Public Safety Canada Branch Overviews

Crime Prevention Branch Overview

Branch Overview

The Crime Prevention Branch (CPB) supports the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness to provide national leadership on issues related to policing and firearms, corrections and criminal justice, serious and organized crime, drug policy, and borders. CPB works closely with Portfolio departments/agencies, federal-provincial-territorial (FPT) partners and other stakeholders to provide strategic advice and support evidence-based policy development in these areas. The Branch also manages programs that support specific objectives with targeted partners, including program legislation, regulation and machinery.

CPB is currently undergoing a structural re-organization. Once finalized (late fall/early winter) it will be comprised of five Directorates: Policing Policy; Law Enforcement; Corrections and Criminal Justice Policy; Indigenous Policy; and Programs. Currently, the Branch employs 173 full-time employees with an operating budget of approximately $29 million and a Grants and Contributions budget of approximately $37 million.

Key Files and Responsibilities

Indigenous Policing Policy: provides policy advice on the First Nations and Inuit Policing Program; engages with Indigenous stakeholders and provinces/territories on policing in Indigenous communities, including on areas for potential reform; leads the coordination of portfolio input into policies and practices in response to the Final Report of the National Inquiry on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG); and supports negotiation and implementation of modern treaty and self-government obligations as it pertains to the administration of justice, enforcement of laws and policing.

Firearms and Operational Policing Policy: develops legislative, policy and regulatory requirements for the safe and legal use of firearms and firearms-related operational policing issues; and provides policy expertise on Guns and Gangs and the administration of the Firearms Act. A standalone Secretariat reporting to the Assistant Deputy Minister of CPB provides strategic advice, oversight, and direction on the design, implementation and management of the buyback program for newly prohibited firearms.  

RCMP Governance and Modernization: providessupport to the overall implementation of the RCMP transformation and oversight agenda (e.g., ongoing harassment resolution process, support to the Management Advisory Board and Civilian Review and Complaints Commission).

Contract Policing Program/Police Services Agreements: provides leadership in managing the Contract Policing Program; leadership, negotiations, interpretation and day-to-day administration of the 2012 Police Service Agreements that underpin the program and enable the RCMP to deliver front-line policing services to all provinces and territories except Ontario and Quebec, as well as some 150 municipalities; and leadership on program sustainability, policing transitions and assessments, and strategies to resolve ongoing disputes with certain jurisdictions.

Security Cost Framework: administers the Major International Event Security Cost Framework to facilitate cooperation with partner jurisdictions by reimbursing, through contribution agreements, the incremental, extraordinary, justifiable and reasonable policing and security related costs incurred in support of RCMP-led security operations for Prime Minister-led events (e.g., G7/G20).

Drug Policy: provides national leadership, in cooperation with provinces, territories, and law enforcement agencies, to develop effective practices and strategies to disrupt illegal cannabis markets. Supports policy development, research and public awareness of the dangers of drug-impaired driving; and coordinates national drug-impaired data collection and reporting. Develops and implements strategies to reduce supply and interdict the flow of illegal drugs, including targeting pill presses and the distribution of opioids through the postal system and online; and supports law enforcement readiness and capacity to implement health-based approaches to address substance use.

Border Law Enforcement and Immigration (moving to PACB in Fall 2021): provides national leadership and policy advice on border management-related issues; develops policies, provides advice, and supports Portfolio-wide efforts to advance key immigration and law enforcement initiatives with a nexus to border security/integrity, including irregular migration, annual immigration levels planning, visa policy, COVID-19 border measures, National Interest Exemptions; and Firearms Exemption Orders.

Serious and Organized Crime: leads initiatives focused on countering organized crime and money laundering, combatting human trafficking, child sexual exploitation on the internet and supporting witness protection.

Crime Prevention Policy: provides policy direction on evidence-based crime prevention priorities/initiatives and the implementation of the National Crime Prevention Strategy targeting at-risk youth (e.g., youth gangs, black, Indigenous, LGTBQ2+ and other vulnerable populations); and supports policy engagement with the United Nations Commission on Crime Prevention.

Indigenous and Community Corrections: provides policy support to the Department of Justice in the development of actions to address the overrepresentation of Indigenous people in the criminal justice system; provides policy direction and programming to support the reintegration of federal offenders pursuant to an Act to Establish a Federal Framework to Reduce Recidivism and engages with the National Joint Committee of Senior Justice Officials and the National Associations Active in Criminal Justice; and provides funding to national voluntary sector organizations that support the reintegration of offenders and to Indigenous organizations for reintegration and alternatives to incarceration services for Indigenous offenders.  

Aboriginal Community Safety Planning Initiative: provides policy direction underpinned by programming to Indigenous communities to develop community safety plans as part of the Government’s response to the MMIWG National Inquiry’s Final Report; engages with key partners to advance Indigenous community safety; and collaborates to support Indigenous funding recipients across programs that address Indigenous community safety.

Corrections and Criminal Justice: provides policy advice and support on corrections and criminal justice policy issues related to key legislation (i.e., Corrections and Conditional Release Act, Criminal Records Act, Expungement of Historically Unjust Offences Act, International Transfer of Offenders Act, Sex Offender Information Registration Act and the Victims Bill of Rights Act); manages the National Office for Victims, which provides a victim lens on federal correctional policy development and develops information products to increase victims’ of federal offenders understanding of the corrections and conditional release system; and supports the external oversight of Structured Intervention Units.

Research: provides evidence-based research and evaluations to support policy development in the priority areas of crime prevention, corrections, criminal justice and law enforcement, including on issues related to cyberbullying, human trafficking, firearms and gangs.

Public Inquiry into the Nova Scotia Mass Casualty: in collaboration with the Department of Justice and PS Legal Counsel, manages departmental efforts to support the independent Public Inquiry into the April 2020 mass casualty incident in Nova Scotia, led by the Mass Casualties Commission (MCC), including through the provision of relevant material and information from subject matter experts; and chairs the Assistant Deputy Minister-level Steering Committee to coordinate federal involvement in the Inquiry, including document production and communications. The Commissioners conducting the Inquiry are the Honourable J. Michael MacDonald (former Chief Justice of Nova Scotia), Leanne J. Fitch (Ret. Fredericton Police Chief) and Dr. Kim Stanton (Lawyer). The MCC is mandated to report its findings and make recommendations by November 2022.

Rural Crime: supports the Associate Deputy Minister as the co-chair of the FPT Deputy Minister Rural Crime Committee, tasked by Ministers to develop a Pan-Canadian Strategic Framework on Rural Crime. [Redacted]

Key Partners

CPB works with a variety of partners, including Portfolio organizations and other federal government departments and agencies with community safety, corrections and security-related responsibilities. The Branch also works with non-governmental organizations, provinces and territories, policing and first responder organizations, the Five Eyes (Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom and United States), and other international partners and Indigenous organizations and communities.

Emergency Management and Programs Branch Overview

Pursuant to the Emergency Management Act, Public Safety Canada has the legislative mandate to build a safe and resilient Canada by providing national leadership in emergency management (EM) in the development and implementation of policies, plans and a range of programs.

The Emergency Management and Programs Branch (EMPB) supports this mandate by working with other federal departments and agencies, provinces and territories, national and regional Indigenous organizations, as well as other stakeholders, to advance an integrated policy, programmatic, and coordinated approach across the four components of EM:

EMPB, with approximately 330 employees, is composed of four directorates: 1) Policy and Outreach; 2) Programs; 3) Government Operations Centre (GOC); and, 4) Federal EM Response Modernization Project.

In addition, the Branch is also responsible for the Department’s regional offices located across Canada. With presence in 13 locations (one or more in each province and one in the Northwest Territories), these regional offices serve as the primary point of contact for the Department at the regional level and play an important role in building and maintaining partnerships for emergency management operations and in supporting communities through program delivery.

Key Files and Responsibilities

Emergency management is a core responsibility of the Government of Canada and a collective responsibility of all federal government institutions. The Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness has statutory responsibilities for coordinating EM activities among government institutions and in cooperation with the provinces, territories and other entities. As disasters in Canada continue to increase in frequency, severity and costs, the leadership role that Public Safety Canada plays in Canada’s emergency management system is becoming increasingly important in order to ensure a whole-of-society approach to strengthening Canada’s response and resilience.


The Policy and Outreach Directorate (POD) is responsible for enhancing the resiliency across Canada’s EM system (prevention/mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery) through developing, coordinating and enacting interdisciplinary policies and programs to reduce disaster risk for Canadians. Key initiatives underway include:

Exploring options for a low-cost national flood insurance and potential relocation program to better protect homeowners at high risk of flooding, and without adequate insurance protection. Public Safety, through POD, is leading a Task Force on Flood Insurance and Relocation that includes FPT partners, industry stakeholders, and engagement with Indigenous communities, and aims to produce a public-facing, statement-of-fact report in Spring 2022.

The Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangement (DFAA), which  provides significant financial assistance to provinces and territories in the event of large-scale natural disasters when response and recovery costs exceed thresholds specific to each province and territory, is under review as the costs to reimburse PTs for response and recovery costs have risen exponentially over the past decade. The review will be supported by internal research and analysis, and an external Expert Advisory Panel (to be appointed in Fall 2021).

Through engagement with non-governmental organizations, POD is working to support capacity building, readiness and deployments in the provision of humanitarian support for Canadians, in response to COVID-19 and other large-scale emergencies and disasters in Canada, such as wildfires and floods. This includes working with the Canadian Red Cross and other NGOs.

Other efforts include working with partners in monitoring the implementation of the Post-Traumatic Stress Injuries Action Plan for public safety officers; developing a National Risk Profile that will enhance our understanding of disaster risks and support the identification and analysis of the capabilities needed to build collective resilience to disasters; advancing national search and rescue (SAR) initiatives in Canada; and, in leading policy and program development with respect to interoperable emergency communications, such as continuing to strengthen the National Public Alerting System and building a Public Safety Broadband Network.

In addition, through outreach and engagement activities, EMPB fosters relationships with key partners, including other federal departments and agencies, provinces and territories, municipalities, international partners, Indigenous communities, academia, volunteer sector, private sector and civil societies, to raise awareness, promote a common approach, and strengthen the emergency management system.


The Programs Directorate, with the support of its 13 regional offices, delivers departmental programming related to Indigenous policing, crime prevention, guns and gang violence, countering radicalization to violence, search and rescue, and emergency management. In the last fiscal year (2020-21), the Directorate delivered approximately $596 million in program payments – for instance, $205 million in DFAA and $184 million in First Nations Policing Program expenditures.

In order to strengthen its capability to deliver a total of 34 programs, the Programs Directorate is reviewing and modernizing its program delivery model,  as well as its organizational design, to optimize program delivery efficiency and emergency management functions.

Response Coordination

The Government Operations Centre (GOC) provides an integrated federal emergency response to all-hazards events (potential or actual, natural or human-induced, accidental or intentional) of national interest. The GOC offers coordination and emergency management expertise to allow lead departments to focus on fulfilling their mandates. Despite being situated within EMPB, the GOC operates on behalf of the Government of Canada, and is an asset for the entire federal government. This includes support to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness in coordinating the federal response to provincial or territorial requests for assistance to address local or regional emergencies. Specifically, the GOC provides 24/7 monitoring and reporting, national-level situational awareness, warning products and integrated risk assessments, as well as national-level planning and whole-of-government response management.

Each year, in consultation with partners, the GOC completes a risk assessment and planning process in advance of the Floods and Wildfire seasons with the intent to increase federal preparedness to support provinces and territories. The final outcomes include a national risk assessment which is presented at Cabinet, and the Government of Canada Cyclical Event Response Plan.

Government Operations Centre and EM Response Modernization Project

A series of workshops are underway to develop a new federal emergency response policy framework to provide context, define the structure for federal response and support improved integration across federal response plans and instruments such as Emergency Support Functions. It is also supporting efforts underway to relocate the GOC to a more modern facility.

Key Partners

Key partners include: the Canadian Red Cross; the Insurance Bureau of Canada; Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs; Paramedic Chiefs of Canada; Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police; National Indigenous Organizations; United States Department of Homeland Security; United States Federal Emergency Management Agency; Federation of Canadian Municipalities; Salvation Army; St-John’s Ambulance; and Search and Rescue Teams, including Heavy Urban and Search and Rescue (HUSAR) Teams.

National and Cyber Security Branch Overview

Branch Background

The National and Cyber Security Branch (NCSB) aims to ensure that Canada is prepared for, and can respond to, a range of national security and cyber security threats by:

As of August 2021, NCSB has a total of 191 full-time equivalents (FTEs) (202 headcounts) with a current salary budget of approximately $17.7 million and an Operations and Maintenance (O&M) budget of $4.7 million.

Key Files and Responsibilities

The Branch comprises five Directorates: National Security Policy, National Cyber Security, National Security Operations, Critical Infrastructure and the Task Force on Economic Security.

The National Security Policy Directorate supports the Minister in coordinating key national security policy issues. Key responsibilities include: the Passenger Protect Program and Passport Program; implementation and review of the National Security Act, 2017; Canadian Extremist Travellers; Terrorist Financing; Counter Proliferation; Research Security; Ideologically Motivated Violent Extremism; Intelligence and Evidence; Lawful Access; Transparency; Gender-based Analysis Plus in National Security; CLOUD Act; the Security of Canada Information Disclosure Act; the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) Division 9/National security Inadmissibility Initiative; and the Five Country Ministerial. The Directorate also provides advice to the Minister in support of his/her accountability for the Canadian Security Intelligence Service.  It also includes the newly-established Financial Crime Coordination Centre (FC3), however, FC3 will be moving to the Crime Prevention Branch as part of a Fall 2021 Departmental re-organization.

The National Cyber Security Directorate supports the Minister in coordinating the Government’s overall policy approach on cyber security.  Key files include the National Cyber Security Strategy, the Critical Cyber Systems and Telecommunications Security Initiatives, Ransomware, and public attributions.

The National Security Operations Directorate coordinates and leads activities to prevent individuals and entities who pose threats to national security from operating in Canada. Key files include Terrorist Listings, Hostile Activities by State Actors, National Security Operations Incident Management, Investment Canada Act national security review, Economic-based National Security including the Sensitive Technology List, Canadian Extremist Travelers, Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act and hostage cases.

The Critical Infrastructure Directorate and Strategic Coordination Directorate is responsible for supporting the Minister in leading an overall national effort to enhance the resilience of Canada’s critical infrastructure against all hazards.

The Task Force on Economic Security analyzes and provides policy options on Canada’s suite of tools to respond to economic-based threats to national security. 

Key Partners

Given the diversity and depth of the Branch, key partners can greatly vary. The Branch regularly works with the Portfolio entities, other government departments, the provinces and territories, and private and public sector critical infrastructure owners and operators. Key international partners are the Five Eyes alliance and the G7.

Portfolio Affairs and Communications Branch Overview

Branch Background

The Portfolio Affairs and Communications Branch (PACB) leads strategic policy and planning integration within the Department and across the Portfolio; coordinates Portfolio, Cabinet and Parliamentary business;  provides strategic communications advice and services and is responsible for departmental efforts related to consultation, stakeholder relations, and citizen engagement; and provides leadership on the Government of Canada’s response to radicalization to violence.

PACB is composed of three Directorates: Strategic Policy, Research, Planning and International Affairs; Communications; and Cabinet and Parliamentary Affairs and Executive Services.  The branch also houses the Canada Centre for Community Engagement and Prevention of Violence (Canada Centre).

As of September 9, 2021, the Branch had 197 full-time equivalents. The Branch has an operating budget of $26.8M in 2021-22.

Key Files and Responsibilities

Canada-United States (U.S.) Relations and International Relations

PACB provides strategic advice on international issues of relevance to the Department and Portfolio, with a view to ensuring that engagement abroad furthers Canada’s domestic security. PACB facilitates international engagement by providing advice and support for the Minister’s participation in various international fora and meetings with other international counterparts and multilateral organizations, and by a number  of committees and dialogues with international partners.

Assisted by Public Safety’s Counsellor at the Canadian Embassy in Washington, PACB supports the Minister’s relationships with U.S. counterparts, most frequently with the Secretary of Homeland Security, and tactically with the U.S. Attorney General, who leads the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Drug Enforcement Administration. PACB works with the department and Portfolio agencies to provide a whole of portfolio view of bilateral cooperation. PACB also administers the Canada-U.S. Agreement on Land, Rail, Marine and Air Transport Preclearance and the Preclearance Act, 2016, and plays the lead role in supporting the expansion of preclearance operations in Canadaon behalf of the Government of Canada. In Fall 2021, responsibility for all other border and CBSA-related files will be transferred from the Crime Prevention Branch to PACB.

International Police Peacekeeping Program/Canadian Police Arrangement

In cooperation with the RCMP and Global Affairs Canada, PACB manages the International Police Peacekeeping Program and the Canadian Police Arrangement which support Canada’s commitment to international security through police participation in international peace support and stabilization missions.

Public Outreach and Engagement

PACB is responsible for the Cross-Cultural Roundtable on Security, a forum for consultation with representatives of diverse ethno-cultural communities on national security issues. Together with the Minister of Justice, the Minister of Public Safety appoints Roundtable members, and has an opportunity to engage directly with them when they meet, typically three times annually. Additionally, PACB supports outreach events with Canadians, which provide an opportunity to highlight the importance of working with communities and to learn about their concerns.


PACB is responsible for strategic and operational communications services to the Minister, Deputy Minister and all Branches of the Department. The Branch coordinates the Government of Canada’s communication response for broad public safety and security issues ranging from major events to natural disasters (e.g., drug-impaired driving campaign, cyber safe tips, and the emergency management “Get Prepared” campaign). As part of this function, it provides support to the Government Operations Centre and develops and strengthens communications networks with provincial/territorial and international partners. Communications also works closely with key private sector partners to advance awareness of key messages in support of safety and security.

Strategic Policy, Research, and Corporate Planning

The Strategic Policy and Research Division leads the tracking and reporting of Public Safety Portfolio mandate priorities and commitments, coordinates the Portfolio’s Federal Budget process and provides input on horizontal policy issues (e.g. the Arctic and Northern Policy Framework). It is responsible for the development and implementation of the Public Safety Data Strategy, facilitates research collaboration and coordination across the Portfolio and collaborative efforts between the Portfolio and the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics of Statistics Canada.

The Strategic Planning Division leads Public Safety’s corporate planning cycle and produces annual corporate products including the Departmental Plan and the Departmental Results Report. It is the center of expertise on risk management, performance measurement and experimentation. It also coordinates the annual response to the Management Accountability Framework assessment.

Cabinet, Parliamentary, Regulatory Affairs and Appointments

The Directorate manages the Portfolio’s Cabinet, Parliamentary, and Regulatory agendas, including Governor in Council and Ministerial Appointments. The Public Safety Portfolio’s Cabinet and Parliamentary business is typically one of the largest across the federal government. This work is key in supporting the development and advancement of new policies and initiatives across the portfolio.

PACB delivers Access to Information and Privacy programs for the Department and Ministerial Correspondence and Secretariat Services for the Public Safety Portfolio.

Countering Radicalization to Violence

Through the Canada Centre, PACB provides national leadership on countering radicalization to violence, including through implementation of the 2018 National Strategy on Countering Radicalization to Violence; engaging with groups across diverse sectors, including through the National Expert Committee on Countering Radicalization to Violence; coordinating talent and expertise; and funding programs and research, through the Community Resilience Fund, to better understand and more effectively counter violent radicalization.

Key Partners

In addition to key partners within the Department, the Portfolio, and the federal government, PACB works closely with other governments on issues of international cooperation, most notably the U.S. and other Five Eyes partners (United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand).

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