Message from the Canadian Forces Provost Marshal regarding the transfer of jurisdiction for sexual assault and other criminal offences of a sexual nature

March 24, 2022 - Defence Stories

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Canadian Forces Military Police

To Members of the Defence Team,

I am writing to you today regarding the transfer of jurisdiction for sexual assault and other criminal offences of a sexual nature under the Criminal Code to civilian police agencies as recommended by Madame Louise Arbour in her interim recommendation.

As this directly affects some of you and could affect anyone in the future, I want to assure you that the Military Police (MP) is working diligently towards the implementation of this recommendation in a victim-centered and trauma-informed manner.

I am aware that the announcement of this process may have evoked emotions and raised many questions, particularly for those involved in cases that had been reported to the MP. While we have already reached out to affected persons directly, I would now like to provide a brief update to the entire Defence Team and offer additional information about the process.

The transfer and referral of cases to civilian police services across the country is currently underway. Putting a comprehensive process in place across Canada will take time but some cases have already been transferred and new cases are being referred in some jurisdictions. Every case is unique and must be assessed individually to preserve the interests of the affected persons, as well as those of justice.

Not all files can be transferred. For example, investigations that are near completion will not be transferred to a civilian police service. This approach is consistent with the parameters outlined in Madame Arbour’s interim recommendation.

Achieving Madame Arbour’s interim recommendation to transfer investigations to the civilian justice system is our central focus. As we progress towards this end, we consider the best interest of victims when determining the investigating agency. For example, we know that some agencies are not currently postured to readily carry on some of those cases while some victims may prefer to continue with an ongoing MP investigation. MP investigators are ready to have these conversations openly and will encourage victims to seek legal advice or support from the Sexual Misconduct Response Center (SMRC). In the end, the goal is to facilitate a transition that is as smooth as possible, while ensuring that affected persons are supported throughout the process.

Moving forward, Defence Team members can report incidents of sexual assault or other criminal offences of a sexual nature directly to civilian police. If you are not certain to which civilian police service you should direct your complaint, you can always contact your local MP Detachment or the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service (CFNIS) who will ensure that the appropriate civilian police service is engaged. A complaint can also be made directly to the MP or the CFNIS. Although, unless the victim has requested otherwise, this complaint will normally be referred to the civilian police of jurisdiction.

Throughout the period of transfer or referral to a civilian police service, we will continue to provide affected persons with the support they need and update them on their cases, as information becomes available.

If you are involved in a case that has been reported to the MP and would like further information about this process and how it may impact you, we encourage you to contact your designated investigator or victim services coordinator.

We recognize that this can be a difficult matter. Should you or someone you know require support, a list of additional support services can be found below.

Sincerely,

Brigadier-General Simon Trudeau,

Canadian Forces Provost Marshal

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