Frequently Asked Questions
Who does the work of the ERC benefit and how?
The work of the ERC benefits both RCMP members and the Force as an organization in a number of ways:
- supporting fair and transparent processes and decisions for all files that the ERC reviews;
- enhancing confidence within and outside the Force in the integrity of RCMP recourse and other human resource management practices; and,
- providing ongoing support for a healthy and productive RCMP workplace that serves Canadians well.
ERC findings and recommendations support the well-functioning and the efficiency of the RCMP recourse system. In certain instances, the recommendations provided for one case file will address issues relevant to other files with implications for many RCMP members. The ERC's recommendations also contribute to improvements made to RCMP policies and management practices (e.g. to new training for RCMP managers or to new or amended guidelines for decision makers) and to systemic change within the Force over time.
What issues do ERC findings and recommendations typically address?
ERC findings and recommendations address the particular issues raised by each individual file. The issues that are addressed very much depend on the file in question and will vary from case to case as each referred file is unique.
Examples of ERC findings include whether legal tests or policy requirements have been adequately addressed by a decision maker or whether processes in a case were fair (e.g. was the right of a member to be heard respected?). Recommendations could be to: change sanctions to be imposed on a member to align them more closely with Force guidelines; hold a new hearing because an initial recourse process did not follow the principles of procedural fairness; for the Commissioner to make a finding that should have been made in the original decision; or, otherwise to agree with or to alter an initial decision in whole or in part.
How many files does the ERC review every year, and what kinds of files?
The ERC currently manages two streams of case files referred to it by the RCMP: one stream under the RCMP Act and RCMP Regulations as amended in November 2014; and, another under the former legislation for cases that were commenced within the RCMP prior to November 2014.
Files referred under the current legislation began arriving at the ERC in the spring of 2015 with 21 files received by the ERC at the end of March 2016. Most files to date have been appeals of decisions related to member conduct including conduct measures imposed on RCMP members (e.g., forfeiture of more than one day's pay), along with investigations of harassment complaints and suspensions of member pay and allowances. It is still early in the life of the current legislation and it is expected that the number of referrals to the ERC under the current legislation will increase substantially over the next year or two.
Under the legacy legislation, the RCMP referred approximately 35 files per year to the ERC in recent years. Approximately the same level of referrals is expected to continue until referable files commenced in the RCMP under the legacy legislation have run their course (for an estimated four to five years).
Historically, about half of legacy files referred to the ERC have dealt with financial compensation to members (e.g. disputed travel claims or relocation costs); harassment-related matters account for one quarter of cases referred; disciplinary files (usually decisions to dismiss a member) one in ten; and, several other kinds files each accounted for small proportions annually (e.g., medical discharge, human rights issues, suspension of member pay and allowances).
In what ways is the ERC independent - who does it report to?
The ERC is an independent impartial administrative tribunal working at arm's length from the Government of Canada. It is distinct from and independent of the RCMP and other bodies – which is essential to maintaining the impartiality of the ERC and of the work it does. The mandate of the ERC is set out in Part II of the RCMP Act.
The RCMP Act requires the Chair of the ERC to report directly to Parliament each year on the activities and recommendations of the ERC. The Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness is responsible for ensuring the tabling of the annual report of the Chair in Parliament.
What is the structure of the ERC and how many employees does it have?
The RCMP Act provides for the appointment by the Governor in Council of a full-time ERC Chair, a full or part-time Vice Chair and up to three additional members. The Chair is the chief executive officer of the ERC and has supervision over and direction of the work and staff of the ERC.
The current Chair of the ERC is Ms. Elizabeth Walker, who was appointed in October 2014. There is currently no Vice Chair or other members appointed to the ERC. The staff of the ERC includes expert legal counsel, program administrators and an executive director – currently seven employees. [Current organization chart]
How does the work of the ERC differ from that of the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission (CRCC) for the RCMP?
The ERC and the CRCC are separate organizations. Each has its own, distinct mandate under the RCMP Act (set out in Part II of the Act for the ERC and in Part VI of the Act for the CRCC).
The CRCC reviews complaints made by the public concerning the conduct of RCMP members while performing a duty or function under the RCMP Act or the Witness Protection Program Act (e.g. criminal investigations, policing public events, security assignments or intelligence operations).
The ERC reviews appeals made by RCMP members of decisions taken by RCMP managers in certain internal RCMP proceedings. The ERC does not have a mandate to respond to complaints from the public regarding the on-duty conduct of RCMP members
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