Police Services Organizational Reform (Synopsis)

Public Safety Department (Quebec)

Description: In 2001, Quebec’s Ministry of Public Security (Ministère de la Sécurité Publique) led an important organizational reform of the policing structure in the province. The Ministry has made many modifications to provincial laws and regulations, including the introduction of the "levels of service" concept, which designates levels of services (1 to 6) a police service must provide. The level of service is determined by the municipality’s population and whether it belongs to a metropolitan community or a metropolitan census area. Through these reforms, the Ministry has realized efficiencies for many police services in Quebec.
Objective: This initiative has several objectives:
  • improve police services for the population by determining which services they should provide;
  • increase the intervention and investigation capacities of police services (reduction of number of police services but not of policing resources overall); and
  • better distinguish the roles and responsibilities of the municipal police services and the Sûreté du Québec (SQ).
Outcomes: In general terms, these reforms have achieved their objectives. Ninety-five small police services have been abolished since 2001 (30 police services are left) and policing resources are now better shared through larger police services that have greater response and investigative capacities.

Since 2001, only municipalities with population exceeding 50,000 citizens are required to have a municipal police service (before 2001, municipalities over 5,000 had to have a police service), allowing many small municipalities to abolish their police services.

Through the introduction of levels of service, efficiencies have been realized. For example, smaller police services don't have to provide select specialized police services (e.g., surveillance of suspects, electronic surveillance, scuba diving, etc.) and can access services provided by the SQ free of charge. A detailed explanation of these levels of service is available on the Ministry’s website.
Resources: The implementation of this initiative did not require significant resources.
Province: Quebec
Record Entry Date: 2013-08-01
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