Justice (25-42): Current Problems

Systemic Racism in RCMP

October 15, 2020


Arrests of Wet’suwet’en Water protectors

Coastal GasLink called in the RCMP to remove a group of Wet’suwet’en women and community members who are holding ceremony at a proposed drill site for Coastal Gaslink’s pipeline. Union of BC Indian Chiefs (UBCIC) – UBCIC stands in solidarity with the Indigenous land defenders who are protecting the Wedzin Kwa, the river that sustains and gives life to their Nation, from test drilling. These land defenders are lawfully exercising their right to steward their unceded territories and strengthen their cultural ties to their lands through the sacred responsibility of prayer, smudging, and ceremony. The presence of the RCMP and the threat they represent – surveillance, intimidation, arrest, discrimination, and violence – undermines the authority and self-determination of the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs who have full jurisdiction over Wet’suwet’en lands.

Given the forthcoming provincial election and renewed statements from political leaders regarding the importance of reconciliation and advancing Indigenous relations, it is worrisome that systemic violations of fundamental Indigenous and human rights continue to occur over major energy projects such as the CGL pipeline and the Trans Mountain Expansion Project (TMX). Given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the myriad of additional challenges First Nations are facing, the Province can no longer afford to deem industrial projects like the CGL pipeline and the TMX as essential services and adopt a “business as usual” approach. The health and safety of Indigenous communities must be prioritized.

Indigenous land defenders and community members cannot be criminalized and targeted for asserting their Title and Rights and conducting ceremonial and cultural traditions; this stands in acute opposition to the provincial government’s obligations under the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act.

October 29, 2021


Attack on Chief Adams

Government of Alberta – Alberta’s government hired PwC Canada in October 2020 to study the feasibility of replacing the RCMP in Alberta with a provincial police service. The policing model presented by PwC proposes innovative approaches to service delivery and governance that have the potential to better address the root causes of crime through built-in partnerships with mental health and addictions professionals.
PwC also proposes establishing a provincial police commission and commissions at the local level to increase accountability and ensuring a governance role for Indigenous people. A key element of the report is an enhancement of community policing with an increased emphasis on local recruiting and retention.

December 3, 2020


Attack on Chief Adams

Government of Alberta – has issued an online survey that is part of the province’s review of the Police Act. The questionnaire covers several topics related to law enforcement, such as the role of police in community, processes for handling complaints from the public and officer discipline. Throughout the fall, the Alberta government has met with a wide range of stakeholders representing law enforcement, health and social services sectors, municipalities and Indigenous communities. The public survey will remain open until Jan. 4, 2021.

These discussions and the survey responses will guide changes to the Police Act expected for next fall.

June 25, 2020


Attack on Chief Adams

Edmonton Journal – Charges against Chief Allan Adams have been dropped after release of police dashcam footage showing an RCMP officer tackling him to the ground and striking his head in March

June 11, 2020


Attack on Chief Adams

Toronto Star – A day after the Alberta RCMP deputy commissioner denied there is systemic racism in policing in Canada, new video of the arrest of a high-profile First Nation chief threw fuel on the fire of what is quickly becoming a roaring issue in this country. Athabasca Chipewyan First Nations Chief Allan Adam was arrested for assaulting a police officer and resisting arrest after being questioned over an expired licence plate. The video indicates an argument taking place but also seems to validate an unacceptable use of force during the arrest here Adams is tacked, punched and placed in a chokehold.

Adam is well known in Alberta as an advocate for environmental protection amidst the oilsands development that surrounds his community. He has raised concerns around the since cancelled Teck resources mining project. “Because we are a minority and nobody speaks up for us, every time our people do wrong and the RCMP go and make their call, they always seem to use excessive force,” he said Saturday. “And that has to stop. And enough is enough.”

June 10, 2020


Attack on Chief Adams

Native Alberta News – The Tŝilhqot’in Nation is urging Canada to take action to address systemic racism, particularly between First Nations and the RCMP and is calling to reform and remodel training for the RCMP to include better First Nation awareness. The RCMP seem to:

  • lack an understanding of Indigenous peoples
  • fail to understand our Indigenous rights and authority
  • fail to understand the sensitivity of communicating in such a manner given our people’s history with residential schools.
  • don’t understand indigenous people and how the institutions in this country have been created in a way that is implicitly biased.
  • Training within the RCMP is needed so that we can better identify all the underlying issues, make recommendations and improvements and, from there, begin healing.

September 7, 2022


Calls fo Action after Haida elder killed by police after calling them for help

The BC Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA), Pivot Legal Society, #Justice for Jared, The Union of BC Indian Chiefs (UBCIC) and the family of Haida Elder Jimmie Johannesson announce calls to action five months after Surrey RCMP Fatality

NationTalk: (Unceded territories of the Semiahmoo, Katzie, Kwikwetlem, Kwantlen, Stz’uminus, Sto:lo, and Tsawwassen First Nations/Surrey, B.C. – September 8, 2022) A coalition of advocates is coming together today to mark the 5-month anniversary of Jimmie Johannesson’s death and to join Jimmie’s sister Ruby Marks in demanding that BC and Canada urgently reform policing.

On the morning of April 8, 2022, at approximately 10:00 am, multiple Surrey RCMP officers attended the home of Haida Elder Jimmie Johannesson. Elder Jimmie called police that morning out of concern that he was a danger to himself. In response to this Elder’s call for help, the Emergency Response Team (whose officers wear military-style uniforms) and armed RCMP Officers were dispatched and surrounded his home. The RCMP’s lack of training around mental health, de-escalation and safe disarming techniques then saw them opening fire in his home where he was shot in the arm, leg, and twice in the heart. What began as a desperate cry for help ended in a senseless tragedy at the hands of the state when Jimmie was pronounced dead at the hospital.

The violent actions of the Surrey RCMP led to the state-justified murder of a beloved Elder. These murders are a part of the vicious reality of policing in Canada—a system that targets Black, Indigenous & racialized community members.  The chronic and systemic nature of this devastating reality was manifested again on August 22, 2022 when Chris Amyotte, an Ojibway father and grandfather, was in extreme distress and crying for help when he was killed by the Vancouver Police.

“As Indigenous people, communities of First Nations people, we have lost faith in the police and the IIO. These systems will attempt to prove beyond a doubt that Elder Jimmie Johannesson was a danger to the public when in fact the public needs to be protected from the police forces who shoot to kill with impunity. These one-sided systems are built on half-truths and the bodies of First Nations family members and need a complete overhaul. In this time of “reconciliation” we must rebuild all systems that harm, maim and murder Indigenous people. Our hearts go out to Elder Jimmie’s family, friends and community.”  – Laura Holland, Founder of Justice for Jared

Despite the RCMP indicating the BC Independent Investigations Office (IIO) was investigating the murder of the previously unidentified man, Jimmie Johannesson’s friends and family continue to wait for justice.

“The ongoing racist treatment at the hands of police disproportionately follows Indigenous people from cradle to grave. This systemic racism and violence includes land theft and dispossession, the theft of children from their families by way of residential school, the 60’s scoop and now the child welfare system and ultimately ends in incarceration. The last time Jimmie saw his siblings was at the hospital when he was born. His sister, Elder Ruby Marks, remembers their mom holding him up to a window in the hospital. She didn’t see him again until she was in her twenties. Jimmie’s life shows how the child welfare system deliberately displaces and disenfranchises Indigenous people, creating a continuum of colonial harm from foster homes to the criminal justice system.” – Mara Selanders, Staff Counsel at BC Civil Liberties Association

While governments prioritize half-measures and incremental change, the caseload of the IIO has doubled over the past two years and people continue to needlessly die by police hands. Police oversight agencies remain ineffective in holding police accountable; fewer than 10% of police watchdog investigations in Canada end in charges against officers, and the IIO rarely refers cases to Crown Counsel for consideration of charges.[1]

Furthermore, agencies like the IIO lack Indigenous leadership, cultural oversight, and cultural safety and protections for victims, survivors, and families in the aftermath of police violence and state-sanctioned murder.

“Jimmie’s family and the family of Jared Lowndes have come together to announce the following calls to action to put an end to police brutality and systemic racism in policing in Canada,” says Meenakshi Mannoe, Criminalization and Policing Campaigner with Pivot Legal Society. “Indigenous, Black and racialized families across so-called Canada have united, calling for an end to police brutality and systemic racism in policing in Canada.  The surviving families have been clear: recommendations are not enough. Promises of incremental change have led to an entrenched system of policing that prioritizes budgets over wellness and safety. Advocates have been clear – in order to end the harm of police-based wellness checks, we must decisively defund the police and invest in community, mental health professionals, and peer-based crisis response. We call on our municipal, provincial, and federal government to dismantle current policing mandates and reimagine community safety. You cannot remedy systemic racism and police brutality with more policing.”

The coalition of advocates is supporting Ruby Marks in her calls for these immediate changes to policing:

Calls to Action

Wellness Checks

  • Eliminate police officer involvement in wellness checks. Reallocate resources to a peer-led mental health emergency response team trained in de-escalation and professional mental health professions whose practices are rooted in and informed by the community, all while prioritizing crisis support and care for the distressed person or family.Police Services
  • Implement the recommendations of the Special Committee on Reforming the Police Act, per UBCIC Resolution 2022-26
  • Establish a civilian traffic and bylaw services division. Armed and uniformed police are unnecessary for traffic-related offences, especially given that police are more likely to stop Black and Indigenous people for traffic infractions and many of those infractions escalate and end in murder.
  • End police checks. The practice of police conducting street checks outside of an investigation is discriminatory and violates people’s privacy, exposing them to further surveillance and potential criminalization.
  • Establish explicit, sanction-backed legal duties for police to cooperate with IIO investigations and for police and the IIO to safeguard evidence.Indigenous Justice
  • Implement the Calls to Action report released by the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls
  • Implement the National Indigenous Justice Summit’s Immediate Action Plan
  • UBCIC has previously called for a robust National Indigenous Justice Strategy; these recent and ongoing actions indicate this is still sorely neededIndependent Investigations Office
  • Appoint an Indigenous Civilian Monitor, or a separate board of Indigenous Civilian Monitors, to oversee each investigation where an Indigenous person is identified as a victim or affected party in an incident of death, serious harm, or reportable injury
  • Recruit Black and Indigenous investigators with knowledge of the lived experiences of these racialized communitiesUse of Force/Militarization
  • Restrict firearm possession to a small percentage (<5%) composed of specifically and highly trained officers
  • Each municipal police force, in addition to regional RCMP detachments, are to establish a public database of use of force statistics and mandate a quarterly community review and audit of each use of force incident
  • End the training, use and abuse of police K9 units
  • Implement a mandatory policy for police body cameras to be worn by every municipal, provincial, and federal police member, at all times, while on duty. We recommend that the individual officers are unable to turn their cameras on and off on their own.
  • Demilitarize the police. Use of tactical police units in Canada has grown by 2000% since 1980, with services increasingly used for routine activities such as executing warrants, traffic enforcement, community policing and responding to mental health crises and domestic disturbances.[2] Eliminate funding for and donations of militarized equipment, such as assault rifles and Tactical Armoured Vehicles[3], and any training or education in surveillance or military force tactics that harm community

Media Contacts:

BCCLA: Mara Selanders, Staff Counsel (Community), mara@bccla.org, 236-516-0436

Union of BC Indian Chiefs: Ellena Neel, Communications Manager, eneel@ubcic.bc.ca

[1] Annual Reports of the IIO indicate the following: 94 investigations resulted in 12 referrals in 2021-2022104 investigations resulted in 8 referrals in 2020-2021 and 193 investigations resulted in 6 referrals in 2019-2020.


[3] https://thetyee.ca/News/2020/06/23/Canadas-Military-Gave-2000-Assault-Rifles-To-Police/; https://nationalpost.com/pmn/news-pmn/canada-news-pmn/canadas-militarized-police-forces-face-defunding-and-de-tasking-experts-say

May 11, 2021


Death of Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations mother

On May 8th, a Tla-o-qui-aht mother of two was shot by the RCMP after they responded to a call for help. The Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation and the First Nations Leadership Council are calling for an immediate, transparent and transformative response which includes the Tla-o-qui-aht community at every step of the way… this is the third recent shooting by the RCMP of one of our people – our population is approximately 1,150 people. The Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation Hereditary Chiefs and Elected Council issued a statement demanding changes to the justice system following the RCMP shooting of 26 year old TFN member and mother Chantel Moore on June 4, 2020; they are still waiting for the changes they asked for.

There have been numerous inquiries, studies, reports, and a First Nations Justice Strategy in BC created to address the need for justice reform. Despite this, our citizens continue to be the victims of unnecessary police violence leading to serious injury or death as a result of police shootings.

This shooting comes just three months after the fatal police shooting of Julian Jones, another Tla-o-qui-aht member, reaffirming the numerous calls by the Nuu-chah-nulth Nation and Indigenous leaders across the country for substantial police reform to address the systemic racism and violence that is evidenced every time we have another Indigenous person shot by the police. These calls have included the reallocation of police funding to support de-escalation and trauma informed services, the appointment of an Indigenous person to the IIO processes, and the implementation of First Nations-led police services and forces.

November 9, 2020


Denial of medical access

CBC – Genesta Garson a 19-year-old member of Tataskweyak Cree Nation in northern Manitoba “was knocked unconscious at an RCMP detachment in Thompson, Man., and despite the act being caught on video, no formal investigation was launched. She was picked up on suspicion of being intoxicated by two community safety officers. During a disputed altercation, Greer was punched in the face. Despite smacking ger head against a wall and a concrete floor no medical assistance was provided for over 15 minutes until an ambulance arrived to take her to a local hospital.

After the incident RCMP officers made multiple visits to her home in Split Lake, 140kms north of Thompson, asking her to sign a form withdrawing the complaint her lawyer had filed with the RCMP Civilian Review and Complaints Commission. The incident highlights three issues:

1. Community Safety Officers need independent oversight

  • do not fall under the jurisdiction of the province’s police watchdog, which investigates when an officer may have caused the death or serious injury of a person, or have contravened certain laws.
  • RCMP officials say oversight for safety officers falls to the City of Thompson and, if there were criminal allegations, the RCMP would investigate.

2. Though the region has a fraction of Winnipeg’s population of 700,000, figures provided by the RCMP show that people in the North are detained under Intoxicated Persons Detention Act (IPDA) at a rate six times greater than those in the capital.

  • The IPDA is disproportionately applied against Indigenous people

3. Given the treatment Genesta received at the RCMP detachment, multiple visits by different RCMP officers to her home could be seen as applying undue pressure on her to withdraw the charges

November 12, 2020


Indigenous Protests: CRCC Final Report on shale gas exploration protests in NB

The Civilian Review and Complaints Commission of the RCMP – issued its Final Report on the RCMP’s actions in managing Indigenous protests over shale-gas exploration by SWN Resources Canada in New Brunswick in 2013. After reviewing the RCMP’s response to the interim report’s findings on the 21 specific complaints, the CRCC Chairperson noted “with concern, however, that the RCMP has expressed reluctance to take action with regard to some of these findings and recommendations, and as expressed in the Kent County report, I encourage them to do so without delay… Canada’s ongoing reconciliation with Indigenous people includes protecting the rights of those whose voices have been diminished by systemic sources of racism in our society”.

The RCMP’s own views about the appropriateness of its members’ actions should not be allowed to govern in a case where the independent oversight body has reached a different conclusion, and no further factual information or explanation is being offered by the RCMP. Such a process would amount to giving the RCMP carte blanche to come to its own conclusions about its members’ actions. In its response, the RCMP acknowledged a number of the Commission’s findings, including several of those critical of its actions. Furthermore, the RCMP agreed to implement several of the Commission’s recommendations:

  • including sensitivity and awareness training related to Indigenous culture and sacred items;
  • better information sharing with crisis negotiators; and
  • refreshers for RCMP members on law and policy for search and seizure.

However, the Commission has serious concerns about the RCMP’s response to some of its findings and recommendations. Those concerns are discussed in the preface to its report. Of note, while the RCMP indicated that it supported 8 of the Commission’s 12 recommendations, it believed 3 of those required no further action. This concerns the Commission, as these included recommendations concerning roadblocks, exclusion zones and limits to police powers. The Commission made recommendations about these issues because there were concerns about the RCMP’s actions in this case.

Executive Summary and Select Findings and Recommendation:

  • The role of the RCMP in enforcing the law and legal injunctions: No fault found. The RCMP was not acting as SWN’s private security
  • Was their approach in crisis management philosophy a “measured approach” Yes
  • Were Surveillance and Searches consistent with Charter Rights. No. There were some unjustified actions
  • Open-source intelligence gathering: recommendations on tightening operational practices and policies
  • Freedom of expression, Association and Peaceful Assembly: recommendations to limit unreasonable enforcement of injunction powers
  • Sensitivity to Indigenous culture, ceremonies and sacred items: All RCMP members review Native Spirituality Guide and any involved in Indigenous policing receive Indigenous cultural training
  • Alleged bias against Indigenous protestors: No evidence to support Indigenous protestors being treated more harshly than non-Indigenous
  • Tactical operation on Oct. 17, 2013: RCMP had legal authority to conduct the tactical operation but continuing negotiation beforehand would have been advisable
  • Crisis Management Team (CMT): Isolating the CMT from information about around operational planning strategy was a mistake
  • Arrests: With some exceptions, these actions were justified
  • Use of Force: the use of force was generally necessary in the circumstances and was proportional to the conduct encountered by the members.
  • Contingency Planning: Could have been better prepared to account for operational challenges: armed and/or belligerent protestors, more awareness of negative impact on children in school bus witnessing potential violence


  1. That, in addition to the Privacy Act and the RCMP’s existing policy and training, the RCMP provide clear policy guidance setting out defined and reasonably constrained intelligence and law enforcement parameters with respect to the collection of personal information from open sources such as social media sites, the uses that can be made of it, and what steps should be taken to ensure its reliability.
  2. That RCMP policy treat personal information and supporting documents obtained from social media sources containing personal information (such as screen captures of social media sites) as a separate category of records. This category of records should be kept for no longer than strictly necessary to provide intelligence for the event or purpose for which it was collected where it is established that there is no criminal nexus or national security dimension. Additionally, where an intelligence assessment or other product generated from open sources is to be retained, RCMP policy should require the anonymization or destruction of any personal information within that assessment where there is no connection to criminal activity or to the RCMP’s national security mandate (such as where the personal information relates to lawful dissent).
  3. That the RCMP develop policies providing that personal information obtained with respect to public order events like protests and demonstrations should be destroyed as soon as practicable and in accordance with applicable law once it is determined that there is no criminal nexus or that the information is otherwise no longer necessary for the purposes for which it was collected.
  4. That members involved in public order policing operations be provided with a review of law and policy related to search and seizure, including the warrant requirement and the legal grounds establishing exceptions for warrantless searches.
  5. That the RCMP provide members who are engaged in the policing of public protests/public order policing with detailed, accurate interpretations of the conditions of any injunction or unique legal provisions that they are expected to enforce, obtaining legal advice as necessary.
  6. That decisions to restrict access to public roadways or other public sites be made only with specific, objectively reasonable rationales for doing so, and if legally permissible, be done in a way that interferes with the rights of persons in as minimal a fashion as possible, for example, a buffer zone that is as limited in size as possible and an exclusion that is as short in duration as possible.
  7. That, particularly when policing a public protest, members be cognizant of the limits of their powers, specifically in relation to curtailing protesters’ ability to assemble and express themselves in a lawful manner.
  8. That the RCMP require all members to review the RCMP’s Native Spirituality Guide, and that all members involved in Indigenous policing, including members of tactical troop/public order units involved in policing protests by Indigenous persons, be required to attend a training program that is specifically aimed at understanding Indigenous cultural issues.
  9. That the RCMP initiate collaboration with various Indigenous stakeholders with a view to developing a context-specific, practical procedure providing guidance to members with regard to the handling of sacred items in various contexts.
  10. Although there are reasonable rationales for maintaining separation between negotiators and operational planners, the RCMP should give consideration to more fully informing Crisis Negotiation Team members of the overall strategy being pursued, to avoid regrettable misunderstandings, which can damage relationships between the RCMP and members of the public.
  11. The RCMP should consider drafting a policy that is specifically tailored to the Crisis Negotiation Team’s role in the circumstances of public order policing.
  12. That, in situations such as public order policing when RCMP members may be required to arrest persons using plastic tie wrap handcuffs, the restraints only be applied with as much force as is necessary to safely restrain the arrested person.

March 22, 2021


Investigation into death of Colten Boushie: CRCC Report into RCMP investigation

RCMP’s Civilian Review and Complaints Commission – released the CRCC’s report that made 47 findings and 17 recommendations to address the deficiencies identified in the RCMP’s investigation and interactions with Colten Boushie’s family after his death in 2016. Some issues were of significant concern, like the failure to protect the vehicle Mr. Boushie was sitting in when he was shot. This, in conjunction with an unreasonable delay in obtaining a search warrant for the property, led to the loss of evidence as a result of inclement weather. There were also deficiencies in the RCMP’s interactions with some of the witnesses.

The CRCC’s investigation found that the RCMP members who notified Mr. Boushie’s mother, Debbie Baptiste, of his death treated her with such insensitivity that her treatment amounted to discrimination. The RCMP members’ actions included questioning Ms. Baptiste about her sobriety, smelling her breath, and looking inside her microwave to verify her statement that she had put her now-deceased son’s dinner there. The CRCC made additional findings about the conduct of the RCMP members who attended Ms. Baptiste’s home on the evening of Mr. Boushie’s death in a separate report relating to a public complaint made by the family.

In its public interest investigation, the CRCC also found that the attendance of RCMP members at the funeral hall where Mr. Boushie’s wake was being held was unreasonable and contributed to a further deterioration of the RCMP’s relationship with the family. The CRCC noted that many of the deficiencies in the RCMP’s investigation, as well as some of the deficiencies in the next-of-kin notification of Mr. Boushie’s mother, were the result of internal communication failures involving instances where RCMP members did not adequately convey important information to other RCMP members.

Another primary observation was the lack of attendance of the Major Crimes Unit (MCU) at the crime scene. In the CRCC’s opinion, this was a contributing factor in many of the issues raised in its report. The more serious oversights or omissions could have been diminished or avoided had there been an on-site MCU presence.

The RCMP Commissioner accepted without debate almost all of the CRCC’s findings, including the finding relating to the discriminatory treatment of Ms. Baptiste. The only exceptions related to more technical and less central findings. The RCMP Commissioner agreed to implement all of the CRCC’s recommendations. In response to the recommendation for increased mandatory cultural awareness training, the RCMP Commissioner provided a long list of programs that the RCMP has implemented, and is still implementing.

March 23, 2021


Investigation into death of Colten Bushie: CRCC report criticizes RCMP

Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs – The AMC expresses outrage at the information in the report by the CRCC into RMCP conduct in the killing of Colten Boushie. The report advised that Ms. Baptiste, as a First Nation woman, was racially discriminated against by RCMP members when they came to notify her of her son’s murder…These reported actions are symptomatic of systemic racial discrimination against First Nations by the RCMP…
The AMC is further extremely concerned at the actions taken in destroying key evidence knowing that this matter would be examined in civil court at a later date. This obstruction of justice by members of the RCMP concerning Colten’s murder is unacceptable to the Chiefs in Manitoba and must be dealt with decisively. Subsequent statements from RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki dismissing the destruction of evidence as ‘not criminal’ is simply a deflection and a further example of long-standing systemic racism as evidenced through this dismissive tone at the top brass.

March 24, 2021


Investigation into death of Colten Bushie: First Nations and mayors’ group statement

CBC – First Nations chiefs and mayors in the Saskatchewan region where Colten Boushie was killed in 2016 say more needs to be done to combat racism. Following the release this week of an RCMP watchdog report into the shooting death of the 22-year-old Red Pheasant Cree Nation man, they’ve issued a group statement vowing to work together on justice and reconciliation. The letter is endorsed by Leslie, Semaganis, Lucky Man Cree Nation Chief Crystal Okemow, Sweetgrass First Nation Chief Lorie Whitecalfe, Moosomin First Nation Chief Brad Swiftwolfe, Saulteaux First Nation Chief Kenny Moccasin and North Battleford Mayor David Gillan. They say they hope to soon expand their working group to include other regional First Nations and towns, as well as the Métis Nation and rural municipalities

March 24, 2021


Investigation into death of Colten Bushie: RCMP progress on implementing recommendations

Public Safety Canada – Bill Blair, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, issued a statement indicating that The Commissioner of the RCMP has implemented 16 of the recommendations, and is on track to fully implement all of them by April 2021. All employees of the Saskatchewan RCMP will have completed a mandatory Cultural Awareness and Humility course by April 1, 2021. This is a step in the right direction, but we expect that the RCMP will take further, ongoing steps to educate themselves on how best they can best protect our communities all across the country.

October 26, 2020


Racism in Nunavut: Bill 53

Bill 53, an Act to Amend the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Agreement Act, received its first reading in the legislative assembly on Thursday, Oct. 22. The new bill adds provisions to allow independent investigations to look into police-involved civilian injuries or deaths in the territory and the terms to create such a body. As it stands, the Nunavut RCMP has agreements with the Ottawa and Calgary police services to conduct third-party investigations of incidents involving the police that lead to serious injury or death

August 18, 2020


Racism in Nunavut: CCRC complaint into conduct of RCMP

RCMP Civilian Review and Complaints Commission (CCRC) – Chairperson of the RCMP CCRC has initiated a complaint into the conduct of RCMP members involved in an incident in Nunavut. RCMP appointed the Ottawa Police Service (OPS) to investigate and determine whether criminal charges should be laid. In addition, an RCMP internal Code of Conduct investigation into the actions of the officer is underway. The Commission will be conducting the investigation into my complaint pursuant to section 45.66(1) of the RCMP Act. Specifically, the investigation will address:

  • The circumstances leading up to the incident in question;
  • Whether the conduct of the RCMP member driving the vehicle was reasonable in the circumstances;
  • Whether the arrest of the man was reasonable in the circumstances;
  • Whether the use of force employed by RCMP members during the man’s arrest was reasonable in the circumstances;
  • Whether the man required and received adequate medical care following the initial incident;
  • The circumstances surrounding the man’s alleged assault while in custody, whether reasonable steps were taken to ensure his safety, and whether the conditions of detention in the cell were adequate;
  • Whether the man received adequate medical care following the incident in the cell;
    The actions taken by the RCMP in response to this matter.

The RCMP members’ conduct will be assessed in accordance with relevant law and RCMP policy. Consideration will also be given as to whether racial bias and/or discrimination played a role in the man’s arrest and subsequent treatment. This is not the same as an independent civil review of the RCMP requested by the Qikiqtani Inuit Association.

Oct. 26, 2020 – Bill 53, an “Act to Amend the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Agreement Act”, received its first reading in the legislative assembly on Thursday, Oct. 22. The new bill adds provisions to allow independent investigations to look into police-involved civilian injuries or deaths in the territory and the terms to create such a body. As it stands, the Nunavut RCMP has agreements with the Ottawa and Calgary police services to conduct third-party investigations of incidents involving the police that lead to serious injury or death

December 3, 2020


Racism in Nunavut: No charges laid

Global News – No charges will be laid against the RCMP officer who hit an inebriated Inuit man with the door of his moving truck. The Ottawa Police Service, which conducted a criminal investigation into the takedown, ruled the arrest was “lawful” and the officer hit the man with his truck unintentionally. The RCMP’s internal investigation is ongoing as is the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the RCMP is also conducting an investigation.

June 5, 2020


Racism in Nunavut: QIT calls for end to systemic racism at the hands of RCMP

The Qikiqtani Inuit Association (QIA) echoes the voices of Inuit across Nunavut to call for an end to systemic violence at the hands of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). We are disappointed to see that discriminatory attitudes and practices captured in the Qikiqtani Truth Commission report continue to plague our communities today. QIA joins Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. (NTI) to call for the establishment of an independent, alternative civil oversight body. The RCMP cannot be tasked with investigating themselves

Since 1999, there have been at least 15 deaths in Nunavut at the hands of the RCMP. Since January 1, 2020 the Ottawa Police Service has been asked to investigate five incidents involving the Nunavut RCMP including two shootings resulting in death. Nunavut incidents of police violence are nine times higher than Ontario. The latest incidence involved a young inebriated Inuit man who was deliberately struck by a moving RCMP truck, forcibly arrested by 5 RCMP officers and who later suffered multiple injuries while in custody. He had to be airlifted to a hospital for treatment.

July 7, 2020


Racism in Nunavut: Roundtable discussion

Nunatsiaq News – Nunavut Senator Dennis Patterson convened a roundtable meeting on June 19 to discuss the issue with more than 30 others. Among those in attendance were representatives of both the federal and territorial governments, Inuit organizations, Nunavut’s RCMP Chief Superintendent Amanda Jones and numerous other RCMP and regional police representatives. The meeting was to discuss support for the deployment of body-worn cameras in Nunavut. The meeting was not open to the public but they did release a detailed “Summary Roundtable document” of the meetings.

June 23, 2021


Racism In the North: Class Action lawsuit

Canadian Press – A lawsuit alleging RCMP systematically brutalized Indigenous people in Northern Canada can proceed as a class action despite objections from the government, Federal Court ruled on Wednesday. In her decision, Judge Glennys McVeigh rejected the government’s arguments that the proposed suit failed to meet the legal grounds for certification although individuals could sue on their own, and that the claim had no prospect of success. “I disagree with Canada’s characterization of these claims as individual,” McVeigh wrote. “The claims do not ask if an RCMP officer illegally assaulted a class member, but rather whether the operations of the RCMP create a system where illegal assaults happen.”

The untested claim, initially filed in 2018, seeks $600 million in various damages. Among other things, it alleges the federal government negligently failed to stop what it characterizes as routine police assaults on Aboriginal people who comprise the majority in the Northwest Territories, Nunavut and Yukon. The claim asserts systemic negligence, breach of fiduciary duty and constitutional violations. The government, it says, has known about the issues for years but has failed to substantively address the problem. “Aboriginal persons are frequently arrested, detained or held in custody by RCMP officers in the territories on the basis of their race, ethnic and/or national origin,” the claim states.

“RCMP officers and other agents of the RCMP regularly discriminate against Aboriginal persons by employing excessive and unnecessary force, by arresting or detaining Aboriginal persons for no reason, and by using hateful speech and language in the course of policing in the territories.”

April 28, 2022


Racism in the North: RCMP, national Inuit organization agree on reconciliation plan

Globe and Mail: The Royal Canadian Mounted Police and a national representative Inuit organization have agreed on a plan to improve the relationship between the police force and Inuit communities.

The Mounties and the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK), a non-profit organization in Canada that represents more than 65,000 Inuit across Inuit Nunangat and the rest of Canada, see the plan as a starting point for a collaborative relationship and to help build trust.

Many of the priorities come from recommendations made by the National Inuit Action Plan on missing and murdered Inuit women, girls and gender-diverse people following the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.

In recent years, the RCMP have faced increased scrutiny over the conduct of officers toward Indigenous people. In 2020, the RCMP faced criticism after a video captured an officer striking an Inuk man with his truck in the small community of Kinngait.

The RCMP have agreed to work with ITK on specific measures, such as:

  • data sharing on deaths by suicide, suicide attempts and suicidal ideation, and
  • mandatory cultural training for officers working in Inuit Nunangat.

Inuit Nunangat means “the place where Inuit live” and is comprised of four regions: Inuvialuit, Nunavik, Nunatsiavut and Nunavut. The RCMP provide policing services to more than 70 per cent of communities across Inuit Nunangat.

“Inuit have long faced discrimination, neglect and violence within the criminal justice system,” ITK president Natan Obed said in a joint statement with the RCMP. “Our communities’ interactions with police have been strained. With this new workplan in place, we hope to build a new relationship based on respect and mutual trust.”

In their agreement, the RCMP also intend to focus on increased Inuit representation and improve access for Inuktitut speakers. As well, there is an intention for the force and ITK to collaborate on input for the federal Indigenous justice strategy.

February 16, 2021


RCMP Cultural Training Criticism

Toronto Star – A mandatory online training program called “Cultural Awareness and Humility” that was rolled our last fall for all RCMP members and touted by the commissioner as an example of the force’s efforts to modernize misses the mark on many levels according to experts who have reviewed the program for the Star, including:

  • Lack of content addressing institutionalized racism. The training only emphasizes implicit biases and reforming individual attitudes and behaviours
  • Role of RCMP in colonization was given short shrift – just three paragraphs
  • A section dealing with how to avoid stereotyping in communication was too simplified
  • Some sections contained outdated or confusing terminology
  • A participant is simply given a certificate without needing to demonstrate any real change
  • Courses could use a primer on Aboriginal jurisprudence and knowledge and understanding of Aboriginal rights.
  • One page on the vulnerability of Indigenous women and girls is summed up in three paragraphs and glos0ses over the MMIWG

January 27, 2021


RCMP Cultural Training Criticism

NationTalk – RCMP reconciliation efforts aim to improve community safety and well-being, to enhance investigative standards, and to deliver the highest quality policing services. Efforts are also implemented within the organization to support the over 1,900 Indigenous employees of the RCMP and to inspire a culturally engaged, trauma-informed workforce.

October 27, 2020


RCMP Cultural Training Criticism: AFN expectations

Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations listed the following expectations First Nations chiefs have of the federal government in the wake of multiple incidents across Canada where Indigenous peoples were put at risk due to the actions and inactions of the RCMP.

  • Civilian oversight with genuine disciplinary powers
  • The Minister of Public Safety and the commissioner be responsible for delivering ant-racism training and education that produces results
  • The minister must deliver organizational and systemic change within the RCMP from the top to the bottom to effectively address and eliminate discriminatory practices and mindsets
  • Minister of public safety must work with First Nations to articulate clear expectations and actual performance standards for non-discriminatory, anti-racist policing
  • Body cameras: They must be on at all time and officers must face discipline or dismissal for having switched off their cameras
  • Zero tolerance for excessive use of force
  • Better recruitment and training protocols: Racism and bias needs to be identified and called out early; officers need to be taught how to properly de-escalate conflicts
  • Increased wages and incentives for experienced officers to stay in rural detachments: Encouraging more mature police to remain in the detachments where they know the people and the problems will inevitably lead to calmer more respectful relations both ways

December 29, 2020


RCMP Cultural Training Criticism: Vision150

Vision150 is our plan to modernize the RCMP. Our vision responds to the expectations set out in the Commissioner’s 2018 mandate letter and forms the core of our strategic direction. Vision 150 Tracker tracks progress on four themes: People, Culture, Stewardship and Policing Culture.

Tracking Progress for Policing Services: All the following are ON TRACK except when indicated as COMPLETE

  • Ensure transparent oversight of serious incidents (Employees, communities, partners and other stakeholders have trust and confidence in the RCMP
  • Establish an Indigenous Lived Experience Advisory Group (Enhance the trust and confidence of partners and communities) COMPLETED
  • Establish an Office for RCMP-Indigenous, Co-Development, Collaboration and Accountability (Improved relationships with and outcomes for Indigenous people)
  • Implement local policing models that meet community needs (Improved collaboration with partners, communities, and other stakeholders)
  • Implement national and divisional reconciliation strategies (Improved relationships with and outcomes for Indigenous people)
  • Increase the use of restorative justice (Improved relationships with and outcomes for Canadians)
    Partner with Indigenous women’s groups (Improved relationships with and outcomes for Indigenous people)
  • Support greater integration of community, health and social services (Enhanced relationships with partners, communities and stakeholders)

November 19, 2019


RCMP Investigation into death of Inuit woman

The Nunatsiavut Government – is calling for an independent police investigation into the death of a 23-year-old Inuk woman whose body was removed from a makeshift tent in a wooded area of Happy Valley-Goose Bay during the early morning hours of November 15.
“We have reason to believe the RCMP made assumptions as to the cause of death before carrying out a thorough investigation,” says Nunatsiavut President Johannes Lampe.

“Concerns have been raised that police neglected to interview key witnesses before issuing a public statement that the woman’s death was not suspicious,” notes President Lampe. “Questions have also been raised as to whether the police properly secured the scene, and may have also left potential evidence behind.”
Has the RCMP learned anything from the national inquiry into Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls, which denounced decades of police indifference and systemic racism and which called for fundamental policing reforms?

February 8, 2022


Spying on Indigenous activists

Chairperson of the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police press release:
In 2021, the CRCC’s findings and recommendations led the RCMP to take significant remedial steps, including:

  • Updating policies and procedures for response to mental health crises and wellness checks (summary numbers 21-282, 21-283).
  • Creating a national sexual assault investigation course, making changes to national policy surrounding sexual assault investigations, and creating a best practices guide (summary number 21-059).
  • Revising the policy on strip searches to ensure that strip searches are conducted in private and are not live-monitored and providing additional training to RCMP members to address the improper strip search of an Indigenous woman (summary numbers 21-279, 21-281).
  • Changing policy concerning prisoner care and handling, such as the provision of adequate meals, blankets and mattresses, access to showers, reasonable medical attention and access to medications (summary numbers 21-035, 21-236, 21-281, 21-285, 21-278, 21-038).
  • Revising its definition of “street check” to align with the RCMP’s community policing philosophy and bias-free policing policy and implementing a policy for the collection, analysis and reporting of data from police interactions with racialized and Indigenous peoples (systemic investigation).
  • Creating an updated guard training course to improve the training of RCMP jail guards (summary numbers 21-236, 21-278).
  • Making changes to the police service dog policies and training (public interest investigation and summary number 21-242).
  • Reviewing its policies relative to ensuring welfare of children whose parents or caregivers are arrested or otherwise indisposed (summary numbers 21-088, 21-140).
  • Creating a new public complaint investigator and Commissioner’s delegate training course (Chairperson’s complaint and public interest investigation).
  • Changing RCMP policies and forms, and the National Public Complaints Guidebook to address concerns noted by the CRCC (Chairperson’s complaint and public interest investigation).
  • Conducting a management review of a detachment and instituting measures to prevent racist conduct (summary number 21-277).

Of particular note, the RCMP Commissioner accepted almost all of the CRCC’s findings, including the finding relating to the discriminatory treatment of Ms. Baptiste following the completion of my Chair-initiated complaint and public interest investigation related to the conduct of RCMP members involved in the investigation of the death of Colten Boushie.

November 10, 2020


Spying on Indigenous activists

BC Civil Liberties Association – BCCLA is launching a lawsuit against RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki “for inexcusable delays preventing the release of a civilian watchdog report into RCMP spying on Indigenous and climate advocates”. “In February 2014, the BCCLA filed a complaint against the RCMP contending it illegally spied on the democratic activities of organizations and Indigenous nations opposed to the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline project. The complaint further alleged the RCMP improperly shared the information it collected with oil companies and the National Energy Board. The BCCLA argued the RCMP’s secret surveillance created a chilling effect and violated constitutional rights to freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, freedom of association, and privacy.

The RCMP watchdog, the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission (CRCC), launched an investigation into BCCLA’s complaint in 2014 and completed its interim report in June 2017. It forwarded the interim report to the RCMP Commissioner for response. The CRCC cannot prepare a final report available to the public and the BCCLA until the RCMP Commissioner responds.

Over three years later, the RCMP Commissioner still has not provided her response. The RCMP Act requires the RCMP Commissioner to respond to CRCC interim reports as soon as feasible. In 2019, the RCMP specifically committed to responding to CRCC reports in a 6-month timeline.

The BCCLA’s lawsuit claims the RCMP Commissioner has breached her obligations under the RCMP Act and violated the BCCLA’s Charter right to freedom of expression by failing to respond.

January 14, 2022


Spying on Indigenous activists: BC Civil Liberties Association wins

Union of BC Indian Chiefs – UBCIC congratulates the BC Civil Liberties Association on winning their precedent-setting lawsuit, which resulted in the Federal Court of Canada’s decision that RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki violated her statutory obligations by failing to respond to investigations into claims of Mountie misconduct. This case marks the first time the court has ruled RCMP must be held accountable for providing a timely answer to complaints filed with the force’s civilian watchdog agency, the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission (CRCC).

April 1, 2021


Spying on Indigenous activists: RCMP delay in responding

In its written submissions, the BCCLA argues the RCMP Commissioner’s extreme delay in responding breached her obligations under the RCMP Act and violated the BCCLA’s Charter right to freedom of expression. The BCCLA also argues that delays have plagued the complaints system for over a decade and it is time to hold the RCMP to account. The release of several major CRCC investigations this past year, all make clear the RCMP need to be held accountable. for their actions and for undermining the public complaints process.”

  • RCMP spying on peaceful climate advocates
  • RCMP surveillance and illegal police stops during anti-fracking protests in New Brunswick, and
  • RCMP racism against Colten Boushie’s family,