Aboriginal Policing Update 2007

Volume 1, No 1

Aboriginal Policing Update 2007 PDF Version (3.04 MB)
Table of contents

Report from Saskatchewan

By Constable Monique Cooper, Aboriginal Recruiting Officer, "F" Division RCMP
Phone: 306-780-3825

Making a difference – one new applicant at a time

In December 2005 a new position of "Aboriginal Recruiting Officer" was created with the RCMP's "F" Division in Saskatchewan. I am that new officer. My job is to attract, develop and retain Aboriginal applicants to the RCMP, whether as officers or as part of the civilian staff.

My position is one of 18 new police positions being funded by the Saskatchewan provincial government. It comes as a direct result of a recommendation from the Commission on First Nations and Métis Peoples and Justice Reform.

In this role, I receive the support and knowledge of the RCMP's recruiting section as well as the support of the Aboriginal Policing section at "F" Division. Members in the field are increasingly referring new potential applicants to my attention. My tasks include identifying good candidates, responding to questions from people interested in careers in policing, supporting new applicants, attending career fairs and providing reports and information to management.

Almost one year into my mandate, I am pleased to report that this position is starting to make a difference – one applicant at a time! The following report on recruiting initiatives and activities in Saskatchewan will tell you what sort of difference we're making.

Targets for recruitment

Constable Monique Cooper, Aboriginal Recruitment Officer, 'F' Division - Photographer: Kathryn Avery
Constable Monique Cooper, Aboriginal Recruitment Officer, "F" Division. Photographer: Kathryn Avery

Currently the RCMP nationally is looking to hire close to 2,000 officers annually for the next four to five years. This translates into 146 'recruits' from Saskatchewan, which is 50% more than the previous fiscal year. Additionally, it's not just officers that the RCMP is looking to hire. There are positions available in the public service and civilian employee areas.

At this time, approximately 20% of those who apply to the RCMP in Saskatchewan self-identify as being Aboriginal.

Currently, about 15% of serving RCMP members in Saskatchewan is Aboriginal. This is above the RCMP national average (approximately 8%) and reflects the province's demographics.

New strategy for increasing successful recruits

The application process to become an RCMP officer consists of nine challenging stages. In the past, this process eliminated many good potential recruits who failed only one stage. The recruits would be encouraged to re-apply, but the RCMP didn't explain to them where they failed. Often applicants would return in good faith to the process and again be unsuccessful. That recipe for failure is now being corrected through a new strategy and initiative.

In December 2004, an Aboriginal recruiting initiative known as "Recruiting for the Future" was created by the "F" Division recruiting team. The idea was to find a training program that could increase an applicant's knowledge and skills prior to application.

The nearest was in Edmonton at Grant MacEwan College which offers a nine-month certificate program in Aboriginal Police Studies.

The recruiting officers from "F" Division then contacted 150 of 250 Aboriginal applicants who had been unsuccessful in the past. All were invited to a series of seven information sessions held in Prince Albert, Saskatoon, Meadow Lake and Regina in February 2005. Eight-five people attended the sessions.

After the information sessions, 50 people indicated their interest in being considered for this initiative and 20 were chosen. These people were invited to Edmonton in June 2005 to see the College and meet the other candidates.

In September 2005, 20 Aboriginals from Saskatchewan (ranging in age from 19 to 40) as well as six from Alberta and the NWT began the Aboriginal Police Studies program at MacEwan. "F" Division kept in contact with the students. Their progress and development was inspiring!

In May 2006, 19 of the students graduated with their certificate in Aboriginal Police Studies and 14 of them passed the exam to become RCMP officers. In late September, two of this group had been inducted into the force and 11 other applications were in process. It's very exciting.

These are Aboriginal applicants who otherwise may have been 'lost' but came back to us after we reached out and offered them support and an opportunity to develop their skills. Their hard work and determination will see them achieve success and reach their goal of becoming an RCMP officer.

We are now into a second phase of the Recruiting for the Future initiative. In September 2006, we saw nine Aboriginal applicants from Saskatchewan head off to college to reach their goal of becoming involved in law enforcement.

New committee makes SPARCs

An integrated committee has been formed to address and focus on the recruitment of Aboriginal employees into our province's various police services. It's called "SPARC" (Saskatchewan Police Aboriginal Recruiting Committee). Currently the agencies represented on the committee are: the police services of Prince Albert, Regina, Saskatoon, Moose Jaw and the RCMP.

An inaugural inter-agency recruiting event was held at the end of August. Twenty-three First Nation and Métis applicants showed up and it was a great success.

This committee will meet frequently to share best practices and address any issues that are in the realm of recruiting Aboriginal employees. More recruiting events are being planned.

Funding for innovative crime prevention projects

Do you have an innovative idea for a project that helps at-risk people avoid the path of crime? Is it an idea that has never been tried in your community? The Aboriginal Policing Directorate (APD) is looking to work with Aboriginal police services and community organizations on just that kind of project.

In conjunction with the National Crime Prevention Centre (NCPC), the APD is looking to develop crime prevention projects with on-reserve clients for innovative, on-reserve projects that:

NCPC funds contribute up to $200,000 per year, for up to three years. It will cover part of the costs for a project, such as personnel, services, transportation and equipment (it will not cover capital expenditures or core funding for your police service). It is expected that organizations and community partners will contribute to the cost of the project, financially or through donations of materials, supplies or services.

For more information on this funding please contact:

Marc Richard
Policy Advisor
Aboriginal Policing Directorate
Public Safety Canada
340 Laurier Ave. W
Ottawa, Ontario K0A 1P8
Tel: 613-990-8417
Fax.: 613-991-0961
E-mail: Marc.Richard@ps-sp.gc.ca

Aboriginal Youth Training Program 2006

Aboriginal Youth Training Program (AYTP)
Aboriginal Youth Training Program (AYTP)

Christy Hitchcock, Senior Policy Advisor

The Aboriginal Youth Training Program (AYTP) is an annual program designed to provide First Nations, Métis and Inuit youth with the opportunity to build skills and gain valuable work experience in policing. The AYTP starts off with two weeks of training at the RCMP Depot facility in Regina, Saskatchewan and is complemented by 15 weeks of field placements with an RCMP detachment or self-administered policing service.

The AYTP has been running for 13 years. In this time, the program has shown success in recruiting Aboriginal people into policing. In fact, over 52% of the youth that attend the program make applications to the RCMP. In addition, the program has offered many youth the opportunity to build skills – such as problem solving, working in a team environment as well as building communication and interpersonal skills – that are transferable to any profession. Youth are closely supervised by a mentor throughout the program and exposed to many facets of police work including crime prevention, victims' support and community-based initiatives.

Youth from every province and territory are invited to participate in the program. Applicants must be between the ages of 18 and 29, be a Canadian citizen of Aboriginal ancestry (First Nation, Métis, Inuit). They must have good character and fitness as well as community support and an interest in law enforcement.

This year's session of the AYTP will incorporate more detailed evaluation activities. This will determine the impact of the program for the participants and provide valuable information on possible modifications. Past evaluations have shown that the AYTP increases recruitment of Aboriginal youth into policing and provides them with valuable skills, experiences and memories.

Here's to another successful year of the AYTP!

Letter from an AYTP participant

"At Depot the experiences I gained and the friends I made will never be forgotten. It was the starting stone of my journey to become a regular member. The summer has proven to me that the RCMP is a definite career for me.

Constable Cooper is one of the nicest and most caring people I've ever met in my entire life. If it wasn't for her I wouldn't be where I am today. She has given me the strength to not give up on my future goal.

I believe that all of you as a team have put on a very helpful program for youth who wish to pursue a career with the RCMP. I have recommended this program to so many youths not only in my own community but all of the communities around me."

Devon Young

[*] Devon Young is Métis. He grew up in Regina and is currently enrolled in Aboriginal Police Studies at Grant MacEwan College.

What people think – Annual public opinion survey on Aboriginal policing

Christopher J. Rastin, Research Unit – Aboriginal Policing Directorate

Present Study

Each year, the Aboriginal Policing Directorate conducts a public opinion survey with Canadians. We want to find out awareness levels and opinions concerning Aboriginal policing services. This year's study involved phone interviews with 1,036 Canadians from every province and territory. It was conducted between August 1 and August 8, 2006.


Overall, two-thirds of Canadians report having at least some knowledge that some Aboriginal communities have their own self-administered police services.

However, as seen in Figure 1, this familiarity has decreased significantly from last year – a nine percent total decrease.

Figure 1: Awareness of Aboriginal Policing

Figure 1: Awareness of Aboriginal Policing
Figure 1: Awareness of Aboriginal Policing

Regional analysis indicates that awareness of SA police services is highest in Alberta (78%), followed by Québec (67%), the Prairie region (66%), British Columbia and Ontario (65%). The Atlantic region is lowest in terms of knowledge of SA policing services in First Nations communities (55%).

While awareness of SA policing services is still relatively high, support for First Nations managed policing services is somewhat lower (59%).

Again, regional variations occur with support for SA policing. As depicted in Figure 2, support is highest in the Prairie and Atlantic regions (69% respectively) and lowest in Québec (51%).

Figure 2: Support for Aboriginal Administered Policing Services – Regional Breakdown

Figure 2: Support for Aboriginal Administered Policing Services – Regional Breakdown
Figure 2: Support for Aboriginal Administered Policing Services – Regional Breakdown

Figure 3 shows that while the public has significantly more confidence in the RCMP to provide policing services that are accountable to communities (94%), almost eight out of every ten (79%) believe Aboriginal communities can provide accountable policing services.

Figure 3: Confidence in Accountable Policing Services

Figure 3: Confidence in Accountable Policing Services
Figure 3: Confidence in Accountable Policing Services

In addition, Figure 4 shows that the public has similar confidence in both the RCMP and First Nations communities in being able to provide policing services that are professional (92% and 77%, respectively).

Figure 4: Support for Professional Policing Services

Figure 4: Support for Professional Policing Services
Figure 4: Support for Professional Policing Services

Review and Conclusion

Annual surveys are conducted to measure the effectiveness of communications efforts and the evolution of the First Nations Policing Policy/Program. For more information about our annual public opinion research, please contact:

Christopher Rastin
Research Officer
Tel: 613.990.8315
Fax: 613.991.0961

The importance of research

What are the common challenges of Aboriginal police services? What models of community policing are most successful? What do people want from their police services? How do Aboriginal communities in other countries structure their police services? The answers to these questions – and more – can be found in our research reports.

For over 15 years, the Aboriginal Policing Directorate's Research and Evaluation Unit has been doing research on all aspects of policing and community development. Our goal is to provide Aboriginal police officials with useful information for improving their services, while also helping to create appropriate policies.

Our work contributes to a broader understanding of Aboriginal criminal justice and public safety issues. When shared with all stakeholders, our research becomes a powerful tool. It helps police chiefs and officers to improve their services. It helps us all to better understand the needs of Aboriginal communities and helps us to take action together.

Our research

The following are but a few of our research projects:

Current and future



Learn more

To obtain copies of any past reports, please contact:

Savvas Lithopoulos, Senior Research Officer
Aboriginal Policing Directorate
Public Safety Canada
Tel: (613) 998-7627
Email: savvas.lithopoulos@ps-sp.gc.ca

Our research team

Research and Evaluation Unit, Aboriginal Policing Directorate - Left to Right: Savvas Lithopoulos, Kimberly Bryce, Christopher Rastin and Maryanne Pearce
Research and Evaluation Unit, Aboriginal Policing Directorate - Left to Right: Savvas Lithopoulos, Kimberly Bryce, Christopher Rastin and Maryanne Pearce

Career flexibility a big draw to force

Insp. Shirley Cuillierrier
Insp. Shirley Cuillierrier

Jennifer Campbell, CanWest News Service

The following article first appeared in the Ottawa Citizen newspaper on October 18, 2006 in a series of articles discussing model employers.

RCMP Supt. Mike Gaudet has had several careers, and he's never left the force since he started there 32 years ago.

He began, as most rookies do, as a patrol man. In the intervening years he's worked as a detective in the major investigations section, as a teacher at the academy in Regina, as a media relations spokesman and now, as a "career manager" in the human resources division.

Career flexibility is one of the big draws to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Gaudet says. And it's one of the things that garnered a nod from Top-100 Employer judges. The force, which employs 17,000 sworn members and another 7,000 civilians and public service employees, is among Ottawa's Top-10 best employers.

"That flexibility is a big advantage," Gaudet said in an interview. "Depending on their interests and academic credentials, one might use their law degree to some advantage. We have administrative procedures that deal with grievances and some of those positions call for officers who are trained in law."

There are other possibilities. A member who starts in regular patrol work might graduate to forensic identification. Or, more sexy still, might become a helicopter pilot or a member of the national security investigations unit.

For Insp. Shirley Cuillierrier, the flexibility has meant she's spent time on the beat, followed by work in investigations. Eventually, she came to Ottawa to join Prime Minister Jean Chretien's security detail. Since then she's worked in community policing, human resources, aboriginal recruiting and performance management. Today, the First Nations mother of two is the officer in charge of aboriginal affairs nationally.

"When I can travel to communities, it's really broadened my horizons," Cuillierrier says. Probably her biggest endorsement, she says, is that she's encouraged both her children (aged six and 12) to consider careers with the RCMP. She also appreciates the diversity of the workforce, something the RCMP works to improve through programs to recruit and promote women, aboriginals and other visible minorities, and disabled Canadians.

"Working with different people from different cultures is important to me," she says. "I'm very proud of our organization and how we're viewed by other forces."

Pride in their workplace is something Cuillierrier's colleagues also share, Gaudet notes when asked what makes the RCMP a great employer.

"I would say the fact that we're a national police service and quickly behind that, the fact that we're unique because we're recognized as a Canadian symbol and not too many police services around the world have that," he says. "We're also closely associated with the development of Canada as a country. We're entrenched in Canada's history. "We've been Canada's police service for 133 years. For some people, there's a certain glamour – the red coat and the image of the Mountie is an attraction. It's a part of Canadiana."

Then there are the benefits. The force offers exceptional parental leave – up to 93 per cent of salary for 52 weeks for new mothers, fathers and adoptive parents. Its drug plan covers prescription costs at 100 per cent, its eyewear plan is generous and its paid leave programs are "second to none," Supt. Gaudet says.

Those interested in broadening their skills are able to access a number of in-service training courses and can also study outside of the force. Outside academic courses are usually approved if the training relates to the member's duties and profile in some way.

"Those are all factors that are positive for attracting and retaining people," Gaudet says.

(Gaudet's comments came before an internal RCMP survey, showing a majority of its officers and members feel they are under-trained, was leaked to the media.)

Neither attracting nor retaining employees is a problem for the force. Recruitment is innovative and most members stay an average of 20 years. Civilian employees also stay on the job for decades, Gaudet says. Then there's the fun stuff. At headquarters, the force continually upgrades its facilities in its main building and has facilities in two others. Most of the 700 detachments across the country have gym facilities.

"Our focus is on providing employees an opportunity to stay fit," Supt. Gaudet says, whose workout of choice is jogging. "We recognize the importance of that."

The facility is open to all employees at no cost. They are allowed to incorporate their workout into their eight-hour workday, so essentially, they're being paid to exercise. "There are people who work eight hours and find 45 minutes to go to the gym within that time," Supt. Gaudet says. "Others work eight hours and then work out on top of that."

Pensions at the RCMP are nothing to sniff at. A member who leaves with 25 years of service gets 50 per cent of the average of his or her best five years' salary. Stick around 30 years and it's 60 per cent. After 35 years it jumps to 70 per cent.

Leave for parents is also good. Insp. Cuillierrier remembers taking the full leave for her first child and even more when her second was born. "I just needed the time at home, and I valued it," she says. In her role as mother of two and an officer in charge of a large section, Insp. Cuillierrier also sees herself as an example to other women in the force."I often get asked by other young women on the force 'Shirley, how do you do it all?' " she says.

For Insp. Cuillierrier, the other big advantage has been being able to see not only the country, but the world. She's travelled and worked all across Canada, including in Northern Canada, something most Canadians haven't had the chance to do. "My travel in the North has really shaped me," Insp. Cuillierrier says.

In addition, she was one of the fortunate officers who got to travel the world when she worked as a member of Mr. Chretien's security detail. "That was a unique opportunity."

News from self-administered policing services

Kaam-Naaj-Too-Nah Gdo-Dkwon Wew-Ni-Nii-Gam-go-nah – "We are celebrating our new Police Building"

Christian Garrow, Ontario Regional Manager

On August 3, 2006, the Wikwemikong community and their guests celebrated the grand opening of the new Wikwemikong Tribal Policing Service building. The facility was a joint project of the Wikwemikong Unceded Indian Reserve, and the federal and Ontario governments.

This new building is 501 square metres (5,400 square feet) and includes three holding cells, a secure reception area, controlled access areas, locker rooms and a sally port.

It took two years to realize this project. The community provided the land, consisting of four fully serviced lots. The Wikwemikong Tribal Policing Service Board co-signed a loan to cover construction costs. The federal and provincial governments provide ongoing support by providing the rent, which includes amounts for operating and maintenance costs.

The opening ceremony of this new facility began with a prayer by Gilbert Pitawanakwat and a welcoming drum song performed by James Fox and group. Following a welcoming address and historical overview of policing in Wikwemikong Unceded Indian Reserve, special guests were invited to extend their congratulations on the new facility.

Among the many guests were Chief Robert Corbiere, OPP Provincial Commander Gwen Strachan, the Aboriginal Policing Directorate's Director General Gilles Rochon, and Provincial Negotiator Rob Longstreet.

History of the Wikwemikong Tribal Policing Service

Wikwemikong Unceded Indian Reserve is a community of approximately 3,000 people located on the eastern part of Manitoulin Island in Georgian Bay. The home of the Three Fires Confederacy, it is Canada's only officially recognized Unceded Indian Reserve, meaning its people never relinquished ownership by treaty or otherwise. The people of the Three Fires Confederacy are the Ojibway (known as the faith keepers) the Odawa (known as the traders) and the Potowatomi (known as the fire keepers).

In the 1940's, the Wikwemikong Constables provided formal First Nations policing services for the community, receiving their authority from the RCMP.

In the early 1960's, the responsibility for policing in Ontario fell to the Ontario Provincial Police. In January 1994, the Wikwemikong Tribal Policing Service became a First Nation self-administered police service. The service is responsible to the community, reporting to the Wikwemikong Tribal Policing Service Board which is composed of community members.

Left to right, Christian Garrow, APD Regional Manager for Ontario; Rob Longstreet, Provincial Negotiator; Gilles Rochon, APD DG; Gwen Strachan, Provincial Commander, Corporate Services OPP; Chief Robert Corbiere; Anna McGregor, Chairperson for the Wikwemikong Police Commission; and Gary Reid, Chief of Police. Photo: Alanna Trudeau
Left to right, Christian Garrow, APD Regional Manager for Ontario; Rob Longstreet, Provincial Negotiator; Gilles Rochon, APD DG; Gwen Strachan, Provincial Commander, Corporate Services OPP; Chief Robert Corbiere; Anna McGregor, Chairperson for the Wikwemikong Police Commission; and Gary Reid, Chief of Police. Photo: Alanna Trudeau

Anishnaabe Police Service opens new facility

On June 20, 2006 the Anishnaabe Police Service opened a new and much anticipated policing facility to improve the policing services for the six First Nation communities on Manitoulin Island. The ceremony attracted over 150 people.

M'Chigeeng First Nation is the host community for the new building, allocating a highly visible and accessible piece of property on Highway 540.

"Our police service has grown over the last 10 years, and we definitely have outgrown our old offices", said Albert Beaudin, who is the Chief of Police for the Service. "The new building will also allow us to have the policing needs met for our communities that are often taken for granted by other police services – such as the storage of our police equipment and the lodging of prisoners. A proper building is required in order to operate any police service."

Members of the police building project team included representatives from the Police Service, the United Chiefs and Councils of Manitoulin (UCCM) Tribal Council, UCCM Technical Services, M'Chigeeng First Nation, and an independent project manager.

Improving buildings for self-administered services in Ontario

With the growth in Aboriginal policing services in Ontario the challenge has become how to maintain and expand the police stations, ensuring facilities that meet operational standards. This challenge is being met by the Aboriginal Policing Directorate.

Through a partnership agreement with provincial/territorial governments and Aboriginal communities, the Aboriginal Policing Directorate is now able to provide minor capital funding for the repair of existing police facilities. Since 2004, many self-administered police services in Ontario have benefited.

Funding is available under three categories:

In addition, fair and reasonable rent for a community-owned and operated facility is considered an eligible expense. This provides revenue to a community-owned building, allowing the community to maintain and upgrade the facilities.

Under the funding rules, all expenditures – whether it be rent or minor capital improvements (all three categories) – must be shared between the federal and provincial governments (52% – 48% respectively).

This funding is helping to stabilize and improve the overall quality of self-administered policing services.

Making the transition

Since the Aboriginal Policing Directorate received the expanded minor capital authorities in 2004, Ontario and Canada have provided transitional units to the following communities in Ontario:

Furthermore, the Wikwemikong First Nation, Moose Cree First Nation and United Chiefs and Council of Manitoulin Island have financed and built their own police facilities for which Ontario and Canada are paying fair and reasonable rent again on a cost-shared basis.

About the Aboriginal Policing Directorate

The Aboriginal Policing Directorate is a division of Public Safety Canada (PS). The Directorate works with Aboriginal communities, provincial/territorial governments and other law enforcement partners to implement the First Nations Policing Policy. The Policy was developed in 1991 to provide Aboriginal communities with policing arrangements that respect their cultures and ways of life.

There are now 319 Aboriginal communities in Canada with dedicated police services employing close to 1,000 police officers, most of whom are of Aboriginal descent. Some of the services are self-administered, while others are managed through the RCMP.

In addition to our role in policy implementation, research and evaluation of Aboriginal police services, PS provides funding for crime prevention initiatives and small property improvements for police services in Aboriginal communities.


Senior Management
Gilles Rochon, Director General – 613-990-2666

Policy and Coordination
David Hallman, Senior Director, Policy & Coordination – 613-991-4762
Gerry Doucette, Manager, Policy – 613-991-1692
Maryanne Pearce, Manager, Research & Evaluation – 613-991-4548
Luc Major, Manager, Federal-Provincial Relations – 613-990-8366
Marc Richard, Policy Advisor (NCPC Funds) – 613-990-8417

Operations – Ottawa
François DeLéséleuc, Senior Director, Operations – 613-990-8434
Christian Garrow, Regional Manager, Ontario – 613-993-4233
Ray Levesque, Regional Manager – Ontario, Manitoba & B.C. – 613-998-3909
Kathy Magladry, Regional Manager, Atlantic – 613- 991-9348
Mark Stephens, Regional Manager, Quebec – 613- 991-1698
Jean Chartrand, Program Manager, Mohawks – 613-990-8470
Shammi Sandhu, Manager Infrastructure and Strategic Initiatives – 613-990-8372

Operations – Regional offices
James Duke, Regional Manager, Alberta – 403-292-8858
Dennis Flewelling, Regional Manager, BC & Yukon – 604-666-3504
Joan McEwen, Regional Manager, BC & Yukon – 604-666-5308
Winona Embuldeniya, Regional Manager, Manitoba – 204-983-4426
Maryse Picard, Regional Manager, Quebec – 418-840-1828
Jim Greyeyes, Regional Manager, Saskatchewan – 306-975-5129

Submissions are welcome

We encourage readers to contribute articles about their innovative community projects and success stories related to Aboriginal policing. Please contact Maryanne Pearce to discuss your ideas for articles and to find out about deadlines for the next issue.

Maryanne Pearce, H.BA, M.A.
Manager, Research and Evaluation
Aboriginal Policing Directorate
Phone: 613-991-4548
Fax: 613-991-0961

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