Biography: Rachel Nicole Huggins
Rachel Huggins is an experienced, strategic leader who focuses on innovative approaches to police operations, procedural efficiencies, and opportunities for horizontal integration and collaboration, with a view to clarifying the role and supporting the delivery of frontline policing. A key area of her interest focuses on improving data collection and reporting processes, as well as leveraging technology to improve operational initiatives.
Rachel joined the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) as the Deputy Director-Executive Lead, Cannabis Legalization, Organized Crime Enforcement Bureau in June 2018. She is responsible for developing and implementing operational and policy plans to support the organization to meet requirements under the legal cannabis regime. Rachel is a focal point for the law enforcement sector and is a key source of strategic advice and guidance for the most senior police leaders about government policy and operational changes. Rachel is the co-chair of the Ontario Association Chief of Police, Substance Advisory Committee and a member of the Canadian Association Chiefs of Police, Drug Advisory Committee, leading initiatives that ensure police are coordinated, and support and advance balanced, innovative, and community focused drug enforcement and harm reduction policies.
Prior to joining the OPP, Rachel spent 16 years leading and managing complex horizontal policy initiatives related to policing and public safety issues. With a focus on leveraging research and bringing together partners with diverging views, she developed and implement cutting edge policies and improved law enforcement responses to community safety and security issues. Rachel was the Manager of Drug Policy Development, in the Serious and Organized Crime Division, Public Safety Canada. In this role, she led the law enforcement component of the federal government policy priorities to legalize cannabis (Bill C-45) and improve road safety related to drug-impaired driving (Bill C-46). Rachel appeared as the Public Safety Canada expert witness at the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights (JUST) in the House of Common and appeared before members of the five Senate Committees that reviewed the cannabis and drug-impaired driving bills. In addition to developing policies to support the implementation of the Bills and ongoing consultations with law enforcement across the country, Rachel implemented and led the oral fluid drug screening device pilot project to determine their usefulness in supporting roadside enforcement of drug-impaired drivers. This work, along with recommendations on training and operational use of the devices were considered in the federal government decision to approve these screening devices as the first police roadside tool to detect drug impairment.
Rachel’s national-level accomplishments include leading the identification of synergies between federal, provincial governments, and police services across the country. She led and contributed to the development of policies, programs, legislation and regulations related to key law enforcement issues including the development of the precursor control regulations, the developing and implementing Canada’s Drug Strategy; establishing national clandestine lab and marijuana grow operation teams; contributions to First Nation contraband tobacco/organized crime initiative, the federal response to the opioids crisis, the development of Bill C-37 (An Act to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act and to make related amendments to other Acts) and a national response to rail and urban transit security. Rachel was also instrumental in leading the national economics of policing initiative, which focused on community safety and wellbeing and effective and efficient policing approaches.
On the international stage, Rachel was the Canadian law enforcement representative at the Organization of American States Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime where she provided expert input and shared her expertise and experience to improve drug control policies across the Americas and the world.
Rachel holds a Bachelor of Honours and a Masters of Arts in Sociology and is ABD for a Ph.D. in Sociology.