First Nations police services call on Ottawa for emergency funding

First Nations police

Lawyer Julian Falconer and the chiefs of three First Nations police services at a news conference in Ottawa.

Three First Nations police services in Ontario are calling on the federal government to negotiate agreements to provide more adequate funding to their communities.

Since March 31, the Anishinabek Police Service, UCCM Anishinaabe Police Service and the Treaty Three Police Service have been operating without funding after a previous agreement expired.

“Our funding is running out very quickly and there has been no plan put in place to police our communities by Canada,” says Anishinabek Police Services chief Jeff Skye. “We just want to get back to policing and have racist terms and conditions that we will not concede to.”

The police services collectively serve 30,000 people in 45 First Nations across northern Ontario.

The three services are normally funded by the First Nations and Inuit Policing Program (FNIPP), administered by the federal government with 52 per cent of funding from Ottawa and 48 per cent from the province of Ontario.

FNIPP has two main agreement types, a self-administered police service agreement or a community tripartite agreement, where non-Indigenous police provide service to an Indigenous community

The three police services, represented by the Indigenous Police Chiefs of Ontario, will be filing an injunction before a Federal Court for emergency funding, on June 14, 2023.

On Monday, Minister of Public Safety Marco Mendicino announced temporary funding for the three police services.

“I have issued a letter and in the process of communicating in very clear terms to them that we want to see funds flowing on a 90-day interim basis so that we can then get back to the table in good faith and find solutions in the long term for this community,” Mendicino told reporters Monday.

“I believe that a number of their concerns in the face have merit, which is why I’ve now become directly engaged with the community and I’ve instructed my department to find solutions quickly so that we can resolve any ongoing issues with regard to the flow of monies to the community.”

At a news conference in Ottawa, Treaty Three police chief Kai Liu said that his budget is running out.

“[On} June 5th, Treaty Three Police Service issued our last pay cheque or paycheques to our members, base on funding we have in our bank,” he said. “Right now, we have no funding left, so we are living on a line of credit and for those that have a line of credit know there’s a limit.”

The Indigenous Police Chiefs of Ontario have also filed a complaint with the Canadian Human Rights Commission over the terms and conditions under the FNIPP.

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