Government of Canada launches engagement process for First Nations police services legislation
March 21, 2022 - Ottawa, Ontario
First Nations and First Nations organizations have long called for fundamental changes to how police services are delivered in their communities, including calls for legislation that recognizes that First Nations policing is an essential service that must be funded accordingly.
Today, Minister of Public Safety Marco Mendicino, Minister of Indigenous Services Patty Hajdu, and Minister of Crown–Indigenous Relations Marc Miller launched the Government of Canada’s engagement process to help inform the co-development of federal First Nations police services legislation.
Input is being sought from First Nations, First Nations police services and representative organizations, as well as provinces and territories, who will each have their unique perspectives, experiences and expertise to share. To encourage maximum participation, the Government is seeking input through virtual engagement sessions, an online engagement platform and email. Anyone with an interest in First Nations police services legislation will be able to share their views online. These activities will culminate in the public release of a “what we heard” report and inform a symposium where legal, policing and other experts will discuss what was heard during the engagement process.
Public Safety Canada is providing the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) with $4.4 million to participate in the co-development process, including undertaking its own complementary engagement processes, at both the national and regional levels. Individuals are welcome to participate in either the federal or AFN processes, or both. Results from both engagement processes will help inform the co-development of options for legislation.
Public Safety Canada is also providing the First Nations Chiefs of Police Association (FNCPA) with up to $1.3 million to support its involvement in the co-development process. The FNCPA represents First Nations police services in Canada and has expertise that will help ensure that the legislation will meet the needs of both First Nations and First Nations police services.
Recognizing their important role, including that of co-funders, provinces and territories will continue to be deeply involved in the co-development of federal legislation to ensure that new legislation will be complementary to provincial/territorial legislation and jurisdiction.
While the engagement activities and funding announced today will inform the co-development of federal police services legislation for First Nations, the Government of Canada has also begun engaging the Inuit and Métis to better understand their unique policing needs and priorities, and to determine how best to support them.
“The Government is committed to advancing reconciliation and the unique policing and community safety priorities of First Nations, Inuit and Métis. Co-developing a First Nations police services legislative framework is an important step in recognizing policing as an essential service.”
- The Honourable Marco E. L. Mendicino, Minister of Public Safety
“Indigenous-led policing is part of a spectrum of services that support safe and healthy communities. We look forward to hearing from engagement participants on their vision of how a First Nations police services legislative framework can complement our broader joint efforts to close socio-economic gaps and improve community outcomes overall.”
- The Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Indigenous Services
“The Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Calls for Justice 5.4 and 5.5 called on governments to transform Indigenous policing into a service that it is well-funded, culturally sensitive, and respectful of the communities it serves. Today we take an important step in fulfilling this commitment, and I want to thank all of our partners who helped us get here and informed our decision-making along the way.”
- The Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations
“When policing is community-based, self-determining and grounded in First Nations culture, laws and traditions, our people are safer. I welcome the announcement of a federal engagement process that will involve First Nations in the important work to reach a legislative framework where First Nations policing is recognized as an essential service with equitable, stable and predictable funding. The Assembly of First Nations will be hosting national and regional engagement sessions separate from the federal engagement to ensure that the work to develop the legislative framework for First Nations policing is inclusive of regional differences and reflects the needs of First Nations and First Nations Police Services across the country.”
- RoseAnne Archibald, National Chief, Assembly of First Nations
“As the voice of self-administered First Nations police services in Canada, the FNCPA can draw upon unique experience and expertise that will help ensure that the proposed legislative framework will best meet the needs of both First Nations Communities and First Nations police services across Canada. The funding received through Public Safety Canada will greatly assist the association to be an active partner in the development of the proposed essential service legislation. With it the association will engage our members and police services in the areas of resource and needs assessments and bring their concerns and realties to the table.”
- Chief Jerel Swamp, President, First Nations Chiefs of Police Association
Budget 2021 provided $861 million over five years, beginning in 2021–2022, and $145 million ongoing, as well as $103.8 million to support culturally responsive policing and community safety and well-being services in Indigenous communities.
This included $43.7 million over five years, beginning in 2021–2022, to co-develop a legislative framework for First Nations policing that recognizes First Nations policing as an essential service.
The co-development of First Nations police services legislation is a commitment made in the Federal Pathway, the Government of Canada’s response to the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) final report.
The December 2021 mandate letters of the Ministers of Public Safety, Indigenous Services and Crown–Indigenous Relations direct Ministers to: Continue to work with First Nations partners to co-develop a legislative framework for First Nations policing, and continuing to engage with Inuit and Métis on policing matters.
- Public Safety Canada Web site: Indigenous Policing
- Federal Pathway to Address Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ People
- 2021 Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ People National Action Plan: Ending Violence Against Indigenous Women, Girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ People
- Budget 2021: Chapter 8 – Strong Indigenous Communities
- Minister Blair announces $1.5 million for Assembly of First Nations
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Public Safety
Public Safety Canada
Office of the Honourable Patty Hajdu
Minister of Indigenous Services
Indigenous Services Canada
Office of the Honourable Marc Miller
Minister of Crown–Indigenous Relations
Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada
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