Witness protection

Witness protection is for people whose safety may be at risk because they helped the police or the courts. Protectees can be:

  • victims
  • compromised informants
  • police agents
  • independent witnesses who receive threats

People in the program can be from anywhere in Canada, or even abroad. The protection can also extend to members of their family.

The program is available to:

  • all law enforcement agencies across Canada
  • foreign agencies
  • federal security, defence and safety organizations

Details of the program

Before entering the program, participants must be aware of the following guiding principles:

  • Participation is voluntary
  • Participation is for life, if required (only limited financial support provided)
  • Participation is not a reward for testimony
  • Protectees' existing legal and financial obligations will remain

Focus on protectees

The program supports protectees by:

  • Ensuring their safety
  • Addressing their needs (counselling, addiction treatment, etc.)
  • Helping them become self-sufficient
  • Providing protective measures as necessary, including:
    • Short-term measures such as immediate responses to potential threats
    • Long-term measures such as relocation, change of identity, counselling, and financial support

Even if a witness does not formally enter the program, there may be alternate methods of protection available.

Independent and separate from investigations

The program has a dedicated staff and a separate reporting structure. This:

  • keeps the program independent from the investigative arm of the RCMP
  • avoids any inappropriate influence on program decisions
  • ensures that protection of individuals is the priority

Standard and common service

All protectees receive the same level of service from the program. The program offers services tailored to each witness's circumstance.

The RCMP's role

The RCMP administers the federal Witness Protection Program as directed in the Witness Protection Program Act.

We have full-time, dedicated witness protection units spread out across Canada. Specially trained RCMP officers lead these units.

Reporting on program operations

The program must report annually on its operations to the Minister of Public Safety.

The federal Witness Protection Program Advisory Committee reports to and advises the Commissioner of the RCMP on matters related to the program.

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