Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security Tuesday, January 29, 2013 Chair

Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security Tuesday, January 29, 2013 Chair
Standing Committee on Public Safety and
National Security
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Mr. Kevin Sorenson
Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
● (0845)
The Chair (Mr. Kevin Sorenson (Crowfoot, CPC)): I call the
meeting to order.
Good morning, everyone. This is meeting number 66 of the
Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security, on
Tuesday, January 29, 2013. Before we get into welcoming our guests
for today, I want to welcome our committee members back after a
constituency break and winter break.
It's good to have each one of you here. It's also good to come back
and to hit restart—or whatever we want to do—on this study that
we've undertaken. We're going to continue our study on the
economics of policing in Canada.
As one of our witnesses today we have, from the Department of
Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, the assistant deputy
minister, community safety and partnerships branch, Mr. Shawn
Mr. Tupper, welcome.
We also have with us the director general of the policing policy
directorate of the law enforcement and policing branch.
Mr. Potter, welcome back.
From the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, we have the deputy
commissioner, east region, Mr. Steve Graham.
Our committee thanks our witnesses for helping us out with this
study on the cost of policing in Canada.
I also want to say that this is really the second time that some of
you have appeared before our committee. We began the committee
in the midst of votes, I think, so that meeting was interrupted, and
there were just other things that were happening in the life of the
Parliament. I know that we were interrupted that day, so it's good to
welcome you back. We very much look forward to what you have to
say. We'll now turn the time over to Mr. Potter.
Welcome. We look forward to your comments.
Mr. Mark Potter (Director General, Policing Policy Directorate, Law Enforcement and Policing Branch, Department of
Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness): Thank you very
much, Mr. Chair.
Good morning to everyone. It's good to be back here to talk to you
about the important topic of the economics of policing. As noted last
time we met, the economics of policing is about the evolution and
sustainability of policing at a time of fiscal constraints and enhanced
public expectations.
Although the Government of Canada is but one of the many
partners involved in this issue, the Minister of Public Safety has been
providing leadership. The minister introduced this issue this time last
year at a meeting of federal, provincial, and territorial ministers of
justice and public safety in Charlottetown. At that time, two next
steps were agreed on: first, to share information on initiatives that
have improved the efficiency and effectiveness of policing; and
second, to convene a summit on the economics of policing.
Building on that, at the next FPT ministers meeting in Regina in
October of 2012, it was further agreed that after the summit there
would be consultations on the development of a shared forward
agenda for policing in Canada.
I am pleased to say that there has been progress on all three steps,
and I would like to update you today on that work.
The summit on the economics of policing was a Government of
Canada event hosted by Minister Toews on behalf of all FPT
ministers. It took place on January 16 and 17 in Ottawa. The summit
included 30 speakers from Canada, the United States, the United
Kingdom, and New Zealand, as well as participants representing the
policing community and other stakeholders in Canada.
The agenda for the summit was developed in cooperation with all
governments and the three national policing associations in Canada.
It was built around three pillars for reform: one, efficiencies within
police services; two, new models of community safety; and three,
efficiencies within the justice system.
In his welcoming address at the summit, Minister Toews made a
number of key points. The minister referred, for example, to “a shift
in public expectations”, and noted the following:
A decade ago, the average Canadian readily accepted, almost without question,
steady increases in police budgets.
Today, however, there are increasing calls to demonstrate the value of the
investments that all governments make in public services, including policing.
And because policing performance measures are not well-developed, widely
applied, or reported to the public, there is little clarity as to the efficiency and
effectiveness of police spending.
The minister also outlined actions being taken to address those
areas of policing for which the ministry is directly responsible. For
example, the RCMP is implementing reductions in its annual
funding through administrative and operational support reforms. In
addition, with the passing of the Expenditure Restraint Act in 2009,
federal salary increases, including those of RCMP members, have
been held to 1.5% annually. It is expected that these key cost
containment measures will help keep RCMP policing services
sustainable in the future.
In concluding, the minister stated that police services face a
couple of options: they can do nothing, and may eventually be faced
with having to make cuts or significantly reduce the growth rate of
police spending depending on the fiscal situation in their jurisdiction,
or they can be proactive, get ahead of the curve, and have greater
flexibility in designing and implementing both incremental and
meaningful structural reforms in order to better serve Canadians.
Several of Minister Toews' points were reinforced by his
provincial counterpart from B.C., Minister Bond, in her welcoming
remarks. She stressed the importance of getting the best possible
return on taxpayers' investments in policing, and of finding new and
better ways of doing things, whether it's police service delivery,
investigating and preventing crime, training or, most importantly,
working together. That, she remarked, means challenging the status
quo, which is never easy.
These remarks by the two ministers served to set the context and
direction for the summit. Although the summit was but one step on a
longer journey, it was a productive two days of informative
presentations and frank dialogue. Comments from the participants
and formal evaluations submitted by the attendees both confirmed
that it was a constructive event that served to raise awareness,
provide practical information, and help steer us on a path toward
greater efficiency and effectiveness in policing through innovation
and reform.
To continue the momentum, the three national police associations
supported a strategic framework, or shared forward agenda. The
shared forward agenda introduced at the summit by Public Safety
Canada was based on discussions with other governments and will
be developed collaboratively over the next several months.
As Minister Toews made clear in his opening remarks, no one
party—certainly not the federal government—can buy the solution
to the challenges the sector is facing, but together we can identify the
necessary actions to support innovation and reform, and we can each
take on certain responsibilities.
● (0850)
In that vein, it is encouraging to note that Ontario, Saskatchewan,
and British Columbia have already agreed to champion the
development of one of the three pillars of reform over the next
few months.
Building on the summit discussions, the closing session also laid
out potential areas to explore through a shared forward agenda. In
terms of efficiencies within police services, these areas include
strengthened civilianization, police service efficiency reviews,
sharing and adoption of best practices, improved measurement and
reporting, and enhanced research capacity and coordination.
January 29, 2013
In addition, actions under the second and third pillars of reform
could include cataloguing and validating new community safety
models and identifying and advancing policing priorities for justice
reform. Clearly progress requires system-wide approaches.
As a result of the national dialogue launched through the summit,
over the spring and summer of 2013 we will engage in a broad-based
collaborative process to develop the shared forward agenda.
Another key FPT deliverable, the catalogue of initiatives from
across Canada that improve the efficiency and effectiveness of
policing, was also showcased at the summit.
We very much welcome the committee's interest in this issue.
Your engagement will contribute to the dialogue that is under way
and strengthen the momentum of reform necessary to sustain
Canada's policing advantage.
Policing currently enjoys a large reservoir of public confidence
that can be further replenished only if we are seen to be acting in a
responsible manner, a manner that meets the challenge of
constrained resources while striving to improve service through
greater efficiency and effectiveness. This is the opportunity that can
be seized through working together, tackling the issue from every
angle, and fostering lasting change through long-term commitment.
That concludes my opening remarks. We would be very pleased to
answer any questions.
Thank you very much.
● (0855)
The Chair: Thank you very much.
We'll move into our first round of questioning. We'll go to Ms.
Bergen for seven minutes.
Ms. Candice Bergen (Portage—Lisgar, CPC): Thank you very
much, Mr. Chair.
Thank you, Mr. Potter.
Thank you as well, Mr. Tupper and Mr. Graham, for being here.
There is so much to dig into here.
Mr. Potter, could you begin by telling us again what those three
pillars are? I know you mentioned one of the pillars was being
Mr. Mark Potter: The first of the three pillars we have identified
as the basis for the development of the forward agenda is efficiencies
within police services themselves. Those are actions most directly
within the control of the police service itself.
The second pillar is new models of community safety. These are
new approaches we've seen across Canada and in other places
around the world whereby you work with other partners—whether
they involve social agencies, education, housing, or so on—to take
integrated approaches to deal with crime and get at the root of
criminality and put people and families on different trajectories to
avoid having them become criminals in the future.
January 29, 2013
The third is efficiencies within the justice system. There are
numerous examples of cases in which, as a result of procedural and
other requirements that flow from the justice system, costs, time, and
complexity are imposed on police services, ultimately increasing
costs. We will be looking at those and identifying where there might
be opportunities to streamline and make the justice system more
● (0900)
Ms. Candice Bergen: Have you been able to identify specific
examples in which each one of those pillars has been performed and
a best practice has been established—for example, in new models of
community safety? I'm sure you're aware of what's going on in
Calgary, where they seem to be doing this quite well, so I would
think they would be a good example of that pillar.
Is it true, then, that part of the challenge is identifying not only
best practices but best practices that are transferable between urban
and rural and different settings? We're obviously a vast country with
a vast population and a lot of diversity, including aboriginal policing.
Regarding efficiencies within policing or efficiencies within the
justice system, are we able to identify who's doing those well so that
we can take their example and duplicate it?
Mr. Mark Potter: We are and we aren't. There are two challenges
here. One is sharing of best practices. If you have something that
works, tell other people about it, and provide that information so
others can learn.
The other is a deeper challenge, which is evidence-based research.
That validates that these models actually work and are achieving the
outcomes you are striving to achieve.
In Canada, certainly the view coming out of the summit was that
our research capacity is limited, that it could be strengthened, that
there is an opportunity to provide a little more coordination with
respect to the research priorities of Canadian academics and
researchers to be able to support policing and justice reform and
so on. Research is quite fundamental as the foundation for further
reform and innovation, but as I mentioned at the outset, in practical
terms there are a lot of good examples in Canada and around the
world of things that police are currently doing that are making a real
difference. It's a question of ensuring that those best practices are
shared and that police learn from one another.
Mr. Shawn Tupper (Assistant Deputy Minister, Community
Safety and Partnerships Branch, Department of Public Safety
and Emergency Preparedness): If I may, just from the community
safety perspective, if you look at that broader spectrum and go
beyond a policing lens when you look at crime prevention and
activities that we can pursue in the community to create safer
communities, we actually are starting to build a very good evidence
base in Canada. We have been looking at models from the United
States, the United Kingdom, and Australia, and we're bringing those
models to Canada and testing them through the national centre for
the prevention of crime.
We are actually building a very good set of data that is Canadian,
which is a good thing, and we are very much, in the design of the
program, looking at elaborating on best practices and, equally, trying
to test models that don't work so that people aren't investing their
money in a bad way.
We also do a lot of publishing around best practices from a
community safety perspective that focuses on early intervention and
Ms. Candice Bergen: One of the challenges, for example, is that
in provinces where municipalities or small cities have their own
police force and they're funding it, those costs seem to be really high,
yet there are reasons they keep their own municipal or small-town
police force.
Mr. Shawn Tupper: It's always the danger in talking about data
from a Canadian perspective and throwing out those averages,
because they don't really tell the whole story about what's going on
in the north or what's going on in remote communities on the
prairies. Indeed we are trying to understand that data from those
particular perspectives. We look at things in terms of the size and
location of the community and the kinds of crime going on there. We
try to focus our investments so that they are more specific.
Frankly, the necessary approach—and I think we see this across
the whole social system—is to understand the variety of challenges
and then address those challenges specifically.
Ms. Candice Bergen: In terms of being able to disseminate this
information and make it useful to the jurisdictions that want to use it,
is it the goal to be able to continue to have these summits and to be
able to show provincial police departments—for example, to the
RCMP, as we are already doing federally—ways they can tighten
things up, ways they can make things better? It seems that one of the
challenges, too, is to get the information out and have people know
how to actually use it.
Is that the goal, and how close are we? You talked about the
national centre for the prevention of crime and where this research is
coming from. How close are we, or where are we in that process, in
terms of actually having a coordinated effort to give police
departments or municipalities practical ideas on how to save money?
Mr. Shawn Tupper: On the crime prevention side, I think we're
actually very close to that collaborative goal. We work extremely
closely with the provinces and municipalities to first of all ensure
that we're not duplicating our investments. The one thing we want to
avoid, with limited money across the board, is all spending on the
same thing. We actually have a very good linkage with other orders
of government. I think it has really improved our ability to make
those kinds of investments from the non-policing side.
The thing we need to do a better job of is incorporating what we
learn in crime prevention, which isn't always police-based—we do a
lot of work in schools, for instance—and linking that into the
policing lens and making sure we get the biggest bang for those
On the summit side....
The Chair: Please be very quick.
Mr. Mark Potter: Essentially what we're going to be doing over
the next six months is figuring out how we can work jointly and
where it makes sense to combine our efforts as both governments
and associations working with police services. Development of best
practices, cataloguing, coordination of research—these are all issues
being explored.
The Chair: Thank you very much.
We will now move to Mr. Garrison for seven minutes, please.
Mr. Randall Garrison (Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, NDP):
Thank you very much.
I want to welcome back all of the members of the committee.
We're looking forward to working together with everyone here.
I have to start by saying that I feel like we've been placed in a bit
of a catch-up position as members of the committee. I think it's
unfortunate that the members of the committee weren't included, at
least as observers, in the summit. I think we all, on all sides, feel that
we've just received a big block of information that was dropped on
us. It might have put us in a better position had we been included.
That, of course, is not your purview, those of you who are here
I have a question on whether the materials presented at the summit
will be shared with the committee. You've made some references to
the papers presented by the various presenters. Will those papers be
shared with the committee? We made a request to the minister to
have those materials, and we've not had a response.
Mr. Mark Potter: We're going to be talking to the various
presenters who were at the summit. We will be exploring with them
the possibility of putting their material online.
Mr. Randall Garrison: Yes, because I think it would be useful
for all of us in the committee to be able to have a look at those
materials as we move forward, and particularly in this study.
January 29, 2013
need to be included as full partners in everything we're doing here.
Were first nations policing forces invited to the summit? Were they
present at the summit?
● (0905)
Mr. Mark Potter: Absolutely. I think approximately 10 or 11 first
nations police chiefs attended the summit. In developing the
invitation list for the summit, we worked very closely with all
provincial and territorial governments as well as the three main
national policing associations. In that regard, the Canadian
Association of Chiefs of Police made some very helpful recommendations in terms of the chiefs to invite, and in particular, those from
the first nations community.
Mr. Randall Garrison: Okay.
I have some very specific questions I want to ask about your
opening remarks. I'll turn to those.
When you talk about efficiencies within the police services, I
wonder how that relates to the statement in the minister's opening
remarks that raised the question of who does what and the increasing
civilianization. I wonder if you could say more about that, because I
know there are some concerns in policing that it is seen as a kind of
simple and easy solution to simply pass duties on to civilians rather
than to uniformed police. Were there presentations on this at the
Mr. Mark Potter: Yes, there were. Let me take that question from
a couple of angles, if I may.
The first is recognizing, of course, the jurisdictional responsibilities for policing in Canada. It's not the role of the federal
government to be telling provincial and municipal police services
how to organize themselves and how to optimize their efficiency.
That's the first response.
The second thing I have to say is, again, that perhaps what we
really needed today was to have the minister here, because what
you've put forward as these three pillars seems to contradict a lot of
things that have been happening in the area of public safety, I
believe, on the part of the government, so it's difficult for me to ask
you those questions. We've seen cutbacks in resources for the front
end of policing, which I believe is quite often where we reduce
ultimate costs. We have those things in crime prevention and those
kinds of enforcement activities. We've seen a tendency towards
shedding those federal responsibilities and a downloading of those to
The second response is that we've seen countless examples around
the world and in Canada of police services that have used
civilianization extremely effectively. These range from the fairly
routine basic functions that you can sometimes civilianize to much
more specialized functions such as crime analysis and forensics,
where it makes sense to have highly trained civilian individuals
doing that work. However, I think it's a question of finding the right
mix for a particular police service, given its objectives and given its
community priorities.
Also, unfortunately, in the opening remarks of the minister I
thought we saw—maybe it was just a media emphasis—an
overemphasis on police salaries and a blaming of police as the cost
drivers in public safety, but again, without the minister here, it's
difficult to see.... The optimist in me says that perhaps we're seeing
the government chart a new course here in public safety, and I would
certainly very much like to see that, but it's really not something we
can ask you.
Mr. Tupper made remarks about crime prevention. One of the
concerns that we have had on this side of the table is that in the last
round of budget cuts, there seems to have been a reduction in the
federal support for anti-gang funding for police forces across the
country. I wonder how we square the reductions that have come in
those areas with this new direction that seems to be indicated here.
There is one thing I can ask you. We spoke to first nations police
chiefs about the summit. Before the summit, they had not been
invited. I guess my question is based on the idea that first nations
Mr. Randall Garrison: Thank you.
Mr. Shawn Tupper: In fact, my program has not been cut
through the deficit reduction exercise and whatnot. In fact, the
national centre was protected against cuts, for the very reason that
we want to maintain those programs. Since 2008, in fact, up until last
year, we're actually getting more money out the door.
January 29, 2013
That's not necessarily a government issue—it was actually a
program issue—but we are now getting more money out the door
through that program than we have in almost a decade.
Mr. Randall Garrison: On efficiencies within the justice system,
I wonder if you could say a few words about any presentations you
heard or any initiatives from the government about efficiencies
within the justice system. Again, we've seen a lot of legislation
coming before the House that would seem to me to place a lot more
burden on the justice system rather than reducing those costs. Was
there anything presented that you could talk about today?
Mr. Mark Potter: There was a session on justice efficiencies. In
that, they explored some of the requirements that are imposed on
policing. In this realm there's a recognition that it's not the policing
community leading change; it's the policing community that wants to
be engaged in the process of change.
A number of initiatives happening nationally and provincially are
looking at the efficiency and the accessibility of the justice system.
It's a question of factoring in police perspectives during those
deliberations and that analysis so that you get the full picture of the
impacts of the justice system on policing and you can take decisions
on that basis.
Mr. Randall Garrison: Okay. Thank you very much.
● (0910)
The Chair: Thank you very much.
We'll move back to Mr. Hawn, please, for seven minutes.
Hon. Laurie Hawn (Edmonton Centre, CPC): Thank you, Mr.
Thank you to all the witnesses for being here.
I'd like to talk about the funding side for just a second, because
there have been suggestions that funding to the front line has been
cut. You addressed the one issue of gangs, for which funding, in fact,
it has not been cut. We're getting more money out the door in that
area. Could you comment on funding in general, specifically the
funding of front-line policing?
Mr. Shawn Tupper: I can speak only to the aboriginal policing
program that I run.
That program was protected under the deficit reduction plan. In
the dictatorship of math, there was a $1 million reduction in the
program, but frankly, that was nothing in a $120 million program.
Essentially that funding has been maintained at a stable level, and it
gets out the door every year, so from the perspective of the first
nations policing program, we have maintained the funding and it is
getting out the door.
Hon. Laurie Hawn: Mr. Potter, can you comment more broadly?
Mr. Mark Potter: Absolutely.
Certainly policing hasn't been cut. In the last 10 years, we've seen
police expenditure in Canada rise from $6 billion to $12 billion. The
situation is one of looking at those costs and ensuring that the money
is being spent as efficiently and effectively as possible. We can't
speak to provincial and municipal police budgets, but in terms of the
RCMP budget, as was mentioned, that has been reduced with a focus
on administrative and operational support areas.
The last point I'd make is that the whole point of this process and
the summit is to get ahead of the point that other countries such as
the U.K. and the U.S. are at, where they're being forced, due to fiscal
realities, to make fairly drastic cuts to policing. The goal here is to
essentially give police services the opportunity to make wellconsidered adjustments to the new fiscal environment so that we're
not in the situation of making stark cuts to both budgets and police
Hon. Laurie Hawn: Thank you.
Deputy Commissioner Graham, how are you coping with being
more efficient regarding recruiting and training, which, I would
suggest, are the lifeblood of any military or paramilitary organization
like the RCMP?
Deputy Commissioner Steve Graham (Deputy Commissoner,
East Region, Royal Canadian Mounted Police): Do you mean
specifically with regard to training?
Hon. Laurie Hawn: I mean training and recruiting. Is there an
impact on recruiting as well?
D/Commr Steve Graham: There is an impact on recruiting
inasmuch as the numbers coming in the front door are not as high as
they were, but those are driven more by demographics, service
demand, and so on.
As you know, the emphasis has been on cost reduction with regard
to administrative efficiencies and re-engineering services. I believe
Deputy Commissioner Cabana or someone from his office is coming
before the committee to talk about federal policing and some of the
re-engineering there. We have, of course, the lab system. Forensic
science is re-engineering itself and reorganizing. Internally a lot of
administrative services, such as compensation and so on, are being
re-engineered. We're going from having different sites across the
country to having one site in order to take costs out of the system.
On the operational side, new technologies are being deployed.
Things like traffic tickets involve a very basic system. It's now fully
electronic in some jurisdictions, from the car right through the entire
system, including the registry of motor vehicles, the court system,
and everything, so it takes out a lot of human intervention and cost.
Hon. Laurie Hawn: Thank you for that.
I'll go back to Mr. Potter. There's been some suggestion that
people are blaming the police. Can you tell me what the component
is? Do you know what the salaries component is as a portion of the
overall budget?
Mr. Mark Potter: It typically varies to some degree, but human
resources represent in the range of 80% of police service budgets. I
think the perspective one should have on that is that it's mostly about
getting the most out of that salary envelope.
Hon. Laurie Hawn: That goes back to some of the things that
Deputy Commissioner Graham was talking about—making the
system more efficient, and so on.
You mentioned other countries. Are there other countries that we
specifically should look at or should not look at as examples of
things we might try?
Mr. Mark Potter: In particular, there are certainly a number of
countries, such as the U.K. and the U.S., that we should both look at
and draw certain lessons from, whether good or bad, based on the
experiences we've seen. There's a lot of experimentation happening
in the U.K. with new service models, use of new technologies, new
approaches to tiered policing, and so on. They're not all perfect and
we shouldn't necessarily rush to embrace them, but there are
certainly things we can learn and benefit from and consider applying
to our own police services.
January 29, 2013
The Chair: Thank you very much, Mr. Graham.
We'll now move to Mr. Scarpaleggia, please, for seven minutes.
Mr. Francis Scarpaleggia (Lac-Saint-Louis, Lib.): Thank you,
I would like to affirm what my colleague said about invitations not
being forthcoming to the opposition critics.
I imagine you had academics there from universities, or...?
However, it's really at the discretion of individual police services
themselves to draw on those lessons as they see fit. Part of the
challenge of developing a strategy and part of the role of
governments, both federal and provincial or territorial, is to facilitate
that process by providing information and research that will help
those police services make sound decisions.
● (0915)
Mr. Francis Scarpaleggia: It would have been very instructive.
As a matter of fact, I read about the summit as it was taking place,
and I thought it would be quite interesting to be part of that, to be
listening and to take in the information.
Hon. Laurie Hawn: You mentioned the U.K. A lot of the things
we do come from their traditions and practices and so on.
You were saying that policing costs have gone from $6 billion to
$12 billion in Canada—over what period, again?
Could you comment on their system, which obviously is a
geographically small area that doesn't have the provincial system we
have, and the challenges of implementing something that we might
get from the U.K. across Canada, for example?
Mr. Mark Potter: Yes, we can certainly look at the U.K. from
many different aspects. Their overall numbers in terms of number of
police officers per 100,000 population are actually quite high, and
their spending per capita is actually quite high, so there was, I think,
some scope in the U.K. to improving efficiency.
In U.K. police spending budgets over the last 10 to 15 years,
you've seen very dramatic increases that actually outpaced our own,
so I think they're retrenching there. We're seeing significant cuts that
the central government is bringing out, in the range of 15% to 20%
cuts to policing in the U.K., with significant impacts on front-line
officers and on policing numbers generally.
Many police services are exploring a whole range of tools,
whether technology, civilianization, outsourcing, or tiered policing,
to try to manage those cuts in a way that preserves a high level of
service to their community and minimizes the impact on the front
lines to the greatest extent possible, but quite a transformation is
happening in the U.K. right now.
Hon. Laurie Hawn: Okay.
To Deputy Commissioner Graham, with technology come new
forms of crime. We're always trying to stay one step ahead,
obviously. How are we doing on that with respect to new-technology
D/Commr Steve Graham: I think the Internet has been very
empowering for society generally, and with it come different types of
crime, whether it's Internet fraud, Internet-facilitated fraud, or
something as tragic as child exploitation. It's certainly changing
the dynamic in how we allocate resources and the kind of training
required for people to be technologically savvy in order to do those
kinds of investigations. It's changing the dynamic quite a bit, and
we're recognizing that change throughout the system in how we train
and develop officers. The demand currently is outstripping capacity,
but we're working hard to catch up.
Mr. Mark Potter: Yes.
Mr. Mark Potter: It was about the last 10 years.
Mr. Francis Scarpaleggia: It was the last 10 years. That's an
incredible increase. It reminds me a little bit of the galloping
increases in health care costs and how this has been as a result of
many factors, some demographic—for example, the aging population—and the introduction of new and complex technologies and so
on and so forth.
Often we hear—and we've been hearing this for a number of years
with respect to health care—that all we need to do is bring about
some administrative efficiencies and we will keep our costs down.
Today there is a realization, if you've read Jeffrey Simpson recently
—he's just written a book on the subject of health care in Canada,
but this is specifically in relation to an article he published recently
—that this is not the road to bringing down health care costs. We've
tapped that possibility as much as possible.
I'm wondering, then, how much room is there for saving as a
result of administrative efficiencies when you have more complex
crimes, especially in the area of white-collar crime, which I am told
needs more resources within the RCMP. It's extremely complex. You
have highly technological crimes that require highly trained
individuals. The investigations are more complex, and so on and
so forth.
As well, you have the problem across the board, not just with the
RCMP, of very high policing costs due to high police pensions. As a
matter of fact, when we talk about the problem in the United States,
from what I gather, the impetus for looking at bringing down
policing costs has been the result of huge pension liabilities. In some
communities, the whole municipal budget goes to pension liabilities.
I must say that I'm sure there are some administrative efficiencies
to be had, but I just don't see how you can solve a $12 billion
problem just by so-called back office improvements. I would like
your comments.
● (0920)
Mr. Mark Potter: Thank you.
January 29, 2013
I think the challenges are multi-layered. The first is we don't often
know how efficient most police services are because we have a
measurement challenge. There are a range of indicators that can be
helpful. Any one indicator in isolation often gives you mixed or
ambiguous information, so you have to be cautious in how you use it
and you want to look at a range of indicators. That's on the
quantitative side.
Then you begin to look more deeply into police work and realize
there's a whole qualitative side to policing that is not easily captured
by typical measurements. It's a real challenge to open up the box,
look inside the police service, and figure out how efficient and
effective it is. We've seen programs in the U.K., for example, in
which private sector specialists come in and work with you to look at
all of your processes, look at each officer's daily routines, and break
them down into what they're doing basically every minute of the day.
They look at all of those steps. Having done that, they assess
possible areas in which efficiency can be increased, and often what
they find are fairly straightforward things.
A lot of policing is about demand management. Whether it's calls
related to crimes or calls for service, you're managing the demands
that residents place on the police services, so it's about how you do
that as efficiently as possible: how you prioritize those calls, how
you use things like scheduling for non-urgent calls, how you use
technology—mobile technology, for example—and how officers in
the field are better able to respond to those calls.
Once you do that assessment, you're in a much better position,
having looked in a very detailed way at a police service, to
recommend how you might improve the efficiency.
Mr. Francis Scarpaleggia: Basically, you're saying we need more
outside consultants to provide advice on how to save money. We
know that often when we bring in outside consultants in any
scenario, we end up spending more, but I agree that they will
probably see areas in which cost savings can be made.
“Civilianization” is a new term. I'm not familiar with it.
Civilianization—is that what it is?
Mr. Mark Potter: Yes.
Mr. Francis Scarpaleggia: It sounds to me as though it means
one of two things. It means taking some of the services that are
performed in-house by police forces and essentially contracting them
out to outside specialists. Again, the state will still be spending
money, except it will be spending on outside contractors, and
sometimes that doesn't save that much money.
Is there another element of trying to download costs onto the
civilian population? In other words, are we saying, “Create more
neighbourhood watch groups, and we won't have to patrol as much”,
and so on?
In terms of demand management, I think if you speak to any
citizen who's witnessed a break-in or whose house alarm has gone
off or what have you, they'll say they didn't call the police because it
takes them so long to get here and so on. Whenever they do come
and take a report, they say—and this is just anecdotal—“Look
ma'am, it's really going to be hard to find this person. It's like a
needle in a haystack”, and so on.
It seems to me there's a sort of pent-up demand for policing
services, so I don't think there's a lot reduction of demand to be had. I
just think the system's overwhelmed. That's what citizens seem to be
saying to me.
I'm really curious about the jurisdictional aspect of policing. We
say policing is a provincial jurisdiction unless we're talking about the
RCMP, and yet we have all kinds of federal programs and crime
prevention, and the government—
The Chair: Mr. Scarpaleggia, we're well over our seven minutes
Mr. Francis Scarpaleggia: Okay. Well, I appreciate your
The Chair: Thank you for your enlightening talk, though.
Go ahead, Madame Lefebvre.
Ms. Rosane Doré Lefebvre (Alfred-Pellan, NDP): Thank you
very much, Mr. Chair.
Gentlemen, I would like to thank you for being here today.
This study is extremely important. It gives us some clarification
on the direction we want to take and what to do to straighten all this
out. I should say that this is an important national issue.
I'm in favour of looking at where we can save and where the
money needs to be put so that this is as effective as possible. We all
want our police forces to be as effective as possible, with the best
possible budgets.
Mr. Potter, you've probably heard about the Police Officers
Recruitment Fund, which is going to end in March 2013. In Quebec,
it was used to fight street gangs. Four years ago, joint squads were
formed to that effect. It worked incredibly well. Positive results were
seen in the first year, and at a lower cost because these were joint
squads that travelled from town to town. So fewer police were used
to do a larger job over a broader territory. It worked extremely well.
Now, we are unfortunately stuck because this recruitment fund is
going to be discontinued. The joint squads for fighting street gangs,
which worked well, are unfortunately not going to receive any more
funding. I think that's a problem.
When a program is effective, could we not invest the money and
use it as an example instead of getting rid of it? Could we not use
this type of program nationally with another type of fund?
● (0925)
Mr. Mark Potter: Thank you very much.
I think you're referring to the police officers recruitment fund,
which was a program initiated in 2008. From the outset that was
announced as a one-time investment to support provincial and
territorial police recruitment efforts. I understand that the minister
has conveyed on more than one occasion to his provincial and
territorial colleagues that the government currently has no intention
of continuing that program.
Ms. Rosane Doré Lefebvre: It's extremely unfortunate. So, in
your opinion, there is no alternative. For Quebec, it meant about
$92 million over five years. We're talking about $400 million
This part of the program worked well. I don't want to insinuate
that other parts of the police forces don't work as well, far from it.
But was the functioning of these programs, namely this partnership
with several towns, not raised during the summit? Was it mentioned
that it could be a good example, that it might be necessary and that it
had been requested by the police forces?
Mr. Mark Potter: That particular initiative was not specifically
referred to at the summit, but I think the more general question
relates to the fiscal constraints faced by both the Government of
Canada and all governments in Canada to a considerable degree.
Much of the point of the economics of policing summit and the
development of that issue and getting ahead of that issue is to
recognize fiscal reality and recognize that the answer is not
necessarily putting more money into policing but instead taking
the considerable amount of money that's currently invested in
policing and finding ways to use it as efficiently and effectively as
Ms. Rosane Doré Lefebvre: I agree with you; we must use this as
effectively as possible.
You mentioned some examples that we should or should not
follow, but you didn't delve too deeply into it. You mentioned the
United Kingdom and the United States. What approaches are these
countries taking that you would not want to have here? For example,
we often hear about privatization in the United States. Is that a
direction we want to take or are we reluctant to adopt that approach?
Mr. Mark Potter: Thank you.
As I mentioned earlier, I think it's not the role of the federal
government to tell police services across Canada what they should
do in terms of specific programs and how they should approach
improving their efficiency and effectiveness. I think our role is
facilitative: providing them with information, sharing best practices,
providing tools that will help them to make that decision with their
communities and their residents as they see fit.
In terms of your broader point about what can we learn from other
jurisdictions, I think there is a tremendous amount we can learn from
other jurisdictions, whether it comes to structures to support policing
or to individual actions within policing.
Your colleague a moment ago was asking about civilianization.
Civilianization is not a new phenomenon. It's been in policing for a
very long time. We have about 69,000 sworn police officers in
Canada. We have about 30,000 civilian staff working in police
services directly with them. It's a question of basically looking at the
skill sets of the different individuals and applying them as efficiently
as possible. A person trained to be a sworn police officer has certain
skills, often to deal with a tremendous range of challenges and
January 29, 2013
problems in the field, but that doesn't necessarily make them an IT
expert, for example.
● (0930)
The Chair: Thank you very much, Mr. Potter.
I have a couple of questions.
First of all, I want to comment on Mr. Scarpaleggia's statement at
the beginning about the opposition critics not being invited to the
conference. To make it clear, I don't think the government was
invited either. As far as the invitation list is concerned, it was
something that was worked out with the provinces and with all levels
of government.
Also, the challenges of moving in 10 years from a $6 billion
budget to $12 billion budget for policing have been brought out here,
and the challenges of just how we can keep some of these costs in
line but still maintain protection of society as a guiding principle for
all this. I'm wondering, as we begin this report, if there is some way
that you could brief us a little bit about the process in allocation
dollars. We understand that we have a role as a federal government,
but we also know that a lot of this can fall under provincial
What is the process? As we decide to send money to the
provinces, be it the RCMP or municipal policing, can you give our
committee a bit of an idea? Is it based on per capita? What is the
consideration for geography, for rural areas or large areas to police
over? Where do “case calls” come in, if we can use that term? How
is this allocation of funds divvied up?
I think that's maybe part of what Mr. Scarpaleggia was asking as
well when he at the end talked about jurisdictions.
Mr. Mark Potter: Thank you.
I think there are a few layers to this aspect. There are the overall
budgets that often are driven by the fiscal situation in a particular
jurisdiction, as well as things like collective agreements that have
been reached with police officer associations, which have been an
important factor in those budgets.
For example, let's look at the City of Toronto. Over the past two
years Toronto has been going through quite a challenging situation
with their city budget being reduced. As part of that, the city has
been working with its Police Services Board, which has been
working with the police service to try to find efficiencies and to try
to find savings. They look at the whole range of their operations and
how they can improve efficiency, trying to do that and meet the
broader city financial objectives. That's an ongoing process within
As you go deeper within a police service—and Steve could speak
much better to this than I can—you find resource allocation models
that most police services like the RCMP have that allow you to
rationally determine how many police officers you need in a
particular location at a particular time. Those are fairly sophisticated
models that they use, and they look at a whole range of factors to
help them make those decisions.
The Chair: Thank you.
Go ahead, Ms. Bergen.
January 29, 2013
Ms. Candice Bergen: Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I want to go back to the police officers recruitment fund. I think
it's important for all of us around the table to be very clear what the
police officers recruitment fund was, how it was communicated, and
how it was used.
It was announced by our government that there would be $400
million for police recruitment across the country. Is that correct?
Mr. Mark Potter: Yes.
Ms. Candice Bergen: Was it made clear at the time to all
jurisdictions that this was a temporary fund, or was it ever indicated
that this was permanent money?
Mr. Mark Potter: It was communicated as a one-time
Ms. Candice Bergen: Then it was up to the jurisdictions,
including the City of Montreal, as to whether they were going to set
up a permanent program or a temporary program, correct?
Mr. Mark Potter: The discretion as to how they use those funds
to meet their policing needs was at the discretion of the province and
Ms. Candice Bergen: It was their decision, so when they took the
money and assumed that it would be permanent, that was their error
in judgment. That was not a miscommunication by this government.
Mr. Mark Potter: I think the government was clear, when it
announced the program, that it was a one-time investment.
Ms. Candice Bergen: Everybody else across the country got that.
They understood that. Correct? I think so. Thank you very much.
I want to ask you another question. One of the programs that
works really well in Manitoba, including in Portage la Prairie in my
riding, is the citizens on patrol program, which is a really good
example of.... What was the term?
Mr. Francis Scarpaleggia: It's “civilianization”.
Ms. Candice Bergen: Yes. This has been going on for 20-some
years, so it's actually not that new.
Is that something that was discussed at all during the summit? Has
it worked in other provinces? As I said, in Manitoba it works very
well, but I know that when I was in Alberta, there seemed to be a
struggle to get things off the ground and organized.
Can you talk a little bit about that program?
● (0935)
Mr. Mark Potter: It's a model that's been pretty widely used.
I'd make a distinction here between civilianization and what is
typically referred to as tiered policing, which refers to engaging
individuals to carry out different and often more basic functions than
what a typical police officer would do. Let's take, for example, the U.
K., where they have a fairly robust tiered policing framework in
place: there are the sworn police officers, who are the majority of the
staff; there is the civilian staff within the police service, who often
carry out administrative and support functions; and then there are
two other categories of police personnel.
The first is what they call police community safety officers. These
are individuals who are very engaged in the neighbourhood and the
community—understanding their needs, gathering information, and
working to solve problems. That is one other level.
The other one is exactly the one you referred to, which is
volunteers. They call them special constables in the U.K. We have
them in Canada, too. Different police services use them to varying
degrees, but they can often be a very helpful resource for meeting
policing needs and meeting the needs of the communities in terms of
visibility and some of the more basic functions you don't necessarily
want to have a fully sworn officer carrying out.
Ms. Candice Bergen: I've heard them described as the eyes and
ears of the police officers.
Going back to the training costs associated with policing, could
any of the three of you talk about how training costs vary? For
example, one of the cost savings in provinces that take advantage of
RCMP contracts is in training costs. Municipalities that have to train
their own police bear those costs themselves. Can you talk about the
difference between having an overall federal training program, such
as in the RCMP, compared to, for example, the City of Winkler, in
my community, which recruits and trains its own police?
D/Commr Steve Graham: In terms of basic training, a certain
percentage goes back to the jurisdictions, to the provinces, that pay a
share of those costs. In terms of training generally—ongoing general
police training, re-qualification for firearms, use of force, supervisory training, and so on—those, again, are costs that are sourced
back to the particular function the individual is coming from. There
is a whole apparatus working behind the scenes that allocates those
costs on a percentage basis at agreed-to percentages covered under
the agreement.
The Chair: Thank you very much.
We'll move to Monsieur Rousseau.
Mr. Rousseau, you have five minutes.
Mr. Jean Rousseau (Compton—Stanstead, NDP): Thank you
very much, Mr. Chair.
My question is for Mr. Potter or Mr. Tupper.
What might the repercussions be of the new orientations of your
study, particularly with respect to remote police forces? For example,
I'm thinking of the Canada Border Service Agency officers, who
carry out police-related duties at customs and are already heavily
burdened by their daily tasks. How will it apply at the border?
Mr. Mark Potter: I'm not in a position to answer that. I think the
CBSA would be able to give you more information on what they
have been doing in terms of efficiency improvements and
operational reviews.
Mr. Jean Rousseau: The 2012-2013 budget already includes
budget cuts of several hundreds of millions of dollars for the Canada
Border Services Agency and the RCMP. Given that employeremployee labour relations are already very difficult in this situation,
how do you think these reforms will be received on the ground?
How are you going to implement savings, whether they're economies
of scale or computerizing this or that service when, let's be frank,
police officers are already seriously shaken by these reforms and
● (0940)
Mr. Mark Potter: I'm afraid I'm not in a position to comment on
CBSA cuts or reforms that might be under way. I just don't have that
Mr. Jean Rousseau: If this study is done, regardless of the
direction it's given, there will be repercussions on the ground. What
are we going to tell the people on the ground? What will we do for
their morale? We are talking about savings, but these are human
beings, people who work in the field. And all these people should be
represented at the table.
As we know, employees are more efficient when they are proud of
what they do. But how are you going to establish a healthy
relationship in order to make this more efficient? I don't see this
anywhere here.
The Chair: Go ahead, Mr. Potter.
Mr. Mark Potter: Thank you.
Yes, I think that's a very important issue. The involvement of all
aspects of the policing community in reforms is absolutely essential
if you want to bring about lasting change, so in organizing the
summit, we worked very closely with the three main national
policing associations, including the Canadian Police Association,
which represents front-line officers. Their president and their
members were very much involved in the planning of the summit,
in the dialogue at the summit, and in raising important issues.
There were also some interesting discussions among, for example,
academics who looked at reform efforts both in the U.S. and the U.
K. Their studies have indicated that in many instances front-line
police officers were not engaged in developing reforms, in scoping
out how you can improve efficiency. That was often the reason the
changes didn't succeed, so that's an important element that you need
to build into the program.
Another example is that when they're looking at doing efficiency
reviews in the U.K., they realize they need to have the front-line
officers directly involved in that process, not only to get their
perspective but to build a capacity for continuous improvement. It's
through that engagement that you can bring about lasting change.
The Chair: You have one minute, sir.
Mr. Jean Rousseau: I have one minute.
January 29, 2013
I would simply like to make one comment.
When I speak with people in the field, either RCMP officers or
Sûreté du Québec officers, they often tell me that administrative
duties make up such a large part of their daily tasks that they no
longer have time for prevention work on the ground. How will this
be addressed in the study?
Mr. Mark Potter: Absolutely. I think that's an essential element,
as well as breaking down their tasks and asking if that's adding
value. Is that contributing to the safety of the community? Could that
officer be doing other things that are more useful?
Mr. Jean Rousseau: Thank you very much.
The Chair: Thank you, Mr. Rousseau.
Mr. Leef, you have five minutes.
Mr. Ryan Leef (Yukon, CPC): Thank you, Mr. Chair, and
welcome to our witnesses.
I want to go back over a few things, because we tend to hear
generalized comments being made that the opposition members hope
will stick. I think it's important that we reiterate a few of those and
clarify a couple of points before I get to the questions.
We heard a little bit earlier that there's concern that at the summit
the chiefs weren't invited, but of course, Mr. Potter, you clarified
that. You indicated that in fact they were, and that a lot of thought
was put behind who was going to be invited. I thought that was
Then Mr. Tupper clarified that there was no reduction in the antigang programs, and that the money in fact was going out the door
more now than in the past 10 years.
The third point brought up was that there was a concern that the
first nation program had been cut, but Mr. Tupper, you indicated that
it's been protected and is stable.
There was also a comment made that front-line policing service
has been cut, but you mentioned that we'd seen an increase from $6
billion to $12 billion in the last handful of years, and you haven't
been cutting on the front line. I've read “Police Resources in
Canada” and seen constant-dollar increases in police resourcing in
that publication year after year, particularly more in light of the need
for recruitment, with around two-thirds of the police force—I think
I've got my numbers right—preparing to retire between that time
Then we just heard that there were cuts to CBSA. I know, Mr.
Potter, you weren't prepared to comment on that, but you probably
have a great interest in it, so I'll just let you know that there was
actually a 26% increase to the CBSA. That hasn't been cut either, so
let's hope none of that sticks.
Now let's get to some questions.
January 29, 2013
I've seen some great work done in the Yukon Territory in terms of
efficiencies and new modelling with the Royal Canadian Mounted
Police. It does touch on some of the questions that Mr. Rousseau
talked about in terms of police engagement. They've increased the
limited-duration posting time periods, as an example. That was
directly what members wanted. They were just getting a foothold in
the community in two years, and they said, “Why don't you let us
stay for three or four years?” That was one area.
As well, reserve policing got brought back into the territory
wholeheartedly in the last four or five years, with retired members
coming back. I know that's been an advantage to policing services
and the RCMP, and it was driven at the members' level. They said
they needed this for training, needed this for leave accruement.
The RCMP has now moved into an agreement with the
Whitehorse Correctional Centre to do their cellblock services.
They've moved cellblock services out of the detachment up to the
correctional centre. It's provided a higher level of efficiency and
more time on the road for police officers. That's another thing driven
by the front-line police officers in the RCMP there, and it's great use
of community partnerships and relationships.
Moving from those operational things to the legislative end, is
there legislation that we can look at to improve administrative
efficiencies or financial efficiencies? One thing I'm looking at is the
RCMP accountability act, for example. There is definitely a
tremendous cost in leave and internal grievances and those sorts of
things, and legislation can help reduce that burden, but what about
legislation regarding proceeds of crime? Money that police officers
generate in this country by fighting crime generally goes into general
coffers. Is there some creative strategy we could use to see some of
that returned to police work or given back directly into policing? Is
there any other legislation?
I'll open this to anybody who has a comment on that.
● (0945)
Mr. Mark Potter: Perhaps I'll kick it off.
Certainly the bill you referred to, Bill C-42, is in third reading.
The RCMP accountability act will strengthen the complaints regime,
but as you noted, it will lead to certain improvements in HR
management that should realize greater efficiencies within the
RCMP, going forward, to manage their human resources, their
discipline, their grievance processes, and so on. That's the federal
As noted, the jurisdictional responsibilities are quite clear. You
have, for example, in both Ontario and B.C. comprehensive reviews
under way right now on their policing acts and their policing models.
I expect we may see more of this across the country, given the fiscal
challenges, but those governments are looking at their police service
acts in a very comprehensive way, asking whether they need to make
legislative changes to advance policing and improve efficiency and
effectiveness. It's happening at that level.
Maybe I'll leave it at that.
The Chair: Thank you.
Mr. Graham, we'll pick up on some of his question maybe a little
later on.
Go ahead, Mr. Rafferty.
Mr. John Rafferty (Thunder Bay—Rainy River, NDP): Thank
you very much, Chair. It's great to be back.
Thank you for being here.
I found it interesting in Mr. Toews' remarks that he says we're all
in this together; as the director general of policing policy, you know
that's not true. There are police services in this country that are left
far behind. I'll give you an example in a minute.
All of Mr. Toews' remarks in his opening remarks at the
conference, and things you have been talking about today, make
an assumption that all police services are at least at a certain level in
this country—that they are at a point where perhaps they need to, as
you say, become more efficient and more effective, but that they
have the basics there. However, as you are aware as director general,
there are police services, such as first nations police services, that are
woefully inadequate in terms of their efficiency and their effectiveness.
There are a number of first nations police forces in northern
Ontario, and on the road system they are not so bad. However, when
they have to deal with 39 fly-in communities and not have the
money there....
I know Mr. Toews says you can't buy this and that it's not about
buying police services, but a service like the Nishnawbe-Aski Police
Service in northwestern Ontario has virtually no communications
equipment. They use cellphones. They have inadequate housing.
There was an instance, I think last year, of a young officer being
flown out with a burst spleen because of mould in his house. Officers
continually go one week and two weeks past any rotation because
there's no one to replace them. The OPP, which used to pick up the
slack a little bit, over the last couple of years is no longer doing it
because of their own budget restraints.
I know it probably didn't come up at this conference, but as you're
planning and when you're talking about efficiencies and effectiveness and you have a police force like the one in northwestern
Ontario, the Nishnawbe-Aski Police Service, that simply can't do the
job.... I'm sure you're aware of the issues surrounding those
communities in northern Ontario, particularly the fly-in communities, and drug and alcohol abuse, and so on and so forth, and all the
issues associated there.
Is there any talk at all about dealing with those police services and
making sure they are at least up to the standards of other police
services across Canada?
● (0950)
The Chair: Go ahead, Mr. Tupper.
Mr. Shawn Tupper: There is ongoing discussion about the first
nations policing program and the kinds of investments.
I think I would first want to point out that we need to remember
that the first nations policing program is designed to add additional
policing services on top of what the provinces already provide
through their policing programs. No community is without policing,
from the perspective that the provinces have a baseline of policing
they provide.
You quite rightly point out a significant challenge in policing in
Canada, which is how to deal with remote communities that don't
have the same kind of access. This isn't an aboriginal issue. It's a
reality in Canada that we do have to fly into some communities, and
we have those challenges. Aboriginal communities tend to be
isolated in many jurisdictions, and so they confront these issues
across the board.
We have given advice to the government, and the government is
discussing the future of that program and has been discussing with
the provinces and territories the future of that program to determine
the kinds of investments to make. We're going through exactly the
same thing in looking at first nations policing as Mark is going
through in looking at policing generally, which is finding what the
most efficient model is and what the right kinds of investments are.
We have a $120 million program, and we really do need to stop and
think about whether we are spending that money in the right way.
You quite rightly point out that there are challenges in those
communities that focus largely on some of the facilities and the tools
they have to deliver policing. We are in active discussions with the
provinces and territories, again across the land, to address those
kinds of issues and try to find the models that will allow us to fund
those things adequately.
Mr. John Rafferty: Just to clarify, there are in fact communities
in northwestern Ontario that are without policing.
The Chair: You have 15 seconds.
Mr. John Rafferty: I hope by bringing this up.... Of course you
are aware of the issues, particularly in the Nishnawbe-Aski Police
Service. I don't know if there are others in as poor a state across the
country as they are, but I would ask you to go back now after this
and really make a serious effort in dealing with the issues that are
faced in northwestern Ontario by the Nishnawbe-Aski Police
Mr. Shawn Tupper: Absolutely.
The Chair: Thank you very much.
Before we go to Mr. Payne, I will let the committee know that we
will have other meetings a little later on at which the focus will be on
aboriginal policing and remote policing.
Go ahead, Mr. Payne.
Mr. LaVar Payne (Medicine Hat, CPC): Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I thank the witnesses for coming today.
I was very interested in the conference that went on.
Mr. Potter, you indicated that sometime in the spring or the
summer we should hear from the participants, particularly those in B.
C. and Ontario, who I believe are going to chair the changes or
support opportunities that may be available. I'm assuming that all
provinces will still have input into those organizations or those
provinces that are leading the changes.
Mr. Mark Potter: I'll take a stab at that one. I want to make sure I
understand your question.
The summit has led to the undertaking of a collective process to
develop a forward agenda. That collective process will involve all
governments. It will involve the three national policing associations
January 29, 2013
and other stakeholders. There's going to be a process of pretty broadbased engagement between now and the fall to explore with them the
development of this forward agenda and areas in which we
collectively may choose to act.
● (0955)
Mr. LaVar Payne: Have they specified any particular areas they
want to look at during this stage?
Mr. Mark Potter: Perhaps.
There are a couple of things here. You may be picking up on my
earlier remarks about B.C. and Ontario doing their own in-depth
review of their police services, which is happening in parallel with
this process. They have certain issues and areas of responsibility they
want to look at in a very detailed way, so they'll be doing that in
Part of the goal and part of the reason we're all working together is
that we can develop a Canada-wide approach that respects what's
happening in each jurisdiction and adds value to those processes.
There might be actions that one can take at a Canada-wide level, in
terms of sharing information on best practices, for example, or for
enhanced research and research coordination that would benefit
everyone and support those other initiatives.
Mr. LaVar Payne: Thank you.
In Alberta we have a combination of municipal as well as RCMP
services, particularly in my riding of Medicine Hat. I can think of a
couple of communities. The City of Brooks, for example, uses
RCMP, and the Town of Taber has its own municipal police force, as
well as Medicine Hat.
Deputy Commissioner, in terms of the provinces and the
agreement with the federal government on the RCMP services,
could you give me some clarification on who's paying what costs, in
particular when we get down into the City of Brooks, which has the
forces there, as well as the small Town of Redcliff?
D/Commr Steve Graham: As you know, we just renewed or
actually created a new agreement for policing services. It's based on
the premise of a cost-sharing arrangement that brings benefits to both
the federal government and the province and/or the municipality.
The numbers generally frame up as follows: for provincial
policing there is a 70%-30% cost-share across a wide base of input
costs. For municipalities in excess of 15,000 there is a 90%-10%
split, and for municipalities of less than 15,000 it's generally 70%30%, which is very similar to the provincial contract. There are
dedicated municipal agreements, and some provinces have what are
called extended agreements under the provincial umbrella, so it
varies. In the territories it's the same model.
Mr. LaVar Payne: You and Mr. Potter talked about administrative cost savings. Do you have any details that would help us
understand what that actually means? Are there any specific actions?
Do those include benefits or those kinds of issues?
Mr. Mark Potter: I can take a stab at it more generally.
January 29, 2013
We don't have details—that's the short answer—because, frankly,
there hasn't been a lot of cost reduction happening within Canada in
policing at the macro level until quite recently, in the last year or so.
We're starting to see that happen. I mentioned Toronto earlier;
they've begun a process of reducing their budget, or at least
containing the growth rate. There would be information there on
what sort of administrative changes they've brought about to do that.
Clearly the RCMP is in the process of doing that right now, as I
mentioned in my remarks.
The U.K. is another good example. They have an agency of the
central government that looks at what's happening in terms of
policing reform efforts and how they are realizing savings. They
begin to break it down in quite a detailed way as to the major trends
they're seeing to realize those cost savings. Is it use of technology? Is
it use of civilian staff? Is it use of tiered policing, and so on? They
can break it out.
We're nowhere near that point yet in the level of measurement and
reporting, but more fundamentally, we're not at that point in terms of
the degree of change that has happened within our police service and
being able to capture that in a systematic way so that we can gain
anecdotal information in Canada. In the U.K. they have a much more
advanced system of tracking and analyzing the reform efforts and
efficiencies they've realized.
● (1000)
The Chair: Thank you very much.
This is the one place where the government has a back-to-back
question. Mr. Gill, welcome to committee. It's your turn. Mr. LaVar
Payne has already used up one of your minutes. You have four
Mr. LaVar Payne: How can that be? I have another question.
Mr. Parm Gill (Brampton—Springdale, CPC): Thank you, Mr.
Chair. I also want to thank the witnesses for being here.
My question is for Mr. Potter. In your opening remarks, you
mentioned another key FPT deliverable: the catalogue of initiatives
from across Canada that improve the efficiency and effectiveness of
policing that was also showcased at the summit. I'm wondering if
you're able to tell us what some of those initiatives in the catalogue
Mr. Mark Potter: Sure.
The catalogue is a work in progress. This was a commitment made
at the Charlottetown meeting. These initiatives at one level sound
quite simplistic, but in reality I think they can be quite fundamental
to reform efforts. As a police service, it's not an easy task when
you're looking at how you might reform, innovate, and make
yourself more efficient and effective, so other examples from across
the country and around the world that let you learn what works and
what doesn't work can be tremendously helpful, at least in giving
you ideas into areas you want to look at more deeply and then
perhaps customize for your particular situation.
We're still gathering the information from all the provincial and
territorial governments and the police services within them. We hope
to have a document soon that we would be able to share with our
provincial and territorial colleagues first and foremost so they can
see the whole package. We were able to pull that together in a rough
draft at the summit for them to look at, but this is still a work in
progress and will take a little longer to be finalized. This would be an
important tool to share.
It builds on initiatives we've seen in other countries. The
Department of Justice in the United States has an online tool called
"". I'd recommend the committee look at it. It's
quite a robust site where they look at various initiatives, whether
problem-oriented policing, hot spots, increased patrols in particular
areas, integrated teams, and so on. They look at those programs and
the evidence-based research related to those programs and try to
validate how effective those programs are. It's a very user-friendly
site that lists what the research is telling you about the various
initiatives happening in police services right across the United States
and how effective they are based on sound analytics related to those
programs. I think moving toward that kind of model in Canada could
be very helpful.
Mr. Parm Gill: Would this be a first-time effort of this kind? Is a
previous so-called catalogue not available for best practices for other
police forces or agencies that they can share?
Mr. Mark Potter: My understanding is that this is new to
Canada. Perhaps some of the academics you may hear from would
have knowledge of a number of initiatives that are under way. They
would be able to pull that information together in some fashion.
Having spoken with quite a number of academics in Canada, I
know that really is a gap. It's an area where we can do better. We can
learn from others, and we can build that capacity here to assist police
services in their reforms.
Mr. Parm Gill: Perfect.
I'm also wondering if you'd be able to tell us what amount of
money the federal government contributes to policing at the
provincial and municipal levels with regard to contracts. As well,
are there any other areas where costs are incurred?
Mr. Mark Potter: I'm afraid I don't have those numbers at my
fingertips. I'd have to look into it, certainly conceptually, to break it
down. Of that $12 billion figure we spend on policing in Canada, a
portion would be direct funding by the federal government to the
RCMP. Within that, as Deputy Commissioner Graham mentioned, a
portion goes to contract jurisdictions. It's the 30% or the 10% share.
We would have to pull those numbers together to come up with the
precise number for you.
The Chair: Thank you very much, Mr. Potter.
Thank you, Mr. Gill.
We'll now move to Mr. Garrison, please.
Mr. Randall Garrison: Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
I like a lot of things we're hearing here. It's interesting to me that it
seems, in part at least, to be heading in a different direction than the
government's traditional approach to crime. It's moving toward an
approach we've advocated, which is more along the lines of building
safer communities.
Not having the minister appear before us, I think it'll be interesting
to see our report. I guess at that time the minister will give us a
response to whatever report we choose to create on this topic of the
economics of policing, but I'm certainly very glad to hear the
emphasis on partnership and consultation.
I want to turn to the specific question of mental health. We have
seen, in the prison system, the cost driver that mental health
problems can be and the difficulties we've had in dealing with that.
In my own experience, about a decade ago, when I sat on a
municipal police board, we had discussions about mental health as a
significant cost driver for our police force. That included things like
uniformed officers having to sit at a hospital with a person in crisis
until a doctor arrived. It meant sometimes sitting there as long as six
or seven hours, when they could be otherwise used for crime
prevention purposes.
I've had some recent discussions with municipal chiefs of police
and with the RCMP inspector in West Shore in my riding. This issue
continues to be a problem in British Columbia. When people have
mental health crises, even if there are community resources, people
tend not to have their crises between 9 and 5, when mental health
agencies tend to be available. They tend to have them during
evenings and weekends, when the police are really the only resource
available in the community.
Was this topic brought up at the summit? Is there any way we can
try to make sure that in this study we address mental health issues
and leaving mental health to police?
● (1005)
Mr. Mark Potter: Perhaps I'll take a first crack at this.
Yes, absolutely, this is a key concern, because that is a pretty
important driver of calls to police for service. How you deal with
individuals with mental health challenges as effectively as possible is
a very important part of being responsive to your community and
enhancing community safety. I don't want to harp too much on best
practices, but you certainly have examples, as alluded to earlier, of
models in Alberta, for example, where Calgary, Edmonton, and
Grand Prairie have joint response teams. A mental health
professional goes out with the police officer on particular calls,
because often they are better trained and better prepared to deal with
those sorts of individuals who need that help. There are initiatives
like that.
There are other initiatives that in some ways sound kind of
mundane but could be quite important. In Whitehorse, I know that
the RCMP has an agreement with the hospital there on how they will
deal with the treatment of mental health-challenged individuals who
are brought in as a result of incidents. Finding the most efficient way
the hospital can engage with those individuals and help them allows
the police officers to get back out into the community and continue
doing police work. As you mentioned, you sometimes have
situations in which the police are required to be in a hospital for a
considerable period of time, and that's not the best use of resources.
Mr. Shawn Tupper: You could write a whole report just on this
facet. The debate around the implications of mental health issues
across the criminal justice system is hot. We discuss it at every venue
I sit at.
January 29, 2013
Certainly from a crime prevention perspective, the focus of the
crime prevention program is on youth, trying to understand the risks
that we can identify early on with respect to youth and how and why
they are acting out. Getting to them earlier and diverting them away
from the criminal justice system is a really critical element of that.
Looking at mental health issues in that context is certainly a big
Following the summit, I went straight to Montreal and participated
in a criminal justice forum where the topic was mental health. Again,
we're trying to look at diversion within the criminal justice system,
so it's giving the courts opportunities to look at people who have
mental heath issues and trying to deal with sentencing and whatnot
that is more innovative, if I can put it that way. Certainly it's giving
tools to all aspects of the system so that they can address these kinds
of issues rather than just simply judicializing people who perhaps
should not be judicialized.
Within the Correctional Service of Canada, we've made some
fairly good progress over the last five years in terms of looking at
how we're managing offenders who have mental health issues. We
now have mental health programming that 80% of offenders can
access. We have beds available for one in 20 offenders who need
actual day bed in-patient treatment, so there is lots of investing in
this huge issue right across the whole spectrum of the criminal
justice system.
The Chair: Thank you very much.
Thank you for your question.
We'll move to Mr. Aspin, please.
Welcome back, Mr. Aspin.
Mr. Jay Aspin (Nipissing—Timiskaming, CPC): Thank you,
Welcome, gentlemen. Welcome to the committee.
In a study on policing economics, the big elephant in the room
here is obviously salaries. You have pointed out that costs have gone
from $6 billion to $12 billion over the last decade, with a 40%
increase in police salaries.
That has caused a lot of stress in my riding, particularly among a
lot of the smaller rural communities. They're having a tough time
coping with their policing costs. They are looking at all kinds of
ways and means of reducing police costs.
We have some figures here. We're talking about a 40% increase in
police officers' salaries compared with 11% for the average
Mr. Potter, could you explain to me why there is such a
discrepancy between police officers and the rest of Canadians?
● (1010)
Mr. Mark Potter: I think this is an important dimension, but I
think it's important to keep it in context.
January 29, 2013
I think police officer salaries have been increasing over the past
period particularly because of the fiscal situations in most
jurisdictions, which have been quite favourable. Collective agreements have been reached on that basis. As that fiscal situation
tightens to a considerable degree, that problem will begin to solve
itself, because there will be a requirement for all jurisdictions to
manage within their resources. We have seen that at the federal
government level. We have seen that in terms of RCMP salaries,
which sets an important precedent. To a considerable degree, that
issue will be constrained through that process.
I would make a couple of other observations. The nature of police
work is tremendously complex and challenging. Your colleague just
mentioned mental health issues. To have an individual with the right
skill set to be able to deal with an individual in distress and to
recognize the potential that the situation could range from the
individual simply requiring a little assistance and sympathy to a
potential violent act—to have the training, the judgment, and the
interpersonal communications to do that is tremendously difficult. To
get those individuals, to retain those individuals, you need to pay
them a good salary.
Having been involved in this issue for some time now, I actually
don't think it's a question of police officer salaries. I think it's a
question of the salary envelope, the overall amount you are spending
on human resources and how you get the biggest bang for your buck.
I think a whole bunch of ways you can do that aren't necessarily
about reducing police officer salaries—far from it; they're much
more about civilianization, tiered policing, technology, and other
tools to improve efficiency.
Mr. Jay Aspin: Thank you for that.
It seems to me that this study is a very introspective study. I just
wondered if there was an element that could look at policing costs
relative to the overall global costs. Is there any element that would
take a look at the proportions there and try to suggest some means of
giving us a perspective on those costs as well?
Mr. Mark Potter: I think we have a bit of a luxury in Canada in
that we're ahead of this issue. I don't think there are necessarily a lot
of issues on which you have an opportunity to see what's happening
around the world, to analyze the trends that are happening there and
in Canada, to try to get ahead of the issue, and to try to take action
before you have to do things in a drastic or blunt way. We're looking
at well-considered strategies to manage the growth in policing costs
that we've seen in Canada over the last several years.
strategies to respond.” In many cases, they had to respond within
a matter of months.
We certainly have seen U.S. cities that have gone bankrupt, and
we've seen states in the U.S. that have had to make 20%, 30%, or
40% cuts to their policing budgets within a matter of months. The U.
K. is going through a process of a cut of 15% to 20%, depending on
the police service.
These are big cuts. We are fortunate to get ahead of those issues.
Hopefully the kinds of fiscal realities will not be as hard here, but
they are nonetheless constraining, as we see when we look at our
overall fiscal picture. It's about giving police services and the
broader policing community an opportunity to see what works best
and to develop customized solutions that respond to community and
resident needs in the time we have to make those adjustments.
● (1015)
The Chair: Thank you, Mr. Potter.
We'll move to Mr. Scarpaleggia, please, for five minutes.
Mr. Francis Scarpaleggia: I would like to follow up on this issue
on bringing in mental health workers, say, to deal with situations that
otherwise, up until now, police officers have had to devote a lot of
time to.
As you mentioned to Mr. Aspin, finding somebody who is
specialized in these areas of course means that there will be costs
involved, and probably pretty high costs, because they're specialized,
but bringing in mental health workers to do some of the work that
police officers have been doing would come out of a provincial
health budget, though, I guess. In a sense, it would be almost a cost
savings to the police force if there were that kind of substitution of
There's no doubt that the kind of manpower required in police
forces is generally becoming more expensive because, as we were
saying before, there's a demand for specialized skills, whether it be
to solve financial crime or other kinds of Internet crime and so on. In
terms of the supply of manpower, do you foresee that there will be
enough of this skilled labour power coming forth in the future, or
will there be labour shortages in these areas?
D/Commr Steve Graham: As with most things, I think there's
often always an ebb and flow.
Policing is not alone. All government expenditures have been
going up at a considerable rate, both in Canada and in many other
countries. As you look at particular segments of public spending,
you see that it's about delving into those areas and finding ways to
respond to the fiscal realities through finding efficiencies and
improving effectiveness.
I will comment very briefly on mental health and other calls for
service that the police receive. When you look at the crime rate over
the past decade, you will see that it has gone down quite noticeably,
but calls for service generally are fairly flat. What this says is that
there are a lot of other things going on, of which mental health calls
are certainly one of the dynamics.
We're certainly benefiting, I believe, from the U.K. and the U.S.
experience, in that they haven't had that luxury. They were placed in
a situation in which their revenue drops for many jurisdictions were
so severe that they didn't have the luxury of saying, “Okay, now
we're going to spend the time to analyze how we can improve our
policing services, look in depth at our police services and how
efficient and effective they are, and develop well-considered
I often think of policing in terms of a river. The police are kind of
the last net, in many respects. The more intervention there is
upstream earlier on, the fewer the issues that are caught in the net
further downstream, which I think is important for costs, for call
management, for training, for complexity of the service, and
important in terms of sending police to calls that they're not well
equipped for, in many cases.
Certainly the issue has been raised in smaller communities and
other areas where a lot of those supports don't exist. Anything that
can be done in behind the system to improve access and to improve
community capacity goes a long way toward improving the overall
delivery of community safety, which is what it's about.
Mr. Francis Scarpaleggia: You are saying the calls are staying
constant in number. If the crime rate is going down and we figure out
a way to relieve police forces of the need to answer a lot of those
calls because they're not always about crime anymore, do you see the
possibility that the number of police officers, and obviously the
salary commitments associated with police forces, would be
dropping in the future? If we're doing a good job, if we take the
information we're getting from your study and solve this problem of
matching skills with services required and so on, do you see a
possibility of the number of police officers going down in the future,
to follow the crime rate? I suppose that's almost an objective, really.
● (1020)
D/Commr Steve Graham: It's fair to note that in Canada police
resources have increased in the past decade in terms of head count.
Probably now, because of economic reality and constraint, it will
start to go down. That will be an outcome, I think. Perhaps more
important relative to your point is that if we look at Canada and
compare it in terms of officer-population ratios to many other
western countries, we see that we are towards the lower end of that
spectrum as it is, so we are starting in a very different place from the
U.K. or the United States. I think that in terms of our opportunity to
rationalize, to manage calls and so on, we're probably in a better
position to do that and to take on some of these initiatives.
Mr. Francis Scarpaleggia: There are fewer police officers per
100,000 inhabitants than in other countries. Do we have a better
ratio? Is that what you were saying?
D/Commr Steve Graham: That's right, yes.
The Chair: Thank you, Mr. Scarpaleggia.
Now we will go back to Madame Doré Lefebvre for five minutes.
Ms. Rosane Doré Lefebvre: Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
I think we have had a very good discussion about mental health
and the challenges that poses to our police services.
Mr. Graham, since you represent our large national police force, I
would like to know if you have done any studies, internally perhaps,
on the impact of mental health on your police force. Do you have a
different approach in dealing with this issue, which is becoming
increasingly prevalent in our population? What are your officers
doing? What is their approach?
D/Commr Steve Graham: Thank you for the question.
The situation looks different in many different jurisdictions, and
that relates to demographics, moneys invested in the health system or
mental health supports, and so on. Generally mental health, and
responding to mental health, has been a concern of the organization
for many years. Our emphasis has traditionally been on how officers
are trained to be prepared to respond to cases, and also on building
January 29, 2013
strong partnerships and connections in the local community for all
the various services that are out there.
It does not look the same across the country. Province by
province, community by community, capacity varies, so the
responses vary. Some communities—for instance, Halifax Regional
Municipality—have fairly robust integrated teams with health
professionals. They respond very quickly are very positive. In small
communities in the north, many times the police may be the only
resource available, as the point was made, at two o'clock in the
morning. It's not a consistent picture across the country.
Ms. Rosane Doré Lefebvre: You are really making an effort to
determine what resources are available in each province, city or
town, or at least you are working on it. I find that very interesting.
If it were possible, do you think it would be better to have people
specialized in mental health working with the police or would it be
easier to train police forces in that area? Is there a solution that
represents the best of both worlds? If it were possible, would it be
easier to apply a certain model?
D/Commr Steve Graham: For instance, in the Halifax Regional
Municipality they have rapid response teams, so if the police are
called to an incident or come across a case exhibiting signs of
psychological distress, those teams are mobilized. They're on the
scene very quickly and they work hours that are well aligned with
the times when you tend to see these activities. That's a very positive
model, and those exist in many other municipalities.
It comes down to local capacity, size, available resources, and
what the health system and other social services have the capacity to
provide. In rural New Brunswick, those resources are not nearly as
bountiful, so the police often respond and will often take individuals
in distress to community hospitals, or whatever the case may be, and
are often tied up for quite extended periods of time until there's some
resolution to the case.
In terms of what could be done, that's more of a discussion for a
lot of those other entities and agencies. Having policed in many
different provinces, we often work with those entities. We have very
strong relationships and partnerships, we're on a first-name basis,
and we're all looking to try to minimize wherever possible the
judicialization, I think the word was, of mental health.
● (1025)
The Chair: You have 30 seconds.
Ms. Rosane Doré Lefebvre: I think Mr. Tupper wanted to add
Mr. Shawn Tupper: Actually, there are two answers to your
question. In municipalities like Calgary or Vancouver, it is possible
to establish partnerships across the system. But it's a different story
in smaller cities: no resources are available for this.
January 29, 2013
Going right back to the first question of this session, what we see
is the need to understand the character of Canada and those realities,
because the best answer in Vancouver is partnerships. The best
answer in small-town prairie Canada is better training for officers to
be attuned to the demands they're seeing when they respond.
I think that's something your study should focus on. There's more
than one right answer, and the right answer is going to depend on
where you are in Canada.
sharing information with police officers who often have to respond
to incidents and come into that community.
Then you might have another level below that—volunteers,
cadets, auxiliary officers with even less training—doing even more
routine functions, such as managing events or securing a site. Those
are pretty routine tasks.
Ms. Candice Bergen: Good. Thanks very much.
How much time do I have left, Chair?
The Chair: Thank you very much for that, Mr. Tupper.
The Chair: You have two minutes.
We'll move to Ms. Bergen, please.
Ms. Candice Bergen: Okay.
Ms. Candice Bergen: Thank you very much.
I have three quick areas I want to touch on.
Following up on this issue, I think it would be very important for
us to bring in someone from the Calgary police, and possibly Halifax
and Vancouver, to hear them. I spent half a day in Calgary sitting
around a table talking to the officers about what they do. It's quite
amazing. They literally have someone from Alberta Health, the
school division, mental health, addictions, and housing. They're not
just meeting once every six weeks, but as you said, sir, they're on a
first-name basis with individuals, such as maybe someone who has
an addiction and is being picked up for petty crimes. Finally this
person says they need help—they want to get off this drug or they
want to quit drinking—and immediately there's someone there to
help. It's not the police officer; the police officer knows who to call.
It's an excellent model, which I think, coming from a small town,
can be adapted pretty quickly, because in a small town people are
much closer together and we really know who to call. We know who
the housing person is in Morden, Manitoba, and who can help get
someone some treatment. I think there are ways we can adapt it. It's
just seeing how they do it and then adapting it to a smaller
I hope we can get someone in—for example, Chief Rick Hanson
—to explore this, because it's quite encouraging.
I found it interesting that one of their greatest challenges was a
very practical one: the privacy issue. It took them a while to start
getting things going, because one program didn't want to talk to
another one. They said there were privacy issues. That's very
practical. They had to deal with that, and once they did, everybody
relaxed and agreed to work together.
Mr. Potter, what is tiered policing? You referred to it a couple of
times. I hadn't heard that phrase before.
Mr. Mark Potter: Tiered policing exists in many police services,
and it's essentially the top of the pyramid. You would have fully
sworn and trained police officers who carry badges, carry guns, have
powers of arrest, and so on, and you would have a number of tiers
below that. You might have what's called in some places a
community safety officer, someone who doesn't have the same level
of training and may not carry a gun but who carries out different
functions such as neighbourhood engagement, problem-solving at
the local level, intelligence collection, and these kinds of functions.
They're very much on the ground working with the community and
Something we haven't talked about at all and something I hear so
many times when I talk to front-line officers is the whole issue of the
revolving door. They say to us, “We go through the process. We
investigate. We follow the criminal. We arrest them. We go through
the court system. They're sentenced, and then three months later
they're out, and we have to go through it all again.” One of the pieces
of legislation we brought forward to address that is Bill C-10, our
Safe Streets and Communities Act.
Can you talk about the cost to policing of the revolving door—
repeat offenders, offenders who should be doing the time for the
crimes they commit but who are instead released, meaning that
police have to go through the whole process again—and about how
our specific legislation can help reduce that cost?
● (1030)
Mr. Mark Potter: That's a big one. That's perhaps a little bit
beyond the remit that I would be able to comment on.
Ms. Candice Bergen: Is there any comment, then, just on the
basic idea of police having to go through the process of putting a
criminal in jail and then three months later having to go through it all
again? There's a cost associated with that.
Mr. Mark Potter: Certainly there have been some analyses done
of the costs of crime and victimization in Canada. They're not
longitudinal so they are of limited utility, but the figures regarding
the costs of criminality to individuals, communities, and the
Canadian economy are pretty staggering.
Getting back to a question that was raised earlier, the reported
crime rate is dropping, but police are still busy. There are a lot of
service calls. The nature of our society and the nature of policing in
modern industrial countries is that you're often dealing with more
intractable social and criminal challenges, so at one level you have
your response and you have your integrated teams, but it goes even
deeper on the crime prevention front to get at the roots of criminality.
These are individuals who may at one point be on a trajectory that
leads to their having drug problems, mental health issues, and so on.
Right from the beginning we want to get them the help and the
support they need through integrated approaches that basically, over
the long term, change the nature of criminality in Canada, in order to
deal with the much more intractable social and criminal challenges
we face.
The Chair: Thank you, Mr. Potter.
We'll move to the opposition and to Mr. Garrison, please.
Mr. Randall Garrison: Thank you very much, Mr. Chair. I'll
resist the temptation of creating Bill C-10 planks and trying to make
our witnesses walk off them.
I have to say that when we're dealing with mental health issues,
one of the concerns I have certainly heard in my community is the
question of mandatory minimum sentences and their impact on those
whose cause of offending may have been mental health issues, but
I'll just leave that there and not try to make our witnesses walk that
I want to talk a little bit about the question of privatization.
In looking at the economics of policing, we've had the discussion
about civilianization. I guess there's a concern on this side of the
table that sometimes that too quickly turns to privatization of
policing services. We seem to have had a trend that's simply been
accepted in Canada that large areas of what are really public spaces
—and I'm talking about malls—have now become areas that are
policed by private police services. I hope when we're talking about
the economics of policing that we at some point can come to terms
with the accountability problems raised when we have private
policing of public space by people with less training than the police
and by people without good accountability mechanisms. I wondered
if that issue was raised at the summit.
Mr. Mark Potter: Thank you. I think that's a great question.
There are a few dimensions to it, and you're keying in on one of
them. We've seen pretty dramatic growth in the private security
industry in Canada. In fact, right now for every two public police
officers there are three private security officers. They do some of the
tasks that you referred to—mall security, building security, and so
on, some of the fairly routine stuff—but they also do increasingly
sophisticated work with banks and so on to provide support to them.
That's definitely a growing industry.
We had an interesting presentation at the summit from an
individual in that industry. In fact, he raised exactly the concern you
just raised, which is whether there is sufficient regulation of the
private security industry to ensure that you have the right level of
professionalization and accreditation around those individuals. He
said it would help them as a business to be able to function in society
if people had confidence that they were fully qualified and fully
trained and that they knew exactly the bounds of their responsibilities. He was actually making the case—and the regulation of the
private security industry is an area of provincial jurisdiction—that
provinces should have pretty robust regimes in place to regulate the
private security industry. There's a bit of a mixed bag across Canada.
● (1035)
Mr. Randall Garrison: I wonder whether Deputy Commissioner
Graham has any comments on the growth of private policing and any
challenges it creates for the RCMP.
D/Commr Steve Graham: In terms of challenges generally, I
would consider a lot of the work being caught in the area you're
articulating supportive of the general public safety need. I think Mr.
Potter has hit the nail on the head. From my discussions with deputy
ministers in several provinces, I would say they're all trying to
update and modernize their regulations and legislation specific to
January 29, 2013
this area. It's going to continue to grow. If we see the same patterns
here that are indicated from other countries, it would seem that it will
continue to grow.
Mr. Randall Garrison: Continuing with Deputy Commissioner
Graham, I'd like to follow up on something I think Mr. Rousseau
may have run out of time on. That's the question of whether there has
been a shift of some responsibilities that were formerly RCMP
responsibilities at the border to the Canada Border Services Agency.
I wonder if you're in a position to comment on that.
D/Commr Steve Graham: Well, not really. It's a shared
responsibility at ports of entry and at the border in between. Both
entities work very collaboratively, often in an integrated fashion. In
many cases, it's a very positive working relationship. I would
articulate it more as that we want to make sure that the best resources
available are dealing with the most challenging cases.
Mr. Randall Garrison: If I can, I'll just ask you one more
I've had a concern raised with me about overlap between CSIS
and the RCMP in the area of national security. We're talking about
the efficient use of resources. CSIS was created to take over some
national security responsibilities, but there has been a tendency of
the RCMP to regrow some of those functions within the RCMP. Are
you in a position to comment on that?
D/Commr Steve Graham: I'm not in a great position. I would
just say generally, however, that our emphasis and attention is
always on criminal activities related to national security. Again, the
relationship and sharing with CSIS is exceptional. It's a very
different world today.
The Chair: Thank you very much.
We'll move to Mr. Hawn, please, for five minutes.
Hon. Laurie Hawn: Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I'd like to go back to Deputy Commissioner Graham on the issue
of the cost of the revolving door. From your experience in leadership
and so on, you probably can't comment on dollars, but what's the
impact of time—which is dollars—on the officer, and what's the
impact on the morale of the officer when he sees the same guy
coming back time after time?
D/Commr Steve Graham: I think my response would be more
around a lot of the work that's been done in recent years on crime
reduction. It really focuses on frequent offenders or chronic
offenders. How do we interrupt that?
In some of the cases that have already been cited here, it's more
about the right social supports. In other cases it's about more
effectively dealing with patterns of behaviour and interrupting and
stopping them. We've had some very good success in many areas of
the country around working in that genre and that activity. No doubt,
if you're dealing with the same people over and over again, you have
to get to the root causes, as Mark often talks about, and figure out
what drives that behaviour. Many times there are other issues going
on, whether it's mental health, substance abuse, or other challenges.
If you can do something there and get better engagement there, you
often can change the dynamic you're seeing.
January 29, 2013
Hon. Laurie Hawn: I ride along from time to time with the
Ottawa Police Service. You talked about being on a first-name basis
with some of these people you pick up: “Oh, yes, it's old Fred again.
Fred, come on in. You know the drill. Up against the wall,” or
D/Commr Steve Graham: Yes—
Hon. Laurie Hawn: It's a bit of a joke at times, but also they're
frustrated because they feel as if they're wasting their time, so
anything we can do to nip it in the bud obviously is productive.
I want to stick with you, Deputy Commissioner. The RCMP's
portion of the budget savings is about $195 million over the next two
to three years. Can you get specific at all about how you are
specifically looking at reducing spending in your area and how
you're auditing that to see whether we and you are doing what is
D/Commr Steve Graham: There have been targets apportioned
across the organization. Some of that relates to such things as the
administrative efficiencies I spoke about earlier. For instance, in
compensation we used to have pay and benefits offices in each
region of the country. We're now going to one. Similarly, for
accounts payable—how our bills are paid and how we manage that
—we're going from four to one. We're looking at the rationalization
of forensic laboratories and are reducing the number across the
country. We're looking at re-engineering in federal policing and reengineering in forensic sciences as well. What that means is
workflow, processes, and people. Do we have the right specialties?
Are we putting investment in the right places? How can we draw
savings out of that?
Civilianization has come up here today, and we've civilianized a
lot over the past decade. That pattern continues. If you don't need
peace officer status to do your job, then we look at ways of
civilianizing that. The savings there are often around salary. Salary
levels tend to be somewhat less, or there are savings on benefits.
● (1040)
Hon. Laurie Hawn: Have you changed your audit process to
keep track of that, or is your previous audit process sufficient to track
D/Commr Steve Graham: No, we have a very robust audit
system. We have a chief audit officer. They do their plans based on
risk, as well as initiatives such as this. You know, the money's gone,
we'd better save it, so....
Hon. Laurie Hawn: Okay.
Mr. Potter, we talked about non-uniformed police such as mall
guards and so on. Were the commissionaires involved in this
conference just recently past? They do a lot of that kind of stuff.
Mr. Mark Potter: I believe a representative of the commissionaires was invited, yes.
Hon. Laurie Hawn: Okay.
That's all I have, Mr. Chair. Thank you.
The Chair: Thank you very much, Mr. Hawn.
Go ahead, Mr. Garrison, please.
Mr. Randall Garrison: Thank you very much, Mr. Chair. I know
we're drawing to a close here.
I have a question about timing. We've launched this study in the
committee, we're going to hear from witnesses, and we would like to
be able to provide a report that contributes to this process. You've
talked about the department's initiatives and proceeding with these
three pillars. What is the timeline the department is proceeding on
for coming up with a plan or a product, and does that allow time for
this committee to have input into that process?
Mr. Mark Potter: I certainly hope it does. We are looking at
having a forward agenda for the consideration of FPT ministers in
the fall of this year. They haven't confirmed when in the fall their
meeting will actually be. Last year, it was at the end of October, so
that's probably the timeframe we're looking at. Between now and
then there will be a great deal of collaboration with all PT
governments, the main policing associations, and other stakeholders
—as well as police services, of course—to try to flesh out that
forward agenda, so seeing your input in that timeframe....
I think it's a very iterative process. As you're hearing from
individuals, you'll be talking to the same individuals we're going to
be talking to, so you'll be hearing things. Also, it's a very rich
opportunity for us, as we're going through these next few months of
collaboration, to be part of these deliberations and hear what's being
brought to the attention of this committee and learn from that and
build on that. I think there are tremendous opportunities to work with
the committee.
Mr. Randall Garrison: I know that we'll work as efficiently as
we can, but often legislation overtakes us here. I was just wondering
if you could give us a ballpark figure of when the latest would be
that we could have effective input. If we were to finish by the end of
April, would that still fit the timeline? If we run into May or June,
are we going to run into problems?
Mr. Mark Potter: I think your ongoing deliberations are helpful,
so right from the get-go it's going to be helpful, and the hearings you
have planned over the next few weeks.... Yes, certainly, April would
be ideal to be able to factor that into the considerations and
consultations that are under way.
Mr. Randall Garrison: Thank you, Mr. Chair.
The Chair: Are we done?
Mr. Randall Garrison: I think we're done.
The Chair: And are we done here...?
Mr. Scarpaleggia is done.
Well, we'll finish three minutes early today. Certainly that isn't
because we have a lack of questions or anything. We've had a twohour seminar with you folks, and usually our meetings are an hour
long. We really thank you for your presentations today.
Mr. Mark Potter: Thank you.
The Chair: It's nice when we can kick-start our study by having
you from the department and Deputy Commissioner Graham here.
Thank you very much.
Committee members, we'll see you again on Thursday morning.
The meeting is adjourned.
January 29, 2013
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