Public Safety Canada Organizational Structure
The Public Safety Portfolio is comprised of one department: Public Safety Canada (PS; The Department); five agencies: Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC), Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), and the Parole Board of Canada (PBC); and three review bodies: the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the RCMP (CRCC), the Office of the Correctional Investigator (OCI), and the RCMP External Review Committee (ERC).
The Department’s principal role is to bring strategic focus, coordination and direction to the government’s overall safety and security agenda. It plays a key role in the development, coordination and implementation of policies in the areas of national security, community safety, crime prevention, law enforcement and emergency management, and maintains a presence in regional offices across the country and in Washington, D.C. The Department provides transfer payments and support to various programs, including crime prevention, border policy, disaster mitigation, preparedness and recovery, search and rescue, serious and organized crime, countering radicalization to violence, cyber security and critical infrastructure. The largest include: Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangements, First Nations Policing Program, National Disaster Mitigation Program, Gun and Gang Violence Action Fund and the National Crime Prevention Strategy.
The Department also maintains the Government Operations Centre (GOC), a 24/7 facility that supports preparedness and coordinates the integrated federal response to all-hazard events of national interest (e.g. the 2016 wildfire in Fort McMurray, the 2020 Nova Scotia mass shooting, and the ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic). The vast majority of the Department’s employees work in the National Capital Region, but regional offices are also located in five regions: Ontario, Quebec and Nunavut, Atlantic, Prairies and Northwest Territories, and Pacific (British Columbia and Yukon) regions.
The RCMP provides federal policing services to all Canadians and policing services under contract to the three territories, eight provinces (except Ontario and Quebec), more than 150 municipalities, more than 600 Indigenous communities and three international airports. The RCMP offers coordinated and integrated programs to all law enforcement and criminal justice officials in Canada to assist in the detection and investigation of crime, and to ensure sound prosecutions. This includes preventing, detecting and investigating offences against federal statutes; maintaining law and order; providing investigative and protective services to other federal departments and agencies; and providing Canadian and international law enforcement agencies with specialized police training and research, forensic laboratory services, identification services and informatics technology. The RCMP has liaison officers and criminal intelligence analysts deployed in other countries, and is engaged in peacekeeping and international capacity building. The RCMP is led by a Commissioner, who is appointed for an unspecified term.
CSC administers court-imposed sentences of two years or more for adult offenders, supervises offenders on various forms of conditional release in the community, and helps protect society by encouraging offenders to become law-abiding citizens while exercising reasonable, safe, secure and humane control. CSC also administers post-sentence supervision of offenders with Long-Term Supervision Orders for up to 10 years and provides services to victims of crime, such as information sharing and awareness building to support victims. It is responsible for the management of 43 institutions of various security levels, including six Indigenous healing lodges. CSC is led by a Commissioner, who is appointed for an unspecified term.
The CBSA provides integrated border services by enforcing Canadian laws governing trade and travel (as well as international agreements and conventions), facilitating legitimate cross-border traffic, assessing and collecting duties and taxes and interdicting goods and people that pose a potential threat to Canada. This includes immigration enforcement, such as the removal of people who are inadmissible to Canada for terrorism, organized crimes, war crimes or crimes against humanity. The CBSA provides services at approximately 1,200 points across Canada and abroad, including international airports, land ports of entry, and remote border crossings. The CBSA is led by a President, who is appointed to a term of no more than five years.
CSIS investigates and assesses activities that may be suspected of posing threats within or outside Canada, and has the authority to take threat reduction measures, subject to limitations. CSIS supports other government departments and agencies through its security screening programs, provides security assessments to Government and plays a critical role in immigration processes through security advice to CBSA and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). Upon request from the Minister of Foreign Affairs or the Minister of National Defence, CSIS collects foreign intelligence within Canada to support the Government’s broader national interests. CSIS has resources dispersed across Canada and internationally to investigate threats and to liaise with domestic and international partners working within Canada and abroad. CSIS is led by a Director, who is appointed to a term of no more than five years. This appointment can be renewed as long as the aggregate term does not exceed ten years.
PBC is an independent administrative tribunal that reports to Parliament through the Minister of Public Safety and has exclusive authority to make independent, quality conditional release, record suspension and expungement decisions, as well as clemency recommendations in a transparent and accountable manner. The Board’s authority extends to federal offenders and offenders in provinces and territories that don’t have their own parole boards. The Board also imposes conditions on any kind of conditional release and can order certain offenders to be held in prison until the end of their sentence. The PBC makes pardons, record suspensions and expungement decisions, and makes recommendations for the exercise of clemency through the Royal Prerogative of Mercy. The Board is led by a Chairperson who is appointed for a term of up to five years.
The CRCC is an independent agency created by Parliament to ensure that public complaints made about the conduct of RCMP members are examined fairly and impartially. The CRCC receives complaints from the public about the conduct of RCMP members; conducts reviews when complainants are not satisfied with the RCMP’s handling of their complaints; initiates complaints and investigations into RCMP conduct when it is in the public interest to do so; holds hearings; undertakes systemic reviews and reports findings and makes recommendations. The Commission consists of a Chairperson, who is appointed to a five-year term, and a maximum of four other members, one of whom may be named the Vice-Chairperson.
The primary responsibility of the OCI is to investigate and bring resolution to individual offender complaints. The Office conducts independent investigations into the problems of offenders related to decisions, recommendations, acts or omissions related to the CSC that affect offenders either individually or as a group. The OCI may initiate an investigation based on a complaint from (or on behalf of) an offender, at the request of the Minister of Public Safety, or on its own initiative. The Office is also responsible for reviewing and making recommendations on CSC’s policies and procedures associated with the area of individual complaints to ensure that systemic areas of concern are identified and appropriately addressed. The Office is headed by a Correctional Investigator, who is appointed for a term of up to five years.
The RCMP ERC provides civilian oversight of labour relations within the RCMP. It aims to promote fair and equitable relations by conducting independent reviews of certain types of grievances, appeals on formal disciplinary measures and demotion cases, and provides non-binding recommendations to the RCMP Commissioner. The Committee may institute hearings, summon witnesses, administer oaths and receive and accept evidence. The Committee is headed by a Chairperson, who is appointed to a three-year term.
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