Mr. Speaker, regarding part (a) of the question, further to a review of the Ducharme murder investigation file, it was noted through statements that Ms. Ducharme was aware that Mr. Graham was a suspect in a murder investigation.
In regard to part (b), in British Columbia, the ministries of public safety and solicitor general, attorney general, and the children and family development collaborated on the provincial violence against women in relationships, or VAWIR, policy. The VAWIR policy was developed in 1993 and has been revised over the years. The VAWIR was updated in 1996, 2000, 2004 and finally in 2010. The B.C. RCMP abide by the VAWIR, such as through the mandatory completion of the B.C. domestic violence risk summary and supervisors conducting priority reviews of all domestic violence investigations to ensure proper investigational steps are taken and safety plans are developed.
All civil actions are assessed on a case-by-case basis, specific to the set of circumstances and the various parties involved, for example, the provincial government, the federal government and the RCMP.
Regarding part (c) of the question, the RCMP takes the issue of intimate partner violence very seriously. In 2021, following extensive consultation, the Government of Canada amended the RCMP regulations, 2014, to allow the RCMP to participate in Clare’s Law regimes in provinces and territories that have enacted this legislation and where the RCMP is the police of jurisdiction. Clare’s Law legislation allows police to disclose a person’s prior intimate partner violence information to a current or former intimate partner, or a third party such as a parent or other relative through a provincially established process. Currently, Saskatchewan and Alberta are the only provinces who have adopted this legislation. Ontario, Manitoba and Newfoundland and Labrador have introduced similar pieces of legislation, but they have yet to be officially enacted.
The RCMP’s participation in Clare’s Law is in line with its obligations under the Privacy Act, which governs the collection, use, disclosure, retention and disposal of personal information by federal government institutions. The act recognizes that privacy is not absolute and is subject to exceptions provided for in the law. The act contains a number of provisions that allow government institutions to disclose personal information without the consent of the individual, such as paragraph 8(2)(b), which permits disclosure if it is in accordance with an act of Parliament or its related regulations. In accordance with Treasury Board policy, the RCMP is currently finalizing a privacy impact assessment on Clare’s Law to ensure that the privacy risks of the program are mitigated to an acceptable level.
The Privacy Act also contains a provision that allows for the disclosure of personal information without consent if the public interest in disclosure clearly outweighs any invasion of privacy that could result from the disclosure. This provision, which is to be applied on a case-by-case basis, can be used in certain instances to alert the public about the risk of serious harm an individual may pose to others. In line with its mandate and commitment to keeping families and communities safe, the RCMP uses this provision to proceed with public interest disclosures in certain circumstances.
The RCMP has recently updated the violence in relationships policy, soon to be changed to the intimate partner violence policy, in order to reflect the latest legislative changes and current case law.