AMC Calls for Major Reform of First Nations Policing Program and Development of a Regional Policing Initiative for First Nations in Manitoba

March 21, 2024

Treaty One Territory, Manitoba

AMC Communications

Treaty One Territory, Manitoba – The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC) continues its call for major reform in light of Auditor General Karen Hogan’s report on First Nations policing. The report, released on March 19, audited the First Nations and Inuit Policing Program (FNIPP): a cost-sharing initiative between federal and provincial/territorial governments. The FNIPP aims to enhance community policing services and support culturally responsive policing in First Nations and Inuit communities.

The report highlights a disturbing lack of progress and expansion, noting that no First Nations or Inuit communities were added to self-administered police service agreements during the five-year audit period from April 2018 to August 2023. It also reveals that Public Safety Canada, the federal department responsible for overseeing the FNIPP, did not spend $13 million in program funds for the 2022-23 fiscal year and was at risk of underspending $45 million in the 2023-24 fiscal year, despite reports of staffing shortages and underserved First Nations.

AMC Grand Chief Cathy Merrick says, “Inadequate policing resources have real and devastating consequences for First Nations. At our General Chiefs Assembly in February 2024, the Chiefs-in-Assembly reasserted its position in regard to policing and passed a resolution for the implementing the MMIWG2S+ National Inquiry Call for Justice 5.1, which calls upon all governments to implement the recommendations in relation to the Canadian justice system in Bridging the Cultural Divide: A Report on Aboriginal People and Criminal Justice in Canada, Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (1996); and the Report of the Aboriginal Justice Inquiry of Manitoba: Public Inquiry into the Administration of Justice and Aboriginal People (1991). The Chiefs-in-Assembly resolved to engage in a tripartite process with Canada and Manitoba to implement the Aboriginal Justice Inquiry fully. This includes the Aboriginal Justice Inquiry’s recommendation that policing needs to be dramatically transformed with First Nations providing all police services in their Nations with adequate and equitable funding.”

“The AMC has long advocated for policing reform based upon information contained in numerous reports, inquiries and studies but has never received an adequate governmental response or funding for approaches that AMC First Nations have identified. We look forward to initiating these overdue discussions given Canada’s commitment to reconciliation and implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.”

The AMC supports the Auditor General’s recommendation to work collaboratively with First Nations leadership to take immediate action to address the systemic deficiencies in First Nations policing. Additionally, the AMC will be appearing before the Supreme Court of Canada as an intervener in Attorney General of Quebec v. Pekuakamiulnuatsch Takuhikan next month. This case relates to the legal obligations of the provincial and federal governments in relation to First Nations police services.

For more information, please contact:

Communications Team
Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs

About the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs

The AMC was formed in 1988 by the Chiefs in Manitoba to advocate on issues that commonly affect First Nations in Manitoba. AMC is an authorized representative of 62 of the 63 First Nations in Manitoba, with a total of more than 172,000 First Nations citizens in the province, accounting for approximately 12 percent of the provincial population. AMC represents a diversity of Anishinaabe (Ojibway), Nehetho / Ininew (Cree), Anisininew (Ojibwe-Cree), Denesuline (Dene) and Dakota Oyate (Dakota) peoples.