Canada introduces legislation to establish Public Complaints and Review Commission

Creating independent review body to boost public trust in law enforcement, border services agencies

Canada introduces legislation to establish Public Complaints and Review Commission

Public Safety Canada (PSC) has announced that the federal government introduced legislation to establish an enhanced independent review body to ensure public trust in Canada’s law enforcement and border services institutions.

Bill C-20 seeks to establish the Public Complaints and Review Commission (PCRC), which will serve as an independent review body for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).

“If passed, the legislation will ensure that Canadians can continue to expect consistent, fair, and equal treatment when interacting with the RCMP and CBSA,” the PSC said.

Under the bill, the PCRC will replace the existing review body for the RCMP – the Civilian Review and Complaints ‎Commission − but will create for the first time an independent forum for complaints concerning the CBSA.

The bill will codify timelines for when the RCMP and CBSA must respond to interim reports, reviews, and recommendations made by the PCRC, to improve the timeliness of responding to complaints. It will also require the RCMP commissioner and the CBSA president to submit an annual report to the public safety minister concerning the status of the implementation of the submitted recommendations.

The bill will also allow the PCRC to review, on its initiative or upon the request of the public safety minister, any activities conducted by the RCMP and the CBSA, except those related to national security.

In addition, the bill provides that PCRC will not handle complaints that can more appropriately be dealt with by other administrative bodies, such as the Canadian Human Rights Commission, the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages, and the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada.

The bill will also authorize the PCRC to investigate public complaints regarding services provided by the RCMP and the CBSA and the conduct of their employees and collect and publish disaggregated race-based data to help assess and address systemic racism in law enforcement.

“The establishment of the Public Complaints and Review Commission will foster and enhance public confidence in the RCMP and CBSA and offer Canadians another layer of effective civilian review and build trust in our law enforcement,” Minister of Public Safety Marco Mendicino.

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