This Week @ Queen’s Park & Parliament Hill – September 7, 2018
- The Government of Ontario has decided to end the practice of making Cabinet Ministers’ Mandate Letters – which spell out the government’s priorities for each ministry – public. Since 2014, these letter were released publicly by the government, a practice that has grown to include the Federal Government and every Provincial Government except Quebec. The government has decided to treat the Mandate Letters as cabinet documents, meaning they cannot be accessed by civil servants and are protected against searches under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.
- The Government of Ontario announced on August 29, 2018 that a three-week on-line public consultation would be undertaken with a view to assisting the government “line-by-line review of all government programs and services”. Police leaders should be prepared to engage with their local Ontario MPPs on the importance of provincial investments in public safety and police services. The consultation website is available here.
- The Leader of the Official Opposition, Andrea Horwath, has named Kevin Yarde the critic for Community Safety and Correctional Services, Sara Singh critic for the Attorney General, and Jennifer French critic for Transportation. Please contact Joe Couto (firstname.lastname@example.org) for information on any matter related to provincial public policy.
- The Federal Government has approved the first roadside oral testing device, the Draeger DrugTest 5000, produced by a company based in Germany. As a result of Bill C-46, the government authorized use of roadside oral testing devices in anticipation of cannabis legalization. However, part of the delay in legalization has been due to the lack of approved devices to test drug-impaired driving. The CACP issued the following statement regarding the approval of roadside drug screening devices:
“On August 27, 2018, the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada approved the first roadside drug screening device to assist police in combating drug-impaired driving on our roadways. Police services have worked collaboratively with the Government of Canada to assess the value of such devices and will continue to do so. The CACP has continuously stated that such testers remain an additional tool to police officers but are only part of the overall solution. The use of Standard Field Sobriety Testing (SFST) and Drug Recognition Experts (DREs) continue to be necessary in assessing drug-impaired driving. Police services throughout Canada continue to invest in further training of their officers. The announcement by the Minister represents the first of what we anticipate will be many more. Police services will evaluate and determine the potential use of drug screening devices within their service while recognizing that the science and technology will continuously improve. This represents a positive start, but by no means represents an end.”