Ministerial Directives - Annex B

1456-63 (DND/CF LA)

 
July 20, 2001

 
Mr. George Thomson
161 Laurier Ave.,
WestSuite 300
Ottawa, Ontario K1P 5J2

 
Dear Mr. Thomson:

 
This note is to confirm the purpose and application of the following section that is proposed as part of the terms of the Ombudsman's mandate:

 
15. The Ombudsman will not purport to perform the function of the Military Police in investigating any matter in which there may be an allegation of criminal activity.

 
This section and others are there to recognize that the Ombudsman and the military police perform different functions, although they could both be performing a role in relation to the same overall fact situation. Criminal investigations are done by the military police and the proposed section 15 is there to reinforce that fact.

 
An incident, which may give rise to a complaint falling within the mandate of the Ombudsman as defined by the ministerial directive, may have more than one aspect. For example, an incident could on its face be an alleged criminal act or a breach of the Code of Service Discipline. This fact alone does not prevent the Ombudsman from responding to a complaint and, of course, this section and others anticipate the possibility that both the Ombudsman and the military police could be engaged in investigations that fall within their respective mandates.

 
If, for example, a Canadian Forces member who was suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) was involved in a fight with a superior, section 15 would operate so as to reserve to the Military Police the investigation of the alleged assault or violence to the superior officer to determine whether the member will be charged with a criminal offense or a breach of the Code of Service Discipline. However, there could well be other issues relating to the member's PTSD that could also give rise to complaints to the Ombudsman and a concurrent investigation by his office. Such complaints to the Ombudsman could include allegations that medical and other related PTSD matters had not been addressed properly by the chain of command and medical authorities.

 
In the circumstances, the proposed subsections 23(2) and 30(1) would have application. Accordingly, under subsection 23(2) the Provost Marshal would have priority in interviewing the witnesses. Subsection 30(1) would require that the Military Police, on the request of the Ombudsman, provide the Ombudsman with copies of documentation and information relating to the investigation that was carried out by the Military Police where either the investigation had been completed or providing access to the Ombudsman would not impede or compromise the investigation.

 
I trust that this is satisfactory for the purpose intended.

 
G. L. Garnett
Vice Admiral
Vice Chief of Defence Staff

 
Mark Zazulak
Senior General Counsel and Legal Advisor to the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Forces

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