Securing Canadaís Public Health and Safety
While globalization offers enhanced opportunities for Canada, it also brings new risks, including new threats of disease, international criminal activity and terrorism.
The Government of Canada must play a fundamental role in securing the public health and safety of Canadians, while ensuring that all Canadians continue to enjoy the benefits of an open society. The government will achieve these goals by making the following changes to integrate federal activities under strong leadership, maximize the effectiveness of interagency cooperation, and increase accountability to all Canadians:
- Creating a Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, to integrate into a single portfolio the core activities of the existing Solicitor General portfolio that secure the safety of Canadians and other activities required to protect against and respond to natural disasters and security emergencies;
- Integrating the Office of Critical Infrastructure Protection and Emergency Preparedness (currently in the Department of National Defence) into the Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness portfolio to maximize emergency preparedness and responses to natural disaster and security emergencies, as well as improving connections to provincial and territorial emergency preparedness networks, and by adding the National Crime Prevention Centre to actively support crime prevention activities;
- Increasing National Defence Reserves available for civil preparedness, including capacity to deal with natural disasters and local emergencies;
- Creating a Canada Border Services Agency to build on the Smart Border Initiative and the important progress that has been made in expediting trade and travel while enhancing security with respect to high risk arrivals, and continue to work in close collaboration with business, labour, immigrant and refugee groups, and other important stakeholders in pursuing these changes;
- Protecting the interests of immigrants and refugees remains the responsibility of Citizenship and Immigration, which will continue to be present at all major airports and land crossings to issue immigration benefits, to greet new Canadians and to make immigration determinations that will be based on existing criteria. There will be consultations with stakeholders to fully define this presence;
- Reforming the refugee determination process to create a more predictable and streamlined system, including a reformed appointment process to ensure the quality and effectiveness of the Immigration and Refugee Board;
- Creating an independent armís length review mechanism for the RCMPís activities with respect to national security. The mechanism will be designed in a way that respects the important principle of the independence of the police in relation to law enforcement and criminal investigations;
- Creating a new position of National Security Advisor to the Prime Minister in the Privy Council Office, to be responsible for intelligence and threat assessment integration and interagency cooperation, and to assist the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness in the development and overall implementation of an integrated policy for national security and emergencies, to be referred to the appropriate House Standing Committee;
- Creating a new Canada Public Health Agency, under the Minister of Health, Intergovernmental Affairs, and Minister responsible for Official Languages, following consultations with provincial and territorial governments, to address public health risks and coordinate a national response to health crises, assisted by the Minister of State (Public Health);
- Establishing a new Cabinet Committee on Security, Public Health, and Emergencies, chaired by the Minister of Public Safety, to manage national security and intelligence issues and activities and coordinate government-wide responses to all emergencies, including public health, natural disasters and security;
- Proposing a National Security Standing Committee in the House of Commons whose members would be sworn-in as Privy Councillors so that they could be briefed on national security issues; and
- Rationalizing responsibility for marine safety and security policy under the Minister of Transport to consolidate responsibility for security in all transportation sectors and creating the Coast Guard as a special operating agency in the Fisheries and Oceans department.
The following agencies report to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, The Honourable Ralph Goodale.
- Canada Border Services Agency
- Canadian Security Intelligence Service
- Correctional Service of Canada
- National Parole Board
- Royal Canadian Mounted Police