Ontario Regional Chief Stan Beardy welcomes the recommendations on the First Nations Policing Program by the Auditor General of Canada released May 6 saying issues such as safe facilities, underfunding and inferior police services have been raised for years by the First Nations.
“We have been stating for years that police services in our communities are overlooked and underfunded,” Regional Chief Beardy said. “The Auditor General’s findings support the recommendations that were released in 2007 in the final report of the Ipperwash Inquiry. This is not news. First Nations will continue to pressure government to implement the recommendations that were made almost 10 years ago.”
The report by Auditor General Michael Ferguson concludes that:
- First Nation police services lack the protection of a legislative framework like other police services;
- the program is not accessible or transparent to First Nations;
- there is no meaningful input by First Nations into the negotiation of policing agreements; and
- First Nations are constantly presented with final agreements and told they would not receive funding unless they sign.
“The instability of policing in First Nation communities is exacerbated by the government’s failure to legislate a regulatory framework. As a result, provincial standards that apply to the Ontario Provincial Police and municipal police forces services, leaving our detachments chronically underfunded and under-resourced,” said Doug Chevrier, Chairperson of the Police Governing Authority for the Anishinabek Police Service.
“The lack of legal and financial security is a major barrier the recruitment and retention of officers and impairs the forces’ ability to secure facilities that meet provincial standards for the safety of our officers and community members,” said Shawn Batise, Chairperson of the Nishnawbe-Aski Police Service.
Unlike all other policing institutions in Canada, First Nation police services are not governed by legislation. NAPS and APS are not mandated police services, but are funded as programs through agreements with the federal and provincial government that can be cancelled at any time. There is no funding for permanent detachments or residences, or other vital infrastructure to ensure the safety of officers and community members.