CANADA & ONTARIO’S FAILURE TO NEGOTIATE POLICING AGREEMENT COULD JEOPARDIZE SAFETY
THUNDER BAY, ON (July 12, 2016): Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler and Nishnawbe-Aski Police Service (NAPS) Board Chair Mike Metatawabin expressed disappointment and frustration with the governments of Canada and Ontario for failing to negotiate a new policing agreement that meets the needs of officers and ensures the safety of communities before NAPS officers voted overwhelming in favour of a strike today.
“It is extremely disappointing that Canada and Ontario have continually failed to come to the table and address the long-standing funding issues for NAPS while, at the same time, we have been making progress on a legislative framework for First Nations policing,” said NAN Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler, who serves as ex-officio on the NAPS Board. “First Nations served by NAPS deserve the same levels of policing as any community across the country. Canada and Ontario must come to the table immediately to address the adequacy of funding and resources for our detachments and our officers. The safety of our communities, officers and the administration of justice in our communities is at stake.”
NAN has warned for years that the current design of First Nations policing is building on failure. On February 19, 2013, NAN issued a Public Safety Notice to the Chief Coroner for Ontario and the federal government declaring that the lives of those policed by NAPS are in “grave danger” and stressed the need for a regulatory framework for NAPS. To date, the federal and provincial governments have ignored this Public Safety Notice.
“NAPS has struggled since its inception for adequate funding to pay our officers who serve our communities with pride and distinction. It is unacceptable that our police service has been continually neglected by our federal and provincial funding partners to the point where the health and safety of our officers and the communities they serve could be placed in jeopardy,” said NAPS Board Chair Mike Metatawabin. “This problem was long in the making, and it is unacceptable that we are left to negotiate with our officers without the proper people at the table or adequate funding from our federal and provincial partners who have the responsibility to ensure the safety of our officers and the communities they police.”
In 2014 the Auditor General of Canada confirmed that the federal approach to First Nation policing is flawed, and that the instability is exacerbated by its failure to legislate a regulatory framework. NAN is currently negotiating for a new Tripartite Policing Agreement for NAPS with the federal and provincial governments.
The Nishnawbe-Aski Police Service is the largest First Nations police service in Canada and the second largest First Nations police service in North America, employing more than 130 uniform officers and 30 civilians. Based in Thunder Bay, NAPS polices 35 communities across NAN territory, which encompasses nearly two-thirds of the Province of Ontario.
For more information about Nishnawbe-Aski Police Service please contact: Mike Metatawabin, Board Chair – Nishnawbe-Aski Police Service (705) 288-7518 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information about Nishnawbe Aski Nation please contact: Michael Heintzman, Director of Communications – Nishnawbe Aski Nation (807) 625-4965 or cell (807) 621-2790 or by email email@example.com
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