Canadian Transportation and the Role of Police Services

Canadian Transportation and the Role of Police Services
Canadian Transportation and the Role of Police Services

As the second largest country in the world, Canada's complex road transportation system spans over 1.4 million kilometers of provincial roads and the 7,821-kilometer Trans Canada Highway stretching from Newfoundland westward to British Columbia. Transportation, therefore, is the lifeblood of Canada's commerce and trade. The great distances between the major urban centres require safe and efficient transport systems and an agile police service at both the national and provincial level.

Traffic safety in the provinces

Provincial and local police play a key role in traffic safety. They ensure that provincial traffic codes are obeyed. In the city of Vancouver for example, the Traffic Enforcement Unit enforces the BC Motor Vehicle Act and Regulations as well as City of Vancouver Street and Traffic bylaw offences. When required, they provide VIP motorcade escort, investigate collisions and provide necessary vehicle and pedestrian control.

The police are typically among the first authorities to arrive at the scene of an accident. Their first responsibility is ensuring the safety of the people and property at the site. They secure the scene, document evidence, and in case of fatalities, they assist the coroner on the scene.

RCMP responsibilities for transportation control

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police provide traffic services for the provinces (excluding Quebec and Ontario) and three territories . The provinces and territories have a Division Traffic Coordinator. The RCMP's goal is to reduce motor vehicle accidents and "to motivate citizens…to voluntarily comply with traffic regulations." Frequently, the RCMP provide the only police presence in an area and must take on all the duties of a local and provincial police service.

Canadian police must enforce transportation acts and regulations

In addition to enforcing provincial traffic laws, Canadian police officers must be conversant in the Acts and Regulations under the purview of Transport Canada, whose mission is to promote "a safe and secure, efficient and environmentally responsible transportation system in Canada."

The Transport Canada Motor Carrier Division, for example, works closely with the provinces and territories to reduce deaths and injuries from trucks and buses on the Canadian road system.

Provincial and territorial laws and regulations govern the operation of commercial buses and the trucking industry. The Canadian federal government exercises authority over buses and trucks that carry passengers and goods across a provincial and international boundary.

In support of federally regulated commercial vehicles, Transport Canada is responsible for coordinating the administration of the Motor Vehicle Transport Act, which allows provinces and territories to regulate buses and trucks on behalf of the federal government. Those regulations encompass carrier safety certifications, drivers' hours of service regulations, and assisting in research to improve motor carrier safety and effectiveness.

BSOs are part of the federal system…

Police have additional roles in keeping Canadian transportation safe and secure. For example, Border Services Officers work for the federal government. Among other duties, they control the movement of people, animals, plants and other goods into and out of Canada.

Here is where we come in…

Wilfrid Laurier University Online offers two Bachelor of Arts programs in Policing. The Policing (BA Combination) uniquely combines a humanities curriculum on campus with online Policing studies. The online BA in Policing program is ideal for an active police officer who wishes to advance professionally, but who is unable to attend traditional classroom training. Meanwhile, Wilfrid Laurier’s online Combined Honours BA in Criminology and Policing program does not require previous law enforcement experience and provides a gateway for busy individuals as well as working professionals to graduate with a diverse double criminology and policing major.

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