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Law enforcement in Canada

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

RCMP - GRC Police Sign
RCMP - GRC Police Sign

Law enforcement in Canada are public-sector police forces that are associated with and commissioned to the three levels of government: municipal (both lower and upper-tier), provincial, and federal. In addition, many First Nations Reserves have their own police forces established through agreements between the governing native band, province and the federal government.[citation needed] Most urban areas have been given the authority by the provinces to maintain their own police force. Seven of Canada's provinces and all three territories, in turn, contract out their provincial/territorial law-enforcement responsibilities to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP, popularly known in English-speaking areas as the Mounties), the national police force, which is commissioned to the federal level of government; the other three maintain provincial police forces, although one also partially contracts out to the RCMP.

Police services

Royal Canadian Mounted Police assigned to a Marine Security Emergency Response Team maneuver their boat after boarding a ship during Frontier Sentinel 2012 in Sydney, Canada, May 8, 2012 120508-N-HN353-287
Royal Canadian Mounted Police assigned to a Marine Security Emergency Response Team maneuver their boat after boarding a ship during Frontier Sentinel 2012 in Sydney, Canada, May 8, 2012 120508-N-HN353-287

The provinces of Ontario, Quebec, and Newfoundland and Labrador maintain their own provincial police forces—the Ontario Provincial Police, Sûreté du Québec, and Royal Newfoundland Constabulary respectively. Smaller municipalities often contract police service from the provincial policing authority, while larger ones maintain their own forces. Newfoundland's provincial police force is only responsible for the province's larger urban areas (St. John's, Corner Brook and Labrador West); the province has contracted the RCMP to patrol the rest of the province. The other seven provinces and the three territories contract police services to the RCMP. It also serves as the local police in all areas outside of Ontario and Quebec that do not have an established local police force, mostly in rural areas. Thus, the RCMP is the only police force of any sort in some areas of the country.

There are also a few private police forces with some of the powers usually reserved for governmental forces (as it relates to company property). The Canadian National Railway, Canadian Pacific Railway and Via Rail each have their own police force (CN Police, Canadian Pacific Police Service, and Via Rail Police[1][2] respectively). Any railway in Canada, under Federal jurisdiction, can request that a Superior Court judge appoint police officers under the Railway Safety Act.[3] The duties of private railway police are to prevent crimes against the company and protection of goods, materials, and public rail transit being moved on their rail systems. They work to protect the public, rail personnel, and property owned or administered by the railways. The regular public police maintain authority and jurisdiction for all criminal offences, regardless of whether the offence occurs on public or private property. Some hospitals, universities, transit commissions, power authorities and other agencies employ special constables or in other provinces known as peace officers. The local police chief has statutory and Common Law authority and responsibility for the jurisdiction policed. The duties of peace officers are determined by their employers and have authorities limited by statutes under which they operate. All persons and companies have access to public police.

Canadian Forces Military Police

The Canadian Forces Military Police (CFMP) contribute to the effectiveness and readiness of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) and the Department of National Defence (DND) through the provision of professional police, security and operational support services worldwide.[4]

CFMP are classified as peace officers in the Criminal Code,[5] which gives them powers, similar to civilian law enforcement personnel, to enforce some Acts of Parliament on or in relation to DND property or assets anywhere in the world. The National Defence Act does not bestow the authority to the Minister of Defence to appoint Police Officers. Section 156(1) of the National Defence Act does allow the minister to confer limited peace officer status to specially appointed military police members. They have the power to arrest anyone who is subject to the Code of Service Discipline (CSD), regardless of position or rank under the National Defence Act (NDA). MP have the power to arrest and charge non-CSD bound civilians only in cases where a crime is committed on or in relation to DND property or assets, or at the request of the Minister of Public Safety, Commissioner of the Correctional Service of Canada or Commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Although MP jurisdiction is only on DND property across Canada and throughout the world, any civilian accessing these areas falls under MP jurisdiction and are dealt with in the same manner as any civilian policing agency. If in fact a crime is committed on or in relation to DND property or assets, MP has the power to arrest and charge the offender, military or civilian, under the Criminal Code.[6][7] MP also have the power to enforce the Provincial Highway Traffic Act on some military bases in Canada.


Map of Police per 100,000 population across Canada, 2012.[8].mw-parser-output .legend{page-break-inside:avoid;break-inside:avoid-column}.mw-parser-output .legend-color{display:inline-block;width:1.5em;height:1.5em;margin:1px 0;text-align:center;border:1px solid black;background-color:transparent;color:black;font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .legend-text{font-size:95%}  <176   176–200   201–300   301–400   >400
Map of Police per 100,000 population across Canada, 2012.[8]

In 2011, there were 69,438 active/sworn police officers in Canada. This number was expected to exceed 70,000 by the end of 2012.

Canadian police strength reached a peak in 1975, when there were 206 officers per 100,000 people. Although the current number reflects a significant rise in the total police strength in the country (the highest in twelve years after steady declines in the 1980s and 1990s), Canada still utilizes fewer police than Wales (262/ 100,000).

Provincially, Saskatchewan had the highest number at 207 officers per 100,000, and the province has also held the national record for the highest crime rate since 1997. The lowest numbers were in Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador and Alberta.[9] The three territories, while having far fewer police officers in absolute terms, have around twice as many police officers per capita as do the provinces.

Police strength, by province and territory[10]
Annual Rate: Police Officers per 100,000 Population
  2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Canada 187.8 187.2 189.3 191.8 195.0 196.4 200.0 203.1 202.2 200.2 197.4 194.2 192.6 190.7 188.9 185.0
Newfoundland and Labrador 148.1 148.0 150.9 156.5 164.6 172.8 177.5 179.9 178.1 175.9 174.0 169.5 168.3 171.9 172.4 171.3
Prince Edward Island 158.9 150.4 154.3 159.6 164.8 166.5 167.3 168.0 169.5 170.9 161.0 163.6 156.4 154.5 147.4 141.0
Nova Scotia 171.5 171.9 173.1 177.7 188.0 199.2 200.1 203.0 202.7 205.0 201.5 200.7 198.1 193.3 192.6 193.8
New Brunswick 170.8 173.7 173.4 173.1 177.9 181.4 181.9 185.6 182.2 179.9 177.2 170.0 168.4 168.3 160.9 159.5
Quebec 192.0 191.4 194.6 197.8 198.0 198.5 198.0 196.6 197.4 198.2 197.3 198.7 195.9 194.0 191.4 189.3
Ontario 189.8 187.4 186.9 187.6 191.6 193.6 196.6 200.3 199.0 196.1 195.1 192.0 191.2 188.6 184.6 176.8
Manitoba 195.7 193.1 191.5 195.4 202.5 202.0 206.6 208.8 210.2 216.5 212.8 206.9 201.4 194.7 192.6 188.7
Saskatchewan 200.4 201.5 202.4 204.6 204.2 208.8 206.3 218.9 216.3 212.0 209.7 206.1 203.9 202.6 203.3 186.4
Alberta 157.0 158.1 160.6 163.8 162.3 159.5 168.5 177.0 176.7 175.2 173.3 171.2 172.6 174.3 176.3 174.4
British Columbia 172.4 170.2 177.4 181.0 188.2 187.0 195.6 198.4 198.8 194.6 191.3 184.2 181.6 180.3 182.1 185.2
Yukon 400.5 384.5 376.1 359.5 365.5 353.6 361.7 349.8 344.5 328.4 361.4 363.5 344.9 358.0 323.0 326.1
Northwest Territories 383.0 394.9 398.6 396.0 403.5 410.6 454.2 466.7 452.8 455.9 438.3 437.5 454.4 445.7 407.2 416.5
Nunavut 412.7 412.0 399.0 395.9 391.8 373.1 383.4 395.8 380.2 360.5 362.2 330.8 359.0 354.3 356.8 354.2
Notes: Represents actual police officer strength as of June 15 up to 2005; and as of May 15 since 2006. Total for Canada includes police officers in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police headquarters, training academy depot division and forensic labs; these are excluded from provincial/territorial totals.

Police service ranks

A helicopter pilot with the RCMP Air Services Branch
A helicopter pilot with the RCMP Air Services Branch

The Chief of Police is the title of the head of most Canadian police forces except for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (Commissioner), Ontario Provincial Police (Commissioner), South Coast British Columbia Transportation Authority Police Service (Chief Officer), Vancouver Police Department (Chief Constable), West Vancouver Police Department (Chief Constable), and the Sûreté du Québec (Director General). Other typical ranks include:

Use of force options

An X26 Taser, a non-lethal alternative to deadly force.
An X26 Taser, a non-lethal alternative to deadly force.

In the 1990s, the majority of law enforcement agencies of Canada began wearing bulletproof vests and municipal police agencies started carrying semi-automatic handguns in the .40 S&W calibre cartridge. In terms of numbers of officers, and due to its use by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the most widely used weapon is the Smith & Wesson Model 5946 with hollow-point 9mm ammunition. A large number of other agencies issue either a Glock or SIG Sauer handgun (most commonly in the law-enforcement popular .40 S&W).

These firearms replaced the aging .38 Special revolver. A police cruiser might carry a carbine rifle; or a shotgun capable of firing a variety of shotgun shells, including the less-lethal flexible baton round and rubber bullets.

Other less-lethal weapons carried include tasers, pepper spray, and an expandable baton. In addition, the personal equipment of police officers typically includes: handcuffs, flashlight, portable radio, notebook, pens, a pair of disposable gloves and Kevlar gloves.

See also


  1. ^ "Rail Policing Security". VIA Rail. 8 May 2014.
  2. ^ "VIAP Police Job Description" (PDF).
  3. ^ Branch, Legislative Services. "Consolidated federal laws of canada, Railway Safety Act".
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-02-23. Retrieved 2012-04-29.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ Section 2 Criminal Code of Canada
  7. ^ "Military Police Powers - DriveSmartBC".
  8. ^ "Police officers by level of policing, by province and territory, 2012" (PDF). Statistics Canada. Retrieved 2014-03-03.
  9. ^ "Police personnel and expenditures". Statistics Canada. Archived from the original on 2008-02-19. Retrieved 2008-03-26.
  10. ^ Statistics Canada, Table 35-10-0076-01—Police personnel and selected crime statistics, doi:10.25318/3510007601-eng.
This page was last edited on 21 September 2020, at 21:24
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