WINNIPEG, Jan. 10, 2018 /CNW/ - Public safety and proper policing services are essential prerequisites to a healthy quality of life. Indigenous communities, like all Canadian communities, should be places where people and families feel secure and social and economic development can flourish.
Today, the 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.
The FNPP has been in existence since the 1990s, with the current agreements being five years in length. The next due date for renewing agreements with provinces, territories, and Indigenous communities is April 1st, 2018. To lay the groundwork, preliminary consultations were conducted in 2016. With the federal funding announced today, officials from Public Safety Canada will begin detailed discussions with provinces, territories and agreement holders to settle new agreements. While it is the federal government's intention to conclude this work before March 31, the option for a one-year extension is available.
"The First Nations Policing Program is a critical service that protects the safety of Indigenous Peoples through culturally relevant policing. Today we're making the greatest federal investment for policing in First Nation and Inuit communities since 1991, which will fund major improvements to policing services for over 400,000 people. This new funding will be ongoing, so communities can count on it for the long-term. It's part of our commitment to work together with Indigenous Peoples to make real progress."
- The Honourable Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness
- The funding announced today, in addition to existing funding of $522.5 million from Public Safety Canada's reference levels, brings the federal government's total five-year investment in the FNPP to $813.7 million.
- 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 2016, Public Safety Canada undertook extensive engagement activities with stakeholders and partners, including Indigenous communities, provinces, territories, Indigenous police services, policing associations, such as the First Nations Chiefs of Police Association, and the RCMP.
- Policing agreements in First Nation and Inuit communities are cost-shared with provinces and territories, and support the provision of professional, dedicated and responsive police services to communities across Canada.
- 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.
- The FNPP has had a significant and measurable positive impact on the safety of First Nation and Inuit communities funded under the Program.
- In June 2017, the Prime Minister of Canada and the National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations signed a memorandum of understanding on shared priorities, of which "policing and community safety issues affecting First Nations" was the number one shared priority. Today's funding announcement directly addresses this priority and will help make the lives of over 430,000 people safer.
- In November 2017, Minister Goodale participated in the Assembly of First Nations Permanent Bilateral Mechanism Leaders Meeting, where policing for First Nation communities was discussed. At the meeting, Minister Goodale reiterated his commitment to a flexible, transparent process to negotiate the new policing agreements – a process that will allow for a meaningful dialogue with current agreement holders.
SOURCE Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada
For further information: Scott Bardsley, Press Secretary, Office of the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, 613-998-5681, [email protected]; Media Relations, Public Safety Canada, 613-991-0657, [email protected]