OTTAWA, ON, May 19, 2022 /CNW/ - Canadians must have confidence in the agencies tasked with keeping them safe. Whether in our communities or at our borders, public trust is essential to the work of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). A central part of maintaining this trust are robust mechanisms around civilian review and police accountability.
The Minister of Public Safety, the Honourable Marco Mendicino, today introduced new legislation to establish the Public Complaints and Review Commission (PCRC), an enhanced independent review body for the RCMP and CBSA. Entitled Bill C-20, An Act establishing the Public Complaints and Review Commission and amending certain Acts and statutory instruments, it would ensure that Canadians can continue to expect consistent, fair, and equal treatment when interacting with the RCMP and CBSA.
This enhanced independent review body would replace the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission (CRCC), currently the review body for the RCMP. For the CBSA, it would create for the very first time independent review and a forum for complaints about the conduct of CBSA employees.
To improve the timeliness of responding to complaints, the legislation would codify timelines in which the RCMP and CBSA must respond to PCRC interim reports, reviews and recommendations. It includes a requirement for the RCMP Commissioner and CBSA President to report annually to the Minister of Public Safety on the status of the implementation of PCRC recommendations. It also requires the PCRC to collect and publish disaggregated race-based data to help assess and address systemic racism in law enforcement.
In addition to regular review of both agencies, the PCRC would also have the ability to review, on its own initiative or at the request of the Minister, any activities of the RCMP or CBSA. The only exception are activities related to national security, which are overseen by separate independent bodies.
"The establishment of the Public Complaints and Review Commission will foster and enhance public confidence in the RCMP and CBSA. The PCRC will operate independently, have the power to recommend discipline, publish annual reports, and collect disaggregated race-based data to address systemic inequities. These new tools are central to ensuring transparency and accountability. The PCRC will offer Canadians another layer of effective civilian review and build trust in our law enforcement."
- The Honourable Marco Mendicino, Minister of Public Safety
"The CRCC is well positioned to take on review of the CBSA given its current responsibilities for review of the RCMP. I look forward to working with stakeholders to advance this important initiative."
- Michelaine Lahaie, Chairperson of the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police
The government is proposing to invest $112.3 million over six years, and $19.4 million per year ongoing, to establish the PCRC.
This Act builds upon former Bills C-98 and C-3, which were introduced in Parliament in 2019 and 2020, respectively, and sought to add CBSA review to the mandate of the existing CRCC.
Bill C-20 delivers on commitments made in the 2020 Speech from the Throne and the December 2021 Mandate Letter to the Minister of Public Safety, which mandated the introduction of legislation to create a review body for the CBSA, including defined timelines for responding to complaints and recommendations.
The Government of Canada has strengthened accountability for national security by passing legislation to establish the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians (NSICOP) and create a new expert review body, the National Security and Intelligence Review Agency (NSIRA). These bodies provide accountability for the national security work of all departments and agencies, including the RCMP and the CBSA.
While the CBSA is already reviewed by various independent boards, tribunals, and the courts, there is currently no external complaints and review body for the CBSA.
Bill C-20: An Act establishing the Public Complaints and Review Commission and amending certain Acts and statutory instruments
SOURCE Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada
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