Public trust is essential to the success of the RCMP and is as important as the internal trust in the integrity of its employees. In order to maintain the public’s trust, RCMP employees must undertake and perform their duties and responsibilities with the highest level of integrity. Rather than simply avoiding behaviour that could warrant discipline, individual integrity aspires to a higher level of ethical standards as set out in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act. Ethics underlie the RCMP core values of integrity, honesty, professionalism, compassion, respect and accountability. Also, ethics engender sound decision-making. A formalized ethics regime that can serve as a beacon to employees is a necessity for organizations such as the RCMP whose success is dependent on public trust.
Ethics underlie the very concept of law enforcement. The process leading to the amendment of the Act in 1988 generated a great deal of discussion about ethics. The process of formalizing an ethics structure within the RCMP began in 1995 with the establishment of the RCMP Mission, Vision and Values7 and the subsequent creation of the Office of the Ethics Advisor in June 1996. As the role of the Ethics Advisor evolved, along with federal policy8 and legislative initiatives9, the Office began to operate in specialized niches rather than as an all-encompassing force-wide ethics administration. As a result, the ethics and discipline regimes of the RCMP have operated independently rather than along a common continuum.
The proposal for the creation of an Office of Professional Integrity was based on several factors, including:
To address these issues and further strengthen the Force’s ethics and discipline system, the RCMP Senior Executive Committee approved the creation of the Office of Professional Integrity in December 2009. The organizational structure of the Office of Professional Integrity is illustrated in Figure 1. The Office, located at National Headquarters, will be headed by a Professional Integrity Officer who will report to the Commissioner via the Senior Deputy Commissioner. The grouping of the Values and Ethics Office, Employee and Management Relations and the Adjudicative Services Branch under centralized management is intended to provide direction in the furtherance of the RCMP’s continuum of integrity - a regime that will have a far-reaching impact across business lines and regions. Although the mandate of the Values and Ethics Office will be slightly altered, the services delivered by Employee and Management Relations and the Adjudicative Services Branch will, for the most part, remain unchanged.
The Office of Professional Integrity has been created to comprehensively address professional integrity through a continuum that extends from a proactive approach to reactive intervention measures. This will facilitate effective management in relation to employee behavior. The Office of Professional Integrity has been tasked to:
This merged values-and compliance-based management approach for the RCMP disciplinary system is consistent with the 2008 Ministerial Directive.10
The role of the Adjudicative Services Branch places it near the end of the continuum of integrity. The Branch is mandated to address formal discipline when more serious breaches of the Code of Conduct warrant such measures. In some instances formal discipline matters run parallel with criminal proceedings. The mandate of the Office of Professional Integrity touches upon that of the Values and Ethics Office and Employee and Management Relations, as well as the Adjudicative Services Branch. This will provide a comprehensive view of employee behaviour through all aspects of the continuum of integrity. In turn, it is expected that the Office of Professional Integrity, by virtue of its mandate, will positively impact employee behaviour. The structure of the Office of Professional Integrity will increase opportunities to identify, monitor and guide behaviour through the timely and focused intervention of management. Under this regime, the Adjudicative Services Branch will influence employee behaviour and optimize managerial responsibility through such means as training initiatives and policy enhancements. The goal will be to correct employee behavioural issues and to promote appropriate, timely managerial responses as soon as conduct issues are identified.
The Office of Professional Integrity will support the Adjudicative Services Branch in the fulfillment of its role. It will also strive to improve the overall management of the disciplinary system, as set forth in the Ministerial Directive.
7 Information about the RCMP Mission, Vision and Values can be found at: http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/about-ausujet/mission-eng.htm.
8 Treasury Board, Policy on the Internal Disclosure of Information Concerning Wrongdoing in the Workplace (2001); Values and Ethics Code For the Public Service (2003).
9 Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act, S.C. 2005, c. 46 [PSDPA].