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Royal Canadian Mounted Police

RCMP changes following the Mass Casualty in Nova Scotia

On this page

  1. Responding to critical incidents
  2. Public communication
  3. Operational communications
  4. Cooperation among police services
  5. Training
  6. Gender-based and intimate partner violence
  7. Victim services
  8. Access to firearms
  9. Crime scene management
  10. National Office of Investigative Standards Review
  11. Police vehicle and uniform disposal
  12. Civilian review and oversight
  13. Employee wellness

On April 18 and 19, 2020, a gunman took the lives of twenty-two people and injured three others in Nova Scotia.

What took place was unimaginable and we have made efforts since to understand what happened, learn from it, and make improvements. We are committed to making us and our service to Nova Scotians and Canadians better.

In support of this commitment, the RCMP has created a new sector dedicated to reform, culture change and accountability.

This sector will lead the response to the Mass Casualty Commission final report and recommendations, and those from other external reviews — taking a holistic, organization-wide approach.

The RCMP is actively conducting in-depth analysis of the report to determine priorities and to inform next steps including communicating with employees and all Canadians on progress.

We welcome any changes that will help to improve operations, support employees, survivors and families, and make communities safer in the future.

The information below reflects some of our improvements to date.

Responding to critical incidents

The RCMP has specialized teams across the country that are trained and equipped to respond to critical incidents.

Since April 2020, we have doubled the number of full-time resources on Nova Scotia's emergency response team. We have also put protocols in place to ensure two or more police officers are available 24/7 to provide emergency medical support to the emergency response team.

Public communication

The RCMP has made improvements to the way we communicate with the public during a critical incident. Our goal is to ensure everyone receives information that can help them keep themselves safe.

Police across Canada are now using the Alert Ready system to issue emergency alerts. As a result, the RCMP has implemented robust national and divisional policies on public alerting. The Alert Ready system is also being integrated into the Cadet Training Program as another tool for cadets to use during scenario-based training.

We have also updated the RCMP's national crisis communications protocols, which help guide our communications with the public during critical incidents.

Operational communications

Effective communication during critical incidents is key to ensuring the safety of the public and police.

The RCMP in Nova Scotia has made improvements in this area, which include:

Cooperation among police services


Having the right tools, technology, and equipment to respond during a critical incident is essential.

We have made several improvements in this area, which include:

  • Rolling out Blue Force Tracking across Nova Scotia to track the locations of police officers, in real time, to enhance situational awareness – the rest of the provinces and territories will follow by the end of 2023
  • Providing new thermal imaging equipment to RCMP officers in Nova Scotia as another tool to use in low-light conditions
  • Equipping specialized vehicles in Nova Scotia with mobile workstations
  • Rolling out Body-Worn Cameras as a national standard for all general duty front-line RCMP officers across the country, which will be field tested shortly in Nova Scotia, Alberta, and Nunavut
  • Initiating a process for a new general duty pistol for RCMP officers across Canada


It is essential that police officers have the skills and training they need to respond to critical incidents. We have updated our training and have implemented several changes to address topics including:

In Nova Scotia, the RCMP has exceeded benchmarks in all areas of operational training. For instance:

A new mandatory training model will begin in April 2023 and include the following:

Gender-based and intimate partner violence

The RCMP is improving its capacity across the country to better respond to gender-based and intimate partner violence. Some of our recent efforts include:

Victim services

We strive to provide victims, survivors, and families with the support they need following a critical incident. The RCMP is making improvements to ensure its services are timely, sensitive and trauma-informed.

We have several courses on the values and approaches that should guide investigations, which include:

The principles covered in these courses are also integrated throughout the Cadet Training Program.

The RCMP has created an employee and family resource guide with information and resources available to employees, veterans and their families.

We have also developed and updated policies on victim assistance, child abuse, elder abuse and abuse in relationships. A national working group has been established to develop policy and training on the role of victim services during an investigation.

Access to firearms

The RCMP continues to support and strengthen efforts to combat the smuggling, trafficking, and misuse of firearms.

The Canadian Firearms Program is focusing on:

Crime scene management

Managing a crime scene involves protecting both the evidence of the crime as well as the victims and survivors. We strive to complete this work in a way that is respectful, supportive and timely.

Operational policy is currently under review as it relates to contacting the property owner of a crime scene, when feasible and appropriate to coordinate cleaning.

We have included a section on the roles and responsibilities of crime scene managers in the RCMP's newly created National Major Case Management Guide.

National Office of Investigative Standards Review

The RCMP's National Office of Investigative Standards provides support, training and oversight across the organization. They are currently working on:

Police vehicle and uniform disposal

We completed an internal review of police vehicle disposal, which led to several enhancements across the country.

An external review of sales was also completed to examine industry practices on disposal of police vehicles and equipment.

In Nova Scotia, the RCMP has:

Civilian review and oversight

Civilian review is essential for public trust and confidence following a critical incident.

The Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the RCMP is an independent body that:

The RCMP has increased its ability to respond to public complaints, as a key component of becoming a more modern, agile organization. Parliament is currently considering legislation that may further strengthen the role of the independent review body for the RCMP.

The RCMP Management Advisory Board continues to provide external advice and guidance to the RCMP on key issues impacting the organization.

Employee wellness

The RCMP is taking positive steps to improve mental health and wellness in the workplace. We are updating our programs, services and tools to better support employees following a critical incident.

The RCMP has made several improvements in Nova Scotia, which include:

Nationally, we have a National Reintegration Program to help build confidence and support an officer's return to work following a traumatic or critical incident.

The RCMP has created a dedicated Family Program that offers guidance, supports and outreach services to families of RCMP employees with a focus on those supports required following a critical incident.

Our Support for Operational Stress Injury program connects both current and former RCMP officers with a peer support network of people who have experienced an operational stress injury.

The Health Benefits Program, through the Health Benefits Advisory Committee continues to review new out-patient and in-patient treatment programs for potential registration as providers for the RCMP; this grows our network of facilities that can support our members with operational stress injuries.

Launched in 2022, the Well-being Ambassador Program has 11 full-time ambassadors across divisions. The RCMP's well-being ambassadors:

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