Evidence of meeting #169 for Public Safety and National Security in the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was rcmp.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Evan Travers  Acting Director General, Law Enforcement and Border Strategies Directorate, Department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness
Brian Sauvé  Co-Chair, National Police Federation
Michelaine Lahaie  Chairperson, Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Jacques Talbot  Counsel, Legal Services, Department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Department of Justice

4:25 p.m.

Liberal

David Graham Liberal Laurentides—Labelle, QC

They would be able to go down to the U.S., for example, and find out what happened if there were a major complaint.

4:25 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Regina—Wascana, SK

Go ahead, Evan.

4:25 p.m.

Acting Director General, Law Enforcement and Border Strategies Directorate, Department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Evan Travers

They would certainly be able to access any of the information, whether those CBSA activities took place in Canada or abroad. If that would require them to go abroad, I don't know, or if they'd be able to interview people in Canada, but they'd be entitled to have access to CBSA information just as they would if the event had happened in Canada.

4:25 p.m.

Liberal

David Graham Liberal Laurentides—Labelle, QC

I have one final question.

Does the PCRC have any power to make a binding recommendation in any circumstance?

4:25 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Regina—Wascana, SK

No.

4:25 p.m.

Liberal

David Graham Liberal Laurentides—Labelle, QC

Thank you.

4:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal John McKay

That brings our questioning to an end.

I want to thank members and the minister for their co-operation in moving this through expeditiously.

4:25 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Regina—Wascana, SK

Mr. Chairman, just let me say thank you to you and members of the committee for indicating your willingness to handle this matter very expeditiously in the time that's available to us.

4:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal John McKay

Thank you.

With that, we will suspend and resume as soon as the witnesses are ready.

4:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal John McKay

For the purpose of expediting this bill, I will say that we have a quorum and we are re-empanelled as of now.

Joining us by remote whatever, we have Mr. Sauvé, from the National Police Federation, and also Michelaine Lahaie, Lesley McCoy and Tim Cogan.

I'm going to give the opportunity to Mr. Sauvé to speak first, because one never knows with this technology whether it will survive.

Generally we have 10 minutes per presentation. Ideally, if it could be less than 10 minutes, we could get to members' questions more quickly.

With that, may I call on Mr. Sauvé to introduce himself and make his presentation.

4:30 p.m.

Brian Sauvé Co-Chair, National Police Federation

Thank you, Mr. Chair. I hope the technology is working and that you can hear me.

4:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal John McKay

That is a nice piece of art behind you there.

4:30 p.m.

Co-Chair, National Police Federation

Brian Sauvé

Thank you.

My name is Brian Sauvé. I'm a regular member. I'm also a sergeant in the RCMP. I've been on leave without pay to found and start the National Police Federation. Presently, I'm one of the interim co-chairs.

For those who have been following from the sidelines, we made an application to certify the first bargaining agent for members of the RCMP in April 2017. We have been going through every hoop and hurdle imaginable thrown at us since April 2017. A certification vote was held with all 18,000-plus members of the bargaining unit last November and December. We are still awaiting a decision from the Federal Public Sector Labour Relations and Employment Board on that vote with a constitutional challenge.

That being said, with respect to Bill C-98, we wanted to have input to provide the RCMP members' perspective on the CRCC and part VII of the RCMP Act as it deals with public complaints. I'm open to questions on that.

At the time, I saw Bill C-98 as an act to amend the RCMP Act. There are a number of concerns that our membership has expressed with respect to the 2014 amendments to the RCMP Act, otherwise known as Bill C-42, that would be nice to be broadcast or provided questions on.

For example, in Bill C-98, there is an amendment to section 45.37 of the RCMP Act imposing time frames in consultation with the force, and the newly worded public review and complaints commission, as to how long an investigation should take, what should be the result and the consultation between the force and the investigating body.

It would really be nice, from our perspective, from an RCMP member's perspective, to expand that to deal with other areas of the RCMP Act. One of the areas that would be lovely to have some form of consultation on timelines would be the internal disciplinary processes or even grievances or appeals of commissioner's decisions on suspensions and such.

Our experience has been that whether it's a complaint under part VII or an administrative process under part IV or a grievance under part III of the RCMP Act, the RCMP itself is not equipped to deal with these issues in a timely manner. The issues tend to lag on for six months, a year, a year and a half to two years, which leaves the accused or the subject member of either a public complaint or a code of conduct or a griever in a grievance in limbo in an administrative process that takes forever.

Should your committee have questions on that, I'd be more than happy to answer, and we'll go from there.

That would be my presentation. I'm sure you're not going to study all of the submissions I would have on Bill C-42 and how it has impacted the membership of the RCMP, and the sweeping powers of commissioners and commanding officers.

I would love to get into that in more detail some day, but I don't think this legislation is the venue for that. However, timelines in section 45.37 would be something that we would definitely appreciate your looking into.

4:35 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal John McKay

Thank you, Mr. Sauvé.

The lights are flashing, and I'm obliged to suspend unless I have the unanimous consent of colleagues to carry on. My proposal would be, since we're in the building, that we carry on for 15 to 20 minutes. I believe it is a half-hour bell. Is 20 minutes reasonable?

4:35 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

4:35 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal John McKay

With that, we will probably get through the presentation of the next witnesses and at least start the questions.

The minister mentioned to me that he has a flowchart of the process which he's more than willing to make available to anyone who wishes. Regrettably, it's only in English. It will be in French and English in 24 hours, but for those who are interested in the flowchart, it is available.

I call upon Michelaine Lahaie, chairperson of the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the RCMP.

4:35 p.m.

Michelaine Lahaie Chairperson, Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police

Good afternoon, Mr. Chair. My name is Michelaine Lahaie and I'm accompanied today by Tim Cogan, who is my senior director of corporate services, as well as Lesley McCoy, who is my general counsel.

Given the short notice that we were provided for this particular hearing, we do not have any prepared comments, but I am indeed prepared to answer any questions the committee members may have.

4:35 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal John McKay

Thank you.

Ms. Sahota, go ahead for seven minutes.

June 17th, 2019 / 4:40 p.m.

Liberal

Ruby Sahota Liberal Brampton North, ON

My first couple of questions will be for the commission.

In the time you've been serving, on average, how many complaints have you been getting from civilians? What range of issues are those complaints on? How long does the process generally take, whether for an initial review or, if you actually get into an investigation, for that? There are four questions in there.

4:40 p.m.

Chairperson, Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police

Michelaine Lahaie

In terms of the number of complaints that we receive, we receive between 2,500 and 3,000 complaints per year about RCMP members. We are then normally asked to review somewhere in the neighbourhood of 250 to 300 of those complaints ourselves. As described by the minister during the last session, the complaints generally go to the RCMP for investigation first. If the individual lodging the complaint is not happy with the RCMP's disposition of the complaint, it will then come to us and we will conduct our review. On average, we're reviewing 250 to 300, and my call centre receives between 2,500 and 3,000 complaints per year.

In terms of timeline, it really depends. We do have service standards at the commission. Once we've received a complaint, our service standard is that within four business days we send that complaint to the RCMP for them to carry on with their investigation. Once the RCMP has completed their portion of the investigation or they've sent out their report, if the individual who made the complaint would like to have that complaint reviewed, they have 60 days to come back to us and ask for it to be reviewed.

Then, once we've received an indication from the individual that they would like the complaint reviewed, our service standard is 120 business days following that. However, that timeline starts as soon as we receive all the relevant material from the RCMP. We go to the RCMP and we ask for any information with respect to the investigation that they conducted, and we may ask for any other information that comes that may be related to that specific complaint.

4:40 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal John McKay

Mr. Sauvé, I want to advise you, because you're new to this process, that if you wish to intervene on any question, just give some indication to me, and I'll make sure you can intervene.

Go ahead.

4:40 p.m.

Liberal

Ruby Sahota Liberal Brampton North, ON

Sorry, I lost my train of thought with that.

You ended by saying there was a 60-day review.

4:40 p.m.

Chairperson, Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police

Michelaine Lahaie

The individual who has requested a review has to indicate that they want the complaint reviewed after 60 days. From the time the RCMP has sent out their letter of disposition, the individual has 60 days to tell us they want it reviewed.

4:40 p.m.

Liberal

Ruby Sahota Liberal Brampton North, ON

How long does it generally take for the RCMP to do their review after you've sent the complaint?

4:40 p.m.

Chairperson, Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police

Michelaine Lahaie

At present, there are no service standards with respect to that piece. Sometimes it can take as little as a few months to as much as two years, depending upon from where the complaint has been lodged and depending upon the complexity of the complaint.