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The  Indigenous Leadership Development Institute (ILDI)-led engagement sessions on the Government of Canada’s draft Elements will be used to inform the drafting of the First Nations police services legislation (see Annex A). ILDI is receiving funding from Public Safety Canada to support this engagement.

Requesting feedback from First Nations, First Nations police services and representatives is a critical part of the co-development process, and your input will help shape the First Nations police services legislation.

You are being asked to provide your feedback on the Elements because it will inform Public Safety Canada’s advice to Cabinet on a potential First Nations police services legislation. These Elements are not the drafting instructions nor are they the draft bill. Once Cabinet has made a decision, drafting instructions will be provided to the Department of Justice, which is responsible for drafting a bill.

Context for Legislation

The provision of policing services which are professional, effective, culturally appropriate and accountable is critical to building safe and healthy communities. First Nations in Canada have long called for reform to how First Nations police services are funded and have advocated that these be recognized as an essential service through legislation.

These calls for reform were highlighted in the Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, which included Call for Justice 5.4 to reform the delivery of policing services in Indigenous communities.

There are 35 First Nations police services (often referred to as “self-administered police services”) serving 141 First Nations. Currently, funding for First Nations police services is provided under the First Nations and Inuit Policing Program (FNIPP).  The way that federal funding flows needs to be reformed to better meet the needs of First Nations police services and the communities they serve. To this end, Public Safety Canada was mandated to co-develop legislation that recognizes First Nations police services as essential services.

Process Towards Legislation

In spring 2022, the Government of Canada engaged with First Nations to receive feedback on the potential scope of a federal First Nations police services legislation. A discussion guide was developed which focused on three key themes: defining “essential service”; identifying funding requirements of First Nations police services; and describing the roles of the Government of Canada, First Nations, and provinces/territories in supporting First Nations police services.  In September 2023, the Government of Canada published a “What We Heard” report to provide a summary of the results of that engagement.

Building on the 2022 engagement and regular dialogue with First Nations, the First Nations Chief of Police Association (FNCPA), First Nations Police Governance Council (FNPGC), and provinces/territories, Public Safety Canada developed Objectives and Guiding Principles to set the policy framework for the proposed legislation. These were shared broadly with First Nations and First Nations police services in the summer of 2023. This past summer and fall, working with the FNCPA, FNPGC, and provinces and territories as well as some First Nations police services, Public Safety Canada developed proposed Elements that set the policy objectives for the proposed legislation.

Engagement Approach

The ILDI is a not-for-profit organization, entirely Indigenous, run by a volunteer Board of Directors, to build leadership capacity in Indigenous People. Leading the engagements, is former Chief, Dennis Meeches, of Long Plain First Nation and ILDI Board member.

You may provide input in the following ways:

  1. Regional in-person engagement sessions (virtual participation is also possible at each session):
  • February 13      Winnipeg, MB
  • February 15      Saskatoon, SK
  • February 20      Tsuut’ina Nation, AB
  • February 27      Montréal, QC
  • February 29      Thunder Bay, ON
  • March 5             Chippewas of Rama First Nation, ON
  • March 7             Whitehorse, YK
  • March 12          Quebec City, QC
  • March 14           St. Mary’s First Nation, NB
  • March 21           Vancouver, BC
  1. National online engagement session March 19 (virtual only); and,
  1. Written comments/submissions – please share any additional feedback to ILDI at the following email address: info@ildii.ca.

Throughout the process, Public Safety Canada will continue to work with key partners and to meet bilaterally with First Nations, including First Nations modern treaty and self-governing agreement signatories, upon request. Public Safety Canada will also attend engagements to present the Elements and hear participants’ views.