Royal Canadian Mounted Police

Witness Protection Program

On this page

  1. The RCMP's role
  2. What is witness protection?
  3. Details of the Program
  4. Support for protectees
  5. Standard and common service
  6. Reporting on Program operations

The RCMP's role

The RCMP administers the federal Witness Protection Program as directed in the Witness Protection Program Act.

The Program is administered by full-time, dedicated witness protection units across Canada, which are comprised of specially trained RCMP officers.

The Program is independent from the investigative mandate of the RCMP which prevents any influence on program decisions and ensures that protection of individuals is the top priority.

What is witness protection?

Witness protection is for people whose safety may be at risk because they helped the police, the prosecution, or the courts.

People receiving protection under the Program are referred to as protectees and can be from anywhere in Canada, or even abroad. Protection can also extend to members of a protectee's family.

The Program is available for referral from:

  • law enforcement agencies across Canada
  • federal security, defence and safety organizations
  • foreign law enforcement agencies
  • international criminal courts and tribunals

Note

If you believe you are in danger due to your assistance to law enforcement or your role as a witness to a crime, please contact your local police.

Details of the Program

Before entering the Program, participants must be aware of the following guiding principles:

  • Participation is voluntary
  • Participation is not a reward for testimony
  • Protectees' existing legal and financial obligations will remain
  • Participation is indeterminate, dependent on circumstances (financial support is limited)

Support for protectees

  • The Program supports protectees by administering protective measures as necessary, including:
    • short-term measures, such as immediate responses to potential threats to safety
    • long-term measures in an effort to support their re-establishment and self-sufficiency, such as:
      • relocation
      • change of identity
      • addressing their needs (for example, mental health)
      • limited financial support

Standard and common service

The Program administers protective measures in accordance with the Witness Protection Program Act, while maintaining a protectee-focused approach to ensure individual needs are considered.

Reporting on Program operations

The Commissioner of the RCMP reports on the operation of the Program to the Minister of Public Safety via the Witness Protection Program Annual Report. The federal Witness Protection Program Advisory Committee also provides an annual report to the Commissioner. This report advises the Commissioner on matters related to the effective and efficient administration of the federal Witness Protection Program.

You can access these reports on the RCMP's publications and manuals page.

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