Call to Action # 25

We call upon the federal government to establish a written policy that reaffirms the independence of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to investigate crimes in which the government has its own interest as a potential or real party in civil litigation.

Indigenous Watchdog Status Update

Current StatusOct. 4, 2021STALLED
Previous StatusSept. 5, 2021STALLED

Why “Stalled”?

Response “reaffirmed” independence of RCMP through a “Mandate letter” and not through any official statute or policy other than reference to “pursuant to section 5 of the “Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act” and an existing protocol “Principals to Implement Legal Advice on the Listing and Inspection of Royal Canadian Mounted Police Documents in Civil Litigation”.

Significant Deletion from Federal Government Response

Deletion of “from the executive branch” in April 8, 2019 government update eliminates the specificity that this C2A asks for. 

RCMP Commissioner’s Mandate Letter

Section 5(1) of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act provides that, under the direction of the Minister, the Commissioner has the control and management of the RCMP and all matters connected to the Force. I want to be clear that the Government of Canada recognizes and respects that police independence underpins the rule of law and ministerial direction cannot infringe on the independence of the RCMP in the exercise of police powers in criminal investigations.

RCMP statement on Human Rights Watch Report

June 19, 2017 –  The RCMP is committed to participating fully in the implementation of the national reconciliation framework and supporting the Calls to Action resulting from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. 

Official Federal Government Response: Sept. 5, 2019

The Government of Canada reaffirmed the independence of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) in the exercise of police powers in criminal investigations in the mandate letter to the Commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police on May 7, 2018. Any directions provided by the Minister, pursuant to section 5 of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act may not include directions which interfere with the RCMP’s criminal investigations. In addition, ministers may not attempt to influence in any way the conduct of specific criminal investigations.

Further, the courts have long confirmed that, when carrying out traditional policing duties, such as keeping the peace and investigating crime, police officers are not Crown agents or government functionaries (R. v. Campbell, [1991] 1 SCR 565). The existing legal framework, as set out by the Parliament in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Actand supported by case law, is compatible with that principle.

The Government of Canada recognizes the concern raised about the RCMP disclosing documents collected during a criminal investigation when the federal Crown is also involved in civil litigation unrelated to the activities of the RCMP and the documents may be relevant to the conduct of the litigation.

However, in matters related to civil litigation against the Crown, the RCMP is part of the Crown and is treated as a federal government institution. When required by law, the Crown must list all documents that are in its custody, power, possession or control and relevant to the litigation. In that regard, a protocol entitled Principals to Implement Legal Advice on the Listing and Inspection of Royal Canadian Mounted Police Documents in Civil Litigation sets out the internal procedures to be followed when the RCMP possesses documents from criminal investigation files that may be relevant to civil litigation involving the federal Crown as a party.

The protocol enables the Attorney General of Canada to meet his obligations to list relevant documents, while ensuring that documents that may be privileged or that were obtained pursuant to a confidentiality agreement or a search warrant are adequately protected and appropriately dealt with.

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