Co-development of First Nations Police Services Legislation

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First Nations in Canada have long called for reform to how First Nations police services are funded and have advocated for federal legislation that recognizes First Nations policing as an essential service. These calls for reform were heightened with the release of the Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, which included Call for Justice 5.4 to reform the delivery of policing services in Indigenous communities. The Government of Canada agrees that legislation recognizing First Nations police services as an essential service is necessary and committed that legislation be co-developed with First Nations partners. Co-development is done through establishing trust, understanding and respect. Public Safety Canada's approach to the co-development of First Nations police services legislation is to work jointly to gain consensus on common interests with a focus on possible solutions.

Key dates

The co-development process

Establishing Relationships

In June 2017, a Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of Canada and the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) on shared priorities was signed during the first AFN-Crown meeting under the new permanent bilateral mechanism process, in which “policing and community safety issues affecting First Nations” was identified as the first shared priority.

Public Safety Canada has established and continues to maintain relationships with representative organizations such as the AFN, FNCPA, the First Nations Police Governance Council (FNPGC), as well as with First Nations and provinces and territories.


Formal Engagement (March 2022 to May 2022)

In December 2021, Public Safety Canada and Indigenous Services Canada hosted three pre-engagement sessions with a number of First Nations, representatives from First Nations police services, provinces and territories, and other organizations to seek views on an engagement approach to inform a federal First Nations police services legislation, as well as the potential engagement themes and questions. Participants shared that discussions should focus on the development of federal legislation and not to revisit concerns with the First Nations and Inuit Policing Program (FNIPP), which were raised during the 2016 engagement on the FNIPP. Public Safety Canada also heard that participants wanted to have rich conversations on the roles of First Nations, Canada and provinces/territories in supporting First Nations police services. These views shaped the following three themes and the development of contextual information intended to inform discussions:

  1. First Nations Police Services as Essential Services
  2. First Nation, Provincial/Territorial, and Federal Roles in Supporting First Nations
  3. Funding First Nations Police Services

Prior to engagement, participants were provided with relevant background information and key questions to help guide discussions based on the above themes.

Informed by what was heard during the pre-engagement sessions, Public Safety Canada launched an engagement process to inform the co-development of the First Nations police services legislation in March 2022. The engagement process consisted of: 13 professionally facilitated virtual engagement sessions; an online engagement platform; and a generic email address to receive written comments/ submissions.

In September 2022, the Government of Canada published a What We Heard Report which summarized feedback from these sessions and included a broad range of views and positions to be considered in the co-development of First Nations police services legislation. Validation of the report was an important step in the process, therefore participants were invited to provide written feedback if any views may have been misrepresented, or to share additional views that were not captured.

Engaging Upon Request (March 2022 to present)

Since the launch of the formal engagement process, Public Safety Canada representatives have continued to meet bilaterally and collectively with First Nations, First Nations organizations, First Nations police services, First Nations police boards/commissions, provincial and territorial representatives as well as subject matter experts and others who wish to provide their feedback on the First Nations police services legislation.

Public Safety Canada also actively attends a variety of fora and conferences to present updates and hear participants' views on the co-development of First Nations police services legislation.

The FNCPA, Indigenous Police Chiefs of Ontario (IPCO), and Quebec Association of First Nation and Inuit Police Directors (QAFNIPD) released the Joint Position Paper regarding the federal First Nations police services legislation which states that, “First Nations police services should be founded on a legislative framework that enables First Nations to establish, administer and regulate their police service and to appoint police officers, consistent with provincial norms and practices”.


Objectives and Guiding Principles (winter/spring 2023)

Informed by the input received through the engagement process, Public Safety Canada developed Objectives and Guiding Principles to inform the legislation, which have been presented at different fora and shared with a multitude of partners such as the AFN, FNCPA, the FNPGC, and First Nations participants from the virtual engagement sessions, in an effort to build consensus.

Technical Engagement and Co-developing Elements (summer/fall 2023)

Public Safety Canada engaged with a variety of subject matter experts, as well as provincial and territorial representatives, to discuss practical and technical considerations to inform the legislation. These technical expert engagement sessions supported the drafting of the proposed elements that will set out the policy intent of the future legislation on First Nations police services.

Validation of Elements

Public Safety has provided funding to Indigenous Leadership Development Institute Inc. (ILDI) to conduct indigenous-led engagement on the proposed elements in February and March 2024. ILDI will facilitate 10 regional engagement sessions and one national session to gather valuable input on proposed elements that will form the foundation of the legislation. A discussion guide has been developed that includes a summary of what was heard to date, key aspects of the proposed elements, and discussion questions aimed to support the dialogue.

Introducing legislation

The validation of elements process will inform advice provided to Cabinet. Once Cabinet has made a decision, drafting instructions will be provided to the Department of Justice in order for a bill to be drafted. It is anticipated that a bill could be introduced by spring/summer 2024.

Latest updates

The Indigenous Leadership Development Institute Inc. (ILDI) will be conducting broad engagement with First Nations on the proposed elements in February and March 2024. For more information about ILDI or to contact the organization directly about this engagement process.

Related information / programs

We recognize that providing culturally responsive policing is only one part of a much broader approach to supporting safe and secure Indigenous communities. The Government of Canada funds a number of different programs for Indigenous policing and community safety, each with their own unique contributions.



Crime prevention:

Community safety:

Contact information

By email:

By mail:
Indigenous Policing Task Force
Public Safety Canada
269 Laurier Avenue West
Ottawa ON K1A 0P8

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