provinces and territories recently signed a 20-year RCMP services agreement that addressed key issues such as governance, accountability, program sustainability and cost containment, more needs to be done and that means amending the legislation governing the RCMP.
It is surprising to think that the RCMP Act has not been significantly amended in nearly 25 years. The RCMP Act, last amended in 1988, has served us well but the time has come for a change.
The proposed legislation would further enhance the RCMP's accountability by reforming the legislation in a number of key areas: First, it would strengthen the RCMP's review and complaints body; second, it would create a statutory framework to handle investigations of serious incidents involving RCMP members in order to promote greater transparency; and third, it would modernize discipline, grievance and human resource management processes for members of the RCMP. This would help prevent, address and correct performance issues in a way that is both fair and timely.
If some of those ideas sound familiar it is not surprising. The proposed legislation contains all of the elements of the former Bill C-38 and several components of former Bill C-43 related to human resource management.
I will delve into each of these areas more deeply.
In 1988, the RCMP Act established the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP, or CPC for short. As its name suggests, the CPC is an independent, arm's-length, civilian body that ensures that public complaints made about the conduct of RCMP officers are examined fairly and impartially.
In recent years, many different stakeholders have expressed concerns about the limitations of that review body. Whether the criticisms stem from contract jurisdictions, parliamentary committees, reports from public inquiries or critiques from individual Canadians, they all share a similar thrust: a belief that the CPC requires enhanced legislative powers for an effective and fulsome review of RCMP activities.
The government has listened to the concerns of Canadians and I have spent the summer travelling the country listening to the concerns of front line RCMP members, community leaders and Canadians. I have heard clearly these concerns. The government recognizes that a growing chorus is demanding change to the review and complaints framework of the RCMP.
I am proud that Bill C-42 fully addresses these issues. The bill would create a new commission that would enhance, streamline and update many elements of the CPC that are currently working effectively. Additionally, new powers would be conferred on the new commission, including the authority to summon and compel witnesses to give oral or written evidence, grant greater access to RCMP information deemed relevant by the new commission for the performance of its duties and, finally, to conduct policy reviews. This would bring the new commission in line with other modern provincial, federal and international review bodies. The legislation would also permit the new commission to have broad access to RCMP information but subject to appropriate safeguards.
As we know, many jurisdictions contract the RCMP for policing services. They have made it very clear that they want enhanced accountability for RCMP member conduct in their communities. They have also asked that the legislative framework for the new commission be designed to dovetail with their own police review bodies. Oftentimes contract jurisdictions want a detailed analysis of RCMP activity tailored to their individual needs. Here, too, Bill C-42 will deliver the goods.
The proposed commission would issue customized annual reports to contract jurisdictions identifying the number and nature of complaints as well as evidence of trends, if there are any.
By its very nature, the RCMP's work is often difficult and dangerous. Members can be called upon to use weapons and occasionally deadly force in the performance of their duties. When serious incidents occur, such as life-threatening injuries or death, the RCMP would be required to refer the case to the provincial civilian investigative body, where one exists. For example, in Alberta, the Alberta serious incident response team would be in charge of carrying out the criminal investigation into an RCMP member's conduct if serious injury or death resulted from an RCMP interaction with the public. In the absence of such a body, the RCMP would have to refer the investigation to another police force whenever practical. In those rare incidents where neither of those two options are available, the RCMP would conduct its own investigation, but this last option would be the exception rather than the norm. This process is both workable and practical for a force spread across one of the largest countries in the world and has the broadest support from the jurisdictions the RCMP serves.
We have built in safeguards that if the RCMP has to investigate one of its own members or if it refers the case to another police force, an independent observer could be appointed by the jurisdiction or the new commission to monitor the impartiality of the investigation. This policy is a result of concerns about a conflict of interest with Mounties investigating their own members.
The government has taken these criticisms to heart and, while we acknowledge the work that the RCMP has done in this regard with its 2010 external investigation or review policies, it is time to solidify this policy in law. The proposed legislation reduces the potential for bias, promotes transparency and promotes public accountability in serious incident investigations.
Recent allegations relating to misconduct and harassment in the RCMP are well-known and I am deeply troubled by these allegations. No doubt, hon. members are also familiar with criticism of the RCMP for how it deals with these kinds of allegations. That is why we believe it is vital to reform the discipline, grievance and human resource management processes within the RCMP and to do so through legislation.
Thus, Bill C-42 would reorient and streamline current processes and provide the commissioner with the authorities needed to manage the organization more effectively.
Let me touch on each of the three components, beginning with discipline.
Simply put, the current process is not working as well as it could, given the existing limitations in the current legislation. Sanctions and remedial options are limited, and the process is weighted down by red tape. Proceedings can literally drag on for years. This is why we are reforming the adjudication boards currently in place.
For most disciplinary actions of any severity, for example, the RCMP is required to use a three-person adjudication board. These boards effectively undermine the role of front-line managers who lack the ability to resolve issues promptly, as well as the flexibility to make decisions on sanctions. As a result, the use of boards creates an adversarial work climate, not to mention long delays in the process.
Under the proposed changes, front-line managers would finally gain the authority and responsibility to impose appropriate, punitive measures. These measures would range from remedial training to corrective action such as holding back pay. Managers would not have to resort to a formal board process, except in the case of dismissal.
Like cases of discipline, the airing of grievances in the RCMP is terribly inefficient. There are, for example, separate processes to deal with terms and conditions of employment, appeals of discharge for unsatisfactory performance, and appeals of formal and informal disciplinary sanctions. On top of that, each process has different decision-makers and administrative structures.
The proposed legislation would create a single grievance and appeal process, allowing for consistency, fairness and efficiency. The legislation would also empower managers, allowing them to deal with issues before they mushroom into big problems. For example, in August 2004, a grievance was filed over a dinner allowance claim of $15, and under the current system it took seven years to obtain a final decision on the matter. Under our proposed legislation, that would be streamlined and dealt with in a matter of weeks, not years. In other words, the proposed legislation would inject some much-needed flexibility into the current rigid system.
We must also pay attention to how decisions get made at the top. In contrast to other police chiefs, for example, the Commissioner of the RCMP lacks the authority to make fundamental human resource decisions. Specifically, he cannot establish and maintain processes for the demotion or discharge of members for administrative reasons. Nor can the commissioner make decisions stemming from these processes or establish a system to prevent, investigate and resolve harassment cases.
Under the proposed legislation, the commissioner would gain increased authorities to fully manage the RCMP workforce. Given the complex and dynamic operating environment of the organization, these changes are nothing short of essential. Specifically, the legislation would address the shortcomings I mentioned.
The commissioner would be able to demote and discharge members and appoint commissioned officers, everyone but the deputy commissioners and commanding officers of the RCMP divisions. Other powers include the authority to establish processes to investigate and resolve disputes involving harassment in the workplace.
As a final consideration to enhance human resource management, Bill C-42 would reduce the number of employee categories. Currently there are three categories: regular members, civilian members and public service members. Bill C-42 proposes to eliminate one of the three categories by converting civilian members into public service employees. This would allow the RCMP to focus on the RCMP's core mandate, protecting Canadians while saving valuable taxpayer dollars by streamlining its administration.
The time is now for the enhancing RCMP accountability act, as it would enable the RCMP to advance its transformative agenda and improve public confidence in the organization. It would further enhance the RCMP's accountability by reforming legislation in several key areas that I have outlined.
The RCMP has a proud and illustrious past, but this government believes the best is yet to come. As Minister of Public Safety I have had the privilege of meeting RCMP members and staff across the country. This summer particularly I have also witnessed the pride and appreciation Canadians have for the men and women of the RCMP. The legislation would be important in ensuring the RCMP is an accountable, trusted and adaptive organization for generations to come.
We have identified a small number of grammatical and translation errors in the bill that the government will aim to correct at committee stage.
I trust that all members will support these amendments to ensure we have the best bill possible. I urge all members to join with me in supporting the bill and a speedy passage through to committee.
March 24th, 2011 / 9:35 a.m.
Deputy Minister, Department of Public Safety
Mr. Chair, there is a decrease of $342,000. This is the end of what was always designed to be temporary short-term funding for the external review committee. The cut is parallel with some shrinkage in the size of that organization given that with the coming into effect of Bill C-43, which will establish a new labour relations regime for the RCMP, the external review committee would cease to exist. This is a transitional measure that is explainable by the changes in the machinery.
Business of the House
March 10th, 2011 / 3:10 p.m.
John Baird Leader of the Government in the House of Commons
Mr. Speaker, with respect to your ruling yesterday, we are working right now as we speak to comply on that issue and we will be responding in short order.
We will continue debate today on the Bloc opposition motion that began this morning.
Tomorrow, we will call for third reading of Bill C-55, the new veterans charter bill. I appreciate that there has been support for the passage of that bill. It is important for Canada's veterans and I am pleased that we have been able to come together on that.
Following Bill C-55, if time permits, we would debate Bill C-54, protecting children from sexual predators; Bill S-7, the justice for victims of terrorism; Bill C-8, the Canada-Jordan free trade agreement; Bill C-12, the democratic representation bill, which is an important bill for my premier in Ontario and particularly for the people in both Alberta and British Columbia; Bill C-46, the Canada-Panama free trade agreement; Bill C-57, improving trade within Canada; Bill C-43, RCMP modernization; Bill C-52, investigating and preventing criminal electronic communications; and Bill C-50, improving access to investigative tools for serious crime.
With respect to the business for next week, I will be, among other places, working hard in my constituency for the people of Ottawa West--Nepean.
March 1st, 2011 / 4:25 p.m.
March 1st, 2011 / 4:10 p.m.
Luc Desnoyers Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, QC
Mr. Baker, can you tell me why the board has not been set up? Is Bill C-43 a significant factor? In his response of November 15, 2010, the Minister of Public Safety pointed out that the government had not yet made a decision regarding changes to the management structure at the RCMP. This is because of the turbulent labour relations and the need to complete contract negotiations before being able to think about putting in place other management and oversight mechanisms.
It seems to me that it is all there. A major decision by the Supreme Court recognized the workers union at the RCMP. If these workers were unionized, a "watch dog" style of structure would be put in place, in other words, a collective agreement that would settle labour relations problems, which are difficult at the RCMP. That would solve all of the issues we heard about relating to the pension and insurance systems. Often, a collective agreement…
March 1st, 2011 / 4:10 p.m.
March 1st, 2011 / 3:40 p.m.
Deputy Minister, Department of Public Safety
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I will skip some of the very beginning--the welcomes--and go more into the substance of my opening remarks, just in the interest of time.
One of the recommendations was to create a council of external advisers to oversee the implementation of the task force recommendations. Consistent with this recommendation, three years ago the government established the RCMP Reform Implementation Council to provide expert advice on the modernization of the RCMP.
The council's mandate ended on December 19, 2010. In each of its five reports, this independent council provided a largely positive assessment of the RCMP's progress on its transformation agenda. In its last report, which was publicly released in January 2011, the council stated, and I quote, that “most of the specific problems identified...by the Task Force are being effectively addressed”.
This is a significant accomplishment given the breadth and number of Task Force recommendations.
I would also like to add that provinces and territories who contract RCMP police services have been actively engaged in the process of modernization and have expressed their support for RCMP reform efforts.
However, today I would like to focus my remarks on the RCMP modernization efforts that have been led by my department, Public Safety Canada, in the areas of external oversight and contract policing.
Commissioner Elliott will speak to the transformation agenda that he has been actively pursuing within the force, including his efforts to strengthen RCMP management.
To begin, allow me to address the issue of external oversight. After extensive consultations with partners and stakeholders, including provinces and territories who contract RCMP police services, Public Safety Canada developed a legislative proposal to address the concerns raised by many groups, including those of this committee in its 2007 report.
I'm pleased to report that Public Safety Canada's work on external oversight resulted in the 2010 budget announcement of $8 million over two years for a new civilian independent review and complaints commission for the RCMP.
It also led to the introduction of Bill C-38, Ensuring the Effective Review of RCMP Civilian Complaints Act, last June. This bill proposes the creation of a new commission for public complaints, which would replace the existing review body, the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP.
Under Bill C-38, the new RCMP review and complaints commission would have significantly enhanced investigative powers, including the power to compel testimony and evidence. In addition, the bill provides the new commission with broad access to information needed to fulfill its mandate, including expressly providing the commission with access to privileged information where it is relevant and necessary.
To my knowledge, this sets a new precedent for review bodies in Canada.
Bill C-38 also streamlines the complaints process, and provides the new Commission with other authorities, such as the power to share information and conduct joint reviews with others, including provincial police review bodies.
Bill C-38 goes beyond strengthening the RCMP public complaints regime. The bill also establishes a mechanism to improve the transparency and accountability of serious incident investigations involving RCMP members. It substantively addresses the issue of who is policing the police. This includes the requirement of referring such investigations, wherever possible, to other investigative bodies, such as Alberta's special investigative response teams, and appointing civilian independent observers to assess the impartiality in cases where the investigation is undertaken by any police force.
These requirements would build upon and formalize the RCMP policy on external investigations that was announced by the commissioner in February 2010. It is expected that this and other changes will contribute to strengthening the RCMP and ensuring continued public confidence in the RCMP.
Turning now to the issue of contract policing, my department has been actively negotiating the renewal of provincial, territorial and municipal Police Services Agreements, which are set to expire in March 2012.
The proposed agreements include mechanisms that will significantly improve accountability and modernize the relationship between the federal government and the contract jurisdictions. As you know, we have contracts in place with eight provinces, three territories, and about 200 municipalities.
One such mechanism is the creation of a new contract management committee to provide the provinces and territories with much greater opportunity to provide input on issues that impact the cost and quality of RCMP services in their jurisdictions. These negotiations are progressing well, and I hope we will have agreements in principle with the contract jurisdictions shortly.
Before closing, I'd like to comment on the one recommendation made by this committee in 2007 that has not yet been addressed. That is the recommendation to create a police accountability board, which we have come to call a “board of management”. While Commissioner Elliott may also wish to comment on this issue--and I'm sure he will--permit me to make a few observations.
As you may know, I worked with a board of management in my former role as Commissioner of the Canada Revenue Agency. The RCMP is, of course, a very different organization with a unique operating environment, and its governance framework must be considered with that in mind.
I recognize that there have been calls from the task force, the Reform Implementation Council, and many others to establish a board of management for the RCMP. Given the importance of this institution to the safety and security of Canadians, any major decision on RCMP governance can only be made after extremely careful consideration of the matter and meaningful consultations with stakeholders, including contract jurisdictions.
I'd like to underscore that given the breadth of issues on RCMP modernization that have been identified in a variety of reviews and reports, including this body's helpful 2007 report, we frankly needed to prioritize our efforts.
First, as a matter of priority, the RCMP addressed the many administrative and management issues that had been identified. The results of this initiative were recently highlighted in the RCMP September 2010 progress report entitled “Transformation of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police”.
Secondly, the government focused its efforts on strengthening external oversight of the RCMP, which of course resulted in Bill C-38, which I mentioned earlier.
In addition, Bill C-43, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Modernization Act, was introduced in Parliament in June 2010 by the President of the Treasury Board, with a view to modernizing the RCMP's labour relations regime.
Lastly, in terms of priorities, we have directed our efforts to contract policing negotiations, which include new relationships with contract jurisdictions.
We can now properly turn our attention to strengthening the internal oversight and considerations associated with a board of management and any other related governance changes.
Internal governance is an extraordinarily complex issue, and it is important that we take the time to get this right for the RCMP and for Canadians. The RCMP has been developing its views on this issue. We will soon be in a position to consider the work undertaken by the RCMP, and be in a position so that I can provide advice to the minister and the government.
I would note, of course, that any decision on governance is a machinery issue that ultimately remains the prerogative of the Prime Minister.
Thank you, Mr. Chair. I'd be happy to answer any questions after my colleague has spoken.
February 17th, 2011 / 10:05 a.m.
Mark Holland Ajax—Pickering, ON
I'm asking on Bill C-4, Bill C-5, Bill C-16, Bill C-17, Bill C-21, Bill C-22, Bill C-23B, Bill C-30, Bill C-35, Bill C-37, Bill C-38, Bill C-39, Bill C-43, Bill C-48, Bill C-49, Bill C-50, Bill C-51, Bill C-52, Bill C-53C-54, Bill C-59, Bill SS-6, Bill S-7, Bill S-10.
What are the costs? What are the head counts? What are the implications? Why won't you give them to Parliament?