Operating context

The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic caused rapid and profound disruptions to business-as-usual. A shift to remote work for some RCMP employees necessitated improvements in Information Management and Information Technology infrastructure, hardware, and software. Mental health and well-being supports were provided to employees, and personal protective equipment was distributed to front-line members. Adjustments were also made to work spaces and routines for many RCMP employees.

The pandemic also brought with it changes in the nature of some crimes. While some calls for service initially reduced, fraud and cybercrime events increased as crime groups began capitalizing on new and existing vulnerabilities. The pandemic also intensified the existing opioid crisis in Canada as some individuals turned to a more clandestine and dangerous drug supply.

Hate crimes and those related to racism, religious intolerance, and discrimination against members of 2SLGBTQ+ communities, have seen a sharp rise in recent years in Canada – a trend that has only been furthered by the pandemic. Progress on the critical issues of reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples and systemic gender and racial discrimination remain a high priority, both within and outside policing organizations. Dialogue on the role of police in Canadian society is continuing and will likely do so for years to come.

Recruitment and retention of employees with the appropriate skills and attributes continues to be a challenge for law enforcement agencies. A diverse and highly skilled workforce is more important than ever to address the increasingly transnational and technological nature of crime.

Climate change poses one of the most significant threats, with environmental disasters, record heat waves, melting ice caps, flooding, and forest fires contributing to increased displacement. Natural disasters are often associated with increases in some types of crime – such as family violence, sexual violence and thefts – with already vulnerable groups often most impacted. Indigenous communities, particularly in northern regions, are also disproportionately affected.

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