Dear Minister Mendicino:
Thank you for agreeing to serve Canadians as Minister of Public Safety.
From the beginning of this pandemic, Canadians have faced a once-in-a-century challenge. And through it all, from coast to coast to coast, people have met the moment. When it mattered most, Canadians adapted, helped one another, and stayed true to our values of compassion, courage and determination. That is what has defined our path through this pandemic so far. And that is what will pave our way forward.
During a difficult time, Canadians made a democratic choice. They entrusted us to finish the fight against COVID-19 and support the recovery of a strong middle class. At the same time, they also gave us clear direction: to take bold, concrete action to build a healthier, more resilient future. That is what Canadians have asked us to do and it is exactly what our Government is ready to deliver. We will work to build that brighter future through continued collaboration, engagement, and the use of science and evidence-based decision-making. With an unwavering focus on delivering results, we will work constructively with Parliamentarians and maintain our strong partnerships with provincial, territorial and municipal governments and Indigenous partners. This decade has had an incredibly difficult start, but this is the moment to rebuild a more resilient, inclusive and stronger country for everyone.
The science is clear. Canadians have been clear. We must not only continue taking real climate action, we must also move faster and go further. As Canadians are increasingly experiencing across the country, climate change is an existential threat. Building a cleaner, greener future will require a sustained and collaborative effort from all of us. As Minister, I expect you to seek opportunities within your portfolio to support our whole-of-government effort to reduce emissions, create clean jobs and address the climate-related challenges communities are already facing.
This year, Canadians were horrified by the discovery of unmarked graves and burial sites near former residential schools. These discoveries underscore that we must move faster on the path of reconciliation with First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples. We know that reconciliation cannot come without truth and our Government will continue to invest in that truth. As Ministers, each of us has a duty to further this work, both collectively and as individuals. Consequently, I am directing every Minister to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and to work in partnership with Indigenous Peoples to advance their rights.
We must continue to address the profound systemic inequities and disparities that remain present in the core fabric of our society, including our core institutions. To this effect, it is essential that Canadians in every region of the country see themselves reflected in our Government’s priorities and our work. As Minister, I expect you to include and collaborate with various communities, and actively seek out and incorporate in your work, the diverse views of Canadians. This includes women, Indigenous Peoples, Black and racialized Canadians, newcomers, faith-based communities, persons with disabilities, LGBTQ2 Canadians, and, in both official languages.
Across our work, we remain committed to ensuring that public policies are informed and developed through an intersectional lens, including applying frameworks such as Gender-based Analysis Plus (GBA Plus) and the quality of life indicators in decision-making.
Canadians continue to rely on journalists and journalism for accurate and timely news. I expect you to maintain professional and respectful relationships with journalists to ensure that Canadians are well informed and have the information they need to keep themselves and their families safe.
Throughout the course of the pandemic, Canadians and their governments have adapted to new realities. Governments must draw on lessons learned from the pandemic to further adapt and develop more agile and effective ways to serve Canadians. To this end, I expect all Ministers to evaluate ways we can update our practices to ensure our Government continues to meet the challenges of today and tomorrow.
The success of this Parliament will require Parliamentarians, both in the House of Commons and the Senate, to work together across all parties to get big things done for Canadians. I expect you to maintain constructive relationships with your Opposition Critics and coordinate any legislation with the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons. As Minister, you are accountable to Parliament both individually, for your style of leadership and the performance of your responsibilities, and collectively, in support of our Ministry and decisions taken by Cabinet. Open and Accountable Government sets out these core principles and the standards of conduct expected of you and your office. I expect you to familiarize yourself with this document, which outlines my expectations for each member of the Ministry.
Our platform lays out an ambitious agenda. While finishing the fight against the pandemic must remain our central focus, we must continue building a strong middle class and work toward a better future where everyone has a real and fair chance at success and no one is left behind.
As Minister of Public Safety, you will prioritize efforts to keep cities and communities safe, notably by investing in crime prevention programming and implementing our firearms commitments. While continuing to support the important work of law enforcement, you will likewise prioritize policing reform to address systemic racism and ensure the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) meets the needs of the communities it serves, and to ensure the RCMP continues its work to transform its culture and create a culture of accountability, equity, diversity and inclusion. You will also take action to modernize and maintain the integrity of our borders and address complex and evolving threats, including to our economy, and protect our national security interests. Furthermore, you will ensure continued compliance with accountability and review bodies.
To realize these objectives, I ask that you achieve results for Canadians by delivering the following commitments.
- Continue to work to keep our cities and communities safe from gun violence by:
- Continuing implementation of C-71 regulations for firearms licence verification and business record-keeping;
- Making it mandatory for owners to sell banned assault weapons back to the government for destruction or have them rendered inoperable at the government’s expense;
- Requiring the permanent alteration of long-gun magazines so that they can never hold more than five rounds;
- Banning the sale or transfer of magazines capable of holding more than the legal number of bullets;
- Providing financial support to provinces and territories that implement a ban on handguns across their jurisdiction;
- Implementing the gang prevention and intervention program to provide direct funding to municipalities and Indigenous communities; and
- Working with the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada to introduce “Red flag” laws to allow the immediate removal of firearms if that person is a threat to themselves or others, particularly to their spouse or partner, and increasing maximum penalties for firearms trafficking and smuggling.
- With the support of the Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth, accelerate action to reform the RCMP, including by:
- Enhancing the Management Advisory Board to create an oversight role over the RCMP;
- Externalizing the Independent Centre for Harassment Resolution;
- Establishing defined timelines to respond to recommendations from the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission;
- Launching an external review of the RCMP’s sanctions and disciplinary regime to determine the adequacy of existing sanctions and whether they are applied properly and consistently;
- Prohibiting the use of neck restraints in any circumstance and the use of tear gas or rubber bullets for crowd control alongside developing national standards for the use-of-force; and
- Conducting an external review of de-escalation training to make sure it results in the safest possible outcomes for officers and Canadians.
- Introduce legislation to create a review body for the Canada Border Services Agency, including defined timelines for responding to complaints and recommendations.
- Continue working with the Minister of Health and the Minister of Transport to protect the health and safety of Canadians through safe, responsible and compassionate management of the border with the United States and other ports of entry into Canada.
- Engage with provinces, territories and municipalities that contract RCMP services to better connect the RCMP with community social support workers.
- Continue to work with First Nations partners to co-develop a legislative framework for First Nations policing, and continuing to engage with Inuit and Métis on policing matters. You will be supported by the Minister of Indigenous Services and the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations.
- Conduct an assessment of contract policing in consultation with provinces, territories, municipalities, Indigenous partners and stakeholders.
- Accelerate work to establish a dedicated unit to investigate all forms of major financial crime and consider options to strengthen laws and investigative powers relating to financial crimes. Concurrently, you will work to bring forward a proposal for the establishment of the Canada Financial Crimes Agency, whose sole purpose will be to investigate these highly complex crimes. You will be supported in this work by the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada and the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance.
- Contribute to broader efforts to promote economic security and combat foreign interference by:
- Introducing legislation to safeguard Canada’s critical infrastructure, including our 5G networks to preserve the integrity and security of our telecommunications systems;
- Expanding collaboration and information and intelligence sharing with Canadian partners and all orders of government to address security risks in foreign research and investment partnerships; and
- Increasing resources available to the RCMP and national security agencies for this purpose.
- Work with the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, and in close collaboration with Canadian industry and post-secondary institutions, to support innovation ecosystems across the country to support job creation, technology adoption and scale-up. This includes safeguarding Canada’s world-leading research ecosystem, as well as our intellectual property (IP) intensive businesses.
- Working with the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Minister of National Defence and Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, and with the support of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, continue to advance the National Cyber Security Action Plan, ensuring Canada is well positioned to adapt to and combat cyber risks, and ensure the security and integrity of Canada’s critical systems.
- Continue to support the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities to support an integrated government response to protect Canada’s democratic institutions, including the federal electoral process, against foreign interference and disinformation, including cyber threats, and support the Minister of National Defence to ensure that Canada is in a position to respond to rapidly evolving risks and threats in cyberspace.
- Work with the Minister of National Defence, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, and in collaboration with implicated ministers, to develop and implement a renewed National Cyber Security Strategy, which will articulate Canada's long-term strategy to protect our national security and economy, deter cyber threat actors, and promote norms-based international behavior in cyberspace.
- Work with the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada to bring forward measures to counter the rise of ideologically-inspired violent extremism and strengthen the capacity of Canadian police and prosecutors to bring to justice cybercriminals and terror suspects to the fullest extent of the law.
- Continue to combat systemic racism and discrimination in the criminal justice system, including across all federal departments and agencies responsible for national security and the safety of Canadians. This also includes supporting the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada in their work to address systemic racism and the overrepresentation of Black and racialized Canadians and Indigenous Peoples in the justice system.
- Support the Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion in the development of a National Action Plan on Combatting Hate, including by exploring potential adjustments to the Security Infrastructure Program to enhance effectiveness and to be more responsive to community needs.
- Work with the Minister Natural Resources and President of the Queen’s Privy Council and Minister of Emergency Preparedness to make our communities safe and increase forest resilience to wildfire, including training 1,000 new community-based firefighters, investing in equipment and other measures to reduce risks from wildfire and supporting fire management by Indigenous communities.
- To ensure that a whole-of-government approach is taken, support the Minister of Labour in introducing legislation to eradicate forced labour from Canadian supply chains and ensure that Canadian businesses operating abroad do not contribute to human rights abuses.
- Engage with provinces and territories to enact Clare’s Law so that individuals at risk of domestic violence can request information from the police, including from the RCMP, about their partner’s violent history.
- Continue modernizing infrastructure and processes at Canada’s ports of entry, including digital and right touch technology for travellers and conveyances, and ensuring the safety, security and integrity of our borders. This includes measures to address irregular migration and combat the trafficking of firearms and illicit drugs.
- Advance reforms to the pardons program to address systemic barriers, promote reintegration and ensure the system is fair and proportionate.
- With the support of the Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, continue advancing Canada’s first-ever National Action Plan on Post-Traumatic Stress Injuries, including additional investment to support the health and well-being of first responders.
- Develop a Federal Framework to Reduce Recidivism in consultation with provinces, territories, Indigenous communities, Black communities and other stakeholders. As part of this work, consider how to ensure that federal correctional institutions are safe and humane environments, free from violence and sexual harassment, and promote rehabilitation and public safety.
- Work with the President of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Emergency Preparedness, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, Minister of Transport and Minister of Health, among other colleagues, to ensure the Government of Canada continues to be prepared to proactively mitigate and respond to emerging incidents and hazards.
- Work with the Minister of Environment and Climate Change and the President of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Emergency Preparedness, and with support of the Minister of Natural Resources, the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry and the Sustainable Finance Action Council, develop a climate data strategy to ensure that the private sector and communities have access to data to inform planning and infrastructure investments.
- Work with the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities to bolster the security of ministers and Parliamentarians.
As Minister, you are also responsible for actively engaging with your Cabinet and Caucus colleagues. As we deliver on our platform commitments, it will be important that members of the Ministry continue to collaborate and work constructively to support rigorous and productive Cabinet decision-making. I expect you to support your colleagues in delivering their commitments, leveraging the expertise of your department and your own lived experiences.
To best achieve results for Canadians, Ministers must be rigorous and coordinated in our approach to implementation. I would therefore ask that you return to me with a proposed approach for the delivery of your mandate commitments, including priorities for early implementation. Furthermore, to ensure we are accountable for our work, I will be asking you to publicly report to me, and all Canadians, on your progress toward these commitments on a regular basis.
As we have been reminded throughout the pandemic, adapting to change is not only something government should do, it is something government must do. As you work to fulfil our commitments, I expect you to actively consider new ideas and issues as they emerge, whether through public engagement, your work with Parliamentarians or advice from the public service. I also expect you to work with your Deputy Minister to assess priorities on a continual basis as we build a better future for all Canadians. In addition to achieving results, you are responsible for overseeing the work of your department and ensuring the effective operation of your portfolio.
As you staff your office and implement outreach and recruitment strategies for federally appointed leadership positions and boards, I ask that you uphold the principles of equity, diversity and inclusion. This helps ensure that federal workplaces are dynamic and reflective of the Canadians we serve. You will also ensure your Minister’s office and portfolio are reflective of our commitment to healthy and safe workplaces.
Canadians expect us to work hard, speak truthfully and be committed to advancing their interests and aspirations. When we make mistakes – as we all will – Canadians expect us to acknowledge them, and most importantly, to learn from them.
I know I can count on you to fulfill the important responsibilities entrusted in you, and to turn to me, and the Deputy Prime Minister, early and often to support you in your role as Minister.
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau, P.C., M.P.
Prime Minister of Canada