Raison d’Être, Mandate, and Role, and Operating Context

2022-23 Raison d’être

The Department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness (PS), also known as Public Safety Canada, plays a key role in discharging the Government's fundamental responsibility for the safety and security of its citizens. The Minister of Public Safety and the President of the Queen’s Privy Council and Minister of Emergency Preparedness are responsible for the Department.

Legislation governing the Department sets out three essential roles:

The Department provides strategic policy advice and support to the Ministers on a range of issues concerning our three Core Responsibilities: National Security, Community Safety and Emergency Management. The Department also delivers a number of grant and contribution programs related to these issues.

Mandate and role

Public Safety Canada works with the following five agencies and three review bodies, united in a single portfolio and all reporting to the Minister of Public Safety and President of the Queen’s Privy Council and Minister of Emergency Preparedness.

Public Safety Portfolio

Partner Agencies

Review Bodies

The Department’s mandate is to keep Canada safe from a range of risks such as natural disasters, crime and terrorism. As such, Public Safety Canada collaborates with federal partners as well as other levels of government, non-government organizations, community groups, the private sector, foreign states, academia, communities and first responders on issues related to national and border security, crime prevention, community safety and emergency management. This cooperation supports a cohesive and integrated approach to Canada’s safety and security.

The Department will also work towards fulfilling the commitments outlined in the Minister of Public Safety’s mandate letter and the President of the Queen’s Privy Council and Minister of Emergency Preparedness’ mandate letter.

Operating context

Over the past two years, the COVID-19 pandemic has had an impact on all countries, economies, businesses and people. It has affected the daily lives of Canadians, and placed a great burden on essential and front-line workers. The challenges faced by Canadians as a result of the pandemic are likely to persist well into 2022-23. As such, Public Safety Canada will continue to ensure that Canadians remain safe, secure and healthy, and that Canada’s community safety, national security, and emergency management capabilities are strengthened and supported.

In 2022-23, Public Safety Canada will continue to address issues related to organized criminal groups that have become more complex and sophisticated, as have the types of crimes they commit. They are using new and evolving technologies to facilitate covert communication and to expand the range of cyber-crime. These trends have worsened throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, due in part to a significant shift towards remote working. Organized criminal groups are also expanding into legitimate business activities and branching out into new markets in Canada. The Department will continue its important work with Portfolio partners to implement community safety initiatives to counter firearm-related violence and crime, gangs, organized crime and financial crimes. Efforts towards implementing a ban on assault-style firearms will be made and the design and development of a mandatory buyback program will be advanced. In addition, the Department will support the transformation and modernization of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and will introduce legislation to create a review body for the Canada Border Services Agency. Public Safety will continue to support community safety and protect vulnerable populations through the National Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking and a wide variety of initiatives designed to protect children from online sexual exploitation and abuse, and will provide support to places of worship, communities and groups which are most at risk of experiencing hate-motivated crimes. The Department will also advance Record Suspension reforms and develop Canada’s first ever framework to reduce recidivism. In support of wider government efforts to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and to work in partnership with Indigenous Peoples to advance their rights, Public Safety will, among other efforts, continue to engage Indigenous communities to better understand the unique policing and community safety priorities they face. Public Safety will continue to support culturally responsive policing and efforts to advance co-development of a legislative framework that recognizes First Nations policing as an essential service.

Terrorism and violent extremism, including ideologically-motivated violent extremism, continue to pose a serious threat to Canada’s national security. Hate-motivated crimes, inspired by violent ideology, have become a significant concern in particular. Cyber security threats have also amplified considerably, as more of Canada’s economy, critical infrastructure and essential services are connected online, as well as a considerable shift to a remote work environment. Governments, businesses, organizations and Canadians remain more vulnerable than ever. In 2022-23 Public Safety will develop a comprehensive policy framework for countering economic-based threats to national security; develop a whole-of-government approach to counter threats related to hostile activities by state actors; and continue to closely monitor and respond to the evolving threat posed by ideologically-motivated extremists through a range of national security tools including terrorist listings and investigations, and prevention initiatives. The Department will collaborate with its Portfolio and federal partners to address these issues by exercising leadership on cyber security; clearly defining roles, responsibilities and accountability mechanisms; implementing measures to improve the security and resilience of Canada’s vital assets, infrastructure and systems; and protecting Canadians and their businesses against ransomware threats. In addition, Public Safety will aim to renew the National Cyber Security Strategy, and develop legislation to safeguard Canada’s critical cyber and telecommunications systems. Also, Public Safety will continue to support the National Security Transparency Commitment by issuing the first implementation report, and advance other declassification initiatives, to foster stronger engagement and better inform Canadians on national security issues.

Given the nation’s geographic size and diversity, the possibilities of severe weather events and natural disasters are a persistent reality for Canada and Canadians. These events are resulting in greater damages, costs and hardship, as evidenced by the recent increase in floods and wildfires. In 2022-23, Public Safety will continue to advance the Emergency Management Strategy for Canada; the renewal of the Federal Emergency Response Plan; and the implementation of the joint Federal-Provincial-Territorial Emergency Management Strategy Action Plan. Public Safety will also continue to focus on priority areas by preparing for, anticipating and mitigating the risks associated with natural disasters, including the development of a National Risk Profile to create a forward-looking national picture of risks and capabilities; addressing flood risk by supporting the work of the national Task Force on Flood Insurance and Relocation; supporting the advancement of a Public Safety Broadband Network and the National Public Alerting System; supporting the co-development of a National Adaptation Strategy for climate resilience in Canada; and advancing Canada’s first-ever National Action Plan on Post-Traumatic Stress Injuries for public safety personnel.

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