Indigenous Police Chiefs of Ontario (IPCO) have announced they will be heading to a Federal Court Hearing on IPCO’s motion for emergency injunctive relief. As of March 31, three Indigenous police services – Treaty Three Police Service (T3PS), Anishinabek Police Service (APS), UCCM Anishnaabe Police Service (UCCM) – have no signed agreement for funding as a result of a breakdown in negotiations between Public Safety Canada and IPCA. Negotiations were intended to create a funding agreements that would provide adequate funding to police Indigenous communities. In attendance at the announcement were T3PS Chief of Police Kai Liu, APS Chief of Police Jeff Skye, and UCCM Chief of Police James Killeen.
“Canada’s actions imply that it does not trust or respect Indigenous communities enough to be able to look after their own safety” says Chief Liu. As of June 12, Canada has communicated no plan for policing the 45 communities served by the three police services – APS, T3PS, and UCCM despite letters written to Prime Minister Trudeau from police and Indigenous community leaders. “If these services cease operations, this means that there will be 30,000 people who will be without policing” – Chief Liu.
Community States of Emergency
States of emergency have been declared by Anishinabek Nation, Grand Council Treaty #3, and the United Chiefs and Councils of Mnidoo Mnising. “These declarations highlight the threat to equitable and culturally responsive policing if APS/T3PS/UCCM are forced to stop operating when funding runs out” says Chief Skye. “Our community leaders have expressed their extreme disappointment that there has been no acknowledgement of previous letter from the Prime Minister’s office, let alone a response. There is also concern that Minister of Indigenous Services Patty Hajdu was also copied on previous correspondence and has been silent. It is repeatedly indicated that there is a high state of anxiety and concern over the safety of our communities. Simply ignoring us will not keep our communities safe.” – Chief Skye
Human Rights Complaint
“Prime Minister Trudeau has offered no response to our human rights complaint (filed March 29, 2023) as well as to letters dated May 3, 2023, and June 2, 2023” says Chief Killeen. The motion arises out of the ongoing conduct by Canada, contrary to a series of court rulings holding that Canada discriminates against Indigenous peoples through its implementation of a federal program, the First Nations and Inuit Policing Program (“FNIPP”). On January 31, 2022, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal ruled in Dominique (on behalf of the members of the Pekuakamiulnuatsh First Nation) v. Public Safety Canada, 2022 that Canada’s implementation of the FNIPP, including the systemic under-funding of Indigenous policing and imposition of arbitrary terms, violates the human rights of Indigenous peoples. This decision was upheld in February 2023 by this Honourable Court in Canada (Procureur général) c. Première Nation des Pekuakamiulnuatsh, 2023 CF 267 (“Pekuakamiulnuatsh”).
Additionally, in a separate but related ruling at the Quebec Court of Appeal (“QCCA”), in a civil case brought by the Dominique plaintiffs, the QCCA held that Canada’s discriminatory under-funding breached the Crown’s obligations under the Honour of the Crown.
“Instead of abiding by the various court rulings or bring a motion to stay the rulings pending appeal, Canada continues to force Indigenous communities to agree to the same discriminatory program, the FNIPP, or else face the cessation of their designated self-administered Indigenous police services” -Chief Killeen.
The Federal Court hearing on this matter is scheduled for Wednesday June 14, 2023, beginning at 9:30am. It is a virtual hearing via Zoom. Federal Court proceedings are open to the public.
The mandate of the Indigenous Police Chiefs of Ontario (IPCO) association is to strengthen the nine Indigenous stand-alone police services across Ontario through unity of purpose and activities, thereby enhancing safety for the communities we are sworn to protect.