Public Complaints and Review Commission

Government of Canada to create watchdog for the CBSA

On May 19, 2022, The Minister of Public Safety, Marco Mendicino, introduced new legislation to establish the Public Complaints and Review Commission (PCRC), an independent review body for:

  • the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), and
  • the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).

This watchdog will ensure consistent, fair, and equal treatment when interacting with the RCMP and CBSA. Also, it would be the very first time the CBSA has an independent review body and a forum for complaints. In the case of the RCMP, it would replace the Civilian Review and Complaints ‎Commission (CRCC), which is the current review body.

Overview

Bill C-20, entitled An Act establishing the Public Complaints and Review Commission and amending certain Acts and statutory instruments, comes after previous versions died on the order paper. The project builds upon former Bills C-98 and C-3, which were introduced in Parliament in 2019 and 2020, respectively. It also delivers on commitments made in the:

These speeches refer to the introduction of legislation to create a review body for the CBSA, including defined timelines for responding to complaints and recommendations.

Establishing the Public Complaints and Review Commission (PCRC)

The PCRC will operate independently. It has “the power to recommend discipline, publish annual reports, and collect disaggregated race-based data,” said the Minister of Public Safety. “The PCRC will offer Canadians another layer of effective civilian review and build trust in our law enforcement,” he added.

In addition to regular review of both agencies, the PCRC would also have the ability to review, on its own initiative or at the request of the Minister, any activities of the RCMP or CBSA. However, it can not consider activities related to national security, which are overseen by separate independent.

In terms of access to information, the PCRC would have access to any information relevant to the RCMP and the CBSA. Of course, there are certain narrow exceptions, such as cabinet confidences and sensitive commercial information.

To establish the PCRC, the government is proposing to invest $112.3 million over six years. And $19.4 million per year ongoing.

<<Also Read: Who are the immigration authorities?>>

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