Public Safety Canada’s Policy on Providing Guidance on Regulatory Requirements

Departmental Context

The Public Safety Portfolio plays a key role in discharging the Government's fundamental responsibility for the safety and security of its citizens. Legislation governing the Department sets out two essential roles: (i) support the Minister's responsibility for all matters, except those assigned to another federal minister, related to public safety and emergency management including national leadership and (ii) coordinate the efforts of Public Safety's Portfolio agencies as well as provide guidance on their strategic priorities.

The Public Safety Portfolio encompasses nine distinct organizations which directly contribute to the safety and security of Canadians. While portfolio agencies deliver public security operations according to their individual mandates, Public Safety Canada (PS), in its portfolio coordination role, brings strategic focus to the overall safety and security agenda.

The Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness has a wide range of responsibilities under many different statutes, some of which are administered by PS, while others are administered by portfolio agencies. Particularly with respect to firearms, this is an area of shared responsibility. The Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness is the lead minister responsible for firearms policy, including the firearms legislative and regulatory framework; whereas the Minister of Justice is responsible for the firearms-related penalty provisions of the Criminal Code and the criteria defining the classification of firearms. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Canadian Firearms Program (CFP) is responsible for the administration of the Firearms Act and its related Regulations.

The Department is committed to ensuring all stakeholders, including the general public, understand the need to comply with federal regulatory requirements. It provides clear and consistent information on how regulatory compliance guidance is communicated.

Building an awareness of regulatory requirements

When considering new regulations, or amending existing ones, PS engages with stakeholders and the public in a variety of ways. This could include meetings, the Consulting with Canadians website, the Forward Regulatory Plan, the Regulatory Stock Review Plan, the Cross-Cultural Roundtable on Security, pre-publication in the Canada Gazette, as well as open consultations, news releases and Ministerial statements which are posted on the Department's website.

Guidance documentation and other relevant information can be accessed on the PS Portfolio websites. While much of the work of the Department involves use of complex legal and technical information, PS is committed to ensuring, to the greatest extent possible, that regulations and policies are drafted in plain language to enable Canadians to meet regulatory requirements, consistent with the Cabinet Directive on Regulation.

Responding to enquiries

As per Government of Canada’s Policy on Communications and Federal Identity, PS responds to general enquiries in a clear, consistent, and professional manner, in the official language of choice and generally in the form that enquiries are made, whether orally or in writing. Enquiries regarding specific situations or concerns are responded to in a timely manner with a focus on being as informative as possible. Responses to recurring enquiries are often included in Frequently asked Questions (FAQs) published on the Department’s website.

For privacy and security reasons, Public Safety Canada does not accept personal information (e.g. SIN numbers, banking details, personal details of other individuals, attachments, offensive language, etc.) by email.

Commitment to professional Service

PS commits to excellence and accountability in service when dealing with all stakeholders, by providing professional, courteous and respectful service.

PS commits to ensuring that staff responding to enquiries have the necessary skills and technical knowledge to provide quality service and accurate information on regulatory requirements.

Stakeholder Engagement

PS uses feedback from stakeholders received during the regulatory consultation process to plan and prepare materials and activities to promote regulatory compliance, where appropriate. In addition to regulatory consultations, PS may engage stakeholders through mechanisms such as advisory committees, roundtables, online consultations and, where feasible and appropriate, meetings with regulated parties and stakeholders. PS analyzes enquiries and comments received from stakeholders to better adapt its materials to their needs.

For example, the Cross-Cultural Roundtable on Security (CCRS) was created to engage Canadians and the Government of Canada in a long-term dialogue on matters related to national security. The Roundtable brings together citizens who are leaders in their respective communities and who have extensive experience in social and cultural matters. It focuses on emerging developments in national security matters and their impact on Canada's diverse and pluralistic society.

The group provides advice and perspectives to the Minister of Public Safety Canada and the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, concerning matters of national security.

Date of last revision

This policy was last updated in June 2019.


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