Ministry 2002/03 Annual Service Plan Report -- Government of British Columbia.
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2002/03 Annual Service Plan Report
Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General

Ministry Role and Services

Ministry Overview

The Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General is responsible for public safety in British Columbia. The ministry portfolio includes law enforcement, crime prevention, liquor and gaming regulation, and consumer protection.

Five main branches within the ministry work together to fulfill the public safety mandate:

  • Corrections protects communities through the safe management and control of adult offenders serving provincial terms of custody, community sentences, or on conditional release, as well as those remanded into custody or released on bail supervision.
  • Policing and Community Safety superintends law enforcement in the province, provides victims of crime with services and benefits, assists communities with crime prevention, and provides coroner services, provincewide emergency preparedness, response and recovery, private security industry regulation and other protective programs.
  • Compliance and Consumer Services provides consumer protection, residential tenancy services and film classification and, from April 2003, administers programs related to driver fitness and dangerous drivers, and monitors commercial vehicle industry carriers and professional drivers.
  • Gaming Policy and Enforcement develops and manages gaming policy and legislation, standards, regulation, licensing, registration, distribution of gaming proceeds, enforcement for all gaming sectors, and the province's Problem Gambling Program.
  • Liquor Control and Licensing regulates the manufacture and resale of liquor in licensed establishments in the province in order to improve the safety of B.C. communities by reducing harm caused by alcohol misuse.

Concordance with Government Strategic Plan

The Government Strategic Plan is the guiding document for government, outlining its goals and providing a broad framework within which individual ministries pursue their goals.1

Government's vision for British Columbia is a prosperous and just province, whose citizens achieve their potential and have confidence in the future. One of the three goals in the government plan calls for a supportive social fabric, part of which is an efficient and fair system of justice. Another of the government's goals is safe, healthy communities. Public safety is also a key priority for the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General, with all areas of the ministry working together to protect our citizens and maintain law and order, so that people can be confident they live in safe communities.

The ministry's guiding principles, as described in the following section, support government's vision for the province and are based on values that reflect and affirm those in the Government Strategic Plan.

1 The Government Strategic Plan is available at


Ministry Vision, Mission and Values


People feel safe at home and in their communities and have confidence in the efficiency, effectiveness, responsiveness and integrity of corrections programs and policing. Victims of crime and those who are vulnerable receive support and protection. Businesses and individuals prosper in a fair and effective regulatory environment.


To ensure the security and economic vitality of communities through effective policing, corrections, liquor and gaming control and other protective and regulatory programs.


The Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General shares with all government organizations a commitment to affordability, efficiency, accountability, innovation and reform, and a healthy, supportive workplace.

In addition, the ministry strives to deliver its unique services in accordance with these values:

  • Integration of services
  • Community participation
  • Risk management
  • Self-regulation
  • Balance of consumer protection with economic vitality
  • Respect for the law


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Operating Context

A number of factors, both external to the ministry and organizational, affect the ministry's ability to realize its vision of secure, economically viable communities. The most significant of these are discussed below.

Crime Rates

Canada's crime rate increased slightly (by one per cent) in 2001 after several years of decline, but it is not yet clear if the increase indicates the start of an upward trend. Similarly, B.C.'s overall crime rate rose by one per cent in 2001 after a five-year decline, largely as a result of a sharp increase in auto thefts.2 In 2002, the B.C. crime rate again increased slightly, by another one per cent. Relative to the national average, B.C. continues to have a high crime rate. Our rate is second highest among the provinces, after Saskatchewan.3

B.C.'s violent crime rate has been decreasing over the last decade.4 In 2002, the B.C. violent crime rate fell by another one per cent.

Many environmental factors contribute to variations in the crime rate, including changes to police enforcement practices, differences in community reporting conventions, fluctuations in the economy, and changes in population density. One theory for the decline in the overall crime rate for several years prior to 2001 is that there has been a corresponding drop in the proportion of young males aged 15 to 24 in the population. Historically, crime rates have been higher in this group than in other population groups.

2 The overall crime rate in B.C. for 2000 was 113 crimes per 1,000 population; in 2001 the rate was 114 per 1,000; and for 2002 the rate was 116. See Police and Crime Summary Statistics, 1992 – 2001 at Regular updates are also posted at this site.
3 Statistics Canada reports the overall national crime rate for 2001 at 8,572.5 per 100,000 population; the overall B.C. rate for 2001 at 12,557.8 per 100,000; and the overall rate for Saskatchewan at 15,245.5. See
4 In 1992, the violent crime rate in B.C. was 14.9 crimes per 1,000 population; by 2001, the rate had dropped to 12.2 per 1,000; and in 2002, the rate fell to 12.0.

Changing Characteristics of Crime

The nature of crime is changing. Police and prosecutors are seeing new types of crimes such as Internet luring, identity theft and Internet fraud. Crimes are also transcending national boundaries. Criminals are also more organized and technologically sophisticated. In addition, a number of large-scale investigations in British Columbia are consuming significant proportions of available resources.

World-wide Focus on Security

A growing awareness and concern over terrorist activities and threats is producing more demand for enhanced security.

Demographic Context

British Columbia's population is growing and becoming more diverse. It includes an increasing number of international immigrants who frequently require language services and who may be unfamiliar with the principles and processes of the Canadian justice system. In these cases, additional specialized justice services are called for to ensure access and fairness.


Victims continue to seek a response from the criminal justice system that better acknowledges their interests and offers greater protection for the vulnerable. Public demand for better victim services is increasing.

Drugs and Alcohol

Drugs and alcohol continue to be major factors contributing to various kinds of crime. A recent national study conducted by the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse concluded that between 40 per cent and 50 per cent of the crimes included in the study could be attributed to alcohol and/or drugs.5


A recent study indicates that overall gambling participation in British Columbia has fallen over the past decade, although total spending on gambling in B.C. has risen, indicating an increase in average individual spending among British Columbians who gamble.6 According to the survey results, the prevalence of problem gambling is an estimated 4.6 per cent of the adult population.

5 See Study highlights: Proportions of crimes associated with alcohol and other drugs in Canada, Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse, April 2002, at
6 See British Columbia Problem Gambling Prevalence Study, Final Report, March 2002, at

Linking of Justice Data Systems

There is a need to continue linking information systems across separate components of the justice system so that accurate, critical information can be made available to all justice partners. British Columbia has made significant progress in this area and continues to improve existing data systems and create new secure links, particularly among police, Crown, courts and corrections. Better information contributes to better planning and enhanced public safety.

Status of New Era Commitments

At the request of the Premier's Office, the ministry undertook a number of New Era key projects and commitments. The ministry had met or was well on the way to meeting all of these commitments by March 31, 2003.

Key Projects
Review the current Safer Community programs and make recommendations on how to increase their effectiveness. Done. The ministry has restructured service delivery from a regionalized model to a centralized one in order to reallocate and maximize funding to communities.

Grant funding recommendations are now being implemented.

Review the status of the RCMP Agreement and make recommendations, including a policing plan to deal with impacts on communities of less than 5,000 (as counted before the last census). In progress. The RCMP agreement has been reviewed.

In conjunction with the Ministries of Finance, Provincial Revenue and Community, Aboriginal and Women's Services, the ministry developed options for requiring communities under 5,000 and unincorporated areas to pay their policing costs.

Review and make recommendations regarding the training and arming of auxiliary police officers. In progress. Police Services Division initiated consultation with the RCMP to implement a reserve constable program in B.C. RCMP reserve constables would have previous police experience and would be fully trained and armed. Reserve Constables would be appointed under the RCMP Act to provide part-time, seasonal and temporary policing.
New Era Commitments
Scrap photo radar to put police officers back on the street, maintaining public safety. Done. The photo radar program ended in June 2001.
Modernize the Residential Tenancy Act in plain language everyone can understand to properly protect renters and landlords. Done. The new Residential Tenancy Act was passed in November 2002.
Stop the expansion of gambling that has increased gambling addiction and put new strains on families. Done. Cabinet approved a policy in January 2002 which prohibits the establishment of new gaming facilities in the province, beyond the number currently in existence.
Ensure all laws are equally applied and enforced for all British Columbians. Ongoing.
Pressure the federal government to fulfill its contractual obligation to fully fill all RCMP vacancies. Done. The federal government is meeting its obligation to fill positions based on the budget provided by B.C.
With Children and Family Development Ministry, fight child prostitution and youth crime with legislation aimed at providing greater protection to children at risk and greater parental responsibility for children who commit property crimes. In progress. The Parental Responsibility Act was in force as of January 1, 2002.

The Crime Victim Assistance Act, passed in 2001 and amended in May 2002, provides greater protection to children at risk of exploitation by providing enhanced counseling and protective measures for sexually exploited youth.

Ensure auxiliary police officers are properly trained and armed to protect their communities. Ongoing. Police Services Division continues to support the Tier 1 auxiliary program and is working with the RCMP to implement a reserve constable program.
Continue to pressure the federal government to scrap mandatory gun registration and put those resources into fighting crime. Ongoing. The province is no longer administering the registry and strongly advocates the end of this program.

Core Business Areas

The ministry's 2002/03 Service Plan was organized around six core business areas: Corrections, Gaming Policy and Enforcement, Liquor Control and Licensing, Police Services, Protective Programs, and Regulatory Programs. These core business areas are discussed below.


The mission of the Corrections Branch is to increase public safety through offender management and control. This mission is consistent with government priorities and the service delivery plan of the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General.

The branch protects communities through the safe management and control of adult offenders, as well as providing integrated offender case management based on assessment of the offender's risk to re-offend and the need for supervision and management. The branch also delivers core programs to offenders that promote changes in offender thinking and lifestyles that are known to contribute to crime.

The Corrections Branch is responsible for the supervision of:

  • individuals awaiting trial and ordered into custody or bail for Criminal Code offences;
  • adult offenders serving a community sentence or conditionally released from a provincial correctional centre;
  • adult offenders with a jail sentence of less than two years;
  • adult offenders awaiting transfer to a federal prison;
  • federally sentenced offenders transferred to provincial jurisdiction; and,
  • individuals detained under the federal Immigration Act.

A challenge faced by the Corrections Branch is the fact that it does not control the number of people ordered by the courts into custody or supervision, or the term of supervision. While the number of offenders in custody is anticipated to remain relatively stable, the ministry mitigates capacity-related risks in this core business area by closely monitoring the number of offenders in custody and contingency planning.


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Expenditures for Corrections

(With the exception of FTEs, all figures are expressed in thousands of dollars.) 2002/03 Target 2002/03 Actual Explanation of Significant Variances
(if any)
Operating expenditures 217,574 196,828 Variance primarily due to correctional facility closures being implemented ahead of schedule.
Capital expenditures (CCP) 13,500 1,614 Variance primarily due to major capital projects being cancelled and branch restructuring. Government Accommodation Restructuring Initiative (GARI) funding was approved for some restructuring projects.
Capital expenditures (CRF) 2,335 1,141 Variance primarily due to vehicle fleet reductions, vehicle replacements not being implemented, and systems projects and operating equipment purchases being delayed.
FTEs direct 2,215 1,974 Variance primarily due to correctional facility closures being implemented ahead of schedule.
Financing Transactions  

Gaming Policy and Enforcement

This core business area contributes to the ministry's public safety mandate by regulating gaming in British Columbia, ensuring the integrity of people and equipment involved in the gaming industry, and investigating allegations of wrongdoing.

Gaming Policy and Enforcement:

  • develops and manages gaming policy, legislation and standards;
  • regulates gaming in British Columbia;
  • licenses charitable gaming events and horse racing;
  • registers gaming service providers, gaming workers and gaming equipment;
  • conducts audits of charitable and commercial gaming;
  • investigates allegations of wrongdoing in all gaming sectors;
  • manages the distribution of government's gaming proceeds, including grants; and,
  • manages the province's Problem Gambling Program.

Key to achieving branch objectives is the need to maintain effective partnerships with other justice agencies. For example, establishing a coordinated approach to manage illegal gambling activities will require that the RCMP and other law enforcement agencies continue to make stopping illegal gambling a priority.

Expenditures for Gaming Policy and Enforcement

(With the exception of FTEs, all figures are expressed in thousands of dollars.) 2002/03 Target 2002/03 Actual Explanation of Significant Variances (if any)
Operating expenditures 9,829 8,568 Variance primarily due to salary and benefit savings due to delays in recruiting staff, and lower than expected legal costs.
Capital expenditures (CCP)  
Capital expenditures (CRF) 1,219 375 Variance primarily due to delay of tenant improvement costs related to an office consolidation move.
FTEs direct 118 112 Variance primarily due to delays in recruiting staff.
Financing Transactions  

Liquor Control and Licensing

This core business area regulates the manufacture of liquor and the resale of liquor in licensed establishments in order to improve the safety of B.C. communities by reducing harm caused by liquor misuse.

The Liquor Control and Licensing Branch:

  • issues and transfers licences for the resale and manufacture of liquor;
  • issues permits to purchase and store grain alcohol and regulates the sale of medicinal and cooking alcohols;
  • licenses private and public special events where liquor is sold and consumed;
  • regulates licensee advertising;
  • inspects and educates licensees to ensure they comply with the law;
  • maintains effective relationships with law enforcement, local government and other regulatory agencies;
  • takes appropriate enforcement action for contraventions of the Liquor Control and Licensing Act and regulations; and,
  • liaises with stakeholders to develop more effective policies and legislation.

The Liquor Control and Licensing Branch faced a number of challenges and opportunities in the past year. It developed and implemented a complete restructuring of its regulatory program, including the repeal and re-write of regulations. The development of new procedures, manuals, training, and communication materials consumed significant resources; however, the Branch was successful in implementing the new licensing program on time. The Branch is employing strategies to enable the staff to learn new policies and procedures while continuing to process large volumes of applications.

The Branch also implemented a new computer system. While the systems project drew resources away from day-to-day application processing and enforcement activities during the development phase, over the longer term the new system will allow the Branch to function more efficiently.

Expenditures for Liquor Control and Licensing

(With the exception of FTEs, all figures are expressed in thousands of dollars.) 2002/03 Target 2002/03 Actual Explanation of Significant Variances (if any)
Operating expenditures 1  
Capital expenditures (CCP)  
Capital expenditures (CRF) 586 1,168 Variance primarily due to delay in the implementation of the systems project from 2001/02 fiscal.
FTEs direct 98 99  
Financing Transactions  

Police Services

Police Services are coordinated by the Policing and Community Safety Branch. The branch's primary responsibilities in this core business area are to:

  • ensure central oversight of all policing;
  • provide policy direction for policing and funding for the provincial police service and other police agencies, including the Organized Crime Agency of B.C. and the Police Academy at the Justice Institute of B.C.;
  • oversee the financing and organization of provincial and municipal RCMP forces through contracts;
  • collect, monitor and report on provincial crime and police data;
  • conduct research, provide analysis and interpretation of provincial crime data; and,
  • ensure adequate and effective levels of policing enforcement throughout British Columbia on behalf of the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General.

Service delivery in this core business area will continue to rely upon adequate police resources, including adequate resources to respond to major incidents or changes in crime activities. Resource-related challenges in this area are being mitigated by the Policing and Community Safety Branch through strategic shifts toward increased service efficiencies, coordination and integration.


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Expenditures for Police Services

(With the exception of FTEs, all figures are expressed in thousands of dollars.) 2002/03 Target 2002/03 Actual Explanation of Significant Variances
(if any)
Operating expenditures 189,804 210,417 Variance primarily due to costs for extraordinary police investigations, policing for municipalities that were estimated to but did not exceed the 5,000 population threshold, and the amalgamation of policing in lower Vancouver Island. Costs partially offset by access to the Contingencies (All Ministries) and New Programs Vote.
Capital expenditures (CCP)  
Capital expenditures (CRF) 50 12  
FTEs direct 31 37 Variance primarily due to structural FTE shortfall related to the Intersection Safety Camera (ISC) program.
Financing Transactions  

Protective Programs

In addition to coordinating police services, the Policing and Community Safety Branch is also responsible for protective programs. In this capacity, the branch is responsible for:

  • working in partnership with local municipalities and community-based organizations to provide funding for police-based and community-based victim services that provide information, assistance and support to victims of crime;
  • leadership, advice, training and expertise on victim issues;
  • support to schools and communities in implementing effective crime prevention and justice strategies;
  • investigation of all unexpected and unexplained deaths (Coroners Service);
  • support to local governments' response to and recovery from disaster events, and coordination of the provincial preparedness response and recovery program (Provincial Emergency Program (PEP)); and,
  • criminal record checks on individuals working with children, maintaining the Protection Order Registry, and conducting risk assessments on high-risk offenders to protect/prevent victims.

A significant challenge to fulfilling objectives in this core business area is ensuring sufficient resource capacity for optimum provincewide disaster response. To address this challenge, PEP has trained Temporary Emergency (TEAMS) personnel for deployment across the province in the case of an emergency. In addition, PEP conducts disaster planning exercises with other levels of government, both in Canada and internationally. These exercises help define the required protocols with other government to ensure that PEP has access to adequate resources to continue to make every effort to ensure public safety.

A second challenge is the capacity of this core business area to respond to unexplained or sudden death incidents, such as a mass fatality or undetected fatalities. Without the capacity to complete the full investigation cycle in particular incidents, there may be loss of evidence, loss of ability to determine the cause of death, health risks created if bodies could not be properly dealt with and/or lack of closure for families of the deceased. To address this risk, the Coroners Service has developed a Disaster Recovery Plan, which has been exercised. In addition the Coroners Service has agreements with the RCMP and other agencies which come into effect in the time of disaster.

Expenditures for Protective Programs

(With the exception of FTEs, all figures are expressed in thousands of dollars.) 2002/03 Target 2002/03 Actual Explanation of Significant Variances
(if any)
Operating expenditures 84,326 86,401 Variance primarily due to 2001 flood recovery costs under the Emergency Program Act (EPA), and exit costs associated with the closure of the Criminal Injury Compensation Act program. EPA costs partially offset by access to the Contingencies (All Ministries) and New Programs Vote.
Capital expenditures (CCP)  
Capital expenditures (CRF) 878 1,065 Variance primarily due to cost-shared systems project with federal government.
FTEs direct 133 142 Variance primarily due to structural FTE shortfalls in the Protection Order Registry Program and PEP.
Financing Transactions  

Regulatory Programs

Regulatory programs are primarily the responsibility of the Compliance and Consumer Services Branch which includes the Consumer Services Division, the Film Classification Office, the Residential Tenancy Office, the Office of the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles, and the Commercial Vehicle Safety and Enforcement Division.7 These divisions and offices are described below.

7 At the time of publication of the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General Service Plan 2002/2003 – 2004/2005, the Office of the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles was a division within the Ministry of Transportation, and the Commercial Vehicle Safety and Enforcement Division was a department within the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC).

Consumer Services Division:

  • administers consumer protection legislation;
  • regulates key industries or sectors to enhance consumer protection;
  • participates with other enforcement agencies in combating consumer fraud and commercial crime;
  • provides consumer/business mediation, information and education;
  • administers consumer protection boards/funds, trusts and financial instruments; and,
  • provides restitution to consumers and cost recovery to reduce costs to taxpayers.

Film Classification Office:

  • administers the Motion Picture Act and regulations;
  • classifies films into age-appropriate ratings and provides advisories on film content to assist the public in making informed viewing choices;
  • assesses adult videos for content that is prohibited under the Motion Picture Act or the Criminal Code of Canada;
  • licenses film and video distributors, video retailers, and theatres;
  • enforces the Act and regulations and removes unapproved or prohibited adult videos from the marketplace;
  • assists the police and Canada Customs in the review of seized adult videos and the prosecution of cases resulting from these investigations; and,
  • educates the public on the B.C. film classification system through a comprehensive website and school outreach program.

Residential Tenancy Office:

  • administers legislation regulating relationships between residential property landlords and tenants;
  • provides intervention and arbitration services to resolve landlord and tenant disputes; and,
  • provides information services to landlords and tenants.

Office of the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles:

  • sets licensing policy and monitors and regulates dangerous and unfit drivers;
  • conducts appeals of administrative driving prohibitions and vehicle impoundments;
  • conducts hearings and reviews of Insurance Corporation of British Columbia decisions respecting driver licence sanctions, driver training school and driver trainer licences; and,
  • leads and supports government traffic safety initiatives.

Commercial Vehicle Safety and Enforcement Division:

  • enforces laws and regulatory functions related to commercial vehicle safety and vehicle equipment standards in British Columbia;
  • maintains and promotes road safety through the implementation and management of the National Safety Code, Commercial Vehicle Inspection Program, Private Vehicle Inspection Program, Commercial Transport Program, Transport of Dangerous Goods Program and the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance;
  • administers and enforces provisions of the Motor Vehicle Act, Commercial Transport Act, Transport of Dangerous Goods Act, Motor Carrier Act, Motor Fuel Tax Act and regulations enacted there under;
  • issues certifications to commercial carriers, designated vehicle inspection facilities and authorized vehicle inspectors;
  • administers the province's vehicle Emergency Flashing Light Program; and,
  • participates on various national and international government road safety bodies to coordinate and harmonize commercial transport and vehicle equipment and safety standards.

The Policing and Community Safety Branch also contributes to this core business area by maintaining responsibility for licensing and regulating the security industry, including security guards, private investigators and other security industry personnel.

Expenditures for Regulatory Programs

(With the exception of FTEs, all figures are expressed in thousands of dollars.) 2002/03 Target 2002/03 Actual Explanation of Significant Variances (if any)
Operating expenditures 13,833 12,152 Variance primarily due to lower than expected amortization costs, accelerated Residential Tenancy Office (RTO) closures, and delays in recruiting staff.
Capital expenditures (CCP)  
Capital expenditures (CRF) 2,285 2,492  
FTEs direct 147 138 Variance primarily due to accelerated Residential Tenancy Office (RTO) closures, and delays in recruiting staff.
Financing Transactions  


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