Attorney General of the United States, Merrick Garland, and the U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security, Alejandro N. Mayorkas, along with Canada’s Minister of Justice and Attorney General, David Lametti, and Minister of Public Safety, Marco Mendicino, met on March 22 in Washington, D.C. to discuss how to enhance collaboration between the two countries to counter cross-border crime and make communities safer.
Given the interconnectedness of U.S. and Canadian industry and economies, the two nations affirmed their shared commitment to work bilaterally to combat common cyber threats, such as ransomware attacks, and to strengthen critical infrastructure cyber security and resilience. They will work together to improve coordination around reporting of ransomware attacks that can affect cross-border critical infrastructure. Further, they will identify and implement options to strengthen sectors of their economies that are increasingly targeted by criminals and to implement effective responses. Both countries have agreed to promote the adoption of best practices on cyber hygiene to help defend against these threats as well as provide stakeholders with the tools needed to effectively and rapidly report cyber incidents. They are currently working vigilantly to protect the cybersecurity of critical infrastructure sectors given Russia’s further invasion of Ukraine. At the meeting, they also reiterated their commitment to work together through the G7+ REPO Task Force to locate and freeze virtual and physical assets of sanctioned Russian individuals and entities, and to forfeit the proceeds of kleptocracy or other crimes.
The two countries welcomed negotiations for a potential bilateral agreement in relation to the U.S. Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data Act (CLOUD Act). Such an agreement, if finalized and approved, would allow Canadian and U.S. investigative authorities to, more efficiently and effectively, access communications and associated data in the other country when this information is needed for the prevention, detection, investigation, and prosecution of serious crime, such as terrorism, child sexual exploitation and abuse, and cybercrime, while respecting privacy and civil liberties.
Violent extremism poses a real and ongoing threat to communities, and the U.S. and Canada applaud the ongoing efforts of a bilateral working group to enhance cooperation to counter exploitation of social media, strengthen threat-related information sharing, and improve their respective prevention strategies to address violent extremism in both countries. Both countries will continue to advance these efforts and to counter the rise of violent extremism while staying vigilant against the threat of international terrorism. In doing so, they recognize that due process, respect for the rule of law, and the protection of human rights are critical to the success of these efforts.
Enhancing Public Safety
The two countries have longstanding and effective bilateral cooperation on law enforcement issues. These partnerships strengthen the ability to maximize law enforcement resources and make communities safer. As partners, they adapt law enforcement efforts and information sharing as priority areas evolve and new challenges arise, including, but not limited to facilitating investigations, and to improving prosecutorial processes. They will explore additional actions that can be taken to improve reciprocal information sharing processes.
Reducing Firearms Violence
To keep communities safe and secure, it is essential to reduce firearms violence on both sides of the border. Both countries reiterated their commitment to advance their shared understanding of the threat posed by firearms violence and to work collaboratively, including sharing data, to reduce cross-border firearms smuggling and trafficking. U.S. and Canadian law enforcement agencies will leverage their collective resources, including intelligence, to identify the source and movement of unlawful firearms, including those moving across the shared border.
Access to Justice
The United States and Canada are strengthening and expanding access to justice by changing policies and practices that lead to inequality and injustice for marginalized and underserved communities in both countries. Their respective Access to Justice offices will work together and with key stakeholders toward meeting the goal of the United Nations 2030 Agenda “to leave no one behind.” They have agreed to discuss their respective criminal justice system data collection and strategies to overcome systemic racial inequality, discrimination, and overrepresentation within the criminal justice system. They will also share research, innovative data collection techniques, and the use of data science to inform their legislation and policies. These discussions will support collective efforts to realize the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs), in particular SDG16, which seeks to advance peaceful, just, and inclusive societies and equal access to justice for all.
The United States and Canada reiterated their commitment to advance law enforcement cooperation between the two countries and look forward to Canada hosting the next Cross-Border Crime Forum in 2023.