Changes to law enforcement in B.C. will be tabled in the fall, more than a year after a report recommending sweeping reforms to the Police Act.
A spokesperson for the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General said Wednesday the first reforms to be considered by the provincial government will relate to police governance and oversight. They did not specify which of the 11 recommendations set out in the report are being acted on.
In April 2022, an all-party committee of MLAs recommended changes that address topics including systemic racism in policing, relations with Indigenous communities and how officers respond to mental health calls.
One of the recommendations also called for the creation of a provincial force, similar to those found in Quebec and Ontario, that would replace the RCMP.
The Public Safety Ministry said in a statement it has been engaged in analysis and consultations arising from the recommendations since last year.
“In fall 2023, we will be tabling initial reforms to the Police Act to address police governance and oversight. As this work is being done, the ministry will continue its engagement with Indigenous communities, municipalities and other stakeholders on broader police reforms.”
The provincial government created a committee to review the 27-year-old act in 2020 during the height of Black Lives Matter protests. That same year, RCMP faced public criticism for how they responded to natural gas pipeline protesters in Wet’suwet’en territory.
Premier David Eby said last August that he would support an all-party committee to implement the report’s recommendations, but did not say if he would back replacing the RCMP in B.C. entirely.