Indigenous policing program to expand to Nunavut

Announcement doesn’t necessarily mean more Inuit will be hired, minster says

Craig Simailak, Nunavut’s justice minister, speaks in the legislative assembly Tuesday. (Photo by Emma Tranter)

By Emma Tranter

A federal program that is supposed to support Indigenous-led approaches to public safety will expand to Nunavut over the next three years, the territory’s justice minister announced Tuesday.

The Government of Nunavut and the federal government have signed an agreement in principle to bring the First Nations and Inuit policing program to Nunavut, Craig Simailak told the legislative assembly.

“With this, we hope to see the end of all two-person detachments in our territory,” he said.

The cost of the program will be split between the two governments, with the federal government paying 52 per cent and Nunavut covering 48 per cent.

Under the program, more officers will be hired and they will be given a “unique mandate” developed in consultation with the communities they work in.

It is being run by the RCMP, meaning people hired under the program will be RCMP officers, Simailak said.

“These new, community-focused RCMP members mark an important step in our efforts to increase community engagement and investment in public safety and a very positive development in our work to build reconciliation between Inuit communities and the RCMP,” he said.

Simailak said the program will focus on community engagement, crime prevention and community safety.

“This means Nunavummiut will have more of a say in how policing is conducted in their communities,” he said.

Arviat-South MLA Joe Savikataaq asked Simailak how much the federal government will be paying for the program. Simailak said he could not provide an answer at the time.

Savikataaq also asked what is being done to attract more Inuit to the RCMP. Currently there are five Inuit RCMP officers in Nunavut.

“Since this is [a] First Nations and Inuit [policing] program, I’m going to assume that these new RCMP officers will have to be an Inuk?”

Simailak said the program does not necessarily require officers to be Inuit.

“The title is a bit misleading … it’s geared toward the region,” he said.

“The [RCMP] do endeavour to continue to encourage Nunavummiut, Inuit to become RCMP members,” he added.


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(5) Comments:

  1. Posted by Does it mean anything? on

    Simailak said the program does not necessarily require officers to be Inuit.

    “The title is a bit misleading … it’s geared toward the region,” he said.

    I’m confused about the significance this program. If it is sufficient to ‘encourage’ more Inuit to join the RCMP, which is already happening (though not going too well) then what is the point of this?

  2. Posted by Viewer on

    The former premier is clearly still interested in finding himself a seat in cabinet.

    For anyone watching lege regularly, it’s obvious joe has been going after Simailak without mercy. Never mind that he’s the newest in ministry after the Lightstone affair.

    Oh yeah, right joe voted to removed Lightstone and ran for the empty seat, but Simailak got the job;;; now look he’s being mean to him I wonder why?

    • Posted by Viewing on

      Things are always not as they may seem so let us not make assumptions. These old boys club know what they are doing, they aren’t after seats. It’s their job to ask important questions that matter for whole of Nunavut. Please change your way of thinking and let them do their jobs. Thank you Mr. Speaker!

  3. Posted by Identity Politics on

    I find it hilarious that the primary concern is whether Inuit will be the only beneficiaries to public government programs. The police are understaffed here as is, so maybe focus on more police period before worrying about Inuit hires. We already know Inuit are generally not interested in policing based on previous headlines and despite every opportunity being made to them.


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