Chapter 4 — Policy, Training, Communication and Outreach

Policy Updates – Accounting for Victim’s Needs in Military Prosecutions

Policy, training, communication and outreach are key elements for CMPS. DMP policy directives govern prosecutions or other proceedings conducted by the RMPs to ensure that decisions are taken on a principled basis and in accordance with the law. Training is key to ensure that the RMPs discharge their duties in an efficient and competent matter. Finally, communication and outreach activities increase the knowledge about the CMPS mission, vision and activities, which are essential to ensure the confidence of CAF members and Canadians in the military justice system. These are the main accomplishments of CMPS in these areas during the reporting period.

Lieutenant-Colonel Maureen Pecknold, DDMP SMART, was awarded the Commitment to Justice Award 2017 by the Federal-Provincial-Territorial Heads of Prosecutions Committee on 26 October 2017.

Lieutenant-Colonel Maureen Pecknold, DDMP SMART, was awarded the Commitment to Justice Award 2017 by the Federal-Provincial-Territorial Heads of Prosecutions Committee on 26 October 2017.

4.1 Policy

4.1.1 Creation of DDMP SMART

During the previous reporting period, the CMPS amended a number of policy directives concerning the conduct of prosecutions for offences of a sexual nature. The two main objectives of that review were to ensure that offences of a sexual nature are prosecuted in the appropriate justice system and that the views of complainants are solicited, considered and addressed at all phases of the court martial process. In support of the CAF’s goal to eliminate harmful and inappropriate sexual behaviour and building upon the policy amendments from the previous reporting period, the DMP created a new position within CMPS - DDMP SMART.

Sexual misconduct prosecutions are among the most serious and complex cases entrusted to the CMPS. Because of the personal and institutional damage that can result from sexual misconduct in the CAF, the vulnerability of the victims, and the unique evidentiary issues that may arise, military prosecutors require specialized training to optimize their knowledge and efficiency.

Other prosecution services across the country have recognized the unique challenges inherent in sexual misconduct cases and have responded by designating individual prosecutors as specialists and/or mentors for these cases in order to ensure proper training and continuity.

Consistent with Op HONOUR, Canada’s Defence Policy30 and DMP Policy Directive 004/00, the CMPS is committed to ensuring that its prosecutors possess the appropriate knowledge and skills necessary to prosecute sexual misconduct cases in a manner which instills public confidence in the administration of military justice.

The creation of DDMP SMART will be instrumental in achieving this objective in the following manner:

  • The DDMP SMART identifies and facilitates regular training opportunities to ensure that RMPs acquire and maintain current knowledge and skills necessary to address the unique considerations which arise in sexual misconduct cases.
  • The DDMP SMART works with DMP and ADMP to ensure continuity of expertise within the CMPS as needed, having regard to posting cycles.
  • The DDMP SMART provides mentorship and support for prosecutors as needed in sexual misconduct prosecutions. This includes participating in ongoing cases, whether at the pre and post charge stage, during witness interviews and preparation as well as during courts martial, as needed.
  • The DDMP SMART liaises with other prosecution services in Canada involved in sexual misconduct prosecutions to ensure that best practices are identified and followed at all stages of sexual misconduct prosecutions.
  • The DDMP SMART participates in the Coordinating Committee of Senior Officials (CCSO) Working Group on Access to Justice for Adult Victims of Sexual Assault, a working group created to explore, analyze and provide recommendations to the Federal/Provincial/Territorial Ministers Responsible for Justice and Public Safety.

4.1.2 Special Prosecutors

The DPM issued a new Policy Directive on 12 April 2017 pertaining to the appointment of special prosecutors in instances where there may be the potential for an actual or perceived conflict of interest should military prosecution duties be conducted by a RMP31. Special prosecutors are appointed by the DMP and must be members in good standing of the bar of a province or territory of Canada and must also be officers of the CAF but not part of the Office of the JAG.

The DMP appointed a special prosecutor for the first time on 19 February 2018 to conduct the post-charge review of charges laid by the CFNIS against the Chief Military Judge, Colonel Mario Dutil on 25 January 2018. The appointee is Lieutenant-Colonel Mark Poland, a reserve infantry officer who is also the Crown Attorney of the Waterloo Region with the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General.

4.2 Training

4.2.1 Focus on specialized skills

During the previous reporting period, as a result of the number of newly posted legal officers into the CMPS, training for military prosecutors focused on basic foundational skills in order to assist military prosecutors to achieve proficiency in basic advocacy skills. However, during this reporting period, in order to better develop proficiency and expertise, the training provided to military prosecutors focused on more specialized topics such as expert witnesses, search and seizure, appellate advocacy, sexual violence and trauma informed prosecutions.

Given the small size of the CMPS, much of the required training is provided by external organizations. During the reporting period, military prosecutors participated in conferences and continuing legal education programs organized by the Federation of Law Societies of Canada, the Canadian Bar Association, the Ontario Crown Attorneys’ Association, le Barreau du Québec, the International Association of Prosecutors, the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General and the Public Prosecution Service of Canada (PPSC). These programs benefited the CAF not only through the knowledge imparted and skills developed but also through the professional bonds developed by individual military prosecutors with their colleagues from the provincial and federal prosecution services.

CMPS held its annual Continuing Legal Education (CLE) workshop on 26 and 27 February 2018 for its Regular Force and Reserve Force military prosecutors. The event was held on two consecutive days again this year prior to the annual JAG CLE workshop and touched upon several topics, including a full day spent on resiliency training.

During the reporting period, 23 prosecutors took part in 15 different training activities for a total of 168 days of training (7.3 days of training per military prosecutor).

Military prosecutors also took part in a variety of professional development activities, including significant participation from CMPS in the National Criminal Law Program held in Vancouver, BC from 10 to 14 July 2017.

Table 5  
Total days of Prosecution related training within CMPS 168
Number of Training Events 15
Number of Prosecutors who have received Training 23
Average Number of Days of Training per Prosecutor 7.304
Average Number of Training Events per Prosecutor 2.00

4.2.2 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)

During the reporting year, CMPS entered into a partnership with the Attorney General for the Province of Ontario and PPSC for the temporary employment of a CAF legal officer as crown prosecutor with these provincial and federal prosecution services.

From October 2017 until the end of April 2018, a military prosecutor from the Central region was seconded to the Ottawa Crown Attorney’s Office. As an Assistant Crown Attorney, he assisted and conducted several trials at the Ontario Court of Justice and one jury trial at the Superior Court of Justice, in matters concerning offences of sexual assault, domestic violence, prostitution and human trafficking. During that time, the prosecutor worked with detectives from various units of the Ottawa Police, caseworkers from the Victim and Witness Assistance Program, Probation officers, and experts from the Forensic Units of the Ottawa Police and from the Ontario Centre of Forensic Sciences.

These exchanges are invaluable in fostering relationships with other Canadian prosecution services, developing well-rounded advocates, and providing an opportunity to capture lessons learned that help further advance our practices and policies. In turn, it also promotes the quality and professionalism of counsel working at the Office of the JAG (OJAG).

4.2.3 Resilience Training and Mental Health

In line with Canada’s new Defence Policy, "Strong, Secure, Engaged," and the promotion of psychosocial well-being in the workplace, the CMPS organization undertook a full day of training to explore different strategies to improve the mental resiliency of individual prosecutors. This training was the result of a partnership with the CAF Health Services Group started in 2016 and was specifically designed to deal with many of the challenges faced by military prosecutors. Based on the Road to Mental Readiness program (R2MR), the training was tailored specifically for military prosecutors and focused on:

  • understanding and recognizing the impact stress has on your physiology and cognitive processes;
  • applying stress management strategies in order to optimize well-being and performance in a high-stress occupational environment;
  • identifying changes in health and performance as well as signs of under-recovery and mental illness; and
  • knowing what mental health resources are available and how to access them.

The intent moving forward with this initiative is for all new legal officers posted into the CMPS to receive the training while also developing a refresher program for those who have already received the initial training.

4.2.4 Military Skills

In addition to prosecution training, CMPS military personnel also participate in other training activities in order to maintain their readiness to deploy into a theatre of operations. These activities include individual military skills training such as weapons familiarization, Chemical Biological Radiological Nuclear training, first aid training as well as maintaining an acceptable level of physical fitness.

During the reporting period, two of our RMPs attended The Governor General’s Canadian Leadership Conference providing them with unparalleled leadership training. This conference brings together Canada’s emerging leaders from business, labor, government, NGOs, education and the cultural sector for a unique two-week experience aimed at broadening their perspectives on work, leadership, their communities and their country. Participation in this training provided the RMPs with an opportunity to broaden their experiences with leadership, and to understand the larger context of certain challenges such as access to justice and access to family services. The opportunity to discuss high-level leadership challenges with current and upcoming leaders from a variety of domains was invaluable.

4.2.5 Training provided by CMPS

CMPS also provides support to the training activities of the OJAG and other CAF entities. During the reporting period, this support included the mentoring and supervision by military prosecutors of a number of junior military lawyers from the OJAG who completed a portion of their "on the job training" program by assisting in prosecutions at courts martial. CMPS also provided support to the Legal Officer Qualification Course as well as military justice briefings to JAG legal officers, criminal law/military justice training to members of the CFNIS, and served as supervisors for law graduates articling with the OJAG. Finally, legal officers serving outside the CMPS may, with the approval of their supervisor and the DMP, participate in courts martial as "second chair" prosecutors. The objective of this program is "to contribute to the professional development of unit legal advisors as well as to improve the quality of prosecutions through greater local situational awareness".32

Annex B provides additional information regarding the legal training received by CMPS personnel.

The DMP, Colonel Bruce MacGregor, speaking at the IAP’s 22nd Annual Conference and General Meeting in September 2017 in Beijing, China. Major Chavi Walsh, RMP Central Region, at the same international event.

The DMP, Colonel Bruce MacGregor, speaking at the IAP’s 22nd Annual Conference and General Meeting in September 2017 in Beijing, China. Major Chavi Walsh, RMP Central Region, at the same international event.

4.3 Communication and Outreach

4.3.1 CAF Chain of Command

The military justice system is designed to promote the operational effectiveness of the CAF by contributing to the maintenance of discipline, efficiency, and morale. It also ensures that justice is administered fairly and with respect for the rule of law. Operational effectiveness requires a workplace that is fair, respectful, inclusive and supportive of diversity. To meet these objectives, the chain of command must be effectively engaged.

While protecting the prosecutorial independence of CMPS, the DMP recognizes the importance of maintaining collaborative relationships with the chain of command of the CAF. Collaborative relationships with the chain of command ensure that both entities work together to strengthen discipline and operational efficiency through a robust military justice system.

During the reporting period, the DMP continued his practice of regularly attending court martial proceedings and meeting with senior members of the chain of command on different military bases across Canada.

4.3.2 CFNIS

The DMP also recognizes the importance of maintaining relationships with investigative agencies, while at the same time respecting the independence of each organization. Good relationships with investigative agencies ensure that both the DMP and the agencies exercise their respective roles independently, but co-operatively, and help to maximize CMPS’s effectiveness and efficiency as a prosecution service.

RMPs provide investigation-related legal advice to CFNIS detachments across Canada. In addition, RMPs provide training to CFNIS investigators on military justice and developments in criminal law. At the headquarters level, DMP has assigned a military prosecutor as legal advisor to the CFNIS command team in Ottawa.33 Additionally, the DMP has visited numerous CFNIS detachments across the country during the reporting period to discuss prosecution needs and strategic intent.

4.3.3 Federal, Provincial and Territorial Heads of Prosecutions Committee

The DMP is a member of the Federal/Provincial/Territorial Heads of Prosecution Committee, which brings together the respective leaders of Canada’s prosecution services to promote assistance and cooperation on operational issues. The Committee held two general meetings during the reporting period both of which the DMP personally attended. These meetings provided an invaluable opportunity for participants to discuss matters of common concern in the domain of criminal prosecutions and find opportunities for collaboration.

4.3.4 International Association of Prosecutors – Military Network of Prosecutors

The International Association of Prosecutors (IAP) is a non-governmental and non-political organization. It promotes the effective, fair, impartial, and efficient prosecution of criminal offences through the application of high standards and principles, including procedures to prevent or address miscarriages of justice. The IAP also promotes good relations between prosecution agencies and facilitates the exchange and dissemination among them of information, expertise and experience.

The DMP and a senior RMP both attended the IAP’s 22nd Annual Conference and General Meeting in September 2017 in Beijing, China. At that time, the Network for Military Prosecutors was officially launched with DMP taking a leadership role in this new initiative and facilitating a number of roundtable discussions with military and civilian prosecutors.

4.3.5 Victims

The DMP met with several victims of sexual misconduct offences in November 2017, notably victims in the "It’s Just 700" group, to share information about CMPS’s initiatives and recent policy updates aimed at better accounting for victims’ perspectives in the military justice system and to listen to their concerns.


30 Strong, Secure, Engaged, supra note 13.

31 DMP Policy Directive 016/17:

32 The DMP and the Deputy Judge Advocate General Regional Services have an agreement whereby unit legal advisors may participate as second chairs to RMPs in preparation for and conduct of courts martial. Please see DMP Policy Directive #: 009/00 ( for further information.

33 The provision of legal services by the military prosecutor assigned as CFNIS Legal Advisor is governed by a letter of agreement dated 30 September 2013, signed by DMP and the Canadian Forces Provost Marshal.

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