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e-2734 (Public safety)

E-petition
Initiated by Annamie Paul from Toronto, Ontario

Original language of petition: English

Petition to the House of Commons

Whereas:
  • Black and Indigenous peoples in Canada are disproportionately subject to police use-of-force;
  • The United Nations has expressed concern over the excessive use-of-force and killings by the police in Canada, especially in response to cases involving Black and Indigenous peoples;
  • There is no nationwide collection of data on police use-of-force that disaggregates by race, colour, ethnic background, national origin and other identities;
  • The failure of the Government of Canada to collect such data means that Canada lacks race-based data that could inform prevention and intervention strategies to protect the human rights of Black Canadians, Indigenous peoples and racialized people in Canada;
  • A national database would allow the measurement of the extent of racial disparities in Canadian policing and identify trends in police use-of-force; and
  • A national database would permit the evaluation of the success of existing and future anti-discrimination and anti-racism initiatives within police forces.
We, the undersigned, citizens and residents of Canada,, call upon the House of Commons to immediately establish a nationwide public database that collects data on police use-of-force, disaggregated by race, colour, ethnic background and other identities.

Response by the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

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

Policing based solely on a person’s race or ethnicity is abhorrent, unacceptable and unlawful. It is contrary to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Government of Canada remains firm that there is no place for racism or bias of any kind within police services in Canada.

In any interaction with the public, employees within the RCMP are guided by Bias-Free Policing Policy, which is based on the principles of equality and non-discrimination. The RCMP does not practice carding, as it would be against the RCMP’s values and commitments to the public, as well as the Bias-Free Policing Policy. In addition, any collection of personal information by the RCMP must comply with the requirements set out in the Privacy Act and regulations. The RCMP constantly reviews and updates its policies, procedures and training to address identified gaps, and to ensure the RCMP remains a proactive and responsive police service.

Building a Foundation for Change: Canada’s Anti-Racism Strategy 2019–2022 is a $45 million investment guided by a vision of Canada where all Canadians benefit from equitable access to and participation in the economic, cultural, social and political spheres, which can be found at the following link: www.canada.ca/en/canadianheritage/campaigns/anti-racism-engagement/anti-racism-strategy.html.

The Strategy sets a foundation for long-term action by supporting three guiding principles: Demonstrating Federal Leadership, Empowering Communities, and Building Awareness and Changing Attitudes. It builds on the work the Government of Canada is already doing to promote inclusion, combat systemic racism and support community-led initiatives. Ongoing funding of $4.5 billion — in addition to $8.5 billion since 2016 — has been invested in these areas.

The Government of Canada’s Anti-Racism Secretariat has been engaging across government and with communities most affected by racism to strengthen partnerships, identify systemic barriers, advance coordination, and best practices.

We are working with provincial, territorial, municipal and Indigenous leaders to respond to our real concerns about systemic racism and discrimination in how policing is delivered today. It is essential for the police to foster the trust of the communities they serve, and this can be achieved through our collective efforts to enhance accountability and transparency in policing, to advance de-escalation and reduce police intervention where possible, and to strengthen the integration of public safety and the delivery of health and social services.

 The Government of Canada is also working to fundamentally change the delivery of policing services in Indigenous communities. We will create a co-developed legislative framework for Indigenous policing — one that recognizes it as an essential service — and expand the First Nations Policing Program into interested communities. We are working closely with Indigenous leaders and organizations, provinces and territories, and police organizations to advance this priority. Our commitment is to provide Indigenous communities across Canada with access to culturally-appropriate police services that reflect the needs of the communities they serve.

But we also know there is more work to do. In the speech from the throne, our government committed to:

  • Introducing legislation and making investments that take action to address the systemic inequities in all phases of the criminal justice system, from diversion to sentencing, from rehabilitation to records;
  • Moving forward on enhanced civilian oversight of our law enforcement agencies, including the RCMP;
  • Modernizing training for police and law enforcement, including addressing standards around  the use of police intervention equipment and techniques; and
  • Moving forward on RCMP reforms, with a shift toward community-led policing.

Efforts are also well underway to achieve the Minister’s mandate priority to provide Canadian law enforcement and security agencies with access to unconscious bias and cultural awareness training. An engagement strategy — which includes webinars and symposiums — has been developed to support meaningful research within the national security community, and Public Safety Canada is also enhancing and expanding training on implicit bias in national security, which complements other diversity training offered by the Government.

We are committed to implementing these necessary reforms — and others — in collaboration with partners and stakeholders, to build a stronger, more inclusive and more resilient country, to advance reconciliation, to protect our democratic values and freedoms and to keep all communities safe and secure.

Open for signature
July 14, 2020, at 1:40 p.m. (EDT)
Closed for signature
August 13, 2020, at 1:40 p.m. (EDT)
Presented to the House of Commons
Elizabeth May (Saanich—Gulf Islands)
November 2, 2020 (Petition No. 432-00201)
Government response tabled
January 25, 2021
Photo - Elizabeth May
Saanich—Gulf Islands
Green Party Caucus
British Columbia
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