Canada's national police force has a new watchdog — at least for the time being.

While no formal appointment announcement has been made, Guy Bujold this month started serving as both interim vice-chair and acting chair of the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission, which handles complaints about the RCMP. 

Bujold, former president of the Canadian Space Agency, worked in the federal civil service for more than three decades before retiring in 2010.

The vice-chair position has been vacant since the fall of 2016. 

Ian McPhail, who served as chair of the commission for seven years, took a leave of absence effective September 21. His term is formally up at the end of November but McPhail left early to resume his Toronto legal practice.

Without a vice-chair to assume McPhail's duties, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale asked Bujold to step in for a period of six months.

"[Bujold] was appointed because there was a vacancy and there was an immediate need to fill that position, the government moved quickly to appoint an interim vice-chair until permanent appointments can be made," said Tim Cogan, the commission's director of corporate services and communications.

Cogan said no one is yet filling in for the commission's director of operations, who is also on a leave of absence. 

Not having a vice-chair has hampered some of the commission's work.

Ian McPhail, chairman of the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the RCMP

Ian McPhail, chairman of the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the RCMP, has left the post to resume his law practice. (Fred Chartrand/Canadian Press)

In its recently released annual report, former chair McPhail pointed to the on-going investigation into the 2012 shooting of Gregory Matters during a confrontation with an RCMP emergency response team in Prince George, B.C.

McPhail wrote that he'd made 57 findings and nine recommendations about police training, policies and procedures, but that "the commission awaits the appointment of a vice-chairperson to complete its final report in this matter."

In an email to CBC News, a public safety spokesperson said the government has a new "open, transparent and merit based appointment process."