Call to Action # 42: Actions and Commitments

AFN – Canada MOU on Joint Priorities: Policing

September 6, 2022


AB Government: Community Policing Grant applications now open

NationTalk: Indigenous and municipal communities in Alberta can now apply for a one-time grant of up to $30,000 to develop a business case for their own self-administered police service or regional equivalent.

The provincial grant offers financial assistance to Indigenous and municipal communities preparing a business case outlining local needs, capital requirements and transition considerations.

The Community Policing Grant formalizes funding the government has provided in the past and makes it more accessible to all Indigenous and municipal communities. Alberta’s government provided $30,000 to the Siksika Nation for a feasibility study in 2018 that has led to a memorandum of understanding focused on developing a funding framework for a new police service in Siksika.

Alberta has also unilaterally provided additional funding for 15 new police officers for the Blood Tribe, Tsuut’ina Nation and Lakeshore Regional police services to address issues created by shortfalls in federal funding.

“Policing is better when leadership is provided locally, and First Nations in Alberta and across Canada deserve police services that are self-administered and responsive to their needs. I am pleased federal Minister of Public Safety Marco Mendicino has committed to expediting his work on the First Nations and Inuit Policing Program so Alberta can move forward on ensuring police services in the province are responsive to local communities.”

Tyler Shandro, Minister of Justice and Solicitor General

If Alberta moves to a provincial police service such as the proposed model found at, the province would work with First Nations and municipalities to ensure local police services have more resources and give local Albertans more of a say in setting policing priorities.

Eligible First Nations communities, Metis Settlements and municipalities may use Community Policing Grant funding for business case expenses such as staffing, consultation fees and program administration. This includes communities that have already initiated the process of exploring a municipal police service and communities collaborating on a regional police service. Applicants must provide a letter documenting the support of their communities’ leadership for the development of the business case.

*To find out more about the grant and how to apply, please email

*Editor’s Note: The application email has been corrected.

Related news


January 11, 2018

Fed. Govt.

AFN response to Government of Canada’s First Nations Policing Program

Assembly of First Nations

OTTAWA—Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde says last week’s announcement on federal support for the First Nations Policing Program (FNPP) is necessary and critical to ensure safety and security for First Nations and First Nations police forces and police officers.

AFN BC Regional Chief Terry Teegee, who holds the Justice Portfolio for the AFN, stated: “Today’s announcement is an important recognition of the role First Nations police forces play in our communities. First Nations police forces must be fully supported and expanded; it is an essential service for all Canadians and First Nations peoples. Improving security and policing in First Nations communities will benefit everyone. We welcome today’s announcement and look forward to working together on the next steps.”

December 13, 2018

Fed. Govt.

AFN-QL recommendations to the Viens Commission

During his testimony to the Viens Commission, the Chief of the AFNQL recalled the three main issues that Quebec has repeatedly been asked to act upon, namely:

  1. To recognize, denounce and fight against the systemic racism that exists within its institutions and population.
  2. To repair the wrongs suffered by the victims, especially First Nations victims. And finally
  3. To recognize the right of First Nations to provide their own policing services.

It is in this context that the following recommendations were made by the Chief of the AFNQL before the Viens Commission:

  • that the Commission support complainants wishing to file individual communications against the Government of Canada before the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women;
  • that the Commission clearly affirms the right of First Nations to provide their own policing services or to receive policing services that are culturally adapted to the reality of each Nation and community and take a position on the implications arising from this finding;
  • that Quebec adopts and implements the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; and
  • that a permanent entity be established to ensure that provincial government activities be subject to existing law and meet national and international standards on Indigenous People’s rights and issues.

The Final Report is due September, 2019.

March 26, 2018

Fed. Govt.

AFN-QL seeks extension to tri-partite negiatiation process around FN police force

Public Inquiry Commission on relations between Indigenous Peoples and certain public services in Québec (Viens Commission) attests that changes need to be made in light of the public safety state of emergency in First Nations communities. The Assembly of first Nations Quebec-Labrador (AFNQL) recommends, among other things, that First Nations wishing to extend their tripartite agreement ending March 31st for one more year have this opportunity, particularly to ensure that a true tripartite negotiation process be deployed, without the threat of having to sign, within a few days, a non-compliant long-term agreement or without being forced to dissolve their police force or to maintain it for a maximum of one year without any external financial assistance.

March 26, 2018

Fed. Govt.

Commissioner Viens supports extension to tripartite negotiation deadline

Commissioner Viens of the “Public Inquiry Commission on Relations Between Indigenous Peoples and Certain Public Services in Quebec” issued a 3rd Call to Action to postpone the March 31st, 2018 tripartite negotiation deadline with every Aboriginal police force to a reasonable delay that could go up to one year while maintaining the upgraded funding. This delay will allow concerned Aboriginal police forces to truly negotiate with the authorities on their respective needs that may be different from one community to another. Commissioner Viens asserted that Aboriginal citizens in Québec felt they would be better served by police forces which are in the communities, who know the language, the culture and the people in order to create a better contact with them.

July 18, 2022


Establishing a Siksika Nation police force

NationTalk: Alberta’s government and the Siksika Nation have signed an agreement to work toward establishing a self-administered police service for their community.

The parties have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) broadly agreeing to work together on initiatives to improve public safety for members of the Siksika Nation. More specifically, discussions between the parties will focus on developing a funding framework for a new police service in Siksika.

Establishing a self-administered police service is consistent with the MOU’s guiding principles, which call for Siksika-driven programs and services to address the community’s public safety concerns.

“The Siksika Nation has identified establishing a police service as a priority for making its communities safer, and Alberta’s government believes in working with communities to help them address important public safety needs. We’re looking forward to productive discussions that will help the Siksika Nation realize its goal of building a safer community for its members.”
Tyler Shandro, Minister of Justice and Solicitor General

“Alberta’s government is proud to support initiatives that foster self-determination and community-led solutions. This MOU is a meaningful step on the path toward true reconciliation.”
Rick Wilson, Minister of Indigenous Relations

“It is critical we have our own force back on the Nation. Our own force will reduce response time from police, which could save lives in those critical minutes or seconds in life-threatening situations. From a cost perspective, it would also be more efficient, as our own force would provide more preventative measures and not simply reactive measures to the community. The future is extremely bright for Siksika, and we are excited to continue to work with the Alberta and federal governments to develop the best outcome for all involved.”
Chief Ouray Crowfoot, Siksika Nation

Alberta and the Siksika Nation are working toward their own agreement because a federally administered program that provides funding for Indigenous police services has been frozen.

The Siksika Nation had its own police service from 1992 to 2002, but the 10-year tripartite agreement that established the organization wasn’t renewed. The RCMP detachment in Gleichen has been responsible for policing in Siksika since 2002.

The Siksika Nation has explored the possibility of establishing a new police service in recent years. In 2018, it hired an outside firm to conduct a feasibility study. The provincial government contributed $30,000 toward the study, a third of the cost.

Since then, the Siksika Nation has done additional research on establishing a self-administered police service, including a recent business case. However, the Sikiska Nation can’t proceed under the First Nations and Inuit Policing Program because the federal government has frozen the program while it conducts a review.

Although talks between Alberta and the Siksika Nation are focused on developing a funding formula that does not rely on the First Nations and Inuit Policing Program, the MOU also directs the parties to identify other possible sources of funding from the federal government and existing initiatives.

Related News


December 9, 2020

Fed. Govt.

Funding to AFN to develop framework an plan for First Nations policing

Public Safety Canada – Government of Canada is funding up to $1.5M to the AFN “to support the AFN to engage in initial dialogue and launch discussions recognizing the AFN as an important partner in First Nations policing reforms, and to lay the groundwork for a framework and plan to begin discussions towards co-developing legislation which recognizes First Nations policing as an essential service”.  Collaborative engagement with federal, provincial, territorial and Indigenous representatives will be crucial to advance this work. Minister Blair is continuing conversations with Indigenous leaders from across the country to explore how best to work together to achieve this, and how to better meet the needs of Indigenous communities for culturally responsive police services.

November 8, 2022

Fed. Govt., NU

Indigenous policing program to expand to Nunavut

Craig Simailak, Nunavut’s justice minister, speaks in the legislative assembly Tuesday. (Photo by Emma Tranter)

First Peoples’ Law Report: Nunatsiaq News: A federal program that is supposed to support Indigenous-led approaches to public safety will expand to Nunavut over the next three years, the territory’s justice minister announced Tuesday.

The Government of Nunavut and the federal government have signed an agreement in principle to bring the First Nations and Inuit policing program to Nunavut, Craig Simailak told the legislative assembly. “With this, we hope to see the end of all two-person detachments in our territory,” he said.

The cost of the program will be split between the two governments, with the federal government paying 52 per cent and Nunavut covering 48 per cent.

Under the program, more officers will be hired and they will be given a “unique mandate” developed in consultation with the communities they work in. It is being run by the RCMP, meaning people hired under the program will be RCMP officers, Simailak said.

“These new, community-focused RCMP members mark an important step in our efforts to increase community engagement and investment in public safety and a very positive development in our work to build reconciliation between Inuit communities and the RCMP,” he said.

Simailak said the program will focus on community engagement, crime prevention and community safety. “This means Nunavummiut will have more of a say in how policing is conducted in their communities,” he said.

Arviat-South MLA Joe Savikataaq asked Simailak how much the federal government will be paying for the program. Simailak said he could not provide an answer at the time.

Savikataaq also asked what is being done to attract more Inuit to the RCMP. Currently there are five Inuit RCMP officers in Nunavut. “Since this is [a] First Nations and Inuit [policing] program, I’m going to assume that these new RCMP officers will have to be an Inuk?”

Simailak said the program does not necessarily require officers to be Inuit. “The title is a bit misleading … it’s geared toward the region,” he said.

“The [RCMP] do endeavour to continue to encourage Nunavummiut, Inuit to become RCMP members,” he added.

November 15, 2018

Fed. Govt.

Investments in policing facilities in First Nations and Inuit communities

The Government of Canada is investing $88.6 million over seven years in policing facilities in First Nation and Inuit communities to ensure that police officers serving these communities work in safe facilities. Recognizing there are pressing needs in terms of policing infrastructure in First Nation and Inuit communities, a new federal program, Funding for First Nation and Inuit Policing Facilities, will provide funding to repair, renovate, or replace policing facilities owned by First Nation and Inuit communities starting in 2018-2019. The program will help ensure policing infrastructure complies with current building, policing facility, and health and safety standards. This program, which is cost-shared 52 per cent/48 per cent with the provinces and territories, will be implemented in two phases:

In the first phase, beginning immediately, communities with policing facilities known to require urgent repairs will be contacted to access program funding over the next two years.

In the second phase, starting in 2020-2021, projects will be selected for funding based on the results of a professional assessment of First Nation and Inuit police service facilities and a set of national merit criteria. Safe policing facilities will result in the delivery of better-quality policing services and contribute to safer First Nation and Inuit communities.

January 10, 2018

Fed. Govt.

Investments in policing in First Nations and Inuit communities

Honourable Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, announced a federal investment of up to $291.2 million over five years, starting in 2018–2019, for policing in First Nation and Inuit communities. This funding will be dedicated to communities currently served under the First Nations Policing Program (FNPP). For the first time, the federal funding commitment is on-going for the long-term and will include a 2.75% escalator to address inflation. Today’s announcement includes $102 million as proposed in Budget 2017; an additional $144.4 million, starting in 2018–2019, to support priorities such as officer safety, policing equipment and salaries; as well as $44.8 million, starting in 2019–2020, for up to 110 additional officer positions. Federal and provincial/territorial governments co-fund policing costs contained in agreements for policing in First Nation and Inuit communities. Provincial/territorial governments will be asked to increase their funding to maintain their share of 48 percent of the costs of the program. In 2015–2016, there were 185 police service agreements, with 1299 negotiated police officer positions in over 450 First Nation and Inuit communities across Canada.

March 8, 2018

Fed. Govt.

Nishnawbe Aski Nation praises passage of Bill-175

Ontario’s Bill-175 states First Nations can apply to be a designated police board responsible for policing in an area under the Police Services Act. This means First Nations police services could be protected under the same legislated policing standards as municipal and provincial police services. Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) called the passing of the bill a historic day and a result of years of negotiating the legislative framework that could mandate the Nishnawbe Aski Police Service (NAPS) – the country’s largest First Nations police force.

November 25, 2022


Ontario Helping Modernize First Nations Policing

NationTalk: TORONTO — The Ontario government is providing more than $6 million to help First Nations police services better protect their communities. The investment is part of the province’s First Nations Policing Modernization Initiative, and will be used to purchase new technology, including mobile workstations, body cameras and automated license plate readers.

“First Nations police services need modern equipment to keep their communities safe,” said Solicitor General Michael Kerzner. “This initiative will provide police officers and personnel with the tools they need to fight crime effectively and efficiently while in the field and connected to a local command network.”

A total of nine First Nations police services and 18 First Nations communities who have policing administered by the Ontario Provincial Police under the First Nations and Inuit Policing Program (FNIPP) will receive the funding.

“I am pleased to get this equipment into the hands of our frontline officers,” said Kai Liu, Chief, Treaty Three Police Service and President, Indigenous Police Chiefs of Ontario. “Mobile workstations will increase community safety and police visibility by keeping officers on the road and in our communities. Video footage from our officers’ camera equipment could be streamed directly into the command centre during emergency incidents. That’s a major step forward in our police service, thus improving our crime prevention capabilities.”

“As we look to modernize law enforcement across the province, it is critical that we support First Nations police services,” said Greg Rickford, Minister of Indigenous Affairs. “These targeted investments will enhance efficiency, and give officers the tools they need to serve their communities and remain safe on the job.”

Quick Facts

Police services in First Nations communities will use the funding to undertake modernization work, including:

  • Mobile Workstations: an information technology suite of equipment embedded within a police vehicle for mobile/remote access to records management system databases, the Canadian Police Information Centre, and police services’ internal servers.
  • Infrared Technologies: thermal imaging cameras are an investigative tool to assist in suspect apprehension, evidence gathering and search and rescue operations by detecting heat radiation of persons or objects.
  • Live Scan Machines: support the process of capturing fingerprints electronically and can be shared immediately with police services across the country, including the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
  • Body-Worn Cameras: devices that record interactions between community members (e.g., the public, suspects, and victims) and law enforcement officers.
  • In-Car Cameras: capable of recording all interactions between police and the public, including traffic stops and rear seat prisoner transportation.
  • Automated Licence Plate Readers (ALPR): a system of cameras and supporting software that captures licence plate information and immediately compares plate numbers to a Ministry of Transportation database with vehicle and vehicle owner information.

Media Contacts

Zachary Zarnett-Klein
Solicitor General’s Office

Brent Ross
Communications Branch

September 21, 2022

Fed. Govt.

Ottawa aims to table legislation this fall making Indigenous policing essential

Minister of Public Safety Marco Mendicino rises during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Thursday, June 23, 2022. Mendicino is pledging to “work around the clock” to table legislation this fall declaring Indigenous policing an essential service. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

SOOTODAY.COM: OTTAWA — Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino is promising to “work around the clock” to table legislation this fall that would declare Indigenous policing an essential service. 

Doing so would fulfil a commitment Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made years ago to First Nations leaders. 

Lennard Busch, the executive director of the First Nations Chiefs of Police Association, says as it stands,their policing services are treated as add-ons within the country’s existing model.  That’s why, he says, legislation is needed to formally recognize that First Nations policing is as necessary as a force such as the RCMP,which has a structure and operational baseline outlined in law. 

“It’s never soon enough for us,” he said in a recent interview. 

Earlier this month, a stabbing rampage in Saskatchewan left 11 people dead, including one of the suspects, and 18 others injured, many of them on James Smith Cree Nation. A second suspect died after being arrested days later. The event has amplified calls for more Indigenous-led policing.

Wally Burns, the nation’s chief, has been among the voices calling for tribal policing. 

There are 35 First Nations police services across the country, and Busch says he sees a growing demand for more, having fielded dozens of calls from communities and tribal councilsinterested in starting their own.  He says funding remains a major issue. Currently, a First Nations police service receives funding through a program created in 1991, in which costs are shared with the province. 

The Liberal government announced in 2018 that it would spend almost $300 million over five years on policing in First Nations and Inuit communities, saying at the time that represented a historic increase. 

Busch says that money helped fill staffing shortages.

The federal Department of Public Safety has flagged problems with the 1991 funding program. It published a report in February that found the amount budgeted for it has led to an underfunding of First Nations policing agreements, which has limited what kind of services officers could offer communities and heaped more stress onto existing staff. 

The report also concluded that around one-third of First Nations and Inuit communities have been unable to access this pool of money. 

The Assembly of First Nations has been advocating for reforms to First Nations policing. Former national chief Perry Bellegarde has said it was unacceptable that communities were expected to set up their own police services without a structure enshrined in law and sufficient funding. 

Busch said the process of setting up a force is complex and typically takes years. On top of the money needed to hire and retain staff, he says there is also a need for adequate funding to outfit officers with the proper technology. 

He said there is also no one-size-fits-all approach for a First Nation to follow if it wants to establish a force of its own, which is particularly difficult for those with smaller populations. “That is a very high-risk thing.”

Mendicino says the government is developing the legislation with Indigenous partners and that he spent the summer meeting about the coming bill.  “We’re very eager to table this legislation.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 21, 2022. 

November 20, 2017

Fed. Govt.

Public Safety Minister meetings on First Nations policing

First Nations policing was a substantive topic for discussions with Public Safety Minister Goodale. Many participants spoke strongly of the need to strengthen and expand the programs to put them at par with other police services in the country in terms of salaries, equipment, technology and resources, and to recognize them as an essential service. Minister Goodale acknowledged that the program has not changed since it was first introduced in 1996 and that the budget hasn’t increased since 1999. First Nations emphasized the urgency for action given many agreements end in March 2018. Minister Goodale said there are two key principles: the need for more resources, as noted; and the need to evolve from a temporary program that expires every few years to one that continues and is seen as an essential service.

January 1, 2019


Safer Ontario Act

Safer Ontario Act”: Recognizes police forces in First Nations’ territories as full-fledged law enforcement and guarantees support, standards and resources to do their work. (Macleans)

September 23, 2022

AB, Fed. Govt.

Siksika Nation to take over policing from RCMP

NationTalk: The Siksika Nation and the governments of Alberta and Canada have reached a deal allowing the nation to take over policing responsibilities from the RCMP, creating Canada’s first self-administered First Nation police service in 14 years.

In July 2022, Alberta and Siksika Nation signed a memorandum of understanding to work towards establishing a self-administered First Nations police service in Siksika. Less than two months later, Siksika Nation Chief Ouray Crowfoot and Minister of Justice and Solicitor General Tyler Shandro have successfully brokered the deal with federal Minister of Public Safety Marco Mendicino.

In the coming months, Siksika Nation and Alberta’s government will work together to demand a clear operational timeline and negotiate a transition agreement with the Government of Canada.

“Alberta’s government unequivocally supports self-administered First Nations policing. With nearly 8,000 residents and one of the largest geographic footprints of any First Nation in Canada, the Siksika Nation is ready and prepared to take this critical step and become the fourth self-administered First Nation police service in Alberta.”

Tyler Shandro, Minister of Justice and Solicitor General

“The recent tragic events in Saskatchewan have underscored the importance of First Nations policing. Every individual has the inherent right to safety and security, and establishing a Siksika- administered police force will help secure this right. This announcement is a huge step forward toward obtaining a Siksika-administered police force. Siksika has also established a bylaw prosecutor and we are developing a prosecutor office, which to my knowledge is the first of its kind in Canada. Siksika police and prosecutor services are foundational building blocks for a safe Siksika. It’s these kinds of partnerships that make me proud to represent Siksika and call myself an Albertan and a Canadian.”

Chief Ouray Crowfoot, Siksika Nation

Quick facts

  • Alberta’s government provided $30,000 to the Siksika Nation for a feasibility study in 2018 that led to the memorandum of understanding focused on developing a funding framework for a new police service in Siksika.
  • The recently announced Community Policing Grant formalizes funding the government has provided in the past and makes it more accessible to all Indigenous and municipal communities. To find out more about the grant and how to apply, please email
  • If Alberta moves to a provincial police service, such as the proposed model found at, the province would work with First Nations and municipalities to ensure local police services have more resources and give local Albertans more of a say in setting policing priorities.

Related news

November 28, 2022

Fed. Govt.

Trudeau commits $62.5M to Indigenous safety, healing projects in James Smith Cree Nation

Global News: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the federal government will invest over $20 million toward Indigenous-led community safety projects in First Nations across the country, while promising continued work toward making Indigenous policing an essential service in Canada.

The money is part of $62.5 million in federal funding Trudeau announced Monday while visiting James Smith Cree Nation in Saskatchewan, nearly three months after a deadly stabbing rampage rocked the community.

The total includes $40 million over six years that will go towards the building of a new wellness centre in the First Nation and repurposing the existing Sakwatamo Lodge to help community members heal from the trauma of the attack and other mental health and addiction issues. Another $2.5 million over five years will be committed toward holistic treatment and healing services.

“I know you’re still reeling and still processing what happened and what took place,” Trudeau told community leaders and members, who he met with earlier Monday. “And I know from the conversations I had that members of the community are still grappling with it every single day.

“All members of our communities should have access to the type of support they need.”

READ MORE: Lack of urgency on mental health transfer contributing to ER crisis, advocates say 

On Sept. 4, 11 people were killed and 18 others were injured in the community, as well as in the nearby village of Weldon, Sask., which are northeast of Saskatoon. Myles Sanderson, 32, the suspect in the attacks, later died in police custody after ingesting drugs following a four-day-long manhunt.

The slayings amplified calls for more Indigenous-led policing, and Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino has promised to “work around the clock” to table legislation this fall that would declare Indigenous policing an essential service.

Trudeau said conversations are ongoing with First Nations across the country to ensure any legislation will meet their needs, but did not provide an update on a timeline for when the bill will be introduced.

“We understand the pressures, which is why we’re moving quickly on supports, but getting First Nations policing legislation right at the federal level is going to take the time it takes to get it right,” he said.

“Our shared goal is to make sure that people feel safe,” Trudeau added.

The $20 million for the Pathways to Safe Indigenous Communities Initiative will be spread over four years, and will be on top of the $103.8 million committed earlier this year for the program. The initiative is designed to fund community safety plans with an emphasis on protecting Indigenous women and girls and LGBTQ2S+ members.

The top-up announced Monday will be available to James Creek and other First Nations across the country, Trudeau said.

Earlier Monday, Trudeau, accompanied by Indigenous Services Minister Patty Hajdu, went to Saint Stephen’s Anglican Church, where seven of the victims are buried. They were joined by James Smith Cree Nation Chief Wally Burns, as well as Peter Chapman First Nation Chief Robert Head and Chakastaypasin First Nation Chief Calvin Sanderson.

The wind blew fresh snow around as Trudeau trudged through nearly knee-high drifts to get around the cemetery. He laid down tobacco and made the sign of the cross at each of the graves. Trudeau also took a moment of silence after the chiefs briefly spoke at the different locations.

Chief Burns has been among those calling for tribal policing and has also said the community needs funding for housing, especially for those reluctant to return to homes where family members were killed.

He said on Monday it was an honour to have Trudeau in the community.

“Today, we share the celebration of life that was passed in such short notice. There’s lots to learn and there’s lots to grieve,” Burns said.

READ MORE: James Smith Cree Nation killer’s partner shares story of brutality, survival and hope 

On Sept. 28, Gov. Gen. Mary Simon visited the Saskatchewan cemetery where most of the victims killed in the rampage are buried, stopping a few minutes at each burial site. Simon also stopped for 10 minutes at a ditch where retired military veteran Earl Burns died in his school bus that rolled off the road after he was attacked.

Saskatchewan’s chief coroner has said two public inquests will be held into the stabbing rampage — one that will focus on the 11 deaths, and another that will focus on the death of the suspect in police custody.

— with files from The Canadian Press

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