The role of police in Canadian society
Canadian police help keep people safe and make sure they follow the law. You can ask the police for help in all kinds of situations—if there has been an accident, if someone has stolen something from you, if someone has hurt you, if you see a crime taking place or if someone you know has gone missing.
Federal and provincial police forces
In Canada, federal and provincial governments share law enforcement.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) enforce federal laws across Canada. They also enforce provincial laws in all provinces and territories except Ontario and Quebec. Ontario and Quebec have their own provincial police forces.
Some municipalities in Canada have their own police forces to help enforce provincial laws.
Cooperate with police
In Canada, you are presumed innocent until proven guilty. If for some reason you are questioned by the police or arrested, do not resist. Speak to the police officer as well as you can and look directly at him or her. Be ready to show some kind of identification.
If the police arrest you, you have the right to know why and to have a lawyer and a translator, if you need one. Do no try to bribe police by offering money, gifts or services. Under Canadian law, bribing police is a serious crime.
The police are there to help you. If you are in an emergency, call 911 or 0 on your telephone and ask the operator to contact police for you.
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