Chapter One: The Canadian Military Prosecution Service: Ordo per Justitia

Duties and Functions of the DMP

The DMP is the senior military prosecutor in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF). He is appointed by the Minister of National Defence (MND) for a fixed term, pursuant to subsection 165.1(1) of the National Defence Act (NDA).Footnote 1  Under the NDA, the DMP is responsible for the preferral of all charges to be tried by court martial and for the conduct of all prosecutions at courts martial. The DMP acts as counsel to the MND, when instructed, with respect to appeals to the Court Martial Appeal Court (CMAC) and the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC). The DMP is also responsible to provide advice in support of investigations conducted by the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service (CFNIS), which is the investigative arm of the Canadian Forces Military Police. The DMP represents the CAF at custody review hearings before military judges and the CMAC.

The DMP operates under the general supervision of the Judge Advocate General (JAG) and, in this regard, the JAG may issue general instructions or guidelines in writing in respect of prosecutions, which the DMP must ensure are made available to the public. The JAG may also issue instructions or guidelines in writing regarding a particular prosecution. The DMP must ensure that these instructions or guidelines are available to the public, unless the DMP considers that doing so would not be in the best interest of the administration of military justice.

Appointed for a four-year term, the DMP acts independently of the CAF and Department of National Defence (DND) authorities when exercising his prosecutorial powers, duties, and functions, and fulfils his mandate in a manner that is fair and impartial. Although the DMP acts under the general supervision of the JAG, he exercises his prosecutorial mandate independently of the JAG and the chain of command. The DMP has a constitutional obligation, like any other public official exercising a prosecutorial function, to act independently of partisan concerns and other improper motives.

In accordance with sections 165.12 and 165.13 of the NDA, when a charge is referred to him, the DMP determines whether to:

  • Prefer (or not prefer) the charge;
  • Prefer any other charge that is founded on facts disclosed by evidence in addition to, or in substitution for the charge; or
  • Refer it for disposal by an officer who has jurisdiction to try the accused person by summary trial in those cases where the DMP is satisfied that a charge should not be proceeded with by court martial.

The DMP may also withdraw a charge that has been preferred.

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Mission and Vision


To provide competent, fair, swift and deployable prosecution services to the CAF in Canada and overseas.


ORDO PER JUSTITIA” or “DISCIPLINE THROUGH JUSTICE”. The DMP is a key player in the Canadian military justice system, helping to promote respect for the law, as well as discipline, good order, high morale, esprit de corps, group cohesion and operational efficiency and capability.

Figure 1-1: DMP Vision: Discipline Through Justice

Figure 1-1: DMP Vision: Discipline Through Justice. Long description follows

Figure 1-1: Long description

DMP Vision: Discipline through Justice

CMPS Objectives

  • Enablers:
    • A fully staffed, healthy & highly motivated team
    • Continuously improve core competencies of lawyers, paralegals and support staff
    • Task-tailored, professional development for all DMP military & civilian personnel
  • Processes:
    •  Maintain a productive work environment supporting prosecutorial independence, discretion, initiative, decisiveness and trust 
      •  Maintain efficiency, transparency & inclusiveness in the CMPS
      • Enhance fairness and timeliness of military justice
      • Operate effectively within the statutory & regulatory framework of CMs
      • Conduct all activities within assigned resources

CAF Objectives - Outputs:

  • Comply with CFNIS Service Level Agreements
  • Meet the demands for courts martial, referrals, legal advice, operational deployments and training
  • Support & comply with all government-wide initiatives, legal, ethical & moral standards

Objectives for all Canadians - Outcomes:

  • Public Confidence in the CM Process as part of the Canadian Military Justice System
  • Support the maintenance of discipline, efficiency and morale in the CAF
  • Public confidence in the CMPS

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Canadian Military Prosecution Service

In accordance with section 165.15 of the NDA, the DMP may be assisted and represented, to the extent determined by the DMP, by officers who are barristers or advocates with standing at the bar of a province. In this regard, the DMP is assisted by a number of Regular and Reserve Force legal officers appointed to act as military prosecutors, along with a civilian paralegal and support staff. This organization, known as the Canadian Military Prosecution Service (CMPS) is headquartered in Ottawa and comprised of several Regional Military Prosecutor (RMP) offices located across Canada.

CMPS Headquarters

The CMPS Headquarters (HQ) consists of the DMP, the Assistant Director of Military Prosecutions (ADMP), two Deputy Directors of Military Prosecutions (DDMPs), the Appellate Counsel, the Senior Counsel – Policy & Training, and the CFNIS Legal Advisor.


The ADMP is responsible to assist the DMP in the day-to-day management of the CMPS. In addition, the ADMP supervises the Senior Counsel – Policy & Training.


During this reporting period, CMPS has redefined the role the DDMPs. DDMP Operations (DDMP Ops) is responsible to supervise and mentor all of the RMPs.Footnote 2 DDMP Strategic (DDMP Strat) supervises the Appellate Counsel and the CFNIS Legal Advisor. DDMP Strat is also in charge of all the matters of national interest at trial level.

Appellate Counsel

The Appellate Counsel prepares and files written materials and appears as counsel on behalf of the MND for all matters at the CMAC and the SCC.Footnote 3

Senior Counsel – Policy & Training

The Senior Counsel – Policy & Training is a senior military prosecutor who provides advice and support to the DMP on all policy-related matters. They also assist in the coordination of all training opportunities for members of the CMPS, including the organization of an annual Continuing Legal Education workshop.

CFNIS Legal Advisor

The CFNIS Legal Advisor is a military prosecutor embedded with the CFNIS and responsible to provide legal advice to members of the CFNIS HQ.  The CFNIS Legal Advisor also provides advice to investigators throughout all stages of investigations, as well as updates on developments in the criminal law.

Regional Military Prosecution Offices

Regional offices are located in Halifax, Valcartier, Ottawa, Edmonton and Esquimalt. The Halifax office, the Valcartier office and the Edmonton office each have two RMPs and one civilian administrative support staff. The Ottawa office has five RMPs and one civilian administrative support staff, while the Esquimalt office has one RMP and one civilian administrative support staff. RMPs are responsible for the conduct of courts martial, for representing the CAF at custody review hearings, and for the provision of legal advice and training to their respective CFNIS detachments.

Sexual Misconduct Action Response Team

The DDMP for the Sexual Misconduct Action Response Team (SMART) is primarily responsible for mentoring prosecutors in the performance of their duties related to serious sexual misconduct prosecutions. The DDMP SMART is an experienced Reserve Force prosecutor who holds the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel.

Reserve Force Prosecutors

The CMPS relies on eight experienced civilian prosecutors who are members of the Reserve Force. These members consist of a DDMP Reserve, at the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel, who is responsible for the overall supervision and management of Reserve Force prosecutors, the DDMP SMART, and six prosecutors who assist their Regular Force counterparts in the prosecution of cases at courts martial.

The organizational chart for DMP can be found at Figure 1-2.

Figure 1-2: Organizational Chart for the Director of Military Prosecutions

Figure 1-2: Organizational Chart for the Director of Military Prosecutions - Long description follows

Figure 1-2: Long description
  • Director of Military Prosecutions
    • Assistant Director of Military Prosecutions
      • Senior Counsel
    • Deputy Director of Military Prosecutions – Operations
      • Regional Military Prosecutions Atlantic
      • Regional Military Prosecutions Eastern
      • Regional Military Prosecutions Central
      • Regional Military Prosecutions Western
      • Regional Military Prosecutions Pacific
    • Deputy Director of Military Prosecutions – Strategic
      • Appellate Counsel
      • CFNIS LA (Canadian Forces National Investigation Service Legal Advisor)
    • Deputy Director of Military Prosecutions – Reserve
      • Regional Military Prosecutions – Reserve
    • Deputy Director of Military Prosecutions – SMART

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CMPS Personnel Update

Regular Force

During this reporting period, CMPS went through an organizational transformation by redefining the role of the DDMPs. This reorganisation of roles was done in order to ensure a better standardisation at the national level.

Also during this reporting period, a new RMP with a solid knowledge of the military justice system was posted to the Halifax office, following the posting of one RMP from the Atlantic region to another position within the Office of the JAG (OJAG). In Central Region, a RMP who had articled with CMPS was called to the Ontario Bar in February 2021. Prior to joining the legal branch, this RMP brought a wealth of operational experience to the office through his prior service as a member of Canada’s elite Special Forces.

Recognizing the needs and challenges associated with developing experienced military prosecutors, the JAG issued an instruction to ensure that Regular Force members can remain with the CMPS for a minimum of five years before being considered for another OJAG posting. Before this instruction, Regular Force members of the OJAG were normally considered for postings outside of the CMPS within three years. This instruction has helped the CMPS in building a pool of experienced RMPs, the benefits of which are coming to fruition. During this reporting period, the JAG renewed her commitment to this five-year minimum posting approach.

Reserve Force

During this reporting period two Reserve Force prosecution positions have become vacant and are expected to be staffed in the next fiscal year.

Civilian personnel

During this reporting period the civilian administrative support staff position for the Pacific Region was filled on a part-time basis, from January to July 2020. The civilian member who occupied the position of Office Manager/Administrative Assistant for the Pacific Region office, who took a year of leave without pay during the last reporting period, left the organisation after her leave in September 2020. In November 2020, the civilian member who had occupied the part-time position in 2020 was permanently hired to fill the position.

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Training and Continuing Legal Education

The need to continue to develop legal skills and keep abreast of key developments in the law is important for any lawyer, but is critical for prosecutors. Criminal law is constantly evolving through judicial decisions at the trial and appellate levels, as well as through changes to the Criminal Code and the NDA.

The DMP places a premium on training opportunities for members of the CMPS and, aside from a yearly Continuing Legal Education workshop, relies heavily on external organizations to fulfill much of its training requirements. The following sections describe those training opportunities undertaken by members of the CMPS as well as those training activities which were provided by members of the CMPS to other organizations.

CMPS Continuing Legal Education Workshop

The CMPS held its annual Continuing Legal Education (CLE) workshop from 14 to 18 December 2020 for its Regular Force and Reserve Force military prosecutors. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the CLE workshop was held remotely. During this training, RMPs heard presentations on a variety of topics, including from civilian counsel who represent victims of sexual assault in criminal proceedings.

Partnership with the Directeur des poursuites criminelles et pénales du Québec

During the last reporting year, the CMPS continued its partnership with the Directeur des poursuites criminelles et pénales (DPCP) for the temporary employment of an RMP as a Crown prosecutor with the province of Quebec.

One RMP from the Eastern Region was seconded to the Quebec City DPCP’s Office. This RMP assisted Crown prosecutors in the conduct of military matters that had been referred to the civilian justice system following the decision of the CMAC in the matter of R v Beaudry.Footnote 4 

These exchanges are invaluable for fostering relationships with other Canadian prosecution services, developing well-rounded advocates, and providing an experiential opportunity that help further advance our practices and policies.

External organizations

During this reporting period, RMPs participated in continuing legal education programs delivered by a number of organizations, including the Advocates’ Society, Public Prosecution Service of Canada, the Ontario Crown Attorneys’ Association, le Barreau du Québec, the Government of Canada, Ombudsman for Victims of Crime, and Osgoode Professional Development. 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.

For a complete breakdown of training opportunities provided by external organization, please refer to Table 1-1.

Table 1-2: External Training Opportunities

Public Prosecution Service of Canada PPSC School for Prosecutions – Major Case Presentation Series 2
PPSC School for Prosecutions – Written Advocacy Course 1
Osgoode Professional Development National Symposium on Sexual Assault Cases in the Criminal Court 5
Written Advocacy Course 1
Intensive Trial Advocacy Workshop 2
Drafting and Reviewing Search Warrants 2
Ontario Crown Attorneys' Association Crown Law (Summer School) 1
Advocates’ Society Pozner on Cross: Advanced Techniques 5
Barreau du Québec Les relations Poursuivant-Défense sous l’angle de la déontologie 3
Le droit criminel et la personne atteinte de troubles mentaux 1
Séquelles d’un passage à la cour criminelle 1
Comment négocier avec les personnalités difficiles : le coffre à outils 1
L’obligation de confidentialité imposée à l’avocat n’est pas limitée à l’application du principe du secret professionnel 2
Étdique et courtoisie se comporter professionnellement en tout temps 1
Government of Canada Diversity and Inclusion Conference 2020 1
Powers of tde UNGA to prevent and respond to Atrocities 1
Ombudsman for Victims of Crime Moving towards enforceable rights for victims of crime in Canada 1

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 RMPs of a number of junior legal officers from the OJAG who completed a portion of their “on the job training” by assisting at courts martial. The CMPS also provided support to military justice briefings given to JAG legal officers and military justice briefings offered by the Regional Services division of the OJAG to other members of the CAF.

From time to time 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”.Footnote 5

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Temporary Duty

The portability of the court martial system means that courts martial can occur anywhere in Canada or around the world. Unlike their civilian counterparts, military prosecutors are called upon to travel away from their home for significant periods of time to conduct courts martial and appeals, or to attend training events. Travel away from home – referred to as temporary duty (TD) – has a significant impact on the well-being of CMPS personnel and their families. This year, members of the CMPS were on TD for a total of 146 days. This is a significant decrease in comparison to the last reporting period (from 806 to 146). The decrease in total number of TD days for this reporting period is attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic, which resulted in greater use of technological innovations, allowing legal proceedings and training activities to take place remotely.

Table 1-2 shows the breakdown of temporary duty for CMPS personnel by Region for this reporting period.

Table 1-2: CMPS Temporary Duty

CMPS HQ 0 0 19 5 24
Atlantic 7 0 0 0 7
Eastern 49 0 0 5 54
Central 42 0 0 0 42
Western 5 0 0 0 5
Pacific 14 0 0 0 14
Total 117 0 19 10 146Footnote 6

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