BC Civil Liberties Association is successful in their Federal Court action against the RCMP and the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the RCMP. The BCCLA release included:
In 2014, we filed a complaint against the RCMP for illegal surveillance of climate organizations and Indigenous land defenders. We encountered delay after delay in the complaints process. Finally, we said enough is enough, and we took the RCMP Commissioner to court in 2020.
…The Court held that the RCMP Commissioner breached her statutory obligations by failing to respond to a Civilian Review and Complaints Commission (CRCC) watchdog report about our complaint “as soon as feasible.”
This decision is a huge victory for police accountability. For the first time, a court has made clear that the RCMP Commissioner must respond to CRCC reports within 6 months.
This is a win on behalf of many communities who have been calling for justice and an end to the abuse of police power. This case all started because of illegal surveillance of grassroots climate organizations and Indigenous land defenders. Today, we celebrate this victory for those who are overpoliced and under protected.
…When it comes to police accountability, justice delayed is justice denied.
In reasons for judgement, Associate Chief Justice Jocelyne Gagné detailed efforts over many years to improve the RCMP’s response to complaints and inquiries. Repeatedly, these efforts failed and delays worsened.
● In its 2008-2009 annual report, the CPC noted that the 2007 backlog was being resolved, with only two outstanding reports remaining;
● In 2019-2020, the CRCC reported that 64 interim reports had been awaiting a response for one to two years, 48 had been waiting for two to three years, and six had been waiting for more than three years.
Associate Chief Justice Gagne ruled:
I find that the RCMP Commissioner is in violation of her obligation under section 45.76 of the RCMP Act to respond to the Interim Report “as soon as feasible.” I also find that a reasonable interpretation of the “as soon as feasible” requirement found in section 45.76 of the RCMP Act is, absent exceptional circumstances, a maximum of six months. Finally, costs for $30,000.00 all-inclusive, will be granted to the Applicant.