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e-2471 (Justice)

E-petition
Initiated by Tyler Inglis from Nanaimo, British Columbia

Original language of petition: English

Petition to the Government of Canada

Whereas:
  • Body cameras are perhaps the most feasible way of improving police accountability;
  • Body cameras can alter the behaviour of people aware that their actions are being recorded and reduce violence;
  • Body cameras protect officers from liability when they are the target of false accusations and protect citizens from false police testimony;
  • Body cameras improve accountability resulting in greater trust, leading to greater public cooperation with police;
  • Video and audio can add powerful evidence to courtrooms and provide greater detail and accuracy than memory alone often offers;
  • Support for body cameras in the U.S. is very high (e.g. a YouGov poll of U.S. respondents put support at 88% with only 7% in opposition), and similar support might be found in Canada if researched; and
  • It is a dangerous policy to allow a powerful body like the RCMP to budget their own preferred level of accountability.
We, the undersigned, citizens and residents of Canada, call upon the Government of Canada to grant the RCMP funding for body cameras and associated costs, such as data storage, to equip nearly all personnel interacting with the public (with rare exceptions such as undercover officers) with this technology, and, as deemed best, funding being either additional to the RCMP's budget, deduct a proportionate amount of money from the RCMP's budget to cover the expense, or a combination thereof.

Response by the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): Joël Lightbound, M.P

Protecting the safety and security of Canadians and ensuring public trust in the RCMP are top priorities for the Government of Canada.

The public expects and should receive consistent, fair and equal treatment when dealing with law enforcement agencies. Increased trust can be achieved through our collective efforts to enhance accountability and transparency in policing, advance de-escalation techniques, reduce the use of force and strengthen the integration of public safety with the delivery of health and social services.

The implementation of body-worn camera (BWC) equipment is one initiative the Government of Canada and the RCMP are pursuing to help achieve these objectives. Body-worn video increases transparency in providing a first-person view of what a police officer encounters, oftentimes in highly dynamic and tense situations.

The administration of justice — including policing — falls under the constitutional responsibility of the provinces and territories. The provinces, territories and municipalities determine policing models and set policing budgets.

The Government of Canada and the RCMP are working with provincial, territorial and municipal colleagues, to respond to real concerns about how policing is delivered today.

The RCMP is committed to providing BWC to all of its police officers, and is currently determining which BWC system will best meet its needs in concert with contract policing jurisdictions.

On October 20, 2020, Public Services and Procurement Canada, on behalf of the RCMP, issued a Request for Information seeking input from industry providers on potential options, capabilities and available technology that would meet the RCMP’s requirements for BWC and for a National Digital Evidence Management System.

At present, the RCMP at National Headquarters maintains a small quantity of BWC to support the rapid deployment of this technology when requested by divisional operations.

After consulting with community members, territorial government officials and other stakeholders, starting November 30, 2020, Nunavut RCMP officers in Iqaluit are being equipped with BWC technology. This project will permit the RCMP and its officers and support staff to adjust to the use of the BWC, refine its policies and its abilities to effectively manage the data in support of the deployment of BWC across Canada. The Iqaluit deployment will help inform the broader Canada-wide initiative to equip front-line RCMP officers with body-worn cameras.

The RCMP is also working closely with the Office of the Privacy Commissioner so that deployment of BWC respects Canadians’ privacy. The RCMP is working with industry partners to ensure that a camera system and digital evidence management solution meets our requirements.

We will keep Canadians informed of our efforts regarding the broader deployment of BWC equipment as the information becomes available.

 

Open for signature
March 18, 2020, at 2:34 p.m. (EDT)
Closed for signature
July 16, 2020, at 2:34 p.m. (EDT)
Presented to the House of Commons
Paul Manly (Nanaimo—Ladysmith)
October 26, 2020 (Petition No. 432-00159)
Government response tabled
December 9, 2020
Photo - Paul Manly
Nanaimo—Ladysmith
Green Party Caucus
British Columbia
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