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.