MPCC 2020 Annual Report | A New Era: Managing through Uncertainty
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(April 29, 2021) – Ottawa – Military Police Complaints Commission of Canada
The Military Police Complaints Commission of Canada’s (MPCC or Commission) 2020 Annual Report, tabled in Parliament today by the Honourable Harjit Sajjan, Minister of National Defence, provides an overview of the Commission’s activities in 2020 and outlines challenges for policing in uncertain times.
The COVID-19 pandemic and social unrest about police and citizen interactions have created extreme anxiety in societies across the globe. Social movements arising from citizen pushback against the overuse of force by police have taken foothold across North America. Canada is not immune to these demands for change.
These transformational changes mean that policing needs to be more flexible and adaptive to respond to demands of the public and that the police be held accountable for their actions. In a diverse and inclusive society, police services must listen to and work with the communities they serve. This means being open to adaptive solutions to remain relevant and current. Police services, including Canada’s Military Police, must find ways to empower their citizens to participate in collective problem solving.
In 2020, two ongoing Public Interest Investigations (PII) and one new PII were major areas of focus for the Commission.
Between February and October 2020, numerous requests for additional disclosure related to the PII into an Anonymous Complaint into the Treatment of Detainees in Afghanistan in 2010-11 were transmitted to the Canadian Forces Provost Marshal. The MPCC also conducted additional interviews with three witnesses, three subjects of the complaint, and two Security and Military Police Information System experts in 2020. The Commission Panel has completed its investigation and has begun preparing its Interim Report.
The Commission also made good progress on the Beamish PII. While COVID-19 slowed the progress of witness interviews, they were completed in 2020. In November, investigators provided the Chairperson with their Investigative Assessment Report, which incorporates witness evidence as well as documentary and other records. The Commission is now drafting its Interim Report.
In December 2020, the Commission announced a new PII into a complaint concerning the actions of the Military Police Kingston Detachment into Military Police investigations concerning two students at the Royal Military College of Canada (RMCC). This is the MPCC’s 16th PII, and the first to be launched concerning a complaint initiated by the MPCC itself. The six subjects of the PII have been notified and the Commission has begun conducting interviews.
The 2020 Annual Report, A New Era: Managing through Uncertainty, summarizes selected conduct cases completed by the MPCC in 2020 and includes updates on financial management and Information Management/Information Technology activities conducted during 2020. It also highlights measures the Commission took to ensure a smooth transition to a virtual office with negligible downtime when the COVID-19 pandemic forced the Commission to close its offices to the public in March 2020.
Already a champion of mental health, wellness and inclusiveness in the workplace, the Commission continued its efforts to develop an inclusive work environment where everyone feels supported and respected in 2020.
“COVID-19 and social unrest in North America bring into focus a need for greater citizen engagement in governance structures, with police services being one example. In a climate of uncertainty and political unrest, the transformation of police services is a major focus of citizens calling for equality and justice. I believe that Canada’s Military Police has responded quickly to the new world reality and is prepared to stay the course in these uncertain times.”
- The MPCC was created in 1999 as independent civilian oversight of the Canadian Forces Military Police.
- During 2020, the MPCC opened 141 new files, an increase of 27% from 2019 (111). The Commission handled a total of 190 complaints during the year and issued 31 reports, decisions or rulings, up from 25 in 2019 and 23 in 2018.
- In the last two years, 100% of the recommendations made by the MPCC to the Canadian Armed Forces were accepted.
- Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Commission adapted its Outreach program and was able to continue activities to increase awareness and build relationships with stakeholders virtually.
- In the Fall, senior officials of the MPCC and a Commission member delivered a pilot virtual outreach session to the Canadian Forces Military Police Academy in Borden Ontario. The MPCC is continuing to explore how virtual outreach could become a complementary method of delivering outreach activities.
- The MPCC initiated an information technology transformation project to implement Office 365 software in 2020. This allowed the deployment of Microsoft Teams across the organisation, ensuring that staff could collaborate productively in a virtual environment. Coupled with the deployment of tablets, virtual collaboration has become the new norm.
- The MPCC created a mental health and wellness channel and resource page on its intranet to share resources with employees and highlight key events such as the ‘Bell Let’s Talk Day’, Mental Health Week, the Mental Illness Awareness Week and World Mental Health Day.
- The MPCC is proud of the level of diversity in its workforce, with 31% of employees having self-identified as members of an employment equity group..
Hilary C. McCormack
Military Police Complaints Commission of Canada
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