Unconscious Bias Training for Law Enforcement

Classification: Unclassified

Proposed Response:


The Prime Minister’s Mandate Letter directs the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness to ensure that all law enforcement and security officials have access to unconscious bias and cultural competency training. This commitment was reaffirmed during the most recent Speech from the Throne on September 23, 2020, where modernizing anti-bias training for police and law enforcement was highlighted among other priorities related to combatting systemic racism.

There is evidence that implicit bias training, if treated as a “checkbox” or one-off exercise, does not necessarily lead to lasting inclusion and change and could, in fact, have the opposite effect. To respond to the mandate letter commitment, the National Security Policy Directorate at Public Safety conducted research, engaged with experts and consulted with partners to create a multi-level program on implicit bias, diversity and identity, one that will target officials at all levels of national security to implement meaningful change in policies, programs, operations and systems.

The first stage of the program was launched in July 2020, when Public Safety contracted and organized a pilot training session on implicit bias in national security work that was delivered to 17 participants of Public Safety middle managers. The National Security Policy Directorate is in the process of evaluating and expanding the pilot training session, and has targeted the training of 80-100 national security practitioners from  Public Safety and portfolio agencies by the end of March 2021.

While some additional training is planned to continue this work in the 2021-2022 fiscal year, its impact and long term sustainability will be extremely limited in the absence of additional resources to expand the breadth and reach of the training.


Prepared by: Erin Hetherington, A/Manager, National Security Policy Directorate, 343-542-9058
Approved by: Dominic Rochon, Senior Assistant Deputy Minister, 613-990-4976

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