COVID-19 Issues Update – First Nations By-Law Enforcement

Posted by: Ira Timothy
in: All News

Solicitor General Sylvia Jones and Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) Commissioner Thomas Carrique have responded to a number of concerns Ontario First Nations leadership have raised related First Nations policing and COVID-19.

PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT

First Nations Policing Program constables will be provided full access to Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) by the OPP. The OPP has taken inventory of the FNPP detachment supply of PPE and are working to ship out a two-week supply by tomorrow, April 17, 2020. Commissioner Carrique has made a commitment to incorporate FNPP constables into their modeling and ensure they have enough supply.

ENFORCING BORDER CLOSURES & ADDITONAL POLICE SUPPORT

Several requests have been made to the Ontario Ministry of the Solicitor General and Public Safety Canada to provide policing and/or funding for private security to enforce First Nations border closures. Currently, First Nations are using volunteers, fire fighters, and in some cases are paying for security. Solicitor General Jones has requested that First Nations submit proposals to inform the ministry of what community needs are (the process for proposal submissions is currently being looked in to). They have also committed to continuing the conversation with Minister Bill Blair of Public Safety Canada.

First Nations have seen an increase in crime and social disruption due to COVID-19 and are seeking additional police support in order to address this issue. Commissioner Carrique has committed to dealing with this issue directly with First Nations that require the extra assistance. Further, should a community be required to shut down completely in the event of an outbreak, the OPP will consider enforcing more strict travel restrictions. Regional Chief Rosanne Archibald has committed to facilitating those discussions.

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