Mr. Speaker, I rise today aware that we stand on the traditional unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishinabe nation.
Today we are discussing Bill C-20, which would enact a new stand-alone statute. The public complaints and review commission act would provide an external review regime for both the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Canada Border Services Agency.
The bill responds to a long-standing need to establish an independent review body for the CBSA and improve RCMP review, which builds on previous proposals, such as Bill C-98 from 2019 and Bill C-3 from 2020.
Additionally, this bill advances the Minister of Public Safety's mandate letter with commitments to create a review body for the CBSA and codify defined timelines for RCMP and CBSA responses to complaints and recommendations; combat systematic racism and discrimination in the criminal justice system; and continue advancing efforts toward a path of reconciliation with first nations, Inuit and Métis peoples.
Currently, the RCMP has a civilian accountability body in the existing Civilian Review and Complaints Commission. This bill, through the establishment of a public complaints and review commission, would build upon the existing CRCC and provide additional accountability and transparency tools to deal with complaints concerning the RCMP and CBSA.
Bill C-20 includes timelines that codify when a response is required to an interim report related to complaints, reviews or recommendations from the PCRC. Through the PCRC, codified timelines would provide six months for RCMP and CBSA responses to interim reports for complaints, and 60 days for specified activity reviews and recommendations. Not only would the RCMP and the CBSA have to report to the commissioner of the PCRC within these timelines, but the bill would also obligate the RCMP commissioner and the CBSA president to submit an annual report to the Minister of Public Safety on how they have responded to PCRC recommendations.
Combatting systemic racism continues to be a priority for this government and will be reflected through PCRC initiatives. The PCRC will collect race-based data to increase knowledge about systemic racism in law enforcement in order to provide informed responses and recommendations. As with the collection of race-based data, the public information mandate will be especially important in increasing awareness of the PCRC's mandate among indigenous, Black and racialized communities. As a former city councillor and city of Calgary police commissioner and chair of the public safety task force in the city of Calgary, I know how important this data is to support local decision-making within and across our country.
Overall, the PCRC would look to support previously established timeliness goals. Over the last year, the RCMP has improved the timelines within which it responds to the CRCC. We want to ensure these efforts are maintained. To ensure this improvement continues, the PCRC would be able to conduct specified activity reviews for the CBSA and the RCMP of any non-national security activities, either on the PCRC's own initiative or at the request of the minister.
The bill includes provisions for the PCRC to conduct complaint-related investigations. The PCRC would receive complaints from the public about RCMP and CBSA conduct or levels of service. It would also conduct reviews when complainants are not satisfied with the RCMP's or CBSA's handling of their complaints.
For the CBSA specifically, this would include non-national-security activities conducted by agents at the border, and in land, while administering duties under more than 90 acts, regulations and agreements on behalf of other federal departments and agencies, provinces and the territories. The PCRC would report findings and recommendations to the RCMP, the CBSA and the minister.
The bill would provide a statutory framework, through the CBSA Act, to govern the CBSA's responses to serious incidents, which are currently governed by internal policy. More precisely, the bill would establish an obligation for the CBSA to conduct internal investigations into alleged serious incidents, which include notifying police of jurisdiction and the PCRC, when such incidents occur, and the creation of reports for serious incidents.
The bill before us is a high priority for this government. We remain determined to strengthen transparency and accountability. The bill we are discussing today encompasses all that we have learned throughout this process, by responding to the overdue issues while reinforcing established priorities.
This bill would address previously discussed difficulties, such as the need to respond to recommendations in a timely manner, and importantly, this bill partly responds to the evidence of systemic racism in the law enforcement system and the urgent need to find solutions to support and protect marginalized communities in Canada. The government has responded to those issues with a stand-alone bill that highlights the importance of civilian review of law enforcement.
I urge hon. members to join me in supporting this proposed legislation.