RCMP Federal Policing Annual Report 2021
On this page
- Alternate formats
- List of tables
- List of acronyms and abbreviations
- Message from the Deputy Commissioner of Federal Policing
- Federal Policing achievements in 2021
- What we do
- The threat environment
- Intelligence-informed policing
- Ensuring the safety of Canadians against the most serious threats
- Contributing to global peace, security and stability
- Protecting Canada's most fundamental democratic institutions
- Building and supporting Federal Policing's workforce
- A career in Federal Policing
- Our commitment
List of tables
- Table 1: RCMP global footprint is inclusive of liaison officers, criminal intelligence analysts and peace officers.
- Table 2: Employment equity representation in Federal Policing.
- Table 3: Federal Policing project-based investigations.
- Table 4: Federal Policing reported occurrences.
- Table 5: Top 10 Federal Policing reported occurrences.
List of acronyms and abbreviations
- Coronavirus disease
- Federal Bureau of Investigation
- International Criminal Police Organization
- Royal Canadian Mounted Police
- United Nations
- Very important person
- Virtual private network
Message from the Deputy Commissioner of Federal Policing
I am pleased to present Federal Policing's first public Annual Report. Federal Policing has a unique and extensive mandate, within a rapidly shifting and highly complex criminal environment. Today, we face unprecedented operational challenges coupled with vast and growing expectations of our workforce, at a time when human and financial resources are limited. This report will lay out some of the incredible achievements of our dedicated employees in Canada and around the world over the past year, and the strides we are making toward modernizing our Federal Policing program for a 21st century law enforcement and labour environment.
2021 was marked by significant events including the emergence of new COVID-19 variants, the discovery of unmarked gravesites at former residential schools, and extraordinary floods and wildfires. The pandemic continued to impact Canadians' medical, social, and economic health, creating new challenges and opportunities both for law enforcement agencies and for criminal organizations. While some organized crime groups were stymied by pandemic-related restrictions, many have demonstrated resilience and adaptability, and have found new ways to advance their agendas. Federal Policing has taken a broad range of actions over the past year to adapt to these evolving realities and meet our ultimate goal of keeping Canadians safe and secure.
Throughout 2021, Federal Policing fulfilled its primary mission to investigate the most serious criminal threats to Canadians. Project OLUNAR is one example of a successful cybercrime collaboration between the RCMP and the FBI which resulted in Canadian charges against one individual, the seizure of 719 bitcoins (with an estimated value at the time of seizure of $34 million), and the return of $2.8 million dollars to Canadian victims.
We also expanded our international network this year, opening two new foreign post locations in Lagos, Nigeria and Tokyo, Japan. These new posts will supplement our ongoing work to combat transnational and serious organized crime, cybercrime, and child sexual exploitation. Our police officers and analysts deployed abroad continued to work effectively with international partners to advance investigations with a transnational nexus. In 2021, this work included fugitive apprehension in Europe, hostage takings in Haiti, and a kidnapping which was ultimately resolved with the safe return of a child to Canada.
We have continued to support investigations at home and abroad by producing strategic intelligence to support decision-making on global threats. We have also provided essential operational intelligence support to RCMP operations and investigations. Federal Policing achieved a critical milestone in 2021, finalizing plans to stand up the new RCMP Operations Coordination Centre. The RCMP Operations Coordination Centre is a state-of-the-art facility designed to enhance the RCMP's ability to manage and monitor significant events. As the 24/7 single point of entry to receive, assess, and triage information from all sources, the RCMP Operations Coordination Centre will provide value-added assessments and contribute to impactful operations.
As a member of the Government of Canada's Security and Intelligence Threats to Elections Security Task Force, Federal Policing Intelligence and Protective Operations also provided critical support for the federal election. And, as part of our ongoing efforts to combat terrorism, the RCMP recommended the addition of five new entities to Canada's Criminal Code terrorist listing regime in 2021. This will prevent these entities from participating in Canada's financial system, thereby eliminating many possible avenues for profits.
Federal Policing also collaborated closely with our partners over the last year to prevent, deter, and detect illegal activity at the Canada/United States border. Key initiatives included the creation of a National Arctic Working Group to enhance cooperation, establish the RCMP's posture in the Arctic, and launch the public awareness campaign "Be our Eyes and our Ears".
As always, we continued to seek innovative ways to adapt to change in our environment in 2021. The recent creation of civilian criminal investigator positions in Federal Policing is an important example of our efforts to diversify our workforce to ensure we have the skills and expertise we need to fight today's and tomorrow's criminality. We also advanced Gender Based Analysis Plus as a key priority in our national staffing efforts, and integrated a diversity lens into areas such as the Witness Protection Program and Covert Operations.
While I want to showcase in this report some of the great work being done by Federal Policing, I also want to be clear that we are striving to fulfill our mandate under great strain, as resources are increasingly scarce. We are developing innovative and often ground-breaking ideas in organizational design and human resources, and seeking to make the most efficient and effective use of all of our resources. I am very proud of the successes accomplished by our devoted employees, despite our operational and administrative challenges. I invite you to read in the coming pages about our many achievements in the past year, and how Federal Policing contributed to a safer Canada.
Deputy Commissioner, Federal Policing
Federal Policing achievements in 2021
- 8,994 charges laid under the Criminal Code or other federal acts, including 95 charges related to money laundering/proceeds of crime, 27 charges related to organized crime, and 104 charges related to drug importation/exportation
- 8,520 people charged as a result of Federal Policing investigations
- 100,000 documents processed in various languages by the Data Operations Tactical Sciences Unit using the St. ROCH platform to support ongoing investigations
- 59 RCMP participants completed the National Security Criminal Investigations course
- 47 participants from RCMP and policing partners trained on the Proceeds of Crime and Money Laundering course
- 8,121 drug seizures, including 19,479 opioid pills/tablets, 2,280 kilos of cocaine, and 16,038 kilos of cannabis
- 646 firearms seized
- 719 bitcoins seized with an estimated value of $34 million at the time of seizure, and $2.8 million returned to Canadian victims under Project OLUNAR
Domestic and international collaboration
- assistance provided to domestic partners on more than 3,440 new files, and to international partners on more than 3,554 new files Footnote 1
- 33 RCMP officers deployed in 9 peacekeeping missions around the world
- 49 liaison officers and 14 criminal intelligence analysts deployed abroad
- 365 days/year of full-time protection provided to the Prime Minister and the Governor General
- 60 visits by foreign dignitaries and ambassadors for which protective services were provided
- 36 new close protection officers trained
- 110 information bulletins shared with the First Responder Terrorism Awareness Program network, which includes more than 3,000 contacts from various strategic partners
- 3,418 downloads of Federal Policing prevention and engagement publications by RCMP employees
What we do
Federal Policing targets the most serious criminal threats to Canadians, including national security, transnational and serious organized crime, and cybercrime. Federal Policing is a core responsibility of the RCMP that is carried out in every province and territory in Canada, as well as internationally.
Protect Canada, its people, and its interests against the greatest domestic and international criminal threats.
- multi-faceted mandate with authorities provided under more than 250 federal statutes and Acts of Parliament
- enforce federal laws, secure Canada's borders, collect criminal intelligence, and ensure the safety of critical infrastructure, internationally protected persons, other designated persons, and democratic institutions
- investigate criminal activity related to national security, serious and organized crime and financial crime
Federal Policing scope of service
- Canada's economic integrity
- integrity of Government of Canada's systems and programs
- national security
- critical infrastructure
- inter-jurisdictional with national implications
- Canada/United States border
- for which Federal Policing has received specific direction and funding
Federal Policing priorities
- national security
- transnational and serious and organized crime
RCMP Federal Policing priorities: 2020 - 2023
Founded on intelligence
Federal Policing Operations must be supported and informed by intelligence to ensure operational decisions are based on the best information available.
Within the scope of service, Federal Policing has three priority themes: National security, transnational and serious organized crime, and cybercrime. Within each theme, there are key activities to target.
- 1. National security
Criminal activities that threaten Canada's national security through terrorism, espionage, sabotage, or subversion.
Key target activities
Criminal activities by groups or individuals planning or undertaking terrorist attacks or other acts of violent extremism within Canada, or against Canadians, Canadian interests, or allies.
- Foreign interference activities
Criminal activities including espionage, sabotage, and other forms of interference that threaten Canada's economic security, undermine the country's social cohesion, or threaten the integrity of Canada's critical infrastructure.
- 2. Transnational and serious organized crime
Criminal activities that cross international and/or provincial borders, carried out by organizations, networks, or entities that use Canada as a destination, transit point, or safe haven.
Key target activities
- Organized crime
Major criminal operations, especially (but not limited to) those involved in trafficking drugs, humans, or weapons, or in the proceeds from these crimes.
- Money laundering
Criminal activities by money controllers and their associates, and by the transnational networks that support them moving criminal proceeds to, from, or through Canada.
- Border integrity
Serious criminal activity at seaports, airports, or between ports of entry.
- 3. Cybercrime
Cyber-enabled crimes by domestic or international cybercrime networks and actors targeting Canadians or Canada's critical infrastructure.
Key target activities
- Transnational and serious organized crime cyber-enabled criminal activity
Cyber-enabled criminal activity directed by, or in support of, organized crime groups targeting Canadians or Canada's critical infrastructure, and which is beyond the scope and capability of jurisdictional police forces.
- Foreign influenced cybercrime
Cyber-enabled criminal activity directed by, or in support of, a foreign state.
The threat environment
Federal Policing is facing a rapidly evolving operational landscape, driven by unprecedented technological advances, shifting geo-politics, increased sociopolitical polarization, growing financial disparity, and the impacts of climate change. All of these shifts have created considerable uncertainty and new vulnerabilities to be exploited in an increasingly borderless criminal threat landscape.
In response to this complex environment, government partners and the public we serve have continually increased their expectations of Federal Policing to address critical law enforcement priorities, while also exercising greater leadership in law enforcement, and providing expertise in support of broader public safety policy initiatives. Federal Policing's current priorities reflect this ever-more sophisticated and interconnected threat environment. Some of the key concerns on our radar at this time include:
- hostile activities by State Actors, and Foreign Actor Interference
- increased exploitation of vulnerabilities by transnational organized crime groups
- money laundering, financial crime, terrorist financing, and capital market enforcement
- economic security, safeguarding research, and protecting critical infrastructure
- emerging technologies, space, telecommunication security, encryption, and smart cities
- environmental and health security related to climate change, pandemics, and natural disasters; and emergency response capabilities
- border management, shifting migration patterns, and secure travel
- protecting democratic institutions, and election security
- ransomware, advanced persistent threats, mass fraud, crypto currencies, and encryption
- violent extremism and terrorism (Ideologically Motivated Violent Extremism, Religiously Motivated Violent Extremism, and Politically Motivated Violent Extremism)
- protective services, ministerial security, security of designated officials, and security of major events
Federal Policing Intelligence plays a crucial role in addressing our federal law enforcement priorities in National Security, Transnational and Serious Organized Crime, and Cybercrime. In the law enforcement context, intelligence is derived by analyzing raw information from a range of sources, and using it to produce intelligence that can be understood and has value to a criminal investigation. This function is essential to the effective prevention of criminal activity, and also to the efficient and strategic allocation of investigative resources.
Federal Policing Intelligence is also mandated to advance federal and international criminal investigations, support strategic and operational decision-making, and inform organizational priorities through intelligence collection, analysis, and reporting. Federal Policing Intelligence is responsible for criminal intelligence at all levels of policing under the RCMP's mandate. In the complex, globally interconnected, cyber-enabled criminal environment that Federal Policing seeks to impact, a strong and professional intelligence function is a required asset.
Over the past year, Federal Policing Intelligence has undertaken a swathe of important initiatives to improve information sharing, enhance partnerships, and professionalize its workforce.
Federal Policing Intelligence has produced numerous integrated and joint products with Government of Canada intelligence counterparts and international law enforcement partners, addressing a wide range of enforcement priorities and contributing to effective investigations, as well as guiding resource deployment in the field.
The program has also undertaken strategic human resources planning internally, to chart a path to a highly specialized and diverse analytical workforce, which is imperative for effective, modern intelligence analysis.
In 2021, Federal Policing Intelligence and International Policing finalized plans to stand up the new RCMP Operations Coordination Centre. The RCMP Operations Coordination Centre is a state-of-the-art facility designed to enhance the RCMP's ability to manage and monitor significant events such as the 24/7 single point of entry to receive, assess, and triage information from all sources. Providing value added assessment to facilitate impactful operations.
In 2021, Federal Policing Intelligence contributed to the success of a number of operational priorities.
Hardened secure communications: Federal Policing Intelligence developed intelligence packages containing in-depth analysis of transnational organized crime's use of encrypted communications devices, or hardened secure communications. These devices have been linked to homicides, weapons and drug trafficking, money laundering, tax evasion, and corruption in Canada and abroad. Understanding how these devices are integrated into the activities of organized crime groups is critical to the detection, prevention, disruption, and denial of organized criminal activity in Canada and beyond.
Elections security: Federal Policing Intelligence also provided dedicated intelligence support for the 44th Federal Election, as a member of the Government of Canada's Security and Intelligence Threats to Elections Security Task Force. The Security and Intelligence Threats to Elections Security Task Force is a government-wide team, collaborating to mitigate threats to Canada's electoral process. Federal Policing Intelligence participated in this joint effort in support of Federal Policing as the key investigatory body for Elections Canada where criminal activity influencing electoral processes is suspected.
International financial crime: In the realm of financial crime and fraud, Federal Policing Intelligence produced analysis revealing an international scam network which had amassed almost $2 million in stolen funds, involving nine subjects of interest, thirteen money mules, twenty-five bank accounts of interest, and twenty-five victims. Federal Policing Intelligence also continued its important role of reviewing foreign investment files to determine if they posed potential injury to Canada's national security as per the Investment Canada Act.
Illegal firearms: Finally, Federal Policing Intelligence facilitated meetings with the Canadian Firearms Program to discuss United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime initiatives on firearms in the Caribbean, including integrated firearms fusion centers, and any links to Canada that may be of interest for criminal investigations. Illegal firearms are a high priority for law enforcement in Canada, and addressing this issue is fundamental to making Canadians feel safe.
Federal Policing Intelligence faces a number of strategic, operational, technological, and resource-based challenges. Geo-political and technological developments have driven a shift to new forms of criminal activity that are increasingly sophisticated and more difficult to investigate and prosecute. Technological advances continue to produce new channels for criminals to connect, communicate, and hide from law enforcement, and the skills and expertise needed to uncover and decrypt these channels are scarce. Through strengthened relationships with key stakeholders, increased information sharing on areas of mutual interest, and more coordinated and collaborative activities with intelligence and law enforcement partners, Federal Policing Intelligence continues to direct all of its energies at mounting an effective response to the most pressing challenges emanating from the threat environment.
Ensuring the safety of Canadians against the most serious threats
Federal Policing employs a wide range of strategies to combat serious and complex criminal threats, detection, prevention, disruption, and enforcement actions.
Detection is a proactive strategy used to identify and assess new and emerging threats early on. Detection is achieved through intelligence and information gathering processes, both within the RCMP and in collaboration with partner agencies. When a serious threat is detected, one or more subsequent strategies can be brought to bear on the threat.
Prevention involves taking measures to reduce the likelihood of crime occurrence or victimization, including efforts to address the root causes of crime. Prevention often starts with awareness. As such, Federal Policing has built several programs to raise public awareness of emerging threats, and encourage reporting of suspicious incidents. Federal Policing also works to prevent crime by training RCMP employees and other partners to increase their knowledge and understanding of serious criminal threats, and by referring individuals at risk of offending to community support services.
Disruption is the strategy of delaying, interrupting, or complicating the commission of criminal offences or related activities by individuals or criminal networks. Disruption efforts may be used to avoid harm that could be caused by crimes such as terrorism, or to prevent criminal entities from smuggling illicit goods or trafficking drugs across the border. Examples of disruption activities include drugs and firearms seizures, dismantling of clandestine laboratories, asset freezing and forfeiture, peace bonds and other court conditions, financial intervention, immigration inadmissibility, and lawfully dismantling cybercrime infrastructure and assets.
Enforcement refers to the ability to compel compliance with the law. The most common law associated with police enforcement is Canada's Criminal Code; however, RCMP officers can lay charges under several other acts as well, including, but not limited to, the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Investment Canada Act, and the Firearms Act.
All of the above strategies can be used during the course of an investigation, at the discretion of law enforcement. In some cases, disruption can be a preferable strategy for interrupting potential harm to Canadians than the laying of a criminal charge. In other instances, it is best to refer an at-risk individual to an external agency to prevent them from offending in the first place.
Did you know?
1.6 is the average number of years required to complete a Federal Policing project-based investigation.
- transnational and serious organized crime: 2.4
- cybercrime: 2.0
- national security: 1.9
- other: 0.6
Project-based investigations are often highly complex. These can take several years to complete, from the time investigative resources are assigned, until the case is concluded. Multiple factors influence the duration of a project, including the available investigative resources, the type of criminal offence involved, the scope (domestic or international nexus), the tools and techniques used to advance the investigation, and court disclosure requirements.
National security: an evolving landscape
The first priority of the Government of Canada is to protect the safety and security of Canadians both at home and abroad. Under the Security Offences Act, the RCMP has the primary responsibility to perform peace officer duties in relation to criminal offences that constitute a threat to the security of Canada as defined in the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act. These threats include: the threat/use of violence for a political, religious or ideological purpose; espionage or sabotage; foreign-influenced activities, and activities leading to the destruction or violent overthrow of the government. The RCMP is also the primary investigative agency for activity prejudicial to the safety interests of Canada (for example: unlawful communication of special operational information) and for incidents involving the security of an Internationally Protected Person. The RCMP works in collaboration with intelligence and law enforcement partners to fulfill these functions under its national security mandate.
National Security criminal investigations are often complex, multijurisdictional, and resource intensive. They can require high levels of cooperation amongst domestic and international law enforcement and security and intelligence partners. The inherent complexity of these types of investigations frequently entails bringing together dedicated teams of police officers, intelligence analysts, technical and case management specialists, prosecutors, and other subject matter experts.
Terrorist listing regime: Throughout 2021, the RCMP became a leader, both domestically and with partners abroad, in identifying and disrupting Ideologically Motivated Violent Extremism entities through the use of the Criminal Code Terrorist Listings Regime. Adding new entities to the list demonstrates the RCMP's commitment to combating terrorism in all forms, while providing for meaningful disruption opportunities for law enforcement. Furthermore, entities that have been added to Canada's terrorism list are prevented from participating in Canada's financial system, which helps to eliminate possible avenues for profits and funding.
In 2021, the RCMP recommended the addition of five new entities to Canada's terrorist entity list, including three Ideologically Motivated Violent Extremism entities: Atomwaffen Division, Aryan Strikeforce, and James Mason. The vast majority of charges for terrorism offences in Canada have been linked to listed terrorist entities. James Mason alone has been connected to over thirty terrorist entities worldwide, through his literature which is believed to have inspired various Ideologically Motivated Violent Extremism threat actors. By adding him to Canada's terrorist entity list, the RCMP is afforded additional tools with which to detect and disrupt Ideologically Motivated Violent Extremism threats with a link to Mason.
Extra territorial investigations: In recent years, there has been an increase in the number of international criminal cases involving Canadian citizens. In response to this trend, Federal Policing has assembled a dedicated team of specialists trained in international investigations, analysis, and negotiations. This team specializes in investigating crimes committed outside of Canada, working collaboratively with Government of Canada partners and victims' families to facilitate the safe resolution of extra territorial cases – notably, extra territorial hostage takings. The team also supports the associated criminal investigations led by Federal Policing Integrated National Security Enforcement Teams (INSETs) across Canada.
Over the past two years, following the positive resolution of a highly demanding extra territorial hostage taking, Federal Policing resources have been directed toward building internal and external capacity in this sphere. This has improved information sharing practices, increased Federal Policing's capacity to inform and enable international partners to impact ongoing cases positively, and increased cooperation from key partners within the international community. Ultimately, it has improved Federal Policing's efficiency in responding to these unique cases.
Did you know?
Online space – propaganda and inspiration:
Radicalization to violence in the national security context occurs when an individual or a group comes to adopt extreme views or ideologies that justify the use or advocacy of serious violence to achieve a political, religious, or ideological objective. Holding extreme views is not illegal, nor necessarily problematic. Law enforcement is engaged when radicalization to violence takes place. There are various factors which can influence an individual on the path towards radicalization to violence, which include personal stressors, mental health challenges, in-person affiliations, online engagement, and family dynamics.
In the Ideologically Motivated Violent Extremism space, radicalization to violence in Canada often appears to be facilitated – at least in part – by engagement with propaganda and the expression of ideological grievances within likeminded communities of individuals online. Vulnerable persons, such as young people and the disenfranchised, as well as people looking for a sense of belonging, acceptance, and adventure, may be more susceptible to violent extremist propaganda and other messaging disseminated by ideologically motivated influencers online. Violent extremists continue to use online and digital platforms, including encrypted platforms, to disseminate and consume violent extremist propaganda.
Methods of disseminating such propaganda have evolved over time to reach target audiences more effectively. Ideologically motivated individuals are adept at using social media platforms, online video sharing websites, and video games to share satirical or "edgy" memes and content to normalize racist, bigoted, misogynistic, and violent messages. The anonymity offered by online and digital platforms creates challenges for police in identifying individuals active online who may be mobilizing to violence. Distinguishing between lawful freedom of expression and unlawful activity is another ongoing challenge in the online space.
Disseminating and consuming extremist propaganda is not a crime; however, material that utters threats, willfully promotes hate, and advocates violence are some examples of activity that could meet the criminal threshold. Balancing freedom of expression under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms with the need to ensure public safety is an important consideration for law enforcement.
Spotlight on national security accountability and transparency
The RCMP's Federal Policing program endeavours to be as transparent as possible to maintain public trust and build confidence with Canadians in respect to how we carry out our mandate.
The RCMP's Federal Policing activities are subject to review by various federal bodies, including the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the RCMP, Privacy Commissioner, Auditor General, and Canadian Human Rights Commission, amongst others. In addition, the RCMP's national security and intelligence activities are subject to review by two independent external review bodies with a national security and intelligence mandate: The National Security and Intelligence Review Agency and the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians.
- The National Security and Intelligence Review Agency is responsible for reviewing national security and intelligence activities across the Government of Canada. The National Security and Intelligence Review Agency also assumed responsibility for investigating national security-related public complaints against RCMP from the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission.
- The National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians consists of members from both Houses of Parliament from all major parties and has a broad mandate to review Canada's national security and intelligence organizations.
To support their reviews, Federal Policing's National Security External Review and Compliance Directorate acts as the RCMP's central point of contact for the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians and the National Security and Intelligence Review Agency. The National Security External Review and Compliance Directorate leads and coordinates the responses, on behalf of the RCMP, to these external review bodies, while also capturing lessons learned and best practices to inform policy development, as well as enhance the RCMP's internal policies, practices and standard operating procedures. To date, the National Security External Review and Compliance Directorate has provided both the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians and National Security and Intelligence Review Agency with extensive access to RCMP information, documents, records, and subject matter experts.
The National Security External Review and Compliance Directorate is also the strategic policy centre for the implementation of, and continued compliance with, the Order in Council on Avoiding Complicity in Mistreatment by Foreign Entities as well as the Security of Canada Information Disclosure Act. As part of this work, the National Security External Review and Compliance Directorate prepares annual reports on the RCMP's compliance with the Order in Council to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness. This report is then shared with the National Security and Intelligence Review Agency, the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians and the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission. The National Security External Review and Compliance Directorate also prepares annual reporting to National Security and Intelligence Review Agency on its use of Security of Canada Information Disclosure Act.
With respect to public complaints, the National Security External Review and Compliance Directorate manages all national security-related complaints that the RCMP receives from the National Security and Intelligence Review Agency. This includes complaints relating to the denial or revocation of security clearances.
Did you know?
In 2021, the RCMP contributed to:
- 11 external reviews, 2 annual reports (10 by the National Security and Intelligence Review Agency and 3 by the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians
- 3 reviews are now completed, with 10 ongoing
- dedicated thousands of hours to supporting national security and intelligence external review
- responded to over 200 detailed questions from the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians and the National Security and Intelligence Review Agency
- provided access to thousands of RCMP documents and records
- held over 20 briefings, meetings or interviews with review staff
- provided office space and building access to the National Security and Intelligence Review Agency to conduct classified research
Compliance with the Avoiding Complicity in Mistreatment by Foreign Entities Act in 2021
The 2021 RCMP annual public report on Avoiding Complicity in Mistreatment by Foreign Entities Act is available online and can be found on the RCMP's website.
National security-related public complaints in 2021
- 5 national security-related public complaints received against the RCMP in 2021
- 0 national security-related public complaints against the RCMP were closed in 2021
- currently, a total of 10 national security-related complaints are active – comprised of 3 from 2019, 5 from 2021, and 2 from 2021 that the RCMP is assisting another federal government department with
Serious and organized crime: a pervasive threat
Serious and organized crime in Canada is a multi-faceted and borderless problem, impacting all Canadians directly or indirectly. The RCMP works in partnership with local and international law enforcement partners, government agencies, industry, and communities to disrupt and prevent the illicit traffic, diversion, and proliferation of strategic goods and technology.
Nationally, the RCMP Federal Policing Serious and Organized Crime program focuses on national coordination, intelligence gathering, and disruption of global criminal networks like traditional organized crime, cartels, outlaw motorcycle gangs, and international drug trafficking. Divisionally, Federal Serious and Organized Crime resources are embedded in every RCMP division to lead investigations and gather intelligence on the greatest serious and organized crime threats in the country.
Hardened secure communications: Keeping up with technological advances in the organized crime world is critical for effective law enforcement today. Hardened secure communications makes use of modified cellular devices and applications that enable users to communicate privately and anonymously via end-to-end encryption. As noted previously, this technology is used by organized crime groups as a means to circumvent law enforcement's ability to lawfully intercept communications, and has proved to be a significant facilitator of criminal activity, in Canada and around the world. In response, serious organized crime investigators have sought this year to better understand and collaborate in this important area. In 2021, Federal Policing established a hardened secure communications working group and hardened secure communications review team to develop and promote a nationally integrated approach to operations, intelligence sharing, target identification, and education. The team has already been able to make some key recommendations on how the RCMP and Canada can become leaders and strong partners in conducting investigations into hardened secure communications companies and their end users. To date, this collaborative approach has identified several providers, and has attained access to significant amounts of data for future investigations.
Enhancing relationships: Cooperating with law enforcement partners, at home and abroad, is vital to successful operations. In 2021, Federal Policing made significant efforts towards enhancing our relationship with the United States Drug Enforcement Administration, with whom we share important components of our mandate. Working level meetings were held to further the common goals of establishing clear processes for collaboration, intelligence sharing, and capacity building. In 2022, the RCMP will renew the United States Drug Enforcement Administration-RCMP Memorandum of Understanding, and establish an on-call schedule to ensure 24/7 availability to respond to urgent United States Drug Enforcement Administration requests. This will set the stage for expanded and effective inter-agency operations with this important partner.
Joint force operations: Cooperating with law enforcement partners can be a highly effective way to achieve common operational objectives. In 2021, the case of Project OPTIMUS highlights the effectiveness of the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit multi-jurisdiction model. The investigation began under the Greater Toronto Area Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit, in relation to criminal activity involving drug trafficking and firearm-related crime. Ultimately, seven individuals were charged with a total of fifty offences, and more than forty kilograms of suspected cocaine, 250 grams of suspected MDMA, $84,000 in cash, four illegal firearms, and additional offence related property were seized as a result of this investigation.
Human trafficking: Human trafficking is a global crime in which men, women, and children are recruited and transported for the purpose of sexual or labour exploitation. Individuals living in poverty are particularly vulnerable to human trafficking, as traffickers often target victims that can be tricked or lured by taking advantage of poverty in their country, or their hopes for a better future. In 2021, a joint investigation was undertaken by the Hamilton-Niagara Regional Detachment of the RCMP and the Canada Border Services Agency into human trafficking by a group of individuals who were believed to be facilitating the entry of foreign nationals from Mexico, in Ontario and Quebec. Searches revealed approximately eighty foreign nationals residing in sub-standard conditions. Six individuals were charged in connection with these foreign nationals. The successful outcome of this investigation highlights how effectively the RCMP is able to work with partner agencies to ensure the safety of all people in Canada.
Illegal firearms: As communities across the country have faced a steady increase in gun-related crime over the past several years, the Government of Canada has made strengthening Canada's gun laws a high priority. New regulations seek to prioritize public safety and effective police work, while respecting responsible firearms owners. As of May 1, 2020, the Government of Canada has prohibited over 1,500 models of assault-style firearms, and certain components of some of these newly prohibited firearms. Last year, Federal Policing conducted a successful investigation into the importation of a prohibited firearm device, after a package containing a firearm silencer was intercepted by the Canada Border Services Agency. A warrant was obtained to search a home just outside of Quebec City as a result of this intercept. Homemade bombs were found at the home, along with reactive substances and several chemicals including potassium nitrate. A Quebec man was charged with possession of prohibited devices without a license, and careless storage of a restricted weapon. Further charges have not been ruled out, as the investigation is ongoing.
International drug trafficking: Transnational organized crime is never stagnant; it is a constantly evolving industry that adapts to market trends and continually seeks to create new forms of lucrative crime. However, drug trafficking remains the most profitable form of business for criminals, with annual value in the hundreds of billions. In 2021, Manitoba RCMP conducted Project DRONE, an investigation into a major international drug trafficking network throughout that province and Ontario. An estimated 81 kilograms of cocaine was seized, with an estimated street value of $7.6 million. This seizure is thought to be the largest of its kind in Manitoba history. The group's successful disruption is a valuable step toward Federal Policing's ultimate priority: keeping Canadian communities safe.
Top 5 drug types most frequently seized:
- other or unknown
- anabolic steroids
Cybercrime: an exponential threat
The RCMP plays a pivotal part in investigating and disrupting cybercrime as part of our role in the broader government's cyber community, and works closely with its Government partners to foster a safe and secure cyber environment in Canada. The RCMP generally interprets cybercrime to be any crime where cyber – the Internet and information technologies, such as computers, tablets, personal digital assistants, or mobile devices – has a substantial role in the commission of a criminal offence. This can include technically advanced crimes that exploit vulnerabilities found in digital technologies, as well as more traditional crimes that take on new shapes in cyberspace.
Cybercrime can be divided into two categories:
- Technology-as-target – criminal offences targeting computers and other information technologies, such as those involving the unauthorized use of computers or mischief in relation to data; and,
- Technology-as-instrument – criminal offences where the Internet and information technologies are instrumental in the commission of a crime, such as those involving fraud, identity theft, intellectual property infringements, money laundering, drug trafficking, human trafficking, organized crime activities, child sexual exploitation or cyberbullying.
The RCMP's Federal Policing cybercrime investigative mandate focuses on "pure cybercrime," which represents the most significant threats to Canada's political, economic, social, and reputational integrity.
The Federal Policing cybercrime mandate focuses on criminal activity that targets the federal government, threatens Canadian critical infrastructure, threatens key business assets with high economic impact, or uses computer systems to attack or compromise Canadian institutions – particularly when done by groups or organizations acting on behalf of foreign states. The greatest impact under this mandate is realized by conducting investigations that identify and target:
- criminal networks conducting illicit activity in the cyber realm
- hostile foreign actors (state and non-state)
In this context, Federal Policing investigations focus on the following cybercrime enablers:
- malware developers and distributors
- cybercrime infrastructure developers and operators that facilitate cybercrime (for example, botnets, forums, and marketplaces)
- disruption of advanced persistent threats
- financial network operators that facilitate laundering and monetization of proceeds from cybercrime
Botnets: In 2021, the RCMP participated in Project CIPHER, an international cybercrime operation to neutralize Emotet botnet, a malicious software designed to exploit computer networks for money. First detected in 2014, Emotet was believed to be the starting point for some sixty percent of all cyber-attacks, including ransomware. Emotet botnet was considered to be one of the most widespread international criminal threats of the decade, eventually evolving into a primary door-opener for computer systems on a global scale.
The successful operation was a collaborative effort involving Canada, the Netherlands, Germany, the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Lithuania, and the Ukraine, and was coordinated by Europol and Eurojust. As a result of this joint operation, authorities teamed up to seize command-and-control systems and deploy a binary that neutralized the botnets, thereby taking down the criminal infrastructure and removing a critical threat to the online safety of Canadians and our allies around the world.
Disrupting cybercrime infrastructure: In the last year, the RCMP took part in Operation PalmBeach, an international effort to disrupt DoubleVPN, an online encrypted communications service specifically designed for, and used by cybercriminals. DoubleVPN had been heavily advertised on both Russian and English-speaking underground cybercrime forums as a way to hide the location and identities of ransomware operators and phishing fraudsters. The service was able to offer substantial anonymity to clients by providing multiple layers of VPN connections, and it was being deployed to compromise networks all over the world.
In this coordinated effort between Canada and international law enforcement partners, servers being used to host DoubleVPN were seized across the world. Dutch authorities covertly captured the login and IP information of users attempting to use DoubleVPN on the operation's "Day of Action". The success of this operation was a blow to perpetrators around the world who seek to remain anonymous while engaging in criminal activity.
Ransomware: Ransomware has been a growing threat to industries big and small, both public and private, with annual costs now estimated to be in the tens of billions. In another internationally collaborative effort, the RCMP took part in Project OLUNAR in 2021, an international effort to take down a Netwalker ransomware affiliate operating in Canada. Netwalker is a Windows-specific, ransomware-as-a-service crimeware product that encrypts and steals all of the data that it breaches. After a successful attack, victims are presented with a ransom note demanding bitcoin payment in exchange for a full decryption of the compromised data. On occasion, samples of the stolen data are leaked online, accompanied by threats to release the remaining data on the dark web.
The FBI and the RCMP conducted parallel investigations leading to the execution of search warrants in Canada and the seizure of 719 bitcoins worth an estimated value of $34 million at the time of seizure, and almost $700,000 in cash. One individual pleaded guilty to the Canadian charges, and was sentenced to seven years before being extradited to face the United States charges. He agreed to forfeit the seized assets, and $2.8 million was returned to Canadian victims via a restitution order.
Federal Policing's cybercrime program faces several key challenges in advancing operations. First, in the area of cybercrime-as-a-service, is the availability of sophisticated and user-friendly software. These span botnets, distributed denial-of-service attacks, credit card fraud, malware, spam, and phishing attacks, all of which are sold directly through web sales and on the dark web using cryptocurrency.
Another challenge is the victim response, whether at the individual level or that of an organization or institution. Concerns over reputational damage, and a strong business drive to pay a ransom and "get back online", can lead to a reluctance to report to law enforcement. Without comprehensive, accurate, and timely reporting, it becomes very difficult to mount an effective law enforcement response to a cyber attack of any kind.
Additionally, private handling of cyber attacks through cyber insurers, the extensive use of non-disclosure agreements, law firms, and private cyber security companies are not conducive to fulsome cyber investigations. Collectively, these challenges can slow investigations and undermine effective law enforcement in the cyber realm. Federal Policing is hard at work in collaboration with domestic and international partners to expand our understanding of these threats, and to work together to address them.
Protecting our borders
The RCMP plays a critical part in maintaining Canada's safety by ensuring border security and law enforcement along the Canadian border in all domains: land, maritime, and air. The RCMP and the Canada Border Services Agency share the primary responsibility of securing Canada's border at and between the official ports of entry from inbound and outbound criminal threats. As the national police force, the RCMP is uniquely positioned to not only ensure border integrity between the ports of entry, but to also conduct investigations and divert resources to respond to significant border incidents. The Canadian border domain is multifaceted and is subject to increasingly sophisticated organized crime groups, as well as environmental and geographical challenges.
The RCMP's Federal Policing Border Integrity program works collaboratively with Canadian, American, and other foreign law enforcement partners and agencies on all aspects of operations related to Canadian border security. The overarching goal is to prevent, deter, and detect illegal activity that may pose a threat to the safety and security of Canada and Canadians, the United States, and the international community.
The north: The northern border is an area of growing interest to Federal Policing. The Arctic poses a range of important operational and intelligence challenges, necessitating close cooperation with domestic partners including the Canadian Armed Forces, and with international stakeholders from the Arctic states. In December 2021, Federal Policing founded and held an initial National Arctic Working Group meeting to enhance collaboration and determine the RCMP's posture in the Arctic. Participants included internal partners, other government departments, and Indigenous groups and leaders.
The south: Canada's southern border has also been a key locus of activity for the RCMP for many years, with a high need for collaboration and open communication with our American partners. To enhance these relationships, the Cross-Border Law Enforcement Liaison Group was restored in 2021. This group acts as a platform to provide executive level guidance to core agencies on cross-border law enforcement initiatives. The five core partners include the Canada Border Services Agency, the RCMP, the United States Border Patrol, the United States Coast Guard, and the United States Homeland Security Investigations . The Cross-Border Law Enforcement Liaison Group is set to advance several initiatives that will improve inter-agency information sharing, the identification of emerging trends for irregular migration, and the alignment of human smuggling investigations. The RCMP has assumed the role of chair of the group for the next two to three years.
Border surveillance: On the technological side, the Asylum Project involves installing cameras and sensors between regular ports of entry to monitor irregular migration over land border areas in British Columbia, Quebec, and Manitoba. The project is progressing well throughout those regions and is expected to significantly enhance the RCMP's border posture in between regular ports of entry. In June 2021, Federal Policing Border Integrity launched the "Be our Eyes and Ears" Campaign to raise awareness among Quebec residents, boaters, patrons and employees at ports, marinas, and airports, to be on the lookout for signs of suspicious activity that may be happening.
Did you know?
Canada shares the world's longest undefended border with the United States, stretching nearly 9,000 kilometres across land and water. The RCMP's ability to monitor traffic between ports of entry has always been a challenge due to weather, terrain, and size.
Illegal firearms: Illegal firearms are currently a high priority for law enforcement and the Government of Canada, and in 2021, Federal Policing's Border Integrity program was responsible for two key operational successes in this realm. In March of 2021, RCMP officers arrested a 24-year old man and seized a cache of 249 prohibited handguns in Sherbrooke, a Quebec town near the United States border. The arrest was made following a border surveillance operation of a vehicle heading towards a rural road that crosses into the United States.
In November of 2021, members of the RCMP Cornwall Integrated Border Enforcement Team commenced a firearm smuggling investigation after a boat crossed the St. Lawrence River and made landfall near Cornwall, Ontario. Three large bags were unloaded from the boat into a vehicle which departed the area. Subsequently, the RCMP conducted a roadside stop of the vehicle and found 53 restricted and prohibited pistols, 6 prohibited rifles, and 110 high capacity magazines. This successful seizure demonstrates the effective partnership between various domestic agencies such as Ontario Provincial Police, the Akwesasne Mohawk Police Service, the Montreal Police, the Sûreté du Québec, the RCMP Valleyfield Detachment, and the National Weapons Enforcement Support Team. As in all other areas of Federal Policing operations, collaboration with internal and external partners is essential to effective border-related investigations, and to achieving our goal of keeping Canadians safe by diverting these weapons.
Illegal drugs and cash: In June 2021, an RCMP Integrated Border Enforcement Team in Quebec arrested two individuals and seized 351 pounds of cannabis and $91,020 cash in Mansonville, Quebec. Prior to their arrest, the two subjects were observed crossing the border illegally, and one vehicle was located by officers containing the illicit cannabis and cash. One subject pleaded guilty in May 2022, and is awaiting sentencing in Fall 2022. While there is often an overlap between the Border Integrity program and that of Federal Policing's Serious and Organized Crime branch, enforcement efforts focused on the particular environment of Canada's borders seek to ensure that such contraband is stopped before it threatens the safety of Canadians.
The COVID-19 pandemic and associated border restrictions and closures put a significant pressure on RCMP border integrity resources across the country. At the onset of the pandemic, the area between the ports of entry at the Canada-United States border was identified as high risk, with a possible increase in exploitation by criminals resulting from the restrictions imposed on persons entering and leaving Canada via the ports of entry. This period of increased threat risk led to a change in posture and reallocation of RCMP resources to the Canada-United States border. Additionally, while irregular migration rates remained fairly low from March 2020 to October 2021 as a result of border closures, the lifting of border restrictions and the Quarantine Act in November 2021, as well as other geo-political factors, caused a significant increase in irregular migration crossings between the official ports of entry. Interceptions from November 2021 to December 2021 were 3,656 Canada-wide, in comparison to 590 interceptions Canada-wide between January and October 2021. Federal Policing's Border Integrity program under Federal Policing Criminal Operations continues to work with our Government of Canada partners and the United States government to seek mutually agreeable terms and solutions for managing the flow of irregular migration across our southern border, between the official ports of entry.
Combatting economic and financial crime
Economic and financial crimes threaten the security of Canadians and the Canadian economy. These crimes come in many variations, and are commonly committed by organized crime groups and independent actors. Federal Policing Criminal Operations Financial Crime is in charge of overseeing the operational response to the broad spectrum of crimes that threaten the economic security and financial integrity of the country. These crimes include money laundering, possession of proceeds of crime, corruption, fraud, and market manipulation.
Federal Policing Criminal Operations Financial Crime develops and coordinates financial crime training programs. It leads money laundering and integrated marketing enforcement team working groups, and represents the RCMP at the Five Eyes Law Enforcement Group and its sub-groups with respect to money laundering, as well as working closely with other government partners, stakeholders, and law enforcement agencies both nationally and internationally. To combat financial crime, the RCMP investigates reports of laundered money, seeks to identify and seize profits and assets acquired from illegal activities, records financial information about organized crime groups, and investigates reports of serious fraud and corruption.
Federal Policing followed a number of avenues to mitigate harm to Canada's financial integrity in 2021, including criminal enforcement of related laws, regulatory action, and legislative reform. Federal Policing also continued to develop new initiatives with key stakeholders to enhance efforts to lawfully share information, and undertook joint operations to address money laundering and proceeds of crime trends.
Stakeholder collaboration: The RCMP is closely and proactively engaged with many domestic and international partners in operational and strategic initiatives to address financial crime in its multiple forms. On the operational side, Federal Policing continued in 2021 to counter criminal misconduct in Canada's capital markets by enhancing partnerships with Canadian Securities Commissions to collaborate and develop strategies to protect investors from fraudulent practices.
Also, at this time, the Integrated Money Laundering Investigative Teams became fully staffed, with the RCMP complement located in Quebec, Ontario, Alberta, and British Columbia. These teams are working to develop partnerships with principal anti-money laundering regime partners, including the Canada Revenue Agency, Public Prosecution Service of Canada, Canada Border Services Agency, Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada, and the Forensic Accounting Management Group. Together, these teams and partners will drive effective operational responses to the most serious money laundering threats in Canada.
At the strategic level, in July 2021, the Canadian Integrated Response to Organized Crime committee members endorsed the Canadian Integrated Response to Organized Crime money laundering strategy. Led by the RCMP, the Strategy will provide an operational central coordination mechanism across Canada to collectively address the highest money laundering threats by building and maintaining strong collaboration between anti-money laundering regime partners through three pillars: Intelligence, Investigations, and Engagement (including education and risk reduction).
In 2019, after the successful launch of British Columbia's Public-Private Financial Intelligence Sharing Partnership, named the Counter Illicit Finance Alliance – British Columbia, Federal Policing Criminal Operations Financial Crime started work on creating an integrative, comprehensive, and responsive coordination function at National Headquarters to facilitate information sharing with the provinces and Federal departments; provide high level stewardship of national public-private partnership issues; ensure oversight and effective governance; conduct analysis on cross-jurisdictional issues; and connect regional public-private issues to the Federal anti-money laundering regime to drive operational responses. Counter Illicit Finance National participated in the Public Private Collaboration Steering Committee and was a member of a money mules project which included major financial institutions. The project endorsed a public awareness campaign on money mules, aimed at combatting money laundering activity and victimization.
Providing expertise and support: Federal Policing also continues to provide expertise and support in key areas of financial crime. This includes the complex world of cryptocurrency and related fraud, a growing concern for law enforcement worldwide, as losses for victims of scams involving cryptocurrencies continue to increase globally. The apparent trend of criminals defrauding cryptocurrency users suggests that this realm offers significant potential for criminal opportunities. Federal Policing is currently expanding national capacity through in-field and course training, while assessing a centre of expertise to support national operations.
In 2021, the RCMP also supported the Cullen Commission Inquiry into Money Laundering in British Columbia by providing expert testimony, identifying emerging trends, and raising awareness on the exploitation of virtual assets. The final Cullen Commission Report was subsequently published in June of 2022, containing comprehensive coverage of a vast range of topics and recommendations related to money laundering and the regulatory and enforcement regime in Canada.
Finally, coordinated by Federal Policing, the RCMP Asset Recovery Interagency Network Program has increased awareness of international asset recovery in 2021, having conducted several national level presentations and strengthened its relationship with the Department of Justice International Assistance Group.
Real estate investment fraud: Real estate investment scams lure victims with promises of making a lot of money, quickly and easily. In 2021, Federal Policing conducted Project ALCAZAR, a financial crime investigation pertaining to foreign real estate investment fraud. One of the two men accused in this case was a former Member of Parliament. The pair had borrowed upwards of $1.1 million fraudulently from personal contacts, under the guise of using the funds for investment properties in Pakistan. Two separate trials were held. One of the individuals charged was ultimately convicted on three counts of fraud over $5,000 and one count of knowingly using a forged document, and in October 2021, was sentenced to thirty months in prison.
Also, in 2021, Project KF-CLOSE yielded charges following a theft and fraud investigation against a real estate investment company. In this case, one individual pleaded guilty to a charge of theft over $5,000, and was sentenced to 2.5 years of federal jail time.
Investment fraud and ponzi schemes: Investment fraud can also take other forms, but always rests on persuading victims to make investment decisions based on fraudulent information. A scammer may try to sell them stocks or bonds, or convince a victim to invest directly in a business. Project KF-INSIDIOUS involved a complex investigation that resulted in Federal Policing obtaining Canada-wide warrants for a husband and wife who were believed to have operated a fraudulent investment company, identified as Family First Dynasty Inc. in Millarville, Alberta. The investigation uncovered a scheme that allegedly defrauded clients out of their finances, and resulted in over one million dollars lost by victims. The subjects of the investigation were eventually charged with theft over $5,000, fraud over $5,000, and laundering proceeds of crime.
Fraudsters may also use classic pyramid or Ponzi schemes to convince victims to give them funds. A Ponzi scheme is a fraudulent investment scheme in which the scammer pays returns to investors using capital extracted from new investors, instead of from legitimate investment profits. Ponzi scheme operators lure new investors with unusually high rates of return in the short term. The fraudster makes a profit from fees on the "investments" or by stealing the investors' funds. Project KF-CALL was an investigation in 2021 into a Ponzi scheme. Following a referral from the Alberta Securities Commission, Federal Policing investigated fraud allegations that resulted in the loss of millions of dollars for various investors between 2014 and 2016. Two individuals were charged with fraud over $5,000, theft over $5,000, and laundering the proceeds of crime.
Money laundering: Money laundering is a process by which the origins of illegally obtained money are concealed; that is, money obtained through criminal activity. Typically, this process involves transferring the money through legitimate business or foreign banks. In 2021, Federal Policing's Integrated Money Laundering Investigative Team in the Greater Toronto Area charged a subject of Markham, Ontario with four counts of knowingly providing false or misleading information, contrary to the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act. As part of an investigation, the RCMP received a disclosure from Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada outlining non-compliance by a company. The company is registered with Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada as a Money Services Business, and is alleged to have knowingly provided false or misleading information to Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada contrary to the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act.
Spotlight on Federal Policing specialized policing services
The RCMP's Undercover and Human Source Programs are managed by National Headquarters Covert Operations, in collaboration with divisional counterparts. These programs are considered to be among the highest risk areas for the RCMP. The Undercover program has built an international reputation as one of the best of its kind, and has been recognized internationally for leadership in safety standards. On the Human Source side, the Federal Policing program offers support in the management and handling of police informants, an activity that is vital to our ability to gather and monitor information on criminal organizations. Police informants and agents are crucial to the RCMP's ability to conduct effective organized crime and national security investigations.
In 2021, the teams completed 132 approval and extension requests relating to major undercover operations – almost double that of the previous year. The teams are also responsible for delivering covert training courses in support of operations, including:
- Specialized National Investigation Course: provides advanced human source training
- Online Undercover Training Course: trains undercover and cover officers
- Online Covert Employee Course: provides specific training relating to online undercover work
Over the past year, National Headquarters Covert Operations has increased its focus on employee well-being by dedicating resources to the implementation of a well-being strategy and through the creation of the first-ever Covert Operations Advisory Committee on equity, diversity, and inclusion.
Data operations tactical sciences
The introduction of cellular devices and encrypted communications into criminal activity over the past decade means that criminal investigations now almost routinely generate vast amounts of data that must be reviewed and analyzed. Images, recordings, spreadsheets, documents, PDF files, and more are downloaded in huge quantities from seized devices, and the volume of data now available to law enforcement far exceeds our ability to manage it manually. The Data Operations Tactical Sciences Unit is mandated to provide tailored data analytics and data science solutions to assist analysts and investigators with the review, analysis, interpretation, and visualization of their high-priority investigational data, collected under proper mandate and judicial authorization.
Data Operations Tactical Sciences activities fall into three categories:
- direct tactical operational support
- tradecraft development
- research and development
Examples of services include:
- algorithm development and process automation
- social media and communications analysis
- financial analysis
- geo-data analysis
- machine translation
In 2021, the Data Operations Tactical Sciences unit successfully contributed to a number of high-priority investigational files on financial crime, cybercrime, serious organized crime, and national security, across multiple divisions. Through services and custom-built data solutions, the Data Operations Tactical Sciences unit was able to provide investigators with investigational documents within weeks, as opposed to months or years, saving hundreds if not thousands of person-hours and dollars. The Data Operations Tactical Sciences unit also enabled investigative teams to discover new investigative avenues with regards to the collection and presentation of evidence. Custom-built investigational data visualization capability is now being used to assist many investigations relating to a myriad of crimes.
Some Data Operations Tactical Sciences highlights from this past year include:
- the processing and translating of more than 100,000 documents in multiple languages using St. ROCH software, which was accomplished in approximately 19 hours. The use of human translation services or relying on resources across the organization would have taken months of effort
- the use of the St. ROCH platform in support of an investigative file to process seized data resulted in processing time of approximately 100 minutes. Without the use of St. ROCH, this task would have required up to thirty employees working over a period of eight weeks
Contributing to global peace, security and stability
The source of global criminal threats may be far from Canadian shores, but their effects are often felt at the local level. Through its International Operations program, Federal Policing deploys policing resources in strategic locations around the world to conduct peace missions and to disrupt transnational crime at its source, before it reaches Canada or affects Canadian interests. This extends the reach of Canadian law enforcement internationally, and is integral to advancing Federal Policing priorities abroad.
In the international space, Federal Policing is comprised of four distinct components: the international platform of liaison posts abroad, Canada's INTERPOL and Europol bureaus, capacity building and training, and peace operations. Through these components, Federal Policing detects, prevents, disrupts, denies, and responds to threats to the safety and security of Canadians and Canadian interests, while also supporting global security and the rules based international order. Working horizontally with a wide range of domestic and international partners, Federal Policing represents a unique set of capabilities that works to identify and pursue criminal matters linked to Canada.
Aligning the RCMP's international footprint to the threat environment: In recognition of the persistent and growing threats from transnational organized crime and online harms such as cybercrime and child sexual exploitation, Federal Policing established new post locations this year in Lagos, Nigeria; and Tokyo, Japan. In 2021, funding was secured to open two additional new posts in 2022: Manila, Philippines; and San Francisco, United States. These additional posts will increase the organization's reach, visibility, and influence abroad.
Capacity building: In partnership with the International Association of Chiefs of Police, Federal Policing successfully delivered capacity building and equipment to law enforcement partners in the Dominican Republic to help bolster their capabilities to combat human trafficking and human smuggling.
In partnership with Global Affairs Canada and the Jakarta Centre for Law Enforcement Cooperation located in Semarang, Indonesia, Federal Policing deployed a regular member to Jakarta Centre for Law Enforcement Cooperation beginning in August 2021 to coordinate the delivery of capacity building courses. The courses delivered were under the funding umbrella of migrant smuggling, and involved partnerships with authorities from the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Australia, and Indonesia. The course participants represented various police forces throughout the Southeast Asia region.
Canada's National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security: Federal Policing continued to support the Women, Peace and Security agenda and successfully deployed an increased number of women on peacekeeping missions, at levels that far exceed UN targets, ensuring that Canada remains a world leader in this regard. Federal Policing also worked to support the development of Canada's third National Action Plan, which was announced in June 2021, and remains committed to further advancing the Women, Peace and Security agenda.
Supporting the reform of the Foreign Information Risk Advisory Committee process: Federal Policing is working to support the RCMP's implementation of Avoiding Complicity in Mistreatment by Foreign Entities Act and related Ministerial Direction. In 2021, Federal Policing worked with other units to reform the RCMP's Foreign Information Risk Advisory Committee process, with a view to modernizing our approach to profiling foreign law enforcement entities with whom we share information. This will continue into 2022-2023.
Reunited for Christmas: An eight-year-old was kidnapped in July by her grandparents who took her to Turkey. After coordinated efforts between the Calgary Police Service, INTERPOL, the National Centre for Missing Persons and Unidentified Remains, Turkish authorities, and the RCMP liaison office in Ankara, the child was found and reunited with her father just before Christmas in December 2021.
Hostage-takings in Haiti: In 2021-2022, Federal Policing supported Canadian law enforcement's response to a surge in hostage-takings in Haiti targeting Canadians, which averaged approximately one every six weeks – sometimes multiple at once. Working closely with the Police Nationale d'Haiti, domestic and foreign law enforcement, and other government departments, Federal Policing helped ensure the safe and speedy release of victims, and is now proactively working with the Police Nationale d'Haiti to address this threat.
Fugitives in an organized crime murder arrested in Europe: Two suspects in the organized crime-linked murder of a man in Hamilton, Ontario, were arrested in June 2021 after fleeing to Budapest, Hungary. They were located and arrested following cooperation between the Hamilton Police Service and INTERPOL offices in Ottawa, Budapest, and Bratislava. One has been returned to Canada to face trial, and the return of the other is pending.
Girls rescued in the Democratic Republic of Congo: Canadian police officers deployed to the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo assisted an operation led by the Police Nationale Congolaise in rescuing 53 girls from terrible conditions under the care of a local foundation. The Canadian officers engaged the relevant partners to provide medical care and safety for the girls. A suspect who was deemed to be responsible for their treatment was arrested and is on trial.
Did you know?
In 2021, RCMP personnel were deployed in 35 countries around the world.
33 RCMP officers and 36 non-RCMP officers participated in peacekeeping missions abroad to help rebuild or strengthen police services in countries experiencing conflict or upheaval.
Off that number, 35% were female officers.
49 liaison officers and 14 criminal intelligence analysts were deployed in strategic locations around the world to support investigations in host countries that have a positive nexus with Canada.
5 cybercrime investigators were deployed abroad to work with international partners to investigate cybercrime related to Canada.
RCMP global footprint
|Australia||Liaison officer and analyst deployed overseas|
|Colombia||Liaison officer and analyst deployed overseas|
|Democratic Republic of Congo||Officer deployed on peace operations|
|Dominican Republic||Liaison officer and analyst deployed overseas|
|Haiti||Officer deployed on peace operations|
|Italy||Liaison officer and analyst deployed overseas|
|Jamaica||Liaison officer and analyst deployed overseas|
|Kenya||Liaison officer and analyst deployed overseas|
|Mali||Officer deployed on peace operations|
|Mexico||Liaison officer and analyst deployed overseas|
|Netherlands||Liaison officer, analyst deployed overseas and officer deployed on peace operations|
|Nigeria||Liaison officer and analyst deployed overseas|
|Panama||Liaison officer and analyst deployed overseas|
|South Africa||Liaison officer|
|Switzerland||Officer deployed on peace operations|
|Thailand||Liaison officer and analyst deployed overseas|
|The West Bank||Officer deployed on peace operations|
|Trinidad and Tobago||Liaison officer|
|Turkey||Liaison officer and analyst deployed overseas|
|Ukraine||Officer deployed on peace operations|
|United Arab Emirates||Liaison officer and analyst deployed overseas|
|United Kingdom||Liaison officer|
|United States||Liaison officer, analyst deployed overseas, officer deployed on peace operations and new post|
Protecting Canada's most fundamental democratic institutions
Protective Policing is comprised of two programs – Protective Services, and the Canadian Air Carrier Protective Program.
Protective Services: Through the Protective Services program, Federal Policing ensures the safety and security of individuals, sites or events designated under the law to receive such protection. The mandate is derived from the RCMP Act and Regulations and the Criminal Code, as well as other acts and international conventions including the Foreign Missions and International Organizations Act, and the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. As such, it is the responsibility of the RCMP to protect, inside or outside Canada, whether or not there is an imminent threat to their security:
- the Governor General
- the Prime Minister of Canada
- Judges of the Supreme Court of Canada
- Ministers of the Crown in right of Canada
- any other Canadian citizen or permanent resident who is designated by the Minister of Public Safety for the period designated by the Minister
- any person who qualifies as an "internationally protected person", as defined in section 2 of the Criminal Code
- any other foreign national who is designated by the Minister for the period designated
The RCMP is currently engaged with protective and security service partners regarding options to bolster the security of Ministers and Parliamentarians. Federal Policing will continue to engage with partners to enhance coordination and improve client service delivery with existing resources.
Canadian Air Carrier Protective Program: The Canadian Air Carrier Protective Program was established by the Government of Canada in 2002, in response to the events of September 11, 2001. This program protects the travelling public from threats in airports and on select domestic and international flights. Since its inception, the Canadian Air Carrier Protective Program has achieved recognition as a world leader in aviation security. The program has developed an internationally recognized training program, with highly trained In-Flight Security Officers, and aided with the implementation of In-Flight Security Officers programs globally. The Canadian Air Carrier Protective Program participates and takes a leadership role in international aviation security organizations, and has developed and continues to maintain constructive partnerships with the Canadian aviation industry.
2021 federal election: Following the launch of the federal election in 2021, and in addition to ongoing protection for the Prime Minister, Federal Policing provided protection packages for all leaders of federal parties with official party status. In 2021, this included the leaders of the Conservative, Bloc Québécois, and New Democratic parties.
During these periods of increased logistical requirements, Federal Policing implemented a centralized protection model that is assessment-led, threat and risk driven, and aligned with Protective Policing modernization strategies to form the foundation for Party Leader Protection Packages. Simultaneously, all RCMP divisions prioritized protective operations through their local protective units/assets, while leveraging their intelligence capacity. Ultimately, this enabled an effective, assessment-led approach and response with effective service delivery, and a safe federal election.
Building and supporting Federal Policing's workforce
Sound, effective, and innovative governance and program management is absolutely essential to a well-functioning law enforcement service that keeps Canadians safe, and cares for the welfare and development of its people. The Federal Policing National Governance program focuses on its people by enhancing leadership and employee development through a wide range of online and in-person learning opportunities, while improving internal processes and adopting best practices to strengthen accountability and governance. Ongoing work to improve and modernize Federal Policing's information technology infrastructure, and to integrate administrative and operational data, are high priorities in the strategic management of Federal Policing, as this directly supports and improves operational decision-making.
Federal Policing also provides comprehensive policy expertise, direction, and advice on issues related to its priorities to the RCMP Commissioner, the Minister of Public Safety, domestic/international partners, and the private sector.
Modernizing Federal Policing: As the world around us evolves, so too must our program. Federal Policing deals with borderless crime, and our structure and resources need to be flexible to address criminality in this ever-changing landscape. With the approval of the RCMP's Senior Executive Committee in 2021, Federal Policing is advancing its modernization agenda by realigning all Federal Policing resources under one command structure: a national program led by the Deputy Commissioner of Federal Policing. A dedicated team is developing a plan of action to actively seek to restore Federal Policing capacity and leverage civilian expertise in the coming years, and many options for improving our program are on the table. This will bolster core activities such as intelligence gathering and analysis, our international policing program, advance and streamline investigations, and find new efficiencies in our administration and technical operations.
This Federal Policing Transformation program has broad objectives that can be summarized as follows:
- a law enforcement program that is focused, strategic and on mission
- full alignment to the Federal Policing mandate – a unique space in law enforcement
- results oriented, seeking maximum operational impact, and taking a national leadership role
- modern, agile, and responsive to the changing threat landscape
- retains the capabilities and capacity required to be a world leading program
- holds the trust and confidence of Canadians, employees and partners
- ever-increasing accountability and transparency
- fully sustainable – financial and human resources, and infrastructure
Strategic engagement with our partners and the public: Every component of Federal Policing benefit enormously from engagement and collaboration with stakeholders and partners, internal and external to the RCMP, and domestic and international. Through proactive, strategic engagement with key national and international stakeholders, Federal Policing raises awareness of federal priority enforcement areas. Federal Policing works to enhance partner and stakeholder ability to effectively identify and report information on possible illicit federal crime activities, by developing tools and products based on intelligence to foster resiliency and crime prevention, and sharing these outside of Federal Policing. This creates opportunities for dialogue among leading experts, which in turn helps to inform Federal Policing about current and developing trends in criminality.
Raising awareness: In 2021, in raising awareness of the federal priority enforcement areas, Federal Policing developed a variety of products for partners and stakeholders that addressed key public safety issues affecting Canadians. These included insider risk, fraud, clandestine synthetic drug labs, suspicious incidents, cryptocurrency and its risks, and cybercrime.
The products developed and shared by Federal Policing are designed to enhance Canadians' understanding of federal crimes, assist with the identification of suspicious activities or behaviors, and emphasize the importance of reporting information on possible criminal activities to authorities.
Guide to reporting suspicious incidents to police: In 2021, Federal Policing took the lead in collaborating with various law enforcement partners to develop a guide to inform and assist Canadians on how and when to report suspicious incidents to police, with a view to keeping Canadians safe. The guide contains information on how to recognize and report behaviours that may be linked to hate crimes, radicalization to violence, extremist propaganda, and terrorism mobilization. It provides details about the steps people can and should follow when reporting suspicious incidents to the police. The goal of the initiative is to enhance the quality of information being shared with police, and to encourage the reporting of suspicious incidents and activities. By interrupting potential criminality before it takes place, Federal Policing strives to help create healthier, stronger, safer communities, with supports to at-risk individuals.
Did you know?
Federal Policing employs 4,994 people across Canada including:
- 3,493 regular members and 1,501 civilian employees Footnote 2
- $1,231 million spent by Federal Policing in fiscal year 2021-2022
A career in Federal Policing
There are countless opportunities within Federal Policing to develop an exciting, fulfilling, and meaningful career, both on the law enforcement or operational side, as well as within the management of the program.
In 2021, the RCMP expanded these potential opportunities even further by creating a new investigative role, the civilian criminal investigator. Currently, the civilian criminal investigator positions are focused on supporting investigations into financial crime and cybercrime, as Federal Policing seeks to keep pace with the rapidly evolving criminal landscape in these sectors. Employees working as civilian criminal investigators will provide specialized expertise in fields such as computer science and financial markets, and will work in close collaboration with experienced police officers located in Quebec, Ontario, Alberta, and British Columbia.
Federal Policing also offers a wide range of opportunities for civilian employees in various disciplines including:
- criminal intelligence
- data science and analytics
- geospatial analysis
- human resources
- information and technology
- operational support
- planning and reporting
- project management
- research and analysis
- strategic policy
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Statistics reflected are subject to change based on the results of ongoing investigations and other factors.
|Percentage of women||Percentage of members of a visible minority||Percentage of Indigenous people||Percentage of people with disabilities|
|Public service employees||73.6%||13.9%||3.6%||3.4%|
Table 2 notes
|2020||2021||Percentage change from 2020 to 2021|
|Total ongoing project-based investigations (2021 and previous years)||117||132||12.8%|
|New project-based investigations opened in 2021 table 3 note 2||47||43||-8.5%|
Table 3 notes
|2020||2021||Percentage change from 2020 to 2021|
Table 4 notes
|Occurence type group||2021|
|Controlled Drugs and Substances Act/Cannabis Act||8,108|
|Non-investigative table 5 note 1||4,222|
|Other Criminal Code||4,063|
Table 5 notes
As Canada's Federal Police force, we are committed to ensuring the safety of Canadians against the most serious criminal threats. We are also committed to securing Canada's most fundamental democratic and social institutions by ensuring the safety and security of protected persons, sites, government-led events and Canadian air carriers.
Federal Policing has adapted over its history to new crimes, new laws, new technologies, and to all the other major changes Canada has experienced since the beginning of Federal Policing in 1868. We will continue to transform our capabilities and structure to meet future challenges.
We will apply our resources to the most important criminal problems nationally and internationally, regardless of provincial borders or divisional boundaries. We must be agile and adaptable in taking on new types of crime while still able to work persistently on long-term investigations into the most resilient criminal groups and networks.
We recognize that effectively fighting crime takes a collective effort. We will expand our collaborative partnerships within the wide network of agencies and organizations, both public and private, which have roles in the Federal mandate and which bring their own expertise and capabilities. We will also transform our collaborative partnerships with Canadians, especially with Canadians from racialized and other vulnerable communities.
Achieving these goals would not be possible without the dedicated employees that work for Federal Policing. We will build a highly specialized and diverse workforce, including police officers and other specialist employees, who will have the skills and desire to prevent, detect, and investigate the most complex, sophisticated, and sensitive criminal activity.
- Footnote 1
Domestic includes assistance to Canadian Federal, Provincial and Territorial Departments/Agencies, Canadian police agencies and non-government Canadian agencies. International includes foreign police agencies, foreign INTERPOL offices, FBI, United States police agencies and United States non-police agencies. Excludes British Columbia Prime data, therefore this number is under-represented.
- Footnote 2
Includes civilian members, full-time and part-time public service employees and reservists.
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