Over the past several years, it has become apparent that First Nations Police Services across Ontario have begun to create Codes of Conduct and enforce those expectations within their services.  There have been some recent developments in police discipline in First Nations services that are helping to define the roles, processes and expectations relative to the enforcement of reasonable standards of conduct.
As many already know, the law is defined in a number of ways; among them, statutorily and Common Law are the two most obvious.  As many also know, because of the unique relationships between First Nations Services, the Province of Ontario and Canada, there is no statutory basis for First Nations policing in Canada.  As a result, procedures for enforcing community expectations have had to evolve, as opposed to being defined by statute.
Two notable cases from Ontario that have played a significant role in defining the discipline process are MacDonald and A.P.S., and Pitawanikwat and Wikwemikong Tribal Police Service.  These two cases are remarkable in that the courts have started to explore the processes involved and have also begun to define the obligations on the employer and the means by which the employer can deal with allegations of misconduct.

Unfortunately, when some First Nations Police Chiefs find themselves in situations where their obligation for upholding the standards of behaviour and conduct require that a full and fair hearing into allegations of misconduct must be held, they also find themselves facing sometimes significant financial obligations to conduct such a hearing.  As more and more police services move toward this high standard of accountability to their communities, the issues relating to the costs of conducting a hearing will become more widely known and - hopefully - the funding partners will recognize this as a significant move forward for First Nations Police Services.  By doing so, it is also hoped that these partners will provide sufficient resources to encourage these advances in organizational accountability.  When this does occur, it is important, in my view, that all First Nations Police Services are treated equally, and that financial assistance will be provided to all at equitable levels; notwithstanding each service's baseline budgets.

For more information, or just to chat about these cases and their impact upon First Nations Policing, I'd be pleased to hear from you.