Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security Thursday, April 25, 2013 Chair

Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security Thursday, April 25, 2013 Chair
Standing Committee on Public Safety and
National Security
Thursday, April 25, 2013
Mr. Kevin Sorenson
Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security
Thursday, April 25, 2013
● (0845)
The Chair (Mr. Kevin Sorenson (Crowfoot, CPC)): Good
morning, everyone. This is meeting 82 of the Standing Committee
on Public Safety and National Security. It is Thursday, April 25,
Today we're going to continue our study of the economics of
policing in Canada. On our first panel today is Mr. Geoff Gruson,
executive director of the Police Sector Council. We also have the
chief of the Edmonton Police Service, Chief Rod Knecht. Welcome.
Our committee thanks both of these witnesses for appearing
before our committee today to help us with our study on the costs of
policing in Canada.
I invite Chief Knecht to make a few opening statements, followed
by Mr. Gruson, and then we will go into a round or two of
Can you hear me in Edmonton?
Chief Rod Knecht (Chief of Police, Edmonton Police Service):
Yes, I can. Thank you.
I have about a 10-minute prepared commentary. Is that too long?
The Chair: No, that's just perfect. Thank you.
Chief Rod Knecht: Okay. Very good. I'll start then.
Good morning. Thank you for the invitation and the opportunity
to speak to the committee today on a topic of critical importance to
the profession of policing and the communities we serve, including
all levels of government.
The proactive work of this committee is vital to the future
sustainability and public confidence in policing and the broader
criminal justice system. I congratulate the committee for taking
responsibility for fulsomely examining this issue.
Police services across Canada are experiencing unprecedented
challenges. Demands for service and public expectations continue to
increase while budgets remain static or are decreasing in some
jurisdictions. The recognized position is that the current situation is
no longer sustainable. No single organization can stretch and adapt
continually to meet all of the demands and expectations that are
placed upon it when those demands grow unabated.
As we look for workable and affordable solutions, we are
reminded that public safety is a fundamental expectation by citizens
and a critical function of government at every level. The police are
an essential service with a broadly reaching mandate. My personal
policing career has spanned 37 years, in five provinces, two
territories, and 16 communities across Canada. Over the previous 17
years, I've occupied senior leadership roles within two policing
organizations, including a term as senior deputy commissioner for
the RCMP in Ottawa, and my current role as Chief of Police for the
City of Edmonton.
The simple reality is that policing costs are going up, and many
are rightfully challenging the value of these expenditures. The
policing profession is at a critical juncture that requires the need to
reform our practices within the broader environment and better
communicate value for investment of precious and limited tax
What is driving up police expenditures and costs? Police service
growth has consistently reflected a growth in the greater population.
Citizens want their streets and neighbourhoods safe to walk and live
within. The governments are expected to deliver on safety and
security through an investment in policing. That growth has a cost.
Policing is very expensive, and like most commodities, you get what
you pay for. However, per unit labour costs for sworn and civilian or
non-sworn police employees are higher than they have ever been
before, reflective of the broader public service. Of note is that since
1999, police compensation has significantly outpaced inflation, and
the cost of pensions and benefits have been a major contributor to
those costs.
In Edmonton, 80% of our operating budget is dedicated to
employee costs, leaving only 20% for discretionary spending on
police service delivery. These percentages mirror what I experienced
when I was with the RCMP. Rising wage increases are a natural
result of the greater mobility among younger Canadians, demand for
specific skills, and tighter competition in the labour market.
In Alberta, we have a highly competitive market that challenges
our ability to attract new employees and retain experienced
employees. This is not exclusive to policing. However, to meet
demands, we are currently recruiting aggressively in Ontario and the
eastern provinces, due to the competition for new hires in Alberta. It
continues to be a challenge to maintain highly qualified employees
who are constantly cajoled into higher-paying jobs in oil and gas.
Those costs pale when compared to the costs that are now being
incurred when police become engaged in ever-increasing social
issues related to the homeless, mental health, and addictions. Our
health and social services infrastructure is continually challenged to
adapt to the same human resource and fiscal pressures of our
changing environment, particularly as it relates to the most
vulnerable in our communities.
As a result, police spend an ever-increasing amount of time and
resources dealing with complex social issues as opposed to more
traditional public safety issues. In point of fact, interaction with the
mentally ill, homeless, and addicted has been our greatest area of
increased deployment of policing resources over the past five years. I
can say with confidence that we, the police, have become the social
agency of first resort for many of our vulnerable citizens.
Last year alone, Edmonton police dealt with 35,000 calls relating
to mental health, addictions, and the homeless. Each call took an
average of 104 minutes. If you do the math, that's seven and a half
years. Most often we are dealing with the same people over and over.
We have documented over 150 contacts with a single individual
during the course of the year. Our colleagues in hospital emergency
wards, ambulance, and shelters are dealing with these same people,
in some cases more often than us.
● (0850)
Policing has become increasingly complex. In my early years as a
police officer it took 55 minutes to process a drunk driver; today it
takes four hours. Obtaining a search warrant was a single page when
I was in a drugs section in 1986; today a search warrant application
is consistently hundreds of pages long.
Policy changes for levels of government, changes in legislation,
and increased liability are often out of the direct control of the police.
However, they create new and growing pressures on police officers
and police budgets. Our citizens and our stakeholders have
increasing expectations of their police, requiring higher benchmarking in equipment, training, accountability, and technology.
The Internet, social media, and new technologies have had a
profound impact on policing in a very short period of time. We are
seeing an emergence of new crimes that cross geographic, cultural,
and organizational jurisdictions. Child pornography, cybercrime,
human trafficking, financial frauds, and national security investigations are but a few of the serious crimes being facilitated through the
Internet in this new community within our current community.
Ten years ago it was the police who had the most up-to-date
technologies at their disposal; today it is the organized criminal
element who have the resources and access to cutting-edge
technology without legal, budgetary, or regulatory restriction, often
leaving police in the position of playing catch-up or simply being
neutralized. Most, if not all, major Canadian municipalities are also
dealing with the realities of shadow and transient populations. For
example, Alberta has in excess of 100,000 persons who report
income from that province but file tax returns elsewhere.
The knowledge level for leadership in policing is also morphing
from the requisite administrative and operational skills of an
experienced senior police officer to that of an educated chief
executive officer with significant corporate acumen. Policing has
April 25, 2013
evolved into a modern business form, so senior executives need to
know the intimacies of modern policing and the intricacies of
running a business. This fundamental shift reinforces the challenges
I mentioned earlier in terms of recruitment and retention.
Last, police organizations within the broader government structure
are often competing with other departments and agencies for
operating funds within a zero-sum game. One department or
organization wins at the cost of others. This promotes competition
and inefficiencies, while stymying cooperation, integration, innovation, and broader-based strategies for collective long-term success.
The accepted wisdom is that crime is down. This statement is
accurate within some categories and in some jurisdictions. However,
there are few front-line police officers who will agree that crime is
down. In Edmonton, calls for service are up significantly. Certain
categories of crime are way up, specifically sexual assaults, domestic
violence, and vehicle thefts, and there is a burgeoning trend to not
report certain crimes, as the belief is that police do not have the
ability to respond.
The points I have made outline the complex drivers and pressures
that the present and future policing environment faces. However, all
is not lost. Out of adversity is born real opportunity, and I believe
there is plenty of opportunity to address current challenges. The
good news is that policing has historically proven to be adaptive and
flexible, albeit sometimes slow and resistant, and often personality
driven. Our traditional model of policing has evolved over time and
in response to a changing environment, from being problem-focused
and reactive to being more strategically active and proactive by
utilizing the principles of community policing, intelligence-led
policing, integrated policing, and, most recently, predictive policing.
The future requires us to employ intelligence-led management and
systems-wide integration; that is, integration across ministries and
across agencies, both public and private. As stewards of the public
purse, it is the responsibility of today's police leaders to continuously
and judiciously look for efficiencies in the delivery of public safety.
April 25, 2013
Current fiscal realities require continuous reprioritization around
crime trends and community priorities while exploiting emerging
technologies and human resource exigencies, supported by strong
communication and relationship-building skills. It is essential that
police leaders are constantly managing the demand for services more
effectively, efficiently, and economically. A major component of this
is the absolute necessity to manage expectations by communicating
reprioritization to stakeholders, funders, and communities. This
requires senior police leader competencies to be broadened to
encompass skills that support business acumen, while still having a
holistic understanding of policing as a distinct craft.
● (0855)
Related to this point is the need for police to do a better job of
measuring and articulating the value of a dollar invested in policing.
One of the challenges is trying to measure the intangible. How do we
quantify a life saved, the elimination of an emergency room visit, or
a second chance as a future contributor to society as a result of a drug
bust? How do we assess the reduction of a life-long health care cost
as a result of arresting a drunk driver?
We need to undertake a detailed review of our current policing
model and determine the true impact on the cost-benefit ledger of
policing. In my world, we have often experienced increased and
uncontrollable demands for service, absent of requisite resources.
This is particularly poignant as it relates to the mentally ill,
homeless, and addicted.
Notionally, there are considerable savings to be realized through
police diffusing social tension, preventing conflict, and reducing
victimization and revictimization. There are clearly downstream
benefits for families and communities, as well as increased economic
development. We need to explore methods and metrics to effectively
quantify this.
As I indicated earlier, responding to our most vulnerable impacts
between 30% and 40% of policing budgets. It also has an impact on
health, social service, criminal justice, and correction services'
budgets, as the same people are being cycled through the broader
system. While the fiscal outcomes are huge, the real tragedy is the
suffering of our most vulnerable. In Edmonton, we have recognized
that a limited number of the same citizens are consuming an
inordinate number of police, ambulance, health care, and social
service resources. We are doing something about it.
We have brought together a select group of impacted key
stakeholders that include public health care, medical services,
shelters, community members, and levels of government, in order to
work together, to work smarter and to case-manage our most
vulnerable to a better place. This is system-wide integration of
service delivery. Our focus is currently on the top 50 consumers of
police resources and how our list compares to our colleagues in other
We are taking steps to examine where these people are falling out
of the system and becoming frequent flyers. We are changing a
system that has been in place for dozens of years through
partnerships, collaboration, innovation, and the recognition that
there has to be a better way.
By leveraging resources, we are able to realize efficiencies and
economies of scale and better service delivery. From a strictly
policing perspective, we are able to reinvest that scarce 30% of our
resources into targeting those who prey on the most vulnerable and
other prolific offenders.
The end game is safer communities, more effective deployment of
policing resources, and reduced costs to our criminal justice partners.
There is no zero-sum game. There are simply benefits to the
vulnerable and benefits to the system.
This takes me to the main point I want to make this morning.
There is a better way, and not just within policing; a better way needs
to encompass the entire criminal justice system and the broader
system of health care, social services, communities, and relevant
stakeholders. Police are most often the first responders and
gatekeepers to the criminal justice system, but the system is not
ours. To look at the cost of policing without giving equal attention to
the efficiencies and costs of these other components gives only a
partial picture. The solution lies in challenging the system beyond
the economics of policing. A new model is required, one that
clarifies roles and responsibilities of the entire criminal justice and
social justice systems and one that articulates a clear vision.
Increasing the cost of policing is one system of a larger problem, not
the problem itself.
Police have become the social agency of first choice by more and
more Canadians, and the costs of that are real, tangible, and
excessive. In small communities across Canada, particularly in
isolated, northern, and first nations communities, the problem is far
more acute. Police are most often the only social agency of choice.
In closing, police services are not going to become more
affordable based on more effective delivery of current services; this
is simply biting around the edge of the cookie.
There are three questions we should be asking ourselves about
policing into the future, and upon answering them, we should be reengineering our processes toward a broader systems-based approach
accordingly. Those questions are: What are we doing that we should
be doing? What are we doing that we should not be doing? And what
are we not doing that we need to do?
A response to these questions by governments, communities, and
policing will allow us to create a higher degree of flexibility, manage
expectations, be appropriately funded, and continue to deliver a level
of public safety that is the envy of the world.
Thank you.
● (0900)
The Chair: Thank you very much, Chief.
April 25, 2013
the current model of policing is not sustainable. In reality, the
economics of policing is a derivative of all the others, but it certainly
is moving things forward.
The Police Sector Council—what we were and what we did—was
a small, national, not-for-profit organization fully funded until March
31 of this year by HRSDC under the sector council program. Like all
other sector councils, the Police Sector Council focused on the
strategic long-term sustainability of the sector, did research, and
undertook initiatives to ensure that the policing sector continued to
be efficient, effective, and responsive to policing and public needs.
We'll move quickly to Mr. Gruson, please, for 10 minutes.
Mr. Geoff Gruson (Executive Director, Police Sector Council):
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I'm going to pick up on a few points that Rod touched on, and in
fact reinforce them in my presentation.
My thanks for the invitation. More importantly, I thank all of you
for the effort you're putting into looking at a new model of policing
and the evolution of that model here in Canada. Clearly, the
economics are driving a serious re-examination of the work and
costs of policing, and a potential re-engineering of the model toward
more efficiencies and effectiveness.
If I may, I'd like to add a personal comment and take a couple of
minutes to talk to you about what the Police Sector Council was and
did. I use the past tense, unfortunately, because the federal program
that funded our work was terminated with the recent round of deficit
reduction initiatives. Following that, I'd offer a recommendation on
moving forward, based on the work and research of the Police Sector
My opening thought—a personal point of view on this one—is
based on many years in the public sector, six years with the RCMP
as assistant commissioner, and eight years with the Police Sector
Council as executive director. The current model of policing in
Canada has been evolving for about 140 years, based on the British
model of Robert Peel. It's a quasi-military structure operating for the
safety and security of Canadians and communities.
The model has been evolving slowly in response to many dynamic
factors in the environment, but in recent years a number of critical
factors have increased the pace of that evolution: the economic
recessions of the 1980s, the 1990s, and certainly the one we're in
now; technology that has brought information intelligence to the cars
and the mobile devices of police officers; the growth of private
sector industry, private security, especially post-9/11; the change in
our communities, the face of our communities, the age, the diversity,
the urbanization; and even the politics of governments at the federalprovincial-municipal levels. These have all had a significant impact
on how policing is done and under what framework.
My personal comment on this is that the economic factor now
trumps all of those other environmental factors—society, technology,
politics, demographics—and really, based on the economics alone,
In the past eight years, under the guidance of a board of directors,
which included key stakeholders in policing—ADMs from the
federal and provincial governments, the presidents of the CACP, the
chiefs' association, the Association of Police Boards, the Canadian
Police Association, the union folks, the FCM, Federation of
Canadian Municipalities, and the heads of academies, learning
institutions, and reps from private security organizations—the
council has focused on a number of issues really related to national
solutions to strategic workforce management challenges.
One example of our recent research and facilitated/collaborative
undertaking has been the phased introduction of key elements to
embrace more professionalism. That's common language, tools, and
processes specifically through competency-based HR management
of the critical HR functions: recruiting, education, training, leadership development, succession planning, and performance management. I'm going to speak a bit more about this in a second.
What we really do as a sector council is bring leaders and
practitioners in policing together to break down the jurisdictional
silos, to address common issues, and to collaborate on nationally
applicable solutions. In other words, we facilitate a common pursuit
of management efficiencies and effectiveness. That's been our eightyear exercise.
Our belief is fairly simple. In Canada, we have 201 police forces
in 11 jurisdictions, compared with over 16,000 police services in
over 100 jurisdictions in the United States. We should be
significantly more capable of bringing together a common national
policing management framework and leveraging the investment of
taxpayers into enhanced policing and security.
April 25, 2013
When you think about it, we don't expect different kinds of
policing from coast to coast to coast. Whether it's handcuffing skills,
counterterrorism training, or HR management, we should do it once
and use it many times. Such a national approach will result in more
efficiency and effectiveness. Of course, the council's tag phrase was
“connecting forces - securing futures”. More importantly, we just
focus on skills up and costs down. The work we were doing in this
area in fact led to the minister's summit on the economics of
● (0905)
very few discretionary options when it comes to their own budgets.
They have very little control over 95% to 96% of the costs and can
only really exercise discretion when it comes to triaging crimes or
their responses to social issues or social misconduct, which for some
services make up almost 75% of their calls for service.
I'll give you a quick note just to reinforce a couple of Rod's points
on the economics of policing, the costs, and the workload. In any
one police service across this country, there is limited room for cost
savings and efficiencies. Eighty per cent of the 96,000 employees
work in 8% of the police agencies. Those are the top 16 police forces
across the country.
When our sector council asked chiefs what are the implications of
the economics of policing, they responded that they feel they are
under a lot of pressure. The reality is that an inflexible tax base plus
fiscal constraint equals capacity erosion, and we've estimated that to
be at about 12% in the last five years. Also, chiefs continue to have
to manage under the highest expectations of public oversight, media
scrutiny, and the highest bar of public accountability.
Police budgets have increased at a rate of about 7% a year in the
last 10 years and are an ever-increasing portion of municipal and
provincial budgets. On average, about 85% to 90% of the police
services budget is employee costs: the salaries and the benefits
dictated by collective agreements.
Salaries have increased by 40% over the last 10 years, compared
to an average of about 11% in any other sector of the economy for
the same period. That's mostly due to leapfrogging collective
agreements and arbitration awards. With a recent award in Windsor,
for example, it looks like a first class constable will be making
The discussion of the economics of policing really has to be raised
up and elevated to another level. That's the responsibility of
governments and governance: to set a workable national framework
under which chiefs can then manage their workforces. We don't do
that now.
With the other 10% of the budget, the 10% or 15% of the services
budget, there are costs for procurement and maintenance of
infrastructure, technology, equipment, vehicles, and training, and
other costs associated with managing the workforce. These are
mandatory costs for the optimal delivery of policing.
Canadians currently spend about $12.6 billion on policing. Even if
we were able to freeze contracts and reduce costs, we'll be at $17
billion by 2015 due to current collective agreements and locked-in
As you heard from Deputy Minister Dale McFee when he spoke
to you earlier—and I think he will be here later today—policing has
even less control of the workforce, and certainly Chief Knecht talked
about that this morning. Every law enforcement regulation passed,
every recommendation from commissioners, and every deficitfighting reduction in other community service departments increases
the work and creates complexity and complications in policing.
We're the first responders and we're the last resort.
One recent study conducted by the University of the Fraser Valley
in B.C. showed that the work of police officers has changed
significantly over the last 10 years, post charter and subsequent to
any legislative and regulatory changes in the 1980s and 1990s, with
breaking and entering at 58% more processing time, driving under
the influence at 250% more processing time, and a relatively simple
domestic assault at 950% more processing time.
I offer this information to suggest that it's not very useful to place
the burden of solutions to the economics of policing on individual
command executives or their individual police services. They have
I'm going to give you one example, just one, of our sector council
work: an opportunity to derive real efficiency and effectiveness in
workforce management. In the past five years, the sector council
expended almost $5 million of taxpayers' money to develop a set of
national occupational standards, researching and leveraging the best
practices in three continents and consulting and validating findings
with 900 subject matter experts across the country—the police
people and supervisors doing and managing the work—and
consolidating contributions from 70 police organizations and 90
members of steering committees or working committees. This is
something that has been done for policing and by policing.
We now have in place fully defined, competency-based
behavioural and technical standards for over 160 roles in policing
in three broad work streams: general duty, which is constables
through chiefs of police; general, specialized, and investigative
support; and leadership and management from supervisory right up
to executive command. All of these roles have been fully defined in
terms of competency-based technical or behavioural standards.
Why is this important for our discussion about efficiencies and
effectiveness? The logic goes as follows. If the work of policing is
consistent across Canada and we can define that work and the
competencies required to do that work successfully, then the roles
and occupations can be standardized through national and provincial
occupational standards. If we have standards, then like any other
sector, such as doctors, electricians, etc., we can have standard
processes and mechanisms to manage that work in a consistent and
more effective manner.
April 25, 2013
Let me leave you with five points, a sort of vision, if you like, of
Canadian policing. We recommend a national qualification framework based on national workforce management architecture; rolebased, not rank-based, occupational standards; professional training
and certification through rationalized, cost-effective delivery structures; rigorous leadership standards so that we have fully qualified
leaders in deputy and chief roles; and a national college of policing,
administering the training and education to national standards, much
like they have in the U.K.
● (0910)
Right now we don't have that. By that I mean national workforce
management standards, including curriculum training standards,
certification accrediting trainers and training institutions, and
certification and qualifications for each role. Think of policing as
a national company. We want all police officers to be qualified for
their jobs and promoted only on the attainment of new and higher
This vision requires a not-for-profit organization at arm's length,
with full stakeholder involvement, to implement and administer. It
requires a national competency-based framework for managing
human capital, including certification and accreditation with
collaborative endorsement from the provinces and from Public
Safety Canada.
Progress is being made. Today's narrative has much improved, but
it goes something like this: we promote by rank and base criteria, not
by skills and competence; we compensate by rank, not by skills and
competencies; and we recruit and train by rank, the same way we
have for 50 years, not by skills and competencies. This leads to
overqualified and overpaid workers doing roles that they probably
shouldn't be doing. I think Dale McFee used the analogy of a turbo
mechanic being forced to do oil changes. This often leads to a
mediocre and demotivated workforce.
This not-for-profit organization would continue to work on the
sector council, which, over the past eight years, has been building
collaborative networks, improving the capacity of all stakeholders to
work together in a sectoral environment, identifying common
approaches to optimize resources devoted to the management of
personnel on a national, sector-wide, competency-based certification
and accreditation of police officers and civilians. In other words,
continue this professionalization of policing in Canada.
The result of the sector council-led approach on the competencybased work is the economies of scale that drive efficiencies. Build it
once, use it many times. Then refocus the cost savings on operational
effectiveness on the important areas of policing, such as organized
crime and cybercrime.
Successive RCMP commissioners have stood before this
committee and talked about the fact that they only have the
resources to actually investigate 20% to 25% of the known organized
crime in this country, let alone deal with issues of cybercriminality.
To emphasize this point, through the work of the sector council
facilitating the collaboration of many stakeholders, we now have a
competency-based workforce management framework. It's made for
policing and by policing. It's been embraced by managers and
unions. It has clarity, objectivity, learner orientation, and employee
focus, and it's a simplified HR management tool and process.
Implementation of this framework needs focus and leadership. As
you've heard before, delegated responsible policing goes from feds
to provinces, from provinces to municipalities, and creates a policing
culture that works against a nationally led direction and transformational change. We've been slowly working with pilot police services,
specific provincial ADMs, and keen individuals across the country in
the police service boards and associations to start the change process.
The recommendation to the committee is very simple. It's going to
take time; it's going to take some leadership, but five years from
now, if focused and concentrated effort can be made, there should be
a national qualification framework in place and implemented, while
the window of opportunity, our Canadian economic opportunity, still
As you can all appreciate, any new evidence-based innovation to
change how we do business today requires political leadership and
policy-makers to champion and advance these efforts and to engage
in the necessary partners who can truly make a difference. That's not
the case today. The challenge, really, is how we develop a digital-age
response to an analog-age system and structure.
Thank you for letting me make this statement. I'd be happy to take
any questions you have.
● (0915)
The Chair: Thank you very much.
You were a little long on the statement, so we're going to cut to
six-minute rounds, if we can.
We'll begin with Mr. Hawn, please.
Hon. Laurie Hawn (Edmonton Centre, CPC): Thank you very
much, Mr. Chair.
Thank you to both of the witnesses for being here.
April 25, 2013
Chief Knecht, I want to start with you, but I'll ask for Mr. Gruson's
comments on this, too. You raised the issue of Internet crimes, and
certainly that's been a focus here with some recent events. You also
mentioned intelligence-led policing, which leads me to ask you
about legislation in the past, which was dropped for a variety of
reasons, with respect to lawful access to the Internet, to IP addresses,
and so on, with supervision, obviously, with some checks and
balances, to allow police forces to gather intelligence on things that
are going on, on the Internet that are in fact crimes or are indicative
of crimes, whether it's terrorism, cyberbullying, or whatever it may
be. What's your view on the necessity of having some kind of lawful
access legislation to aid police in that area?
courthouse. If they don't get their notice, they automatically get
compensated for eight hours. So they may show up, and if they're
told they're not required for court today, they still get compensated
for eight hours.
Chief Rod Knecht: I think it speaks to the economics of policing.
We spend a lot of time preparing to get access to the Internet, to
buildings, to locations, etc. Hours are spent behind the scenes
working up to that particular event. Lawful access is essential for us
to do our job.
In the Edmonton Police Service alone we're probably looking at
$3 million in overtime annually when our folks show up for court
cases and are never required to testify.
I think there has to be oversight, checks and balances, similar to
getting a search warrant, when we go before a justice or a judge and
explain the rationale behind getting lawful access. I don't think any
of us want carte blanche access by any stretch of the imagination, but
I think there has to be a more streamlined ability to gain lawful
access and IP addresses, etc.
Hon. Laurie Hawn: Okay. Sticking with you, Chief Knecht, you
obviously have a lifetime of experience with the national police force
and now with a major municipal police force. Can you compare and
contrast the challenges with respect to the economics and getting the
job done with a limited budget between a national police force and a
municipal force, and differences in solutions, if necessary?
We have to build something into the system that allows us to
notify our people in advance that they don't have to show up. It's a
huge burden.
Hon. Laurie Hawn: Mr. Gruson, may I have your views on that?
Mr. Geoff Gruson: I fully agree. I would add one point of
comparison to push it a little further. We did a survey of 190
countries through Interpol last year and asked them what they were
doing about cybercrime.
Every one of those countries was separately and uniquely setting
up cyber-centres, cyber-processing, cyber-structures, cyber-facilities,
all of which leads to this issue of a lack of intelligence, a lack of
integration, and a lack of capacity in policing to deal with the issues
that are coming at us in the future. Certainly this is one of those areas
we have to deal with.
Hon. Laurie Hawn: Thank you.
Chief Knecht, back to you again. You talked about some
challenges with the judicial system, the court system, and so on. I
know that police officers spend a lot of time in court. Some of it is
wasted because the defendants don't show up and the police sit there
for two or three hours and nothing happens.
Have you looked at or thought about any sort of technological
solutions or assistance to that, i.e., appearing by teleconference when
the police officer could be in the station or wherever and doing other
duties? If and when the defendant shows up or the time comes up in
court, they could appear by teleconference. Might that be feasible?
● (0920)
Chief Rod Knecht: Yes, absolutely, that is one option.
I addressed this with the justice department the day before
yesterday. Through their own efficiencies they are able to free up
court time first thing in the morning, when they are able to deal with
court cases that are coming before them.
Unfortunately, from a policing perspective, our people will still
have to show up someplace, whether it's at a video location or at a
Chief Rod Knecht: Sure. In some ways the costs are greater and
in some ways they're less. I look at my time with the RCMP. Many
of the challenges were policing in isolated communities and our
folks needing the same equipment, the same training, etc.
I know to keep a member in Iqaluit fully trained, often they have
to fly out for their training. There are costs attached to that. The fact
that you have to have so many police officers...there are safety issues
for our police officers that require us to staff at higher levels in those
smaller communities, although the workload may not be there to
justify that. Those are great challenges.
The nice thing about the national police service is that we have the
resources you can deploy into a particular situation; whether it's an
emergency response team, specialized equipment, a helicopter, a
plane, or whatever else, you have that accessibility. Again, it's often
far away and at an increased cost.
In municipal policing we're very lucky, to the extent that we have
immediate accessibility to backup and related equipment.
There are advantages to centralization and decentralization. We
have to do a better job of finding what that balance is. We are
integrating better in police services, much better than we did ten
years ago, five years ago. I still think there's a lot of opportunity to
integrate more, to leverage it among ourselves.
I know here in Edmonton we're working a lot more closely with
the RCMP because our jurisdiction is surrounded by theirs. We're
looking at the potential of sharing a helicopter, a tactical team, an
emergency response team. We can collaborate on that, and we can
save the taxpayers money by investing municipal, provincial, and
federal resources into one pot for the benefit of all citizens.
Hon. Laurie Hawn: Thank you.
The Chair: Thank you very much, Mr. Hawn, and Chief Knecht.
We'll move to Mr. Garrison, please.
You have six minutes.
Mr. Randall Garrison (Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, NDP):
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
Thanks to both the witnesses for being here today.
I want to start with a question to Chief Knecht.
You started by talking about salary costs. I believe you said those
costs pale when considering the demand that's generated from
complex social issues. I'd like you to say a bit more about that,
because there has been some emphasis on salaries. What you appear
to be saying to me is that this is a fact, but the demand factors are
even greater in the policing costs. Is that true?
Chief Rod Knecht: That is correct.
Salary is the focus. There's no doubt about that because it makes
up 80% of our budget. When it comes to our police response and our
duties, I recall when I first became the chief of Edmonton the way it
came to my attention is that our folks were picking up people who
were essentially either homeless or intoxicated. There was no place
to take them because shelters or locations were not open after 4 p.m.
It was an 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday business. They
had no place to take these folks at 11 o'clock at night or 3 o'clock in
the morning. They were driving around with them in the back seat of
the police car because there was no place to take them; they had no
family members available, etc. The impact of that was extraordinary.
The other thing we dealt with were homeless persons who were
injured, for example, or were mentally ill. On any particular
Saturday night we would have three police cars parked at the
emergency ward at the hospital, with six police officers sitting there
waiting six hours for the individual they had picked up or arrested to
get medical treatment. Those folks are not out on the street doing
police work, keeping the predators off the street. They're basically
babysitting, because they have to take care of these people; the
system is backed up and is not prepared to deal with these people.
We become basically either taxi drivers or social workers, which is
not our primary responsibility.
● (0925)
Mr. Randall Garrison: You said you're working with other social
services agencies. Can you talk more about this specifically? Is it a
pilot project, or is there an area of the city for this? How have you
tried working on the case management system?
Chief Rod Knecht: You could call it a pilot project, but it's
broader than that. We're bringing people to the table, such as nontraditional groups who we're interacting with on a broader basis.
We're seeing that we're all dealing with the same people. If you talk
April 25, 2013
to the ambulance drivers and the emergency service people at the
hospitals and the shelters, it's all the very same people. We can all
refer to them by name; our front-line police officers can refer to these
people. We all know who they are, and they're cycled through the
system time and time again.
For example, we arrest the same person two and three times per
night. We take them to the hospital, they're treated and released from
the hospital, and they show up again. That's not a way to treat our
most vulnerable people in society. There's a better way to do that,
and we found a better way to do that. We know there are gaps in the
system. We're working with provincial, federal, and municipal
governments as well as with our partners in social agencies to find
where those gaps are. We're trying to identify those gaps, figure out a
way to plug the gaps, and work collaboratively to get these people to
a better place.
The benefit to policing is, quite frankly, that we save considerable
man hours by not doing the sorts of things we were doing before—
for example, sitting around and waiting for somebody to deal with
the problem, or responding to the same call over and over again.
Huge efficiencies can be found there. It's a short-term investment
and it will have long-term gains. All our partners are seeing this, and
they're excited about it. It's not only a better way to treat our most
vulnerable, but we're going to save huge amounts of money because
of the integration and cooperation, the working together.
Mr. Randall Garrison: Thank you.
I want to turn to Mr. Gruson.
Thank you for being here.
I have to say the inevitable: sometimes in budget-cutting exercises
it's penny-wise and pound foolish. I'll just let it go at that.
In the work of your sector council, what you presented today—
and I don't want to criticize it by calling it narrow—I think is a
narrow look at the management ways of efficiency and saving
Did the council look at these kinds of demand questions we're
hearing about, the demand for policing?
Mr. Geoff Gruson: Yes, of course, we did. I was just trying to
focus on one area we had done some research on to show there are
some real efficiencies around management as well.
If I can just pick up on the point before I answer the question, in
the U.K. they have a system where the police call up a less costly,
more mobile wagon to come and pick up the folks Rod is talking
about, and they do the administration and the processing before they
get put back on the road for Rod to deal with them again. So there
are some other opportunities for having lower-paid individuals doing
the work and not having the $93,000-a-year officer spending six,
seven, and eight hours in the processing.
To come back to your point about the demand, absolutely, we've
looked at the demand side of this one fairly significantly over the last
eight years. The problem is it just gets more complicated and more
April 25, 2013
If I can suggest a recommendation, we actually need to have a
model that understands multi-tier policing, that we have the fully
qualified, fully functional people doing the work they should be
doing and leaving some of the work that Chief Knecht talked about
to some folks who are also fully qualified and have the competencies
but are at a much lower pay scale. The demand's not going to
change. The complexity of the work is not going to change.
I'll give you a very brief example. As soon as the commission on
the taser incident in Vancouver airport finished, the training on tasers
changed for police all across the country. The commission finished
its work, passed this recommendation, and taser training changed.
There was no assessment of the amount of effort that training would
take, of the cost of the training, or of the potential cost of the
requalification on that training.
Currently we requalify in 22 technical skills every year in police
services across the country, skills they should have that don't perish
or decay that much from year to year.
So, yes, when we look at the demand, there are all sorts of areas
we have to look at a little more carefully.
● (0930)
The Chair: Thank you very much.
We'll move to Mr. Gill, please.
Mr. Parm Gill (Brampton—Springdale, CPC): Thank you, Mr.
I also want to thank our witnesses for being with us today.
My question is for Chief Knecht. Chief, you mentioned in your
remarks some of the offences that go unreported because the public
just believes the police don't have the resources to investigate them.
I'm wondering if you can shed some light on what some of those
offences might be that the public doesn't necessarily call the police
Chief Rod Knecht: Sure. That's changing with time, actually.
We're seeing even more high-level offences not being reported.
Those offences that aren't being reported are minor thefts, minor
damage to vehicles, often thefts from yards. We know sexual assaults
are very significantly underreported.
Most people will report some property crime if they are putting in
an insurance claim, because often the insurance company requires
them to put in the claim, but folks who are experiencing thefts, minor
assaults...those sort of things are not being reported. We have even
found of late people aren't reporting break and enters. When a house
is getting broken into, people aren't even reporting that. If they don't
have insurance, and it's not a requirement to do so, they are not
reporting more significant crimes.
So there's a whole gamut of crime that is not being reported by the
public. There is apathy. Again, if you have to wait three or four hours
for a police officer to show up because of volume of calls, people
aren't prepared to do that. They all have busy lives and they do not
want to wait around.
Mr. Parm Gill: Thank you.
One other point you mentioned was regarding the $3 million cost
for officers having to show up for court dates and so on when they
are not necessarily required, and obviously the lack of notice and
other things. You also mentioned that the police agency is required to
pay them for eight hours of time when they don't necessarily show
up and they aren't required. Is that eight hours a standard timeframe?
Is that something that varies from one police agency to another?
Does it vary from one province to another? Do you have any
recommendations or suggestions as to how that can be more efficient
in possibly addressing that issue?
Chief Rod Knecht: I'll answer the first part of your question.
It is different between police services and amongst collective
agreements. For example, in the RCMP, if you go to court it's a fourhour callback, regardless of whether you have to testify or not. For
other police services, it is eight hours. It can be time and a half; in
some cases it's double time. It depends on whether it's right after a
shift as opposed to a day off. It is different amongst jurisdictions and
it depends on where it fits into your schedule. In most cases, that's all
part of a collective agreement. With the RCMP not having a union, it
is a bit different.
I think there is a better way. We have software that we're testing
right now called CARM. It's software to better manage the whole
shifting response, the court detail, etc. But often what happens in the
criminal justice system is that a lawyer may not plead their client
guilty until they see if the police officer is going to show up.
Individuals may show up and plead not guilty for a speeding ticket
and they'll wait to see if the police officer shows up. If the police
officer shows up, they'll plead guilty. If the police officer doesn't
show up, often the ticket is tossed out. There's always a bit of a shell
game going on there, and it's hard to respond to that. Obviously
when the police officer gets a subpoena he has to show up.
There has to be a better way to manage that, and I don't think the
police can do that alone. Again, it has to be a collaboration between
justice, the police, and others, in finding a more efficient way to run
the criminal justice system.
The police can find efficiencies, but if there are no efficiencies in
the courts or in corrections, those efficiencies may not be fully
realized. It does require a full collaboration. We have to stop working
in silos. We have to work together to find efficiencies because the
system is crushing under its own weight.
● (0935)
Mr. Parm Gill: You mentioned traffic tickets. One thing I notice
in the Region of Peel is that officers are basically dedicating a full
day to court. All of the tickets that are issued by that particular
officer are to be heard on the same day. That is something that I think
helps the police agency to keep some of the costs low.
I have another question for Mr. Gruson.
The Chair: Quickly.
Mr. Parm Gill: In your experience working with both the private
and public sectors, what are some of the private sector management
practices that could be implemented in the public sector?
The Chair: Very quickly.
Mr. Geoff Gruson: We're clearly talking about modern workforce
management practices. There isn't a sector in Canada that doesn't
employ competency-based management. This is not something new
in policing; it's just not fully implemented in policing across the
Chiefs of police generally aren't financial, IT, HR, or communications experts. They're cops who do operational work, and what
we find increasingly is that they need to be experts in all of those
areas. As Chief Knecht said, they don't yet have the competencies to
be good CEOs of major organizations dealing with multi-departmental influences in the community, and that's not good. That has to
be fixed.
The Chair: Thank you very much.
We'll move to our final question in this round, and that goes to Mr.
Mr. Francis Scarpaleggia (Lac-Saint-Louis, Lib.): Thank you.
You make an interesting point. You say that people running police
forces have to have all these skills and so on, and maybe there's a
shift from having the core policing skills to having skills in the
management of large organizations.
Could you see a situation emerging, and maybe it exists already,
where the heads of police forces are not actually police officers?
Then you run into another problem where the force may not respect
the head of the police force. I think that happened at the RCMP to
some extent. Anyway, I think that's a very interesting point that you
You mentioned that many countries have central cybercrime
organizations. Could you elaborate on that? Are you saying
essentially that we lack integration in the investigation of cybercrime
in Canada?
Mr. Geoff Gruson: The simple answer is yes. The interesting
point of the study we did with Interpol was to understand the fact
that cybercrime is pan-national and very seldom can be dealt with in
a national legislative environment. You're dealing with criminality
that works globally, yet every single country is trying to develop its
own unique solution, its own unique approach. I think that's one of
those areas where it's really clear we have to integrate, collaborate,
and understand the issue, and understand the solution to the response
to that issue.
So the answer is yes.
Mr. Francis Scarpaleggia: Even within Canada, there's—
Mr. Geoff Gruson: Even within Canada, province by province,
we are looking at it differently. This really falls to a lack of
leadership. If I were pointing fingers, which I never do.... We have to
understand what the framework that Public Safety is creating for
policing in the country. What is the framework for managing and
conducting police in the country that should be created by Public
Safety, and then cascade it down to the provinces and municipalities.
That's lacking at this point in time.
April 25, 2013
● (0940)
Mr. Francis Scarpaleggia: This national governance framework
that you're talking about would have to be voluntary, because of the
nature of the federation—
Mr. Geoff Gruson: Voluntary, but I think—
Mr. Francis Scarpaleggia: —in the sense that you'd be
establishing standards and you could say that this is the model
you should follow.
Mr. Geoff Gruson: Exactly. You'd develop national standards,
and the province would declare them as provincial standards, which
would be great. Then municipalities would declare them as
municipal standards, and that would be good. Really, they're
benchmarks rather than standards. It's really saying that you don't
go below this line when it comes to training, when it comes to
management, when it comes to effective and efficient delivery of
services. Get above that line, if you can.
Mr. Francis Scarpaleggia: We've said throughout this study that
what we need in Canada is some coordination and a kind of clearing
point for studies on policing, costs of policing, methods of policing
and so on, to establish benchmarks. But this is what you were doing.
Mr. Geoff Gruson: That's exactly what the Police Sector Council
does, and has been doing for eight years.
Mr. Francis Scarpaleggia: But its funding has been cut.
Mr. Geoff Gruson: Yes. Unfortunately, these things happen in
program areas.
Mr. Francis Scarpaleggia: Yes, but we're talking about recreating
Mr. Geoff Gruson: I think it needs to be recreated, absolutely.
We've put in place a shell organization with a shell board of
directors, again from all the stakeholder groups, and we're looking
for funding; we're looking for opportunities to continue the work.
Mr. Francis Scarpaleggia: That's interesting.
Chief Knecht, you were mentioning unreported crime.
My understanding is that Statistics Canada actually has some way
of measuring unreported crime. Is that correct? They have some way
of estimating, I should say, unreported crime. Are you aware of that?
Chief Rod Knecht: Not specifically, but I think there have been
surveys done. I'm aware of surveys done in Alberta to find out if
someone who has been a victim of a crime has reported that crime.
That's where I got my information from, as well as from talking to
people. They're not bothering to report certain crimes.
April 25, 2013
Mr. Francis Scarpaleggia: In terms of saving the effort and of
police not having to do tasks that could be done by others—we talk
about mental health workers and so on—in some communities there
are designated traffic police officers who are only allowed to give
tickets, etc. This leads us to question in some way what the role of
the police officer is. If you have a designated quasi-police officer
giving out traffic tickets, if you have mental health workers
responding to calls where somebody is in crisis, at some point one
must wonder whether the police officer's role is to be more an
investigative role, a detective role, and by this I mean involving
upgrading of skills to deal with the more complex problems we have
today. Is this where we're heading?
It seems to me that one of the benefits of having a police officer
respond to something, from a citizen's point of view, is the idea that
if force is required that person can take care of the situation.
The Chair: Mr. Scarpaleggia, your time is up, but I want the
answer, so—
Mr. Francis Scarpaleggia: Absolutely.
The Chair: Mr. Gruson, I think the question was to you.
Mr. Geoff Gruson: Mr. Chair, I think the member has hit on
exactly the issue. The problem is that the police are required to do a
broad continuum of roles, everything from directing traffic in a
construction zone—at $93,000 a year—to dealing with cybercrime,
with multinational, multi-fraud complexities. The problem is we
don't want the $93,000-a-year person doing traffic direction. We
want the $93,000-a-year person spending their time on the serious
issues that are impacting the economy and impacting Canadian
citizens in their communities.
The back end of your point was that every once in a while that guy
or girl who's doing construction is going to have to deal with an
incident. The police are right there, and of course they are. The only
point I would make is that if we have competent, trained, capable
people performing the role that they're competent to do, we'll be a
whole lot happier than if we have competent, trained, qualified
people performing the roles that the others are there to do, and we'll
have a differentiation of compensation based on the competencies.
● (0945)
The Chair: Thank you very much.
Our time is up for this hour. We want to thank both Chief Knecht
in Edmonton and also Mr. Gruson for appearing before us.
Our committee is going to very quickly go into some committee
business. We aren't going in camera for it.
As you know, we'll be doing some travel in connection with the
study we've undertaken. Basically what we need is the go-ahead on
the weeks that are available for the travel. We've talked about this in
subcommittee. We also talked a little bit about it last week, but we
left it that we would make a decision, and I think it's time to make
that decision.
I will just go through what we've discussed. Yesterday we
circulated the suggestions—
Mr. Parm Gill: Do you want to say goodbye?
The Chair: I did say goodbye to our people here.
Thank you so much again for being here. Without suspending, we
want to move into this next piece of business, so thank you.
The week after our break is the week of May 20 to May 25. The
suggestion was that that would be the trip that would involve going
into the United States and also to Prince Albert and Calgary. Are we
all right with that? Are the other parties all right with that?
I see agreement. Are all in favour, just so we know?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
The Chair: Then the following week—that's the week you
circulated, right?—between May 25 and June 1, would be the trip to
the U.K. Are you all right with that one then?
All in favour?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
Mr. Rick Norlock (Northumberland—Quinte West, CPC):
What's the date, Chair?
The Chair: The dates are May 25 to June 1.
Although we want our constituency time, we would be flying,
depending on the number of people we get, on a Sunday night.
That's kind of where we're at.
Ms. Candice Bergen (Portage—Lisgar, CPC): That's for the U.
K. one?
The Chair: Yes.
So you would fly Sunday or maybe even before that. It might end
up being Sunday afternoon.
I know a number of you have come to me and said you want your
Saturday night event and you want to be able to stick around for that.
I see agreement there. All right.
Some hon. members: Agreed.
The Chair: That's carried.
We'll invite our next guests to come to the table.
Good morning, everyone. We call this meeting back to order. We
are continuing our study of the economics of policing in Canada.
On this panel we are going to hear first from Tammy Thompson,
program coordinator of the START program. There was some
paperwork circulated yesterday or last week, and you've received it
again here today.
As well, from the Government of Manitoba, we have Walter
Tielman. He is the area director of the Department of Justice,
Interlake Region, for community and youth corrections.
Also, hopefully appearing by teleconference, from the Government of Saskatchewan—although we don't have them yet—will be
Christine Tell, Minister of Corrections and Policing, and Dale
McFee, Deputy Minister of Corrections and Policing.
Our committee wants to thank you for appearing here. Some had
the advantage of sitting in on the first hour and hearing from Chief
Knecht and Mr. Gruson.
We still don't have Regina. They're going to have to come in when
we receive them, but perhaps we'll begin, starting with Ms.
● (0950)
Ms. Tammy Thompson (Program Coordinator, START
Program): Thank you very much.
Good morning, Mr. Chair and members of the committee. I'd like
to thank you for the opportunity to appear before you this morning to
discuss the START program and our multi-disciplinary approach to
working with at-risk youth and how it relates to your study of the
economics of policing.
Eleven years ago, our community in Manitoba decided to work
together to benefit the youth and their families who were the largest
consumers of policing, child and family services, and probation
services, while also showing significant school-based issues. These
agencies decided to pinpoint the youth and their families, who had
involvement with the agencies, yet didn't seem to be showing any
significant improvement for it.
Their collaboration became the Selkirk Team for At-Risk Teens,
or START program, and they were quickly joined by mental and
public health services and addiction services. To date, this
collaboration has resulted in over 1,800 case conferences on behalf
of at-risk youth aged 11 to 18, with the goal of identifying, planning
for, intervening, and assisting at-risk youth to become productive
members of our community.
The key to the START model is the involvement of the youth and
their family as part of the multi-agency team, and their ability to
openly share and address what the real issues are. Understanding the
reason behind the behaviour is necessary to creating a successful
plan that provides a customized network of supports for the youth
and increases their chance of success, while decreasing the burden
on social service and policing agencies. Accountability is a big part
of this model for the youth, the family, and the agencies. START also
provides a longer-term approach—six months to years—depending
on the intensity of the situation, as we have found that stabilizing a
crisis is important, but it's not enough to build the required skills to
prevent the next crisis from happening.
Many communities come together in multi-agency collaborations
that eventually falter or are not productive, as all members of the
group have another full-time job to do and it becomes onerous to
maintain effectiveness, especially without consent to share information. The START model has a coordinator whose responsibility it is
to set and chair the case conferences for the youth, to ensure that the
youth and family feel heard and are engaging in the process, to
advocate for the youth, and to follow up on plans created to ensure
follow-through and ultimately a better chance at success, all shared
with consent. This format works very well in smaller communities
where there are fewer resources, or where workers are covering
many areas, as the coordinator is able to ensure they are informed of
any concerns or issues that arise with the client, even if they're not
scheduled to see them for another few weeks.
The START coordinator is located in the RCMP detachment,
making it easy for members to make client referrals of youth who are
generating multiple calls for service and for the coordinator to share
pertinent information with police when the need arises. We have
April 25, 2013
been able to consistently show decreases in calls to RCMP after a
youth is referred to START. Courts in our area have recognized the
benefit of START and made participation in the program a part of
their dispositions, and we frequently provide information to crown
attorneys and justice committees to assist them in making more
informed decisions. Additionally, START maintains a file that holds
all the necessary information provided by each agency for each
youth, a very necessary tool for situations where having all the facts
at hand can assist any agency to make a more appropriate decision
on how to intervene.
Our recent evaluation, funded by National Crime Prevention
Services, has findings that are very favourable toward the program
and speak to an increased inter-agency collaboration and achieving
positive client outcomes for the vast majority of our clients, even
with the continual increase in the number of client referrals each year
and the risk level of the clients we work with. The program model
has spread to three other communities in Manitoba and functions
equally well with different demographics.
The START program is managed and funded by the involved
community agencies and all three levels of government. Unfortunately, this year, our largest funder, Service Canada, is no longer
providing funding to START or any of the other communities
utilizing the model, leaving us with a shortfall that may be
insurmountable unless we find another federal source of funding.
This lack of funding also creates difficulties for other areas that are
looking to duplicate this model in their communities but cannot get
support at all levels of government.
It has been repeatedly said that law enforcement has become the
front line for all social issues, and this will not change unless we
offer a solution to coordinate the resources from all agencies to
address the reasons behind the behaviours.
I have a quote in my office by Walter Barbee that says, “If you've
told a child a thousand times and he still does not understand, then
it's not the child who is the slow learner.”
● (0955)
If police are being called to the same home for the same reasons,
and this happens often, then we haven't addressed the real issue and
we need to look at the situation differently. That's what START does.
Thank you.
The Chair: Thank you very much, Ms. Thompson.
April 25, 2013
We'll continue with Mr. Tielman.
Mr. Walter Tielman (Area Director, Department of Justice,
Interlake Region, Community and Youth Correction, Government of Manitoba): Thank you, Mr. Chair, and good morning.
Members of the committee, Mr. Chair, it is truly an honour and a
privilege to appear before you today. Thank you for the opportunity
to appear before you to discuss the START program and its approach
to working with our community's highest-risk youth and families.
START began as a response to a need to develop processes for
various agencies in the city of Selkirk to communicate and plan
effectively with its highest-risk youth and families. Agencies were
already meeting and discussing cases in a well-meaning but often
haphazard and uncoordinated fashion.
The various agencies also were not objective in how or why they
would share information with each other. Sometimes information
would be shared and sometimes it wouldn't be. This often depended
on the motivation of various staff and their time availability to
communicate and coordinate meetings with staff from other
There also often isn't a mandate that makes the sharing of
information and case collaboration mandatory. In fact, there are often
confidentiality barriers to sharing information with other agencies.
Case management policies often suggest that inter-agency
collaboration is the preferred way to do your work effectively, but
the degree to which different staff and different agencies actually do
this is left up to the individual staff or individual program manager.
Therefore, due to time and workload issues, which are significant,
staff are often focused on meeting their individual agency mandate
and not looking at youth, family, and larger community needs.
START addresses this with the help of a coordinator, who arranges
and coordinates START or multi-agency case conferences. START
has formalized this information exchange process and created a
multi-agency management process to deal with the highest-risk
youth and their families.
The impact of START has been very positive, as the silos of
information in various departments have been broken down. The
result has been the application of various departmental mandates and
operating procedures toward a common set of goals and case plan
with the youth and family.
START has changed the way my staff do their work. An example
of this is that previous to START, my staff would sit in their offices,
and virtually the only contact they would have with other agency
staff in our communities was over the telephone or via the computer,
largely due to time. They would carry out their duties and fulfill their
mandate, often independently of other agencies' knowledge and/or
involvement. Now all of my staff regularly attend START case
conferences with other agency staff at various locations in the
communities, and the START agencies all work toward a common
set of goals that are case management-directed. This approach
ensures that agencies are fulfilling their case management obligation
to that particular youth and family.
Agency staff also explain what services they did or didn't provide
to the START case conference from one meeting to the next, thereby
enhancing service accountability. Also, if there are identified gaps in
service, the START case management team strategizes on ways to
meet the gap.
The impact of START has been to keep kids in school longer,
improve family functioning, and hold youth accountable for their
The impact of START has been significant. One of my staff said:
“START is an invaluable resource to the community and to families
struggling to stabilize their children. START can also bring resources
to the table that are needed and not previously identified.”
Sergeant Mark Morehouse of the Stonewall RCMP detachment
said that in the first year of the START model operating in that
community, calls dealing with youth that were made to the
detachment dropped by roughly 50%.
Our provincial justice funding support of three START model
programs in Manitoba is a total of $21,000, which is a small
investment compared with the benefit these services provide to the
highest-risk youth, families, and communities.
The impact of START is also long term and preventative in nature
by giving and guiding youth and families towards positive, prosocial choices.
Research has shown that multi-agency case management
approaches are effective, and START has also shown this to be so.
Our yearly evaluations have confirmed this, and our most recent
evaluation, funded by National Crime Prevention Services, has
shown that what we are doing is effective in the short term and
preventative in the long run. This evaluation has also given us
direction for enhancements and improvements, which we'll use to
guide us in the future.
I personally believe that START and similar multi-agency case
management programs are the way of the future for governments and
agencies in meeting society's needs with its most troubled families.
● (1000)
I don't believe we can afford to do otherwise.
Thank you.
The Chair: Thank you very much.
We have someone in Regina joining us through video conference.
Can you hear me?
Hon. Christine Tell (Minister, Corrections and Policing,
Government of Saskatchewan): Yes, we can.
Can you hear us?
The Chair: You're coming through loud and clear.
We don't have the picture yet. But we didn't invite you to the
committee to see what you look like; we want to hear what you have
to say.
Perhaps we'll move directly to your comments. I'm not sure if I've
already introduced you. With us is Ms. Christine Tell, Minister of
Corrections and Policing.
Is the deputy minister, Mr. McFee, with you?
Mr. Dale McFee (Deputy Minister, Corrections and Policing,
Government of Saskatchewan): Yes, I'm here.
The Chair: All right. It seems like only last week, or the week
before, that we last spoke with you. It's good to have both of you
here this morning.
We'll go to your opening statements.
Hon. Christine Tell: Good morning. Thank you, committee, for
allowing us the opportunity to present this morning.
It is my pleasure to be able to present to this committee
Saskatchewan's groundbreaking work related to community safety
and new views of policing.
At the same time that overall crime rates are dropping, as most of
you are aware, Saskatchewan leads the nation in many categories of
crime. This is not the kind of trendsetting that I or my cabinet
colleagues would like to be known for.
Similar statistics have led to a call to action. In Saskatchewan,
government, communities, and individuals are taking a good, hard
look at the realities of the numbers, in both the volume of crime and
the costs incurred to combat it.
We know that finding capacity in an increasingly demanding
policing environment has become a challenge for jurisdictions across
North America. At the same time, the costs of administering police
services, or for that matter the criminal justice system, are on the rise.
The crimes, and the criminals who commit them, are becoming more
sophisticated and more complex. This is all adding up to a situation
that is becoming untenable.
Saskatchewan's deputy minister of corrections and policing, Dale
McFee, has spoken to you previously about the incredible work
that's being done in communities across the province to build a
foundation for community safety and wellness. As he's pointed out,
it began with Prince Albert's community mobilization initiative to
reduce crime in that city.
From a larger perspective, the Hub and COR models being used in
Prince Albert, and replicated in communities across the province, is a
testament to how we as Saskatchewan residents got our reputation
for innovating. We have taken a germ of an idea and turned it into a
movement that gains momentum every day. Of course we're very
pleased with this.
In his last representation to you, Dale McFee told you that reports
out of Prince Albert show, as a result of the Hub and COR models,
that the violent crime rate for that city dropped 11.8% in the first year
and 31.9% in year two.
As the minister responsible for corrections and policing, I can tell
you how proud we are to be recognized nationally and inter-
April 25, 2013
nationally for this work. As a member of a government whose
jurisdiction is seeing dramatic growth in our population and
economy, I can tell you there is excitement in the air. Our belief is
that our potential is limitless. But I can also tell you it's a bit
worrisome. It's worrisome because we know we have to have the
appropriate foundations for ensuring that this growth is sustainable,
and that any potential consequences related to growth, like the
implications of burgeoning job markets, infrastructure deficits, and
increased crime, are mitigated.
In fact, just a few months ago, Premier Brad Wall introduced the
Saskatchewan Plan for Growth. This plan contemplates an articulate,
thoughtful approach to continued growth backstopped by appropriate resources for maintaining the stability of necessary economic
and social foundations. These foundations include safe, healthy
communities. This is where the Saskatchewan government's
Building Partnerships to Reduce Crime approach comes in.
Government support through funding, technical resources, and
innovative services, supplied by my ministry, provides communities
that want to create their own community safety and wellness
mechanisms with the means to do so.
By its nature, the Hub, as a community mobilization process,
engages representatives of the criminal justice system, police, and
probation officers. It requires the involvement of representatives
from social services, health, and education agencies. To be relevant,
the Hub needs to take a cradle-to-grave approach, addressing the
needs of at-risk individuals from the time their risky behaviour first
becomes known until they “age out” of the system.
Experts have recognized that the entry point for individuals to
engage in anti-social behaviour is around the age of 12. This risk
continues until around the age of 24. It follows that the province's
recently announced child and family agenda, aimed at creating
strong, healthy families who can benefit from Saskatchewan's
growth, has taken into account this piece when creating its goals.
● (1005)
If we can get to these young people early with the appropriate
levels of literacy, mental and physical health, and family and
community supports, we can deflect many of the negative influences
that result in lost potential from our youth.
Of course, this discussion is all about reducing the cost of policing
to governments at all levels. There is more that we're doing in
Saskatchewan, and I'd like to talk about this.
April 25, 2013
As a result of our work on building partnerships to reduce crime,
we are looking at the human resources our ministries are providing
as a continuum of support. The question is, what do I really mean by
that? Representatives of the criminal justice system cannot work in
isolation from health or social services when we know that around
30% of the individuals arrested for committing what might be termed
“petty crimes” have mental health issues. We can't be successful in
rehabilitating offenders if we know that they can't get jobs because
they can't read. We need to include our education experts in the mix.
I would like to think that we're taking a holistic view of how we're
organizing government around tackling these social issues. Resulting
strategies need to be client centred. The old paradigm of delivering
programs to fit the needs of a bureaucratic structure is just not on
anymore. We need to look at how citizens are best served and
organize our administrative structures around those needs.
For the next few minutes I'd like to turn our discussion to other
ways the province is seeking out ways to mitigate increasing and
rising policing costs. One of the solutions we're currently examining
is an expansion of our existing model, special constables, beyond
their current limited application. Right now, in Saskatchewan special
constables are trained to provide law enforcement in first nations
communities only. The advantage here is that individuals of first
nations descent who are trained as special constables for their home
communities are familiar with their own culture and social norms
and know the people they are working with. In the same vein,
appointing special constables in other communities to enforce local
bylaws or to take on lower-risk community policing duties frees up
sworn police officers to do the heavy lifting with the high-risk crime
and criminals. Extending that concept further across the criminal
justice system, correctional officials are also looking at a similar
model for how low-risk offenders are being supervised in the
community. By using the special constable model as it relates to
probation officers, other resources are freed up to provide closer
supervision on offenders who are posing a greater risk to commit
crimes that are obviously more serious or more violent.
The point here is that by encouraging these innovative applications of what might be seen as old ideas, Saskatchewan is creating
new practices that are already anchored in success. In aiming to
chalk up additional successes we need to ensure that we are
collecting the most accurate and appropriate evidence. Saskatchewan
is embarking on partnerships with members of academia in the social
sciences to create a centre of excellence for community safety. Dale
McFee will have the details on that pursuit. Let me say that such a
facility, whether it be bricks and mortar or the interconnectedness
that our Internet brings, will create the ability to attach to academic
and forensic evidence to up our game in building and measuring
community safety models.
I can tell you that Dale has the support of Saskatchewan's
provincial government as he pursues the actions and initiatives he
has designated as priorities for him and his team. I am hoping that in
turn my government can count on you for your support so that we
can extend the reach of Saskatchewan's solutions to reducing crime
rates and their accompanying social and economic costs.
Thank you.
● (1010)
The Chair: Thank you, Minister.
Deputy Minister McFee, did you have a statement as well?
Mr. Dale McFee: No. I'm just here if there are any questions.
The Chair: All right. Thank you.
We'll move into the first round of questions quickly.
Ms. Bergen, please. You have seven minutes.
Ms. Candice Bergen: Thank you very much, Mr. Chair. Thank
you to all the guests for being here today.
We certainly are hearing a very similar message, whether it's from
Calgary, Halifax, or Toronto, and then today from rural communities
like Selkirk and Stonewall, about this Hub and COR approach, or a
multi-agency approach.
What we as a committee want to find out is how is it actually
helping to save resources and making sure that policing is done in a
more efficient manner, and I think we're hearing that in terms of
prevention and reduced calls, etc.
I want to focus on the START program. When I met with Tammy
and Walter initially, during the break week a few weeks ago, I was
excited because it was a rural example. We haven't heard a lot of
examples of rural communities being able to do this. It's also a little
different because it appears that it's not police driven as much as it's
driven by the actual program, and then bringing in different
I was also impressed that there actually has been some research
done. The University of Winnipeg did some research into the
START program, if I'm correct. Could you tell us a little bit about
those findings? Could you speak specifically to the findings in terms
of reduced crime rates and how it relates to police work directly?
What did the research tell you?
Ms. Tammy Thompson: The research really hit on all the areas
that we've always felt we had success with. It was almost a
justification for us in getting the evaluation. We knew we were doing
a really good job at bringing the agencies together, getting people
around the table and communicating, building more of a community
base to deal with at-risk youth—ours is with youth. So it was to
work with those youths together, as opposed to working within those
We have a fantastic rate of getting kids who weren't in school back
in school, which is definitely a huge factor in keeping them out of
the criminal realm.
We saw great effects. Fully 100% of the police officers who were
interviewed about our program said they strongly felt that the
program had helped the relationship between the youth in our
community, especially at-risk youth, and the RCMP, and that we had
been able to reduce calls for service from the RCMP. There are so
many findings.
Ms. Candice Bergen: Were the reduced calls for the RCMP an
opinion, or was that actually a finding in the research?
Ms. Tammy Thompson: There were three different levels of
research. One is looking over a database, one was interviews, and
one was an anonymous survey. They compiled all of those together
to come up with that conclusion.
Ms. Candice Bergen: Was there actually a number that the calls
were reduced by, or was there a percentage?
Ms. Tammy Thompson: They didn't say specifically in that way.
The one example we did have was out of Stonewall, which Walter
has already quoted, about Sergeant Mark Morehouse stating that in
their first year of running this model their incidents with youth had
decreased by 50%.
Ms. Candice Bergen: By 50%?
● (1015)
Ms. Tammy Thompson: Yes.
Ms. Candice Bergen: I know you talked a little bit about the
funding of it, and I think I mentioned to you that our government has
invested $40 million into the national crime prevention strategy. As
well, we've made permanent the Youth Gang Prevention Fund. I
would suggest that you look at both of those programs, because there
may be some opportunity with the work you do...I know you said
there is a small deficiency; it's not a huge one, but it's definitely one
that impacts what you do.
Our government has been very consistent and in fact proactive in
support of national crime and crime prevention strategies, and we
really support the type of thing you're doing, which is small, local,
results oriented, and you actually can measure your results. So that's
something you can count on our government to continue to support.
I would encourage you to look into those programs.
I also thought it was interesting the other ways your programs are
funded. Different agencies, including the school board, contribute
Ms. Tammy Thompson: Absolutely.
Ms. Candice Bergen: Could you quickly tell us how that works?
Then I want to ask the minister from Saskatchewan if their program
works the same way, if the Hub and COR is sort of a multi-funded
April 25, 2013
division in each of the areas, in our case the Lord Selkirk School
Division; the City of Selkirk and the two surrounding RMs; and also
in kind the RCMP detachment. They provide the office space and all
of my equipment.
Ms. Candice Bergen: And you have security clearance with the
RCMP, so you know when.... That's really your interaction with the
police service?
Ms. Tammy Thompson: Yes.
Ms. Candice Bergen: That kind of reminds me of something Mr.
McFee said the last time he was here, which stuck out for me and a
few committee members. He said it's leadership, not ownership, and
I think we know what you're telling us rings true.
Minister Tell, thank you so much for being here, and congratulations on all the good things that are happening in Saskatchewan.
Can you comment, from what you've heard Ms. Thompson talk
about? It's a little more community-driven, and yet it seems to have
some of the same results. Would you be able to compare and contrast
the Hub and COR programs? Are we talking about the same things?
Again, it's a different so-called ownership model.
Hon. Christine Tell: Yes, and there's no cost to the Hub in the
various communities. It's just a bringing together of all these
organizations—social services, health, and police. It's also run by a
governance board, so you're right; you're talking about no one
organization or entity owning this thing. The community truly does.
The province itself funds $450,000 for the COR. We have an
executive director and two analysts. This is where all the research is
coming from to support the various community entities. Each,
whether it be social services or health, put in $25,000 per year to
support the initiatives being driven out of the various communities
and the Hub, and supporting obviously the centre of excellence or
the COR in the big picture.
The Chair: We'll move into the next round of questioning.
Madame Michaud.
Ms. Élaine Michaud (Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier, NDP):
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I first want to thank the witnesses for being here.
Ms. Thompson, would you mind telling us how your program is
Ms. Tammy Thompson: Our program truly is a community
program. We are run by a board that has all of the executive people
within our community from each of the agencies on it, and each one
of them, or the majority of them, are funders of the program as well.
The START program, which you describe here, is extremely
interesting. I was disappointed to learn that your funding had been
reduced recently.
Our main funders, besides previously being Service Canada and
Justice, are now Children and Youth Opportunities, from the
Province of Manitoba Child and Family Services; the school
Were you given any explanations when the Service Canada
funding was withdrawn?
My first questions are for Ms. Thompson.
April 25, 2013
Ms. Tammy Thompson: It is my understanding that the funding
model that we were funded under, Skills Link, has shifted slightly.
The area we were funded under no longer exists.
Ms. Élaine Michaud: In reading the documents you provided, I
noted that the members of the RCMP who had taken part in the
program had seen that there were direct benefits, and that some of
these were due to their participation in the program.
Ms. Élaine Michaud: Can you give us further details?
What was the area you were funded under?
Ms. Tammy Thompson: It was Skills Link.
Ms. Élaine Michaud: And that was eliminated in its entirety.
What are the direct repercussions of that cutback on the program?
Ms. Tammy Thompson: The START program doesn't take a lot
of money to run, quite frankly, and the loss of that amount of money
really could mean the loss of the program in the long run.
Ms. Élaine Michaud: Can you quantify the cut to the program?
Ms. Tammy Thompson: The Skills Link portion that we were
provided with annually was $20,000, and that's just for START.
Across the board, for all of the other programs that have been
modelled after us in Manitoba, it would come out to $37,000.
● (1020)
Ms. Élaine Michaud: And what is the START program's
operating budget, exactly?
Ms. Tammy Thompson: Each one of the models differs slightly,
but, for instance, START—and our program is the largest—costs
about $70,000 to run, cash in hand, and then in kind there's about
another $20,000 that is added.
Ms. Élaine Michaud: Thank you for that information.
Can you tell us a bit more about the role of the RCMP in the
program? What are its specific responsibilities, and what role does it
play in the program?
Ms. Tammy Thompson: The RCMP are part of our steering
committee. They share an equal spot on our board that determines
how our program runs and how that goes ahead. I'm housed within
the detachment, but I'm not a detachment employee. It's kind of a
symbiotic relationship. They help me and I help them, all in the
name of helping the clients we work with.
I'm able to assist them when they're dealing with my clients and
they don't have a full picture of the information, and they're able to
assist me when I have things that come up with my clients.
Ms. Tammy Thompson: Yes, we have wonderful support from
the RCMP.
I really can't put it any other way. We both realize that we assist
each other. They're very supportive of us, not only financially but
also in concept. They've been willing to go to bat for us. It's a
program that once you see it running and see what's happening, and
see the effect within the community, it's really hard not to want to do
the most you can for it. We are not a large city, and we're operating in
four smaller communities.
You walk down the street and you do see the differences. You see
this kid who you always saw intoxicated or stoned on a street corner,
and all of a sudden he's headed to school with his backpack. It really
is an impact for us and we see that. Because of that, we're all
extremely passionate about this program.
Ms. Élaine Michaud: Our previous witnesses told us that it was
extremely difficult to reduce the demand for police services that is
being felt everywhere, and that this really puts enormous pressure on
their operations.
In light of this, a program like yours is an excellent way of
ensuring better cost management within police forces. It would
prevent certain calls and reduce the demand for services.
Ms. Tammy Thompson: I would have to agree.
I've certainly had that expressed to me from members I work with
within our detachment. They have seen a reduction in what they
have to do. As I've said, we've compared those stats. We pulled the
files on the clients we work with, made that mark when they were
referred to the program, and are able to see that there are far fewer
calls for service than previously.
Ms. Élaine Michaud: Thank you very much.
I would like to hear the comments of Minister Tell on that last
statement, that such programs, somewhat like the HUB and COR
models, allow for better cost management by reducing the demand
for service.
Hon. Christine Tell: Yes, of course.
We're seeing those reductions in particular in Prince Albert. Prince
Albert has a population of approximately 40,000 people, and, as
Dale has said earlier, there's definitely a reduction in the calls for
service and the reported crimes.
We have to be aware, though, and it's something I want to keep the
committee aware of, that we police and put police officers in various
communities based on population. I'm sure it's the same throughout
Canada. Whether it will, over time, reduce the requirement for the
number of police officers, I don't know. However, we'll definitely see
a change in the engagement of police throughout the country,
throughout our communities and our province. But they'll still be
engaged and will still be required to police to a certain level.
● (1025)
Ms. Élaine Michaud: Certainly.
The Chair: Thank you.
You have five seconds, so you're out.
Thank you very much.
We'll go to Mr. Leef, please.
Mr. Ryan Leef (Yukon, CPC): Thank you, Mr. Chair, and thank
you to all our witnesses.
My first questions will be for Minister Tell.
Minister, I'm the member of Parliament for Yukon. We have an
experience in the territory where the RCMP and Corrections work
closely together for cellblock services and our correctional centre
deals with all cellblock services.
Does that occur in the province of Saskatchewan or in the PA
area? If so, what has been your experience?
From our perspective, there's a different degree of care that we're
able to provide out of the correctional centre—separate from the
actual centre itself, but a different level of care. Policing has
difficulty in particular providing cellblock services for folks with
mental health disabilities.
Can you give us your perspective on that?
Hon. Christine Tell: I'm going to turn it over to Dale. There are
some nuances here. We definitely have some involvement with the
RCMP with our correctional facilities.
I'll leave it with Dale here for a minute.
Mr. Dale McFee: It's a great question.
We do not have the integration that you guys have. We are looking
at the entire system, including the transport of prisoners. There is a
whole mechanism there around safety. It's obviously an area of high
risk; I am sure we are all aware. One lawsuit costs millions, and it's
all about the care of the individual or the client. It's something we are
currently reviewing, including now that we have merged our adult
and YO as one part of the ministry. It gives us a whole bunch more
opportunities. What we really have is undercrowding in YO and
overcrowding in adult, so we want to look at a facility's master plan
to maximize this.
With that also comes prisoner transport, but it also looks at the
handling and the overnight operations we do. A lot of police
agencies have moved health people right into their cellblock,
obviously to mitigate that risk, because a lot of these folks, upwards
April 25, 2013
of 80% to 95%, have addictions issues. Obviously when you throw
in's about 30% mental health.
There are some real opportunities here, but it's a paradigm shift in
thinking, just like everything else. It's a new way of approaching it,
and it's really important for us that we're doing it based on evidence
and focused on outcomes. That's why we're letting some of the
experts in academia play a role in helping us flesh this out.
Mr. Ryan Leef: Thank you for that.
For the folks from START, that was a good segue with regard to
results-based decision-making. Of course, we are studying the
economics of policing, and I think everybody on the committee is
starting to hear a lot more that the early start, multi-agency, complete
wraparound and client-centred services are the ones that are going to
deliver the long-term best results for reduction of costs and reduction
of crime rates. You certainly indicated you are very passionate about
that program.
On the evidence-based front, have you compared your program to
other programs? How does it stack up? If our agreement is to be
client centred and the outcome is what's best for the client, then
programs may come and go, and we have to be willing to let them go
if they're not evidence-based to be the best ones.
Do you know of others comparing their programs to yours? Is
there a willingness among the proponents and people who do great
work on these programs to ebb and flow in and out of each other's
programs, or to support one over the other? Does that occur?
Sometimes we see a competitive program environment. I certainly
see that, if one wants to keep a program alive. We have that best
picture in mind of client service, but we still want to keep our
programs alive. So how do you operate with other programs with
regard to comparing and contrasting what you do with them?
Ms. Tammy Thompson: Our evaluation does compare us to
other wraparound programs in America, and we really held up very
well against them.
In comparison to other programs we may be competing with in
our area, there really aren't any because we fill the gap. The whole
reason START was created 11 years ago was that kids were falling
through the cracks, and every agency saw that and knew we had to
do something different. One of the things I always say about START
is that we belong to everybody and nobody all at the same time. We
were created to fill those gaps, and everybody focuses their attention
on START. If an issue comes up in the community, our steering
committee has all the heads of the community agencies on it. We
bring it to that forum, and we discuss how we can change that. That's
similar to the Hub and COR model as well.
● (1030)
Mr. Ryan Leef: There isn't a lot of duplication going on.
Ms. Tammy Thompson: No, not at all.
April 25, 2013
Mr. Ryan Leef: I don't think I have a lot of time. I am quickly
going to ask about your experience with regard to your working right
in the detachment. What has your experience been with information
sharing and privacy issues?
Ms. Tammy Thompson: It's been very good. There are definitely
boundaries around it, because the RCMP has a lot of confidential
information; you work within the appropriate boundaries. We've
never had an issue with that. In our 11 years of doing business inside
or outside the detachment, we've never had a complaint about
sharing information incorrectly.
Mr. Ryan Leef: Do you have any recommendations for the
committee on legislative or operational decisions that could enhance
those kinds of relationships for full wraparound services? You don't
seem to experience any privacy issues, but are there any other
operational or administrative issues that would be helpful for us to
support that work?
Ms. Tammy Thompson: I think definitely having a top-down
approach.... I feel like at START we are working from the bottom up.
We are selling the program, and at least within our province we are
trying to engage people—and we have been able to; we've been
successful in that.
One of the things we do find is that because it isn't mandated at a
higher level, you can have people from agencies who say they don't
really believe in the model, so they don't want to participate in it.
That creates a really big hole, basically, in trying to get things done.
I think that's a great advantage Saskatchewan has in how they're
doing things. That would be fantastic for us. It's that, and the funding
piece. For all the time that we spend looking and searching for
funding, that's time away from doing the work with these youths,
and that's really hard, especially when you're dedicated to what you
do and you know you're making a difference. To take any time away
from that for this purpose is hard.
The Chair: Thank you very much.
We'll move to the end of the first round here with Mr.
Scarpaleggia, please.
Mr. Francis Scarpaleggia: Thank you very much.
I'm just curious. You had federal funding and it was under Skills
Link. Could you just remind me what that funding was for? What
kinds of activities did it fund, really?
Ms. Tammy Thompson: The client case management process, is
how they termed it.
Mr. Francis Scarpaleggia: I see. So now there's no federal
Ms. Tammy Thompson: No.
Mr. Francis Scarpaleggia: I've heard you say that one of the
things that would be helpful for your program would be for agencies
within Manitoba to mandate that they have to work with you. What
can the federal government do to sustain you and encourage the
replication of your model across your province and elsewhere in
Canada? What can the federal government do?
It's a very interesting model. In fact, I think it mirrors what the
Calgary police chief, Chief Hanson, talked about just the other day
here. It's the same thing: kids are out of school, they have a bullying
problem—they're the bully—or they may have a substance abuse
problem. The services come together. They're back in school, and
they're excelling in school. It's really almost a mirror image of what
Chief Hanson was talking about.
What can the federal government do to help replicate or sustain
even what exists, to help sustain this kind of approach across
● (1035)
Ms. Tammy Thompson: Besides the funding piece, which is big,
I think we're looking at the support of the concept. I hear that.
Obviously, there are other agencies that are practising much in the
same way we are, that are selling this model as well as we are, but I
think the acceptance of it is huge.
Mr. Francis Scarpaleggia: A federal stamp of approval would be
Ms. Tammy Thompson: Yes, I think that would be really big. I
think it would help people in communities move towards working in
that direction.
Mr. Francis Scarpaleggia: Right.
Minister Tell, you mentioned I think at the beginning of your
presentation that what's happening with the program in Prince Albert
is just great, but the foundations are fragile. Am I quoting you
properly? You said something about foundations being fragile—
unless it was Ms. Thompson, but I think it was you, Minister.
Hon. Christine Tell: No, on the foundations, I don't know what
part.... The foundations of what's going on in Prince Albert have
indeed been replicated across the province. It's a formalized
structure, community driven, with community priorities. The centre
of excellence, or the COR, as it's referred to here, supports the
innovative techniques, all of that type of research, based on evidence
to ensure that our communities are getting what they specifically
need. The structures are solid. Once they're formed—as I said, it's
community driven—all agencies are in the game and part of this.
No, it's pretty solid. They're built in each community to replicate,
depending on the needs of each individual community. It's designed.
It's like a franchise and it's pretty solid.
Mr. Francis Scarpaleggia: Deputy Minister McFee, when he
appeared, referred to it as a franchising model.
You seem to have created something in Saskatchewan, a kind of
mechanism for sharing best practices, research, coordinating
communities across Saskatchewan, to be aware of the best ways to
approach public security issues, policing and so on.
Do we need that at the federal level as well? Would that not be
replicating what you're doing provincially?
Hon. Christine Tell: Dale will respond to that one for you.
Mr. Dale McFee: It's a very good point.
When you look at the things we experienced going through this,
getting it up and running—for over two years now—as I said earlier,
it was the balance piece. The role of the federal government is
actually very similar to that of the provincial government. We have
championship. We have the premier. I think there's a role for
championship at the federal government. We have a formalized
structure. I think there's a role for the federal government in part of
that structure. It's all based on evidence-based practices. That's stuff
the NCPC could be supporting and playing a part in. It basically
focuses on process, including the barriers to privacy.
One of the gentlemen asked a question on privacy. That was one
of our biggest barriers. We did a lot of work on that privacy
assessment. When acute elevated risks exist for individuals and
families, it should be the norm that we're asking what we can do to
help, rather than waiting for them to be in the system and hiding
behind the fact that we don't share information. I think there is a real
role the federal government can play in relation to that legislative
Everybody respects privacy. I haven't seen that...not ever. But
there are times when privacy becomes a barrier. I do not think
privacy legislation was designed for when we have acute elevated
risk for individuals and their families.
Again, the thing about where the federal government plays....
Some of the money, as mentioned, is through the Manitoba program.
But this isn't a lot of money. In this whole thing these concepts are
designed so that if everybody has a little piece, it's affordable. Then
you tie it back into the whole policing concept: 75% of the work is
not criminal in nature, 25% is criminal, and 5% lead to criminal
If you take a lot of this stuff out of the system, in essence you free
up time at the back end or downstream, so you can focus on the other
stuff, such as organized crime, and maintain the balance. It's not one
or the other. It's a reinvestment of resources into what you're actually
trying to accomplish.
● (1040)
Mr. Francis Scarpaleggia: So you say one—
The Chair: Thanks, Mr. Scarpaleggia. You're over time.
We'll move to Mr. Harris, please.
Welcome to the committee.
Mr. Jack Harris (St. John's East, NDP): Thank you, Mr.
Sorenson. I appreciate the opportunity to ask a few questions.
I want to thank both groups of witnesses. You've demonstrated
through your evidence that both in Saskatchewan and in Manitoba,
particularly with a rural focus, much can be done. I guess I'll call
them preliminary results, because if you're getting results like that
after one or two years, it seems to me that you're on to something.
I particularly like Minister Tell's association of the issues of
literacy, mental and physical health, and community supports, as a
way to keep people from the justice system.
First of all, I noticed that in Selkirk, looking at your statistics here,
that about half of your clientele were from the aboriginal community.
I looked quickly and saw that the population of the Selkirk area is
April 25, 2013
about 25% aboriginal, so you have a high representation. With the
statistics you're receiving, it seems very positive, particularly when
we look at the disturbing number of incarcerated aboriginal people,
in western Canada, in particular, compared with the population.
Is this a model that might help to alleviate that? Do you see that as
one of your outcomes from this kind of programming, that we can
ensure there are better opportunities for aboriginal young people in
particular to participate better in the community and in society?
This is directed to Mr. Tielman.
Mr. Walter Tielman: Yes, absolutely.
Preventative services are always beneficial and will prevent
people from being incarcerated unnecessarily. If it's the aboriginal
person we're working with, the wraparound program takes their
needs into account when we serve them. Absolutely.
Mr. Jack Harris: The one figure I heard from you in terms of cost
was a $21,000 figure. Was that for the provincial contribution to this
Mr. Walter Tielman: Yes, it's provincial. It used to be the
Department of Justice; it's now Children and Youth Opportunities.
There's been a switch of departments.
Mr. Jack Harris: We're talking about policing costs. I know that
the cost of one RCMP officer is probably at least three times that
cost, perhaps more than that.
Is it possible that there could be a direct relationship between the
kind of programming you are talking about here and that Minister
Tell is talking about in Saskatchewan, with the money—money isn't
the only issue, of course, but the investment—that's put into these
types of programs and the actual results in crime reduction and in
service requirements reduction, so that policing costs can actually be
Mr. Walter Tielman: In my opinion, yes, absolutely, and the
police would be allowed to focus on the more criminally oriented
individuals in the community.
Mr. Jack Harris: Mr. McFee, the percentage of time police
officers are spending on non-criminal matters seems startlingly high,
but not surprising, I suppose.
Is that something, Mr. McFee or Minister Tell, that you look at as
well as a potential cost reduction? I know you talked about it in
terms of focusing on the more serious criminal activities. But with
crime rates going down generally across the country, would you be
able to look forward to an actual reduction in policing costs?
The Chair: Thank you, Mr. Harris.
Mr. Dale McFee: Well, I think you're bang on.
First of all, it's a realignment, and at the end of the day you need to
make sure you're doing everything, with a cradle-to-grave approach
to intervention and prevention, and at the end of the day you also
have to do the stuff downstream. The commonsensical approach is
that if you take stuff out of the system....
April 25, 2013
In Prince Albert, not only is crime down, but prosecutions are
down, social services intakes are down, and health room visits to the
hospitals are down. Think of that and put dollars to it. We have the
university studying it right now.
There's no question that this is the case.
Now you can use that money to reinvest in the areas we need to be
in that we may not be getting into because of the volume that's
jamming the system. Rather than design particular new ways, or
different kinds of courts, such as domestic violence courts, or
different things on the back end, the reality is that a lot of this stuff
can be taken out at the front end, letting the system do what it was
really designed for and work effectively, just by taking some of the
flow away from it.
● (1045)
The Chair: Thank you very much.
Mr. Payne, the clock on the wall is what I'm going by. It shows
that you have about a minute or a minute and a half, if you want to
make a comment or two.
Mr. LaVar Payne (Medicine Hat, CPC): I will. Thank you,
sharing of information among all of the agencies that are at the table.
This may mean that other agencies have to come to the table, which
we determine after the fact, as participants in the concerns for youth.
But they're all covered by the consent.
The parents are at the table, just like any other team member. I
think that's one of the best things about the program. Sometimes it's a
little scary for a parent who has only had bad interactions with Child
and Family services or the RCMP—they tend to be the big two that
everyone is scared of—to come to the table and understand that
they're not there to be blamed, not there to have a finger pointed at
their nose, not there to be told what to do, and that we're actually
there to help. It's led by them, and they tell us.... They're much more
open, and we learn way more this way.
Mr. LaVar Payne: Thank you.
The Chair: Your time is pretty well up now.
Mr. LaVar Payne: I was just going to ask Minister Tell one quick
The Chair: I think you'll have to wait for another day for that.
I add my thanks to the witnesses for coming.
I have a couple of really quick questions for Tammy.
One is, how are the parents involved in this process? Also,
regarding the confidentiality issues among the agencies, I'm not sure
whether there are signed agreements concerning them or just how
they work.
The Chair: Thank you. Those are good questions.
Ms. Tammy Thompson: We have a consent form, which is
signed by the parents, to participate in the program, and it allows the
I want to thank all of our presenters today. It's always good to hear
from Mr. McFee and Minister Tell. Keep up the good work in
Saskatchewan, and also here.
Thank you very much for coming and instructing the committee
on the START program and on your successes and perhaps your
disappointments. Certainly we appreciate your input to our
committee today.
Thank you, committee. Our time is up, so we are adjourned.
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