(Toronto, ON – January 31, 2024) This morning, the governments of Canada and Ontario issued a joint statement announcing a federal investment of $121 million to combat gun and gang violence in Ontario, including auto theft, through the Initiative to take Action Against Gun and Gang Violence (ITAAGGV).

While these investments are being made for the safety of Ontarians, governments continue to underfund First Nation police services, refusing to recognize the importance of reliably enforcing and prosecuting First Nations laws, leaving our communities less safe and with less access to essential police services than our neighbours.

Ontario’s Community Safety and Policing Act explicitly excludes enforcement of First Nations’ laws as a mandatory police function in its current form and will result in discriminatory and unequal law enforcement in the province if it comes into force without being amended. The federal government was recently found in court to be inadequately funding First Nations’ police forces and had to be given a court order to ensure proper funding is being given.

“Not recognizing or enforcing First Nations’ laws undermines reconciliation, the actualization of our jurisdiction and self-governance, and sends the signal that the federal and provincial government care less about the safety and well-being of First Nations than other Canadians.” said Ontario Regional Chief Glen Hare.

Chiefs of Ontario is calling on Ontario and Canada to stop ignoring the issues of policing and safety for First Nations communities in the province and to make good on their commitments to community safety by equitably funding police forces servicing First Nation communities and providing them with the essential resources, funding and regulatory framework required to enforce First Nation laws and uphold safety in our communities.

Background

In November, 2023 Chiefs of Ontario (COO) passed a resolution that called on Ontario to include First Nations’ laws and by-laws as mandatory police functions in the government’s new policing legislation before it comes into force, to enable the proper levels of law enforcement and funding for police services in First Nations’ communities.

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The Chiefs of Ontario supports all First Nations in Ontario as they assert their sovereignty, jurisdiction and their chosen expression of nationhood. Follow Chiefs of Ontario on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram @ChiefsOfOntario.

Media Contact:

Chris Hoyos
Director of Policy and Communications
Policy and Communications Sector
Chiefs of Ontario
Cell: (416) 579-4998
Email: Chris.Hoyos@coo.org