Thank you, Mr. Chair. I will endeavour to be judicious in my responses, to adhere to your direction.
It's a pleasure to once again have the opportunity to join the committee to discuss the 2019-20 main estimates. These estimates will include authorities for measures that, of course, were announced in budget 2019.
I'd like to take the opportunity to focus on some of the important measures that will fall within my mandate of ensuring that our borders remain secure and leading efforts to reduce organized crime. On the latter, as I've noted to this committee previously, taking action against gun and gang violence remains a top priority. We've seen an increase in gun violence across the country in recent years. Guns are still getting into the hands of people who would commit crimes with them. While I think the measures in Bill C-71 are exceptional and will go a long way to reversing the trend, I also believe there is more we can do.
Earlier this month, we issued a report outlining what we heard in an extensive cross-country engagement on this issue. In the meantime, funding through these estimates and budget 2019 can and will make a real difference right away.
I've noted before that the $327 million over five years, which the government announced in 2017, is already beginning to help support a variety of initiatives to reduce gun and gang activity in our communities across Canada. Over the past few months, I have been pleased to work with provinces, territories and municipalities as we roll out their portions of that funding specific to initiatives in their regions.
The Government of Canada is investing an additional $42 million through this year's estimates in the guns and gangs initiative. This is a horizontal initiative, which is being led by Public Safety Canada, and it is working in partnership, as always, with the Canada Border Services Agency and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
With respect to policing more specifically, in this year's budget there's substantial funding for policing, including $508.6 million over five years to support the RCMP in strengthening policing operations. Of that $508.6 million, there is $96.2 million allotted for the RCMP policing operations in the estimates provided today. The RCMP is, of course, absolutely key to protecting our national security, to reducing the threat of organized crime and to supporting prevention, intervention and enforcement initiatives right across Canada.
The CBSA supports the RCMP and other law enforcement partners in Canada to counter organized crime and gang activity. Investments made through the estimates and budget will support new technologies, increased detector dog teams, specialized training and tools, and an augmented intelligence and risk assessment capacity. All of this will help to enhance the CBSA's operational responses to better interdict illicit goods, such as firearms and opioids, from crossing our borders. I'm confident the funding we're providing will help all of our partners keep Canada's evolving safety and security needs in place and include addressing gun and gang challenges.
With respect to the border security aspects of my mandate, I'm pleased to report that the government is making significant investments, through the budget and these estimates, to better manage, discourage and prevent irregular migration. Budget 2019 provides $1.2 billion over five years, starting this year, to IRCC, IRB, CBSA, RCMP and CSIS to implement a comprehensive asylum reform and border action plan. While IRCC is the lead on this action plan, the public safety portfolio has a very significant contribution to make.
As the committee is aware, the CBSA is responsible for processing refugee claims, which are made at official points of entry and at their inland offices. The funding approved under budget 2019 will enable the CBSA to strengthen its processes at our border, to help increase the asylum system's capacity and to accelerate claim processing. It will facilitate the removal of individuals found not to be in need of genuine protection from Canada in a more efficient and timely way. The strategy, supported by that funding, will guide these efforts.
Before I close, I'd like to take the opportunity to highlight one further item. Canadians have been hearing a great deal lately about money laundering, terrorism financing and tax evasion happening within our country, and they are rightly concerned. Money laundering is not only a threat to public safety, but it also harms the integrity and stability of the financial sector and the economy more broadly. The government is not waiting to take action to protect Canada's safety, security and quality of life. I'm pleased to note that in budget 2019, the government will invest $24 million over five years for Public Safety Canada to create an anti-money laundering action coordination and enforcement unit, or ACE. This is a pilot project that will strengthen inter-agency action against money laundering and financial crimes.
In addition, a further $68.9 million will be invested over five years, allocated to the RCMP, to enhance federal policing capacity, including the effort to fight money laundering, beginning with $4.1 million allocated in this fiscal year.
In addition, $28 million over five years is being invested in CBSA to support a new centre of expertise. The centre will work to identify and prosecute incidents of trade fraud, as well as potential cases of trade-based money laundering to be referred to the RCMP for investigation and prosecution.
As always, these are just a few examples of the important and vital work that the public safety portfolio and, in this case, the many departments that support my mandate are doing to protect Canadians.
Once again, I thank the committee members for their consideration of these estimates and for their ongoing efforts.
Thank you, Mr. Chair. I look forward to members' questions.