Public Safety

The CCLA’s Public Safety Program promotes the importance of civil liberties in relation to policing and the criminal justice system. Our work recognizes the important role that governments play in protecting public safety and advocates for the striking of an appropriate balance between public safety and civil liberties in this context. We believe that governments should treat the promotion of public safety and the protection of civil liberties as mutually reinforcing objectives and approach our public safety work from this perspective.

The CCLA monitors the legal and policy frameworks that govern policing and the administration of justice in Canada to ensure that they are sufficiently respectful of civil liberties and Charter rights. When an issue of concern is identified, action is taken to encourage governments to be more respectful of civil liberties. The CCLA has a long history or promoting civil liberties in the public safety sphere and continues to build upon this expertise through its ongoing efforts in the following four key issue areas:

Police Powers

The CCLA seeks to ensure that police powers are used in a manner that is necessary, proportionate and consistent with constitutional standards. Specific police powers that the CCLA has focussed on include detention and arrest, the use of force, and search and seizure.

Police Accountability

The CCLA seeks to ensure that police services and individual officers are accountable for their actions. Accountability mechanisms, such as police complaints and external investigative bodies must be independent and effective in order to enhance public faith in policing.

Privacy and Policing

The CCLA seeks to ensure that personal privacy is adequately respected by police when they are handling personal information. This is particularly important in the context of procedures that may result in the disclosure of personal information, such as background checks.

Liberty and Due-Process

The CCLA seeks to ensure that the criminal law is flexible enough to allow the judiciary to fashion appropriate and proportionate responses to criminal conduct on a case-by-case basis.


Recent Work

  1. Read CCLA’s Submissions to Justice Frank Iacobucci’s Review of the Use of Lethal Force by Toronto Police

    On March 29th, 2014, CCLA General Counsel and Executive Director Sukanya Pillay made submissions to Justice Frank Iacobucci, regarding his review of the use of lethal force by the Toronto Police Service (TPS).

    Click here to read CCLA’s submissions to Justice Iacobucci.

    The submissions dealt with several pertinent issues, including the role of police in a democratic society; TPS [...]

  2. CCLA Awaits Release of Police Encounters with People in Crisis Report

    July 24, 2014 – The CCLA eagerly awaits the release of Justice Iacobucci’s report tomorrow, Police Encounters with People in Crisis. The CCLA made written submissions, found here, and Executive Director and General Counsel Sukanya Pillay, participated in a round-table discussion with stakeholders. The report is the culmination of the Independent Review looking in to [...]

  3. Canadian Civil Liberties Association Releases Report, “Set Up to Fail: Bail and the Revolving Door of Pre-trial Detention”

    The Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) has released a report: Set Up to Fail: Bail and the Revolving Door of Pre-trial Detention, which questions the extensive rise in pre-trial custody populations and identifies the extreme personal and financial costs of current practices in Canadian bail courts.

    Download the full report, Set Up to Fail: Bail and [...]

  4. Advisory: Canadian Civil Liberties Association to Release New Report on Bail System, Pre-Trial Detention

     WHAT:

    Please join the Canadian Civil Liberties Association on July 23, 2014, for the  release of its new report on bail and pre-trial detention. The report, which is the  result of a year-long study of the operation of bail in five provinces and  territories, highlights Canada’s increasing reliance on pre-trial detention,  presents new data about the [...]

  5. CCLA Applauds Revised Ontario Record Check Guidelines

    The Canadian Civil Liberties Association applauds today’s release of revised police record check guidelines for Ontario.

    The revised guidelines are the result of two years of collaboration and dialogue between the CCLA and the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police (OACP), including significant evidentiary research and community consultation. In CCLA’s view, the guidelines, which eliminate the [...]

Features & Multimedia

Icon of information logo - capital i Key Reports

Canadian Civil Liberties Association Releases Report, “Set Up to Fail: Bail and the Revolving Door of Pre-trial Detention”

The Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) has released a report: Set Up to Fail: Bail and the Revolving Door of Pre-trial Detention, which questions the extensive rise in pre-trial custody populations and identifies the extreme personal and financial costs of current practices in Canadian bail courts.

Download the full report, Set Up to Fail: Bail and [...]

Op-Ed

CCLA Board Member Marie-Eve Sylvestre speaks out about “illegal and illegitimate” Montreal arrests

Over the past few days news reports have emerged that the Montreal police service (Service de police de la Ville de Montréal or SPVM) were conducting dozens of “preventive arrests” and countless identity checks and searches  in Montreal streets and subways.  Today, CCLA Board Member Marie-Eve Sylvestre, a professor of law at the University of [...]

Audio Audio

An interview with Alan Borovoy on the new cybersurveillance bill (podcast)

Boing Boing’s Cory Doctorow posted this interview on their blog under the headline “Canada’s bull-moose civil libertarian on Canada’s new domestic spying law“. We couldn’t think of a better way to introduce this interview, from TVO’s Search Engine with Jesse Brown.

Listen: Alan Borovoy interviewed by Jesse Brown (Feb 14 2012)

Icon of camera Video

CCLA partners with #G20Romp on post-show panel discussions!

Watch the above video to hear from CCLA’s Director of Public Safety Abby Deshman on G20 Toronto, policing at protests and You Should Have Stayed Home.

CCLA is partnering with Praxis Theatre throughout their National Tour of You Should Have Stayed Home, a performance piece about the largest peacetime mass arrest in Canadian history. Written by Tommy Taylor, the play [...]