Background: The Ipperwash Inquiry stated that “First Nations police services have a [questionable] existence in law. Although the federal Indian Act provides that a band council may establish a police commission, it does not set out a framework of governance, funding, police standards, and appointment and powers of officers. Nor does the Ontario Policing Act apply to First Nations policing services, beyond providing for the appointment and powers of constables.” In light of this, the report recommended that “federal, provincial and First Nation governments should commit to developing a secure legislative basis for First Nation Police Services” which recognizes them as essential services as opposed to enhanced services, which they are currently considered.

In the period since, numerous policy forums have been held throughout the past two years that looked at the possible means and methods by which First Nation police services can more effectively perform their duties. At the Ontario Special Chiefs Conference in April, 2011, the Chiefs in Assembly passed Resolution 11/05 – Creating a Vision for First Nation Policing Services. This directed the First Nation Ipperwash Task Force to:

– Develop a First Nation Policing Strategy
– Call for an independent study of the federal First Nation policing policy and how it applies to First Nations in Ontario
– Seek a legal opinion on the implications for a possible legislative basis
– Report findings back to the Chiefs in Assembly
– Building Capacity

To date there has been undertaken a series of initiatives and reports to meet the terms of the mandate. These have included:

– A First Nation policing information and sharing session (March 2009)
– A Chiefs of Police engagement session (February 2011)
– Two First Nation community and leadership engagement sessions held in Thunder Bay and Toronto (March 2011)