Original language of petition: English
Only members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) who have received specialized training and certification may deploy chemical munitions (i.e., tear gas). General Duty Uniform RCMP members are not trained, certified or permitted to deploy this intervention option, nor do they have access to it. RCMP use of chemical munitions is limited to trained resources within the RCMP Public Order Units and Emergency Response Teams only. Use of chemical munitions is also subject to multiple officer and Critical Incident Commander risk assessments. These risk assessments include such elements as situational factors (e.g., weather), officer perceptions (e.g., perceived threat), subject behaviour (e.g., attempting to cause injury to the public and/or police), and additional tactical considerations (e.g., other options). In the specific case of the deployment of chemical munitions, additional assessments are also undertaken respecting the geography and demographics of the surrounding area (e.g., rural vs. urban, hospitals, schools or other sensitive properties nearby). This option may be used against subjects displaying behaviour that is resistant, assaultive, and/or posing the risk of death or grievous bodily harm. It is common for chemical munitions to be considered in the planning of operations, without them ever being deployed.
The RCMP has not deployed chemical munitions of any type in a public order setting since the Vancouver Riots of 2011. The RCMP prioritizes the use of verbal de-escalation tactics where tactically feasible, including during crowd control activities. The framework encourages officers to prevent and resolve conflict, accommodate and respect differences and interests, and strategize to minimize the need for police intervention. Furthermore, a new Crisis Intervention and De-Escalation Course has been developed and is mandatory for all police officers. The course provides a deeper understanding of conflict and how de-escalation skills are critical to police work with communities. This de-escalation training helps police officers assess risk in crisis situations, and de-escalate these situations more effectively and safely.
The RCMP prioritizes the use of verbal de-escalation tactics where tactically feasible, including during crowd control activities. Finally, the use of chemical munitions on protesters in Montréal on May 31, 2020, involved the Service de Police de la Ville de Montréal, and is outside of RCMP jurisdiction. The RCMP does not comment on police procedures for other jurisdictions.
Canada is proud to be a global leader in the reduction and elimination of chemical weapons, and is committed to protecting Canadians and individuals everywhere from these weapons.
National Defence also has a responsibility to ensure that members of the Canadian Armed Forces receive the training and resources they need to accomplish their mission, now and in the future. The use of tear gas is an essential part of the Canadian Armed Forces training, therefore National Defence cannot grant the request of this petition.
The Canadian Armed Forces uses tear gas to teach its members how to properly react to chemical attacks and use protective equipment correctly. Tear gas is used to create realistic training conditions and reassure members that their protective equipment, including masks, will operate effectively against chemical weapons.
In all of its activities, the Canadian Armed Forces takes the security of its members and the public seriously. Training is conducted in a safe and controlled environment, and only personnel who have been fully trained on how to use chemical defence equipment may participate. Stockpiles are stored inside secured and monitored compounds, and are verified quarterly.
Under the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), Canada has agreed to never use or facilitate the use of chemical weapons as a method of warfare. The Convention, however, allows countries the right to use tear gas for law enforcement, training and defensive research purposes. As such, National Defence’s policy regarding tear gas respects Canada’s commitments and obligations under national and international law.
Every year, the Biological and Chemical Defence Review Committee (BCDRC) visits National Defence sites across Canada as part of its comprehensive verification programme, and provides independent, third party review of the biological and chemical research, development, and training activities undertaken by National Defence. Since its creation in 1971, the Committee has assessed that National Defence activities involving tear gas are always conducted in a professional manner with no threat to public safety or the environment.
National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces will continue to protect Canadians and individuals everywhere from chemical weapons, and will continue to engage the public to increase awareness on the use of tear gas and how it contributes to Canadian Armed Forces readiness.
Only validated signatures are counted towards the total number of signatures.
|Province / Territory||Signatures|
|Newfoundland and Labrador||125|
|Prince Edward Island||45|