OTTAWA, October 8, 2004 -- Today, in the House of Commons, legislation was introduced to establish the Department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness.
"The most fundamental role of Government is the protection of its citizens. When the Prime Minister created the Department on December 12, 2003, the Government of Canada took a critical step towards strengthening the safety and security of Canadians, their communities and our country," said the Honourable Anne McLellan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada.
Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada (PSEPC) combines the core activities of the previous Department of the Solicitor General, the Office of Critical Infrastructure and Emergency Preparedness, and the National Crime Prevention Centre. The new Department is part of the portfolio of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness that includes the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, the Correctional Service of Canada, the National Parole Board, the Canada Firearms Centre, the Canada Border Services Agency, and three review bodies.
With this Bill, the Government of Canada proposes to build the legislative foundation to establish the powers, duties and functions of the Minister of PSEPC relating to public safety and emergency preparedness. More specifically, the Bill provides for:
- the leadership role of the PSEPC Minister relating to public safety and emergency preparedness, while respecting the Prime Minister's prerogative in matters relating to national security and the statutory authorities of other Ministers;
- the Minister to establish strategic priorities for and coordination of the portfolio agencies, while respecting their distinct mandates as enshrined in their respective enabling legislations;
- cooperation with provinces, foreign states, international organizations and others on matters pertaining to public safety and emergency preparedness; and
- facilitating the sharing of information among public safety agencies as is authorized under current Canadian law.
An on-line version of the proposed legislation is available at www.parl.gc.ca. For more information, please see the attached backgrounders.
Copies of Canada's National Security Policy are available at:
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For further information:
Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and
Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness
Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada
The creation of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada (PSEPC) fulfills the fundamental role of government to secure the public's safety and security. PSEPC is dedicated to minimizing a continuum of risks to Canadians – from risks to personal safety from crime or naturally occurring events such as severe blizzards, floods or forest fires, to threats to national security from terrorist activity.
The Department provides policy leadership and delivers programs and services in the areas of national security and emergency management, policing, law enforcement and borders, and corrections and crime prevention. It also ensures policy cohesion among the six agencies that report to the Minister. These include:
Together, the portfolio organizations comprise a total annual budget of $4.9 billion, and employ more than 52,000 employees.
In addition, the rights and freedoms of Canadians – and the integrity with which agencies fulfill their mandates – are ensured by the key accountability and review mechanisms of the Office of the Inspector General for CSIS, the Office of the Correctional Investigator, and the RCMP External Review Committee. Furthermore, the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP and the Security Intelligence Review Committee (which examines the activities of CSIS) comprise two independent review bodies that form a critical part of the public safety community, and also report to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada.
Since its creation on December 12, 2003, PSEPC has made important progress toward enhancing the safety and security of Canadians. Highlights include:
- delivering on key elements of the National Security Policy;
- investing $30 million toward more than 600 community-based crime prevention activities across Canada under the National Crime Prevention Strategy;
- supporting projects worth more than $8 million under the federal/provincial/territorial Joint Emergency Preparedness Program;
- launching a National Strategy to Protect Children from Sexual Exploitation on the Internet; and
- establishing a senior-level federal-provincial-territorial forum on emergency preparedness.
Cooperation and collaboration with other governments, in Canada and internationally, is a key part of PSEPC's public safety approach. The Department also works on a daily basis with the provinces and with key international partners to enhance the safety and security of Canadians, and ensure the integrity of the border.
PSEPC is committed to ensuring that Canada's public safety and security systems remain effective, fair, progressive and uniquely Canadian, building on a culture of cooperation and engagement, from neighbourhoods up to nations.
National Security Policy
On April 27, 2004, the Government released "Securing an Open Society: Canada's National Security Policy," which focuses on addressing three core national security interests:
- protecting Canada and Canadians at home and abroad;
- ensuring Canada is not a base for threats to our allies; and
- contributing to international security.
The National Security Policy also identifies the current threats facing Canadians, and provides a strategic framework for action to address these threats. As well, it provides ways to work with key public safety partners such as the provinces and territories, and to strengthen outreach to Canadians at large.
The National Security Policy was supported by an investment of $690 million under the Budget 2004 Security Reserve, which brings to $8.3 billion the additional funds spent by the federal government on security since 9/11.
Since its release, solid progress has been made in implementing the National Security Policy, including:
Implementation of the policy involves several federal government departments. Initiatives in the areas of intelligence, emergency planning and management, public health emergencies, transport security, border security, and international security will strengthen our integrated security system.
In the October 5, 2004, Speech from the Throne, the Government of Canada committed to continue the implementation of the National Security Policy. The full implementation of such an integrated and comprehensive strategy will be completed over several years.
Copies of the National Security Policy are available at:
National Security Coordinating Mechanisms
Since the tragic events of 9/11, the Government of Canada has implemented a number of progressive measures to improve Canada's system of public safety and emergency preparedness. The hallmark of this approach is collaboration -- among departments and agencies at the federal and provincial levels, Parliamentarians, industry, citizens' rights groups and the international community, especially the U.S.
A number of mechanisms are in place to promote coordination and collaboration among these groups. Highlights include:
- Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada
On December 12, 2003, the Prime Minister created the portfolio of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness to further close security gaps and ensure that our national interests and our people are protected. The Department provides policy leadership and delivers programs and services in the areas of national security, emergency management, policing, border security, corrections and crime prevention. It also ensures policy cohesion among the six agencies that report to the Minister, including RCMP, CSIS, the Canada Border Services Agency, Canada Firearms Centre, Correctional Service of Canada, and National Parole Board.
- Canada's National Security Policy
On April 27, 2004, the Government released "Securing an Open Society: Canada's National Security Policy," a strategic framework and action plan. The National Security Policy focuses on addressing three core national security interests: protecting Canada and Canadians at home and abroad; ensuring Canada is not a base for threats to our allies; and contributing to international security.
The Policy includes six key strategic issue areas: intelligence; emergency planning and management; public health emergencies; transport security; border security; and international security. It was supported by an investment of $690 million under the B
udget 2004 Security Reserve.
Work on the National Security Policy involves several federal government departments. Initiatives in the areas of intelligence, emergency planning and management, public health emergencies, transportation security, border security and international security, will strengthen our integrated security system. The full implementation of such an integrated and comprehensive strategy will be completed over several years.
- National Security Advisor to the Prime Minister
On December 12, 2003, the Government announced the creation of a new position in the Privy Council Office of National Security Advisor to the Prime Minister.
- Cabinet Committee on Security, Public Health and Emergencies
On December 12, the Government also created a new Cabinet Committee on Security, Public Health and Emergencies to guide Canada's national security efforts and ensure increased coordination among departments.
- National Security Committee of Parliamentarians
The Government mandated an interim committee to study and make recommendations concerning the creation of a permanent Committee of Parliamentarians on National Security to foster a more informed dialogue on national security issues.
- Advisory Council on National Security
The Advisory Council on National Security was created to provide confidential expert advice on strategies and mechanisms required to develop, implement, evaluate and improve a fully integrated security system. The Council will provide advice to the Chair of the Cabinet Committee on Security, Public Health and Emergencies. The nomination period for the Advisory Council will close on October 31, 2004.
- Cross-Cultural Roundtable on Security
The Cross-Cultural Roundtable on Security was created to engage Canadians and the Government of Canada in a long-term dialogue on matters related to national security as they impact a diverse and pluralistic society. The Roundtable will provide advice to the Ministers of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness and Justice.
- Federal-Provincial-Territorial Forum on Emergency Preparedness
A new forum on emergency preparedness has been established at the federal-provincial-territorial level to promote a more a streamlined, effective and coordinated national emergency response, regardless of where an emergency occurs.