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Results: 1 - 15 of 66
View Pam Damoff Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you, Minister.
Commissioner Lucki, Colten Boushie died in 2016. His family filed a complaint in 2016. When the RCMP ruled that officers had acted properly, the family filed another complaint to the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission.
At your last appearance before this committee, during the summer, I asked you about the report on the Colten Boushie case. At the time you said, “I can't emphasize enough the importance of such a review.” As well, “The CRCC has done extensive research and a great job on the review. We need to give the same consideration to the review. I'm planning to have that review done by the fall of this year.”
It's now November 2020. When can we expect your response?
Brenda Lucki
View Brenda Lucki Profile
Brenda Lucki
2020-11-02 19:17
The CRCC completed their public interest investigation in January 2020 and provided us thereafter with the interim report. Obviously, we're in the process of reviewing the high volume of relevant material. Given the complexities of the recommendations and findings by the CRCC, a bit of time is required to prepare a thorough and well-founded response.
View Pam Damoff Profile
Lib. (ON)
Commissioner, with all due respect, one of the reasons that report didn't get you until January 2020 is that there was a delay in the RCMP providing the CRCC with information. Is the family going to see the report anytime soon?
Christian Leuprecht
View Christian Leuprecht Profile
Christian Leuprecht
2020-07-24 11:09
I will close with my four points on action items.
We need to hold middle management accountable. The CAF demonstrates the effect that can have in terms of curtailing the sorts of challenges we are seeing.
The RCMP needs to release results of discipline hearings to the public. There's a ministerial directive on this. The RCMP has not published an annual report since 2017. Commissioner Lucki, as has been widely reported, has 180 Civilian Review and Complaints Commission reports on her desk dating back to 2016. That backlog simply is not acceptable.
My challenge to you as a committee is this. You have concrete opportunities to do things here and now, and that is Bill C-3, which is currently before Parliament. I detail several challenges that bill currently has. For the sake of time, I will not go through these in detail here, but Bill C-3, with the improvements that I lay out, can effect very clear and concrete change right here, right now.
Michelaine Lahaie
View Michelaine Lahaie Profile
Michelaine Lahaie
2020-07-24 11:11
Good morning and thank you for this opportunity to speak to you today on the subject of systemic racism in policing services in Canada.
The Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the RCMP is an independent body established by Parliament. The commission makes broad-ranging recommendations regarding policies, procedures and training with the ultimate goal of improving policing and enhancing RCMP accountability. Greater police accountability is achieved through effective oversight, not only for public complaints but also through reviews of systemic issues.
As the Minister of Public Safety recently indicated to this committee, indigenous people, black Canadians and other racialized people experience systemic racism and disparate outcomes within the criminal justice system. That system includes all police forces, including the RCMP.
I must point out that the work of the commission is not immune to the long-term and ongoing effects of systemic racism. For example, it has been reported that there is an overrepresentation of police use of force incidents involving indigenous and racialized people. However, many of these use of force incidents do not result in a public complaint. Why is that the case?
In the commission’s northern British Columbia investigation, which was undertaken as a follow-up to a Human Rights Watch report, we asked members of indigenous communities why they do not make use of the complaints system. We found out that many indigenous people are either unaware of the public complaint process or do not trust it. The process can be excessively bureaucratic and difficult to navigate.
However, the commission has taken some action to improve the accessibility of the public complaints system, including making the public complaint form available in 16 different languages. We most recently worked very closely with the territorial Government of Nunavut to ensure that the complaint form and additional materials on the complaints process were available in Inuktitut.
Even with these strides, the commission still needs to do more to ensure greater accessibility, trust and transparency in the complaints process. Ultimately, my goal is for people to believe that they can file a complaint with the commission and be treated fairly, without fear of reprisal. To achieve that, we need to consult indigenous and racialized communities to identify and break down the systemic barriers that exist within our current system and implement their suggested changes. We must adopt a regime that better serves all communities.
In that regard, the commission, along with the RCMP, was involved in advancing an informal resolution process put forward by indigenous leaders. Such projects are key to combatting systemic racism and restoring public trust.
In terms of the RCMP, I must highlight that the commission’s lens tends to focus on individual allegations of bias, discrimination or racism. We do not get complaints of systemic racism as a rule. It is only when we take a step back and analyze our findings that the systemic nature of racism becomes apparent.
One such area is in the disparity of treatment between Caucasian and indigenous women detained for public intoxication in northern British Columbia, as noted in the commission’s public interest investigation into policing in that area. In a review of occurrence reports involving the policing of public intoxication, the commission noted that there were differences in treatment between indigenous and Caucasian women when it came to detention for public intoxication. Seventy-three per cent of indigenous women were held in cells until sober. In contrast, 54% percent of Caucasian women were held in cells until sober. As well, indigenous women were four times less likely to be taken home, rather than lodged in cells, as compared with Caucasian women.
The commission is also currently working on a systemic review of the RCMP's bias-free policing model. This review is examining the RCMP's bias-free policing policies and training, and assessing the broader application and accountability framework that is in place to ensure that RCMP members adhere to these policies. Accountability and transparency are key to addressing systemic issues and bringing about change.
To that end, I would suggest that there is an opportunity to further enhance the oversight regime with Bill C-3 and would make the following recommendations to strengthen the bill.
First, I recommend statutory timelines for responses to commission reports to codify the schedule established in the CRCC–RCMP MOU. At present, the legislation requires the commissioner to respond as soon as feasible. Responses to commission interim reports now take an average of 17 months. One of the commission's reports has been waiting for a response for over three and a half years. This is unacceptable in any system where accountability is critical.
Second, public education and outreach to indigenous and racialized communities must become statutory requirements. Bill C-3 currently makes public education mandatory for the commission's new oversight mandate for CBSA, but these activities remain optional under the RCMP Act. The only way that the public complaint process works is if people trust the system. The only way to build that trust is through our outreach efforts.
Third, I would like to see both the commissioner and, once Bill C-3 comes into force, the president of the CBSA required to provide an annual report to the commission outlining the status of implementation of the commission's recommendations. This would increase the transparency of the complaint system and reassure Canadians that the RCMP and the CBSA are held to a high standard of public accountability.
Finally, the commission needs to be appropriately resourced to conduct systemic reviews. At present, systemic reviews are conducted when sufficient resources are available. However, as chairperson, I must constantly make the decision between dealing with complaints from the public and conducting systemic reviews.
I do realize, however, that we have our own work to do. We need to dedicate more resources to outreach and public education in indigenous and racialized communities. We must consult and we must listen. We must become more transparent. We recently began to post summaries of public complaint decisions on our website. It is important that the Canadian public be made aware of our work and the recommendations that we make.
The commission must be consulted on any changes to oversight for both the RCMP and changes to Bill C-3. With its 35 years of experience in overseeing our national police force, the CRCC is uniquely qualified to provide insight and recommendations to inform decision-makers on this critical and pressing issue for Canadians. We are at an opportune time to effect change.
Thank you again for inviting me here today. I would be happy to answer any questions you may have.
View Pierre Paul-Hus Profile
CPC (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
My questions are for Ms. Lahaie.
At the end of your testimony, you talked about certain problems, but I'm going to start by asking you how many complaints you receive on average per year. Then, what percentage of the complaints you receive are related to racism?
Michelaine Lahaie
View Michelaine Lahaie Profile
Michelaine Lahaie
2020-07-24 11:19
Thank you very much, Mr. Paul-Hus.
We receive between 3,000 and 3,500 complaints a year. Usually, we receive between 2,500 and 3,000—
Michelaine Lahaie
View Michelaine Lahaie Profile
Michelaine Lahaie
2020-07-24 11:19
Sorry. I will give my answers in English, then, to allow for the simultaneous translation, because I'm not sure how to change to the French piece.
On average, we receive 3,000 to 3,500 complaints per year. We tend to send about 2,800 of those complaints over to the RCMP.
Over the course of the past five years, we've received 76 complaints that deal with bias, racism or discrimination.
View Pierre Paul-Hus Profile
CPC (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
We can say that, out of 2,000 complaints, 76 complaints about racism is a small number.
In your speech, you said that the commission was facing certain problems. You receive the complaints, you process them and you send them to the RCMP, but the RCMP Commissioner is the one who must analyze them and provide a response. You said that it takes up to 17 months to get a response, and that there is often no response at all.
Can things be done to change this situation?
Michelaine Lahaie
View Michelaine Lahaie Profile
Michelaine Lahaie
2020-07-24 11:21
To clarify, she is required to respond in accordance with the legislation, so she must respond to our reports. She must indicate whether she accepts our recommendations. If she does not accept them, she has to tell us why.
I believe the solution to this issue is to insert statutory timelines within Bill C-3, so that they are required to provide a response within a time that's articulated in the law. We currently have an MOU with the RCMP that articulates those timelines, but they are not statutory.
View Pierre Paul-Hus Profile
CPC (QC)
Okay.
You have made recommendations on the changes that should be made to Bill C-3. Were you consulted during the drafting of this bill? We feel that no one asked for your opinion.
Did the government ask you?
Michelaine Lahaie
View Michelaine Lahaie Profile
Michelaine Lahaie
2020-07-24 11:22
The commission was not consulted on Bill C-3 when it was drafted.
View Pierre Paul-Hus Profile
CPC (QC)
So it is safe to say that the problems you are experiencing with the RCMP will also be experienced with the Canada Border Services Agency. You said that the president should report. However, another system is currently being created which, I believe, will face the same problems.
Is that what you are foreseeing?
Michelaine Lahaie
View Michelaine Lahaie Profile
Michelaine Lahaie
2020-07-24 11:22
It is possible that we will have similar problems with the oversight of the CBSA.
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