ontario news watch

Ottawa aims to table legislation this fall making Indigenous policing essential

OTTAWA — Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino is pledging to “work around the clock” to table legislation this fall declaring 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 their policing services are treated as add-ons within country’s existing model. 

Busch says legislation is needed to formally recognize that First Nations policing is as necessary as a force like the RCMP. 

The recent stabbing rampage in Saskatchewan that left 11 people dead and 18 others injured, many of them on James Smith Cree Nation, has amplified calls for more Indigenous-led policing. 

Mendicino says the government is developing the legislation with Indigenous partners and that he spent the summer meeting about upcoming bill. 

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

Stephanie Taylor, The Canadian Press