RCMP Conduct Staff ‘Character’ Checks Ahead of Trial of Former Senior Intelligence Officer
It took the arrest of one of its most senior intelligence officials for this to happen, but the RCMP says it now has a better oversight of the “character” of the people it employs.
Cameron Ortis, who headed the force’s National Intelligence Coordination Center (NICC), was arrested in September 2019 in Ottawa. He has been charged with revealing secrets to an unidentified recipient and considering providing additional classified information to a foreign entity or an unspecified terrorist group.
He is charged with multiple violations of the Information Security Act, breach of trust and a computer offense.
As Global News first reported, it has also faced internal accusations of “strange and controlling behavior” that employees say the force ignored.
The force has since confirmed that it brought in Alphonse MacNeil, a retired RCMP deputy commissioner turned consultant, to review the culture within the intelligence coordination unit. Ortis was appointed CEO of NICC in April 2016.
MacNeil’s report highlighted a failure in leadership and a workplace culture that left employees feeling “broken,” according to a redacted copy of the report recently released as part of an access request. information.
“The leadership failure in this case has been noted on several levels and it reveals a need for the RCMP to examine how leaders are selected,” the report said.
MacNeil – who led an independent review of the RCMP’s handling of the Moncton shooting in 2014, which claimed the lives of three RCMP officers – also wrote that NICC employees felt demeaned, humiliated and demeaned in a work environment that violated the core values of the RCMP.
RCMP Says They Are Looking For “Character Balance”
In the wake of McNeil’s report on the NICC, the RCMP said it has made some changes, including what it calls “a character leadership approach to its human resources processes”.
“These new tools allow for the assessment and continuous development of a person’s character, with an emphasis on judgment, inclusion and self-awareness,” said RCMP spokesperson Sgt. . Caroline Duval in an email response to CBC News.
“This approach ensures that employees, regardless of rank or level, have the skills, commitment and character balance needed to make good decisions in a wide range of challenges and contexts.”
The RCMP said they began their “character leadership approach” over the winter.
WATCH | Who is Cameron Ortis?
He also highlighted the launch of his new harassment resolution center in June as a sign of progress. The unit is housed within the RCMP, but is supposed to be independent of the environment from which harassment complaints originate.
“There is a concerted effort to create a culture of prevention through a healthy and supportive work environment,” said Duval.
The RCMP have vowed to tighten their security protocols after Ortis’ arrest – and the international headlines it generated – but have been vague on what the changes entail.
“Some of the recommendations will take time to implement. Corrective actions have already been taken in several areas requiring improvement, modification and strengthening,” said Duval.
Ortis is set to stand an eight-week jury trial from September 6, 2022, nearly three years after his initial arrest.