Witness Protection Program Act Annual Report - 2004


This is the eighth Annual Report on the Witness Protection Program (Act) as required by section 16 of the Act.

The RCMP's Witness Protection Program (WPP) continues to be an effective tool for law enforcement to combat organized crime. Although this report indicates a decrease in the number of cases, we continue to see the benefit of the WPP and it's impact on dismantling well established organized crime groups in Canada. The benefits of new funding introduced in 2001 as part of an organized crime initiative continue to support Witness Protection and it's ability to provide the assistance required.

The statistics included in this report are based on the assistance provided by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) between April 1, 2003 and March 31, 2004. Protectees include individuals from RCMP cases, protectees referred by other Canadian police services and foreign protectees under subsection 14(2) of the Act. Protection given under subsection 14(2) is on a cost-recovery basis including the related expenses of RCMP personnel.

In order not to jeopardize the integrity of the Program, or the safety of any individual within the Program, statistics have been provided on the most relevant areas of the Program, without detail about the individual cases involved.

During this reporting period, the RCMP provided presentations to visiting foreign officials on the WPP and attended several conferences as invited guests in countries with similar law enforcement concerns. The RCMP also received several requests for assistance from foreign countries to accept witnesses into Canada. Again, this past year, the RCMP was involved in assisting foreign countries to establish Witness Protection Programs and training associated to this high risk area.

The statistics for this reporting period have decreased from those of last year. The total cost of the Program has decreased to $1.9M from $3.3M last year. The total number of RCMP protectees accepted into the program decreased by approx 45% (from 61 to 34). The number of cases requiring an identity change increased by 100% (from 26 to 52), the number of cases from other law enforcement agencies increased by 20% (from 34 to 41). The total number of new cases, however, decreased from 103 to 72.

We attribute this year's downward shift in statistics to a decreased total number of cases referred to the program by RCMP units and the absence of foreign assistance cases. This decrease in RCMP cases can be attributed to our continued efforts at targeting major criminal organizations and the longer periods of time required to complete these complex investigations. The decrease in costs associated with the administration of the Program is reflective of the decrease in actual cases being admitted into the Program. These fluctuations related to admissions and costs from year to year are largely affected by law enforcement activities during that fiscal year and are also affected by variables outside the administration of the program.

The number of instances in which protection was refused by witnesses this year was 11, which is close to last year's figure of 13. The main reasons cited by witnesses for refusing to enter the Program were that they found it too restrictive and that they were not committed to leaving their extended family, friends and loved ones behind. The number of refusals of protection affects most of the other statistics in this report, as they would otherwise have been higher.

Of note, no witnesses were accepted into the Program from a foreign country. The number of Canadian witnesses who requested voluntary termination decreased slightly from 13 last year to 12 this year.

No witness was refused admission to the Program by the RCMP pursuant to section 10 of the Act. Three cases of involuntary termination were reported as per section 9 of the Act. The cases all involved serious breaches of security by the witnesses and their participation in the Program was terminated following verbal and written notices.

There was one civil litigation filed against the RCMP and/or complaint filed with the Commission for Public Complaints against the RCMP in relation to the Program during the last fiscal year.

Program Admission 2002-2003
RCMP Protectee Other Law Enforcement Agency Foreign Country
Total Number of Cases 61 34 1
Program Admission 2003-2004
RCMP Protectee Other Law Enforcement Agency Foreign Country
Total Number of Cases 34 41 0
Complaint filed with the Commission for Public Complaints against the RCMP in relation to the Program
Number of 2002 - 2003 2003 - 2004
Total Number of Cases 103 72
Secure identity changes 26 52
Relocation outside province of origin 25 27
Relocation within province of origin 20 14
Voluntary Terminations 13 12
Involuntary Terminations 3 3
Refusal of protection by witnesses 13 11
Instance of failure of protection caused by RCMP 1 0
Lawsuits filed in court or complaints with the Commission for public Complaints against the RCMP in relation to the program 1 1
Total Cost of the Program $3,397,647.00 $1,961,318.03
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