To ensure accountability, institutions should document decisions

Complaint: The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) said that no documentation existed about its decision not to proceed with a code of conduct investigation for perjury against one of the four officers who testified at the inquiry into the death of Robert Dziekanski during an arrest at the Vancouver airport.

Investigation: The OIC learned that an RCMP superintendent had presented his evaluation of the officers’ testimony to RCMP senior management verbally. In addition, the RCMP could not point to a single document its officials had written that set out its decision not to pursue the code of conduct investigation. In addition, the RCMP could not find a copy of the letter it had sent to external counsel asking it to conduct a formal review of whether to carry out an investigation.

Outcome: The external counsel produced the mandate letter, and the RCMP disclosed it to the requester.

Information Commissioner’s position

  • To ensure accountability, institutions should document decisions.
  • The lack of documentation in this instance is especially problematic, given that provincial authorities had charged the officers with perjury. Without documentation, it is difficult to ascertain what factors led the RCMP to not conduct an investigation.
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