Witness Protection Program Act - Annual report: 2008-2009
This is the thirteenth (13) Annual Report on the Witness Protection Program Act as required by section 16 of the Act.
The Witness Protection Program (WPP) continues to be an effective tool for law enforcement to combat terrorism and organized crime. We continue to see the benefit of the WPP as an important program in support of national priorities, including the dismantling of organized crime groups in Canada. Furthermore, the program is available to not only the RCMP but to all law enforcement agencies in Canada and to foreign agencies.
The statistics included in this report are based on the services provided by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) between April 1st, 2008 and March 31st, 2009. 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 to not 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 details concerning individual cases.
During the course of the reported year, the following is a breakdown of services provided to the law enforcement community:
During this period, the RCMP considered a total number of one hundred three (103) cases for admission purposes. Fifteen (15) protectees were admitted in the program of which twelve (12) were granted a secure name change.
A total of four (4) protectees were accepted in the program resulting from RCMP cases.
The RCMP provided assistance to other Canadian law enforcement agencies during the last year, as provided for under paragraph 6 (1)(a) of the Act. We have admitted eleven (11) protectees on behalf of other Canadian law enforcement agencies into the program. The assistance provided by the RCMP in these instances is mostly related to the provision of secure federal documentation. The responsibility for protective measures for these protectees rests with the requesting agencies.
Nineteen (19) cases were provided with alternative methods of protection. Alternative methods of protection are provided in cases where individuals refuse to be admitted into the Witness Protection Program or fail to meet the criteria for admission into the Program. Some of the reasons stated for the refusals include the numerous conditions imposed, and an unwillingness to relocate.
Fluctuations related to admissions from year to year are largely affected by: i) law enforcement activities during the fiscal year, ii) single protectees being admitted to the Witness Protection Program rather than protectees with dependants, iii) and by variables outside the administration of the program.
There were eleven (11) cases of voluntary termination from the program this year.
There were six (6) cases of involuntary termination that were reported as per section 9 of the Act. These cases all involved breaches of the Protection Agreement by the witnesses and their participation in the program was terminated following written notice.
No witness was refused admission to the program by the RCMP pursuant to section 10 of the Act.
There were seven (7) civil litigations filed during this period, however two (2) complaints were withdrawn. One (1) of these two complaints was filed with the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP in relation to the program.
Furthermore, 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.
A federal review by the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security was conducted and concluded changes to the Witness Protection Program Act are required to make the Program more accessible, effective, and transparent. The Committee tabled nine (9) recommendations which they felt would enhance the current Witness Protection Program Act.
During the months of November and December 2008 and January 2009, RCMP officers and Public Safety personnel engaged in a consultation process across Canada with policing partners, witness protection personnel, Federal and Provincial legislators and Justice officials. As a result of these consultations, and in response to the recommendations proposed by the Public Safety Committee, the RCMP and Public Safety Canada are presently working jointly in preparing amendments to the Act and addressing the recommendations. This process will require significant consultation with the Department of Justice and various federal partners before it can be tabled in parliament.
Cost of the Program:
As noted in last year's annual report, the RCMP is now providing Parliament with a more detailed list of the cost to administer the WPP, which is reflected in Appendix "B". Amounts provided are for those incurred by the RCMP only. These do not take into consideration expenses incurred by other law enforcement agencies.
The total cost of the administration of the program for the reporting year was $6.6 M. As detailed in Appendix "B", this amount includes wages for personnel, expenses, travel costs, administrative and protectee relocation expenses. It should be noted award payments are accounted for in a separate budget, thus these expenditures are not reflected in the overall annual cost of the Witness Protection Program.
|Total Number of RCMP Cases assessed for the program||103||96|
|Total number of Protectees accepted in the WPP:
- By other law enforcement agencies
- By RCMP
|Total secure identity change||12||25|
|Refusal of protection by witnesses||10||7|
|Lawsuits filed in court and complaints with the Commission for Public Complaints against the RCMP in relation to the program||7*||2|
|Alternate methods of protection||19||27|
* 2 Complaints withdrawn
|1) RCMP Compensation:||$3,576,755.73|
|2) Public Servant Compensation:||$481,344.10|
|3) Other Police Department Secondment:||$201,734.93|
|6) Witness Protection Expenses:||$1,327,648.96|
|8) Civil Litigation Costs:||$0|
- Date modified: