Good morning, Madam Chair and members of the Standing Committee on Transportation, Infrastructure and Communities. Thank you for inviting us here to discuss bus passenger safety from the perspective of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police as it relates to collisions and related investigations.
I am Superintendent Jamie Solesme. I am the acting officer in charge, responsible for the national criminal operations section of the RCMP's contract and indigenous policing branch. I am joined here today by Sergeant Trent Entwistle, manager of the national collision reconstruction program within the RCMP'S national traffic services.
By way of context, the RCMP is under contract to provide front-line policing services to all provinces and territories in Canada, with the exception of Ontario and Quebec. This means the RCMP provides policing services across the vast majority of Canada's territory.
Contract policing ensures a consistent quality of service across Canada, but the level of policing services provided in each province and territory ultimately rests with the provincial or territorial governments, as do the objectives, priorities and goals for policing in each of the respective jurisdictions.
Keeping roads safe for Canadians is an important aspect of front-line RCMP officers' efforts irrespective of where they are located.
The RCMP has collision analysts and reconstructionists across the country who use the knowledge and skills they have gained through extensive training opportunities to identify and interpret forensic evidence at collision scenes and to reveal the potential causes. This work contributes to improved road safety for all Canadians.
Collision analysts and reconstructionists obtain their expertise through work in the field and extensive training. To join the program, officers are required to pass an aptitude test and subsequently complete the collision analyst course. Once they obtain practical experience and receive additional collision-specific training, such as pedestrian and bicyclist collision investigation, motorcycle collision investigation and heavy-duty commercial vehicle collision investigation, members are then invited to attend the collision reconstructionist course, which deals with momentum calculations and some more heavily involved investigations.
Investigative efforts around vehicle collisions by these experts include: working with local and provincial governments and highway engineers to discover design flaws in roadways; conducting technical traffic collision investigations and analysis; arranging and guiding mechanical examinations of vehicles involved in collisions; providing advice on traffic collision investigations by interpreting collision investigation evidence and providing expert testimony in court; assisting in division collision investigation training; attempting to determine collision-causing factors of vehicles being investigated; and producing reports based on their observations.
As per the RCMP's national policy on collision analysis and reconstruction, trained RCMP members are called to attend collision scenes that are fatal, where a serious injury has occurred, for files where the RCMP at the scene cannot determine the cause, and/or where a police car was involved.
After a scene is attended, the attending collision analyst-reconstructionist completes an analysis of the evidence gathered and prepares reports outlining their opinions on the cause of the collision. If it is determined that something criminal may have occurred, the files are referred to the Crown for charge recommendations. If there are vehicle defects or failures are suspected, collision analyst-reconstructionists are mandated to contact Transport Canada for further investigation.
In addition, some investigations include collaboration with engineers working with Transport Canada, for instance, in school bus crashes or in the 2018 tragedy involving the Humboldt Broncos hockey team.
When a collision leads to a legal court process, RCMP members attend court to determine if their expertise related to collision analysis and reconstruction can be admitted. If they are qualified as an expert by the court for evidentiary purposes, collision analyst- reconstructionists can provide their opinion as expert evidence, which supplements other evidence provided by officers.
In doing so, the RCMP is able to contribute invaluable expertise to the criminal justice system as it pertains to vehicle collisions, as well as to the overall public interest in road safety. Thus, the collision reconstruction program offers and enables the provision of practical experience in bus safety.
The RCMP remains committed to road safety and will continue its efforts to protect Canadians across the country.
Thank you again for inviting us here today to discuss bus passenger safety. I would be happy to answer your questions.