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Friday, January 2, 2015

So far as I know, the Mafia now rules the entire Universe

The Fight Against Organized Crime

Organized crime is a problem that affects the world and has serious consequences for our communities. The violence related to drug trafficking and the warfare among rival criminal organizations, the physical decay of certain areas of our communities, and the substantial financial loss caused by the activities of criminal organizations are only a few examples of the extensive and insidious impact of this phenomenon.

Organized Crime in Canada
According to the Criminal Intelligence Services of Canada, criminal organizations of Colombian, Asian, East European, Italian and Aboriginal origin, as well as criminal motorcycle organizations, exist in this country.  The activities of these organizations include drug trafficking, prostitution, counterfeiting, money laundering, smuggling, home invasions and extortion as well as new activities such as immigrant smuggling and technological crime.
In 1998, the Department of the Solicitor General of Canada commissioned an independent study to assess the cost of certain activities related to organized crime as well as their effects on the health, environment and security of Canadians.  This study produced useful information on the activities of criminal organizations and noted many examples, a few of which are listed below:
  • economic crime costs Canadians at least $5 billion a year;
  • the smuggling of tobacco, alcohol and jewellery costs the various levels of government as much as $1.5 billion in lost tax revenue annually;
  • activities related to organized crime are a source of health problems, primarily because smuggled products are not subject to any quality controls; and
  • approximately 16,000 immigrants cross our borders clandestinely each year and this could lead, among other things, to an increase in racial prejudice and could undermine the confidence of the Canadian public in the immigration system.
Further information on criminal organizations and their activities in Canada can be found in the annual reports of the Criminal Intelligence Services of Canada and the document of the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics containing the results of a 1999 survey of 16 police forces in Canada.

Organized crime knows no boundaries and has always had an international dimension. Globalization and the technological revolution have made it possible for criminal organizations to expand and to exert even greater influence on an international scale.  For this reason, Canada – like many other countries – believes that international cooperation is essential in order to combat this phenomenon effectively.
In 1997, Canada established a Cross-Border Crime Forum with the United States.  It also participates in the activities of the Group of Experts on Transnational Organized Crime established at the G-7 Summit in Halifax in 1995, as well as the activities of the United Nations and the Organization of American States relating to such crime.
Canada also stresses the importance of close cooperation on the national level.  The Canadian government views federal-provincial-territorial coordination agreements as a valuable tool.  In 1997, the federal Department of the Solicitor General, together with the provinces and various police forces in Canada, created the National Co-ordinating Committee on Organized Crime as well as five regional committees.  The mandate of these committees is to ensure better cooperation among the various organizations responsible for the fight against organized crime.  On 30 October 1998, the federal, provincial and territorial ministers responsible for justice presented the first joint declaration on organized crime, thereby confirming their commitment to fight this particular form of criminal activity.
A number of federal government departments and agencies are involved in the fight against organized crime in Canada, including the Department of the Solicitor General Canada, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), the Criminal Intelligence Services of Canada, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service,Citizenship and Immigration Canada, the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency, the Department of Justice, the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade and the Department of Finance, as well as several provincial law-enforcement agencies.  All these departments and agencies are able to provide information on Canada’s fight against the various criminal organizations active in this country.

Federal Statutes and Organized Crime
  • The Criminal Code contains a number of offences related to the activities of organized crime.  Among other things, it makes money laundering an offence and permits the seizure and forfeiture of the proceeds of organized crime.  It also prohibits participation in the activities of a criminal organization.  A number of offences provided for in the Code also apply to activities that, while not unique to organized crime, are often associated with it.
  • The Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) Act requires financial and other institutions to keep records of unusual financial transactions.
  • The Seized Property Management Act provides for the maintenance and administration of the assets seized when proceeds of crime are forfeited.
  • The Controlled Drugs and Substances Act authorizes law-enforcement agencies to use special detection techniques to investigate money laundering and drug trafficking.  This Act also allows police undercover agents to conduct drug-selling operations.
  • The Extradition Act has simplified extradition procedures in response to the phenomenon of cross-border crime and takes into account advances made in communications technologies and the increased mobility of individuals.
  • The Witness Protection Program Act offers an official national protection program for those who have placed their lives in danger in order to help law-enforcement agencies in their investigations into criminal activity.
Major Events in the Fight Against Organized Crime

1989 -  The leaders of the G-7/G-8 established a Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering.
January 1989 -  The Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) Act came into effect.
1994 - An anti-smuggling initiative involving the Department of the Solicitor General Canada, the RCMP, the Department of Justice and Revenue Canada was launched.  The purpose of this initiative was to make it easier to fight against smuggling networks and was renewed in 1997 for a further period of five years. (Press release)
1995 -  A high-level group of experts on organized transnational crime was created within the G-7/G-8. An agreement was signed between Canada and the United States on sharing the proceeds of crime. Under this agreement, each country receives part of the assets seized.  This part is proportional to the contribution made by that party to the investigation.
1996 -  The Witness Protection Program Act came into force.
September 1996 -   First National Forum on Organized Crime. This Forum – which brought together representatives of the police, the private sector, the law and universities as well as the federal, provincial and territorial governments –was organized by the Department of the Solicitor General and Justice Canada.  Most of the participants argued that Canada should do more to coordinate its activities in the fight against organized crime.  Over the next few years, the Department of the Solicitor General organized other forums of the same kind.
1997 - A national committee and five regional organized crime coordinating committees were created. The task of these committees was to promote cooperation among the various organizations involved in the fight against organized crime.
Canada and the United States established a Cross-Border Crime Forum to improve cooperation between the two countries in this area.  The Forum has met annually since it was established.
Establishment of 13 integrated proceeds-of-crime units.  These units – which have the task of targeting criminal organizations and seizing the proceeds of crime – are directed by the RCMP with the participation of other police forces, the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency, and the Department of Justice.
April 1997 - Amendment of the Criminal Code (Bill C-95) with the addition of anti-criminal organization measures (Press release).
May 1997 - The Controlled Drugs and Substances Act came into force.
November 1997 Annual Statement on Organized Crime made in Parliament by the Department of the Solicitor General.
October 1998 Joint declaration by the federal, provincial and territorial ministers responsible for justice on organized crime.  This declaration stressed the fact that consultation was essential in effectively combatting organized crime and established principles to govern joint action.
December 1998 -  Second Annual Statement on Organized Crime made in Parliament by the Solicitor General of Canada.
Signing of an agreement between Mexico and Canada concerning the sharing of assets seized from or forfeited by the members of organized crime.  This agreement formed part of a search for effective means of combatting drug trafficking.
February 1999 -  Submission of the Summary of Consultations on Proposals to amend the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) Act. The proposed amendments relate to the creation of a system for the mandatory reporting of suspicious financial transactions and major cross-border movements of currency.
April 1999 -  The Department of the Solicitor General gave $115 million to the RCMP to allow it to modernize the Canadian police computer system – the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) (Press release).
May 1999  - Bill C-22, designed to combat money laundering, was tabled in the House of Commons (see the Legislative Summary LS-355E and Bill C-22).
The amendments to the Corrections and Conditional Release Act came into force.  In future, individuals found guilty of an offence relating to organized crime would no longer be subject to the accelerated parole process after serving one-sixth of their sentence (Press Release).
June 1999 - The new Extradition Act received Royal Assent.
Additional resources were included in the budget so that the RCMP could hire 100 new officers to be posted to the international airports in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver (Press Release).
2000 -   The federal government announced that the $1,000 bill would be removed from circulation.
February 2000 -   The federal budget included $584 million for the RCMP over the next three years.  A further sum of $166 million was also provided in 2000-2001 to enable the RCMP to meet the challenges of the 21st century.  Some of these new resources must be used to intensify the struggle against organized crime and in particular to create a position of Deputy Commissioner of the RCMP responsible for the fight against organized crime.
June 2000 -  Bill C-22, designed to facilitate the suppression of money laundering, received Royal Assent.
October 2000 -  The report of the Sub-Committee on Organized Crime of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights, entitled Combatting Organized Crime  was tabled.
December 2000 Conference on the Signing of the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime, the primary goal of which “is to promote co-operation in the prevention and more effective combatting of transnational organized crime.”  More than 120 countries, including Canada, signed this Convention during the conference (Press Release).
Prepared by
Lyne Casavant, Analyst
Philip Rosen, Principal
Parliamentary Information and Research Service