V Division RCMP 2021 Reconciliation Strategy and Activities

an inukshuk standing in the snow in Arviat

Commanding Officer's statement

A history of Strength and Courage. A future of Knowledge and Respect, an unparalleled Arctic Experience.

Message from the Commanding Officer

The contributions of Inuit members past and present hold great value in all roles within the RCMP. As the Commanding Officer of V Division, it is my commitment to continue to improve relationships within the territory of Nunavut and ensuring the RCMP continues to provide Nunavutmmiut with highest quality policing services.

Of elemental consideration for V Division's reconciliation plan will be:

  1. An employee focused initiative for our Indigenous employees;
  2. To increase restorative justice referrals when circumstances provide the opportunity;
  3. To focus on the formalization of relationships with local Indigenous groups and in particular women's groups;
  4. To make all efforts to address policing service delivery with respect to the recommendations provided in Reclaiming Power and Place: The Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMWIG) to address violence against Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people; and,
  5. To ensure all efforts are made to ensure alignment of policing service delivery are aligned with territorial and national reconciliation strategies and action plans.

What is reconciliation?

The Truth and Reconciliation definition of Reconciliation: "Reconciliation is about establishing and maintaining a mutually respectful relation between Indigenous and non‐indigenous peoples in this country. In order for that to happen, there has to be awareness of the past, an acknowledgement of the harm that has been inflicted, atonement for the causes, and action to change behaviour." (Quote from Honoring the Truth, Reconciling for the Future Summary of the Final report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, 2015, p.6)

To guide V Division's efforts to establish and build mutually respectful and beneficial relations within the territory the divisional reconciliation path will include, but not be limited to the following strategic initiatives;

  1. Specialized recruitment efforts
  2. Modernizing police services through programs and support
  3. Improve trust and promote reconciliation through programs and internal support
  4. Special Constable project
  5. Participation at cultural events and celebrations

Specialized recruitment efforts

V Division recognizes the organizational benefits of having a more representative workforce in the territory and is committed to providing exemplary service to the citizens of Nunavut as has been previously formalized in the establishment and subsequent renewal of a joint Shared Directional Statement cosigned by the Government of Nunavut's Minister of Justice and RCMP. RCMP efforts are further guided by the principles outlined in the Vision 150 document.

In creating a representative police force, the division has undertaken steps to attract and recruit Inuit personnel to the organization and increase representation through initiatives targeting a reduction of barriers, which are typically outside of RCMP control. Increasing Inuit RCMP personnel will assist the division in responding to the Missing and Murdered Women and Girls' Inquiry Call for Justice 9.3.i to "Achieve representative First Nations, Inuit, and Metis diversity and gender diversity within all police services through intensive and specialized recruitment across Canada."

Low graduation rates across Nunavut negatively affect the ability to recruit Inuit members. In response to that, in late 2019 the V Division Recruiting Unit partnered with the Government of Nunavut, National Recruiting, Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. and Makigiaqta Inuit Training Corporation, to fund a four-month pilot project designed to support improved numeracy and literacy skills, enabling individuals to pass the RCMP police aptitude test (RPAT).

Seven Inuit participants were brought to Iqaluit, from across Nunavut, to participate in the program, which ran from January 2020 – April 2020. Of the seven applicants, one individual left the program deciding that this was not a desired career path. The remaining six applicants were successful in meeting the objectives of this phase of the recruiting program. Unfortunately, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the remainder of training was delayed and as a result, three applicants decided not to pursue the process. One applicant removed herself due to personal matters. Currently, two of the participants in this recruiting initiative continue to move forward with the application process working through Covid 19 restrictions to complete additional applicant requirements such as polygraph testing and medical/wellness evaluations.

Based on the success of the initial pilot, Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. agreed to continue their support with the program. In January 2021, the recruiting program was once again activated. Currently, 13 beneficiaries are actively participating in the recruiting program being delivered in Kangiqliniq (Rankin Inlet). The program was designed to accept 10 candidates, however efforts to accommodate the additional interested candidates were made to take full advantage of the increased interest in the program. The advertisement of the 2021 literacy program also resulted in the reengagement of two applicants who had been successful in passing the RPAT in the 2020 literacy program but decided to not pursue the process due to COVID-19 interference in the process. The applicants have re-opened their recruiting files and are proceeding through the recruiting process.

In addition to active new recruit identification and development, V Division has actively taken steps to increase Inuit representation by approaching serving Inuit regular members currently working in other divisions, encouraging them to return with their skills and experiences to contribute to division policing efforts. To provide greater skills and development opportunities, two senior Inuit RCMP members have been transferred into specialized units to enhance their opportunities for promotion.

In recognition of Article 23 of the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement, V Division is actively working with Public Service staffing to increase Inuit beneficiary representation by hiring three beneficiaries to fulfill various administrative roles within the division.

V Division Recruiting is currently working on a project with Atiigo Media and RCMP National Communication Services to create Inuit-Specific Media. The project will culminate in the creation of recruitment material and media platforms show casing Inuit in RCMP roles. Images of RCMP members in Nunavut will be reflective of the communities we serve, with the intent that the community members and youth will begin to see themselves as RCMP members.

Due to the unique environment and the RCMP history in Nunavut, national recruiting has been made aware of the necessity for application reviewers to be knowledgeable of challenges and obstacles encountered by Inuit applicants. To address this issue, the division worked with NHQ Recruiting to formulate a plan creating awareness, and to have reviewers who have worked in Northern and isolated communities. Having a northern lens on Inuit recruits from Nunavut, the RCMP is in a better position to eliminate reviewer bias and to have a greater understanding of challenges the territory's applicants may face.

Modernizing policing services through programs and internal support

In 2019-2020, V Division sought funding from the Government of Nunavut to create four CR-04 term positions that will provide mentorship and training opportunity for Inuit beneficiaries who wish to work in the Operational Communication Center as an OCC operator. Beneficiaries who speak Inuktituk will be given opportunity to work with OCC operators learning the skills to be able to pass the testing to qualify for an OCC training position. The intent is to increase beneficiaries in OCC who will provide Inuktitut to 85% of Inuit population meeting their needs and the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement. This initiative will improve service delivery across Nunavut, by ensuring there are no language barriers to providing support when a call for service is received and also directly responds to MMIWG Calls for Justice 9.3.ii to "Ensure mandatory Indigenous language capacity within police services."

The Commanding Officer of V Division has established an Inuit Employee Committee within Iqaluit Detachment. All Inuit employees are able to participate in a regular meeting in which they have a direct line of communication with the Commanding Officer and a forum in which specific matters concerning our Inuit personnel can be discussed. Of benefit, the committee participants are also able to provide cultural counsel to the Commanding Officer to ensure our organizational efforts are reflective of the desired engagement, diversity and inclusivity. Additionally, the Commanding Officer meets with the respective community Mayors, Senior Administrative Officers and council each year seeking community leadership feedback on policing service and to provide updates on divisional policing initiatives.

V Division is currently evaluating how we can participate in the Youth Resiliency Project that was launched in 2017 through Department of Justice Canada funding extended to Alberta, North West territories and Nunavut. Fundamental to the project is the Duke of Edinburg's International Award, which is a recognized globally as the leading youth achievement award intended to empower youth participants to positively contribute to their communities. The project focus is on criminally involved youth between the ages of 14 – 17 to foster personal growth and development and increase rehabilitation efforts and bridging support as the youth reintegrate into their communities as positive contributors.

To improve trust and to promote reconciliation

V Division has collaborated with Pirurvik Centre and Mental Health Commission of Canada, to provide a two-week, pre-deployment training for all non-Inuit members transferring to Nunavut. Training offered by Pirurvik, an Inuit owned company, focuses on Inuit history, cultural and language that will help prepare officers in delivering quality policing, in line with the shared directional statement with the Government of Nunavut. The Mental Health Commission offers a 3 day 'Mental Health First Aid" course in an Inuit context providing insight to members on the trauma faced by Inuit in Nunavut. This Pre-Deployment Training, initially scheduled to begin in April 2020, was postponed to November 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The November 2020 training was modified to be able to deliver this important material while maintain COVID-19 restrictions. The training will continue to be delivered in a modified form as long as COVID-19 restrictions persist and will be returned to its intended delivery form when the circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic allow.

Front counter service in six communities was initially funded by the Government of Nunavut from 2018-2020 but has expired. A request in the multi-year financial plan has been forwarded to continue funding these positions. There is immense value of these positions in the communities as they enhance the service delivery through employment to community members, reducing language barriers and providing local knowledge. To that end, V Division is working with the Department of Justice, through a Multi-Year Financial Plan, to renew funding and continue with efforts to fill the six PSE positions in outlying communities.

The Commanding Officer is has initiated a Commanding Officer's Inuit Advisory Committee. The division is seeking candidates from the three regions of Nunavut. Qikiqtaaluk, Kivalliq and the Kitikmeot regions. The role of this committee will be to provide strategic advice and cultural perspective on matters pertaining to the delivery of respectful and quality policing to the Inuit of Nunavut. Planning continues with this initiative, which has been negatively impacted by COVID-19 and hampered efforts to be able to bring prospective committee participants together.

The CO is also seeking candidates for the National Youth Advisory Committee for youth between the ages of 13-21. This committee brings together youth from all over Canada to discuss important issues that they face in their respective communities.

The Division installed it inaugural Family Violence Coordinator in 2020 to provide expertise, support and enhanced network building with the RCMPs many external partners to enhance our capacity to provide thorough and sensitive approaches to assessing and conducting domestic violence investigations within the territory. This was implemented well in advance of the recent recommendation to do resulting from the Pinasuqatigiinniq Agreement signed by the RCMP and the Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada organization as we work together to implement recommendations from Pauktuutit's 2020 report, Addressing Gendered Violence against Inuit Women: A review of police policies and practices in Inuit Nunangat.

Special Constable project

carving of an Inuit special constable harnessing his qimmiit, an Inuit sled dog

Inuit special constables monument, Iqaluit

Special Constables are valued members of the RCMP. This division is currently working with Qikiqtani Inuit Association (QIA) on a project honoring Nunavut Special Constables. Through a joint submission to Government of Nunavut Culture and Heritage, V Division and the Qikitaani Inuit Assocaition(QIA) have contracted Master Carver, Looty Pijamini to create a carving, depicting an Inuit Special Constable harnessing a sled dog. Work on the carving has begun with the foundation for the carving in front of Iqaluit Detachment being completed and a model of the carving has been provided for approval. It is anticipated that the final carving will be completed and ready for installation buy mid-year 2021. The carving will be displayed in front of the RCMP building to honour the territory's RCMP Special Constables and sled dogs while also recognizing the RCMP's historical negative impact on the Inuit way of life.

Another initiative honoring the role of Special Constables (S/Cst.) in Nunavut, was the creation of a meeting room that demonstrates the RCMP's recognition of their importance, history and contributions to policing in Nunavut. Iqaluit Detachment's primary board room has been officially renamed the Special Constable Andrew Ooyoumut (Reg # S9161) Boardroom and in recognition of his contributions to the territory and RCMP in that role. S/Cst. Ooyoumut made the ultimate sacrifice in service to the territory when he died in the line of duty on July 21, 1954 near Baker Lake, Nunavut.

In the lobby of Iqaluit Detachment, several large tapestries depicting the contributions that the Special Constables provided to the RCMP members in their journey providing services to the Inuit have been very proudly and predominately placed on display for members of the public to see when they attend the detachment. The imagery also serves as a reminder of our rich heritage and relationship for the personnel that work in the building.

Currently the Division has five Special Constables, 2 pilots with the Division's Air section and 3 in the Provost Unit. The Commanding Officer supports the Special Constable program and sees immense value with the program. V Division has assigned its Career Development Resource NCO to participate with the National working group regarding the way forward on the Special Constable program.

Participation at cultural events and celebrations in Nunavut

Every year V Division RCMP participates in spring festivities called Toonik Tyme. This 2-week long occasion is a celebration of the return of the sun and warmer temperatures after a long and cold winter. V Division participates by organizing a feast inviting local people to come and enjoy the feast.

Annually RCMP detachments across Nunavut hold feast and a BBQ for Indigenous Day. Communities across Nunavut are treated to a feast and a BBQ honoring Indigenous Day on June 21st. This also provides an opportunity to meet, mingle and enjoy a day with community members.

The divisions involvement in these types of activities support MMIWG Call for Justice 9.2.ii to "Establish engagement and partnerships with Indigenous Peoples, communities, and leadership, including women, Elders, youth, and 2SLGBTQQIA people from the respective territories and who are resident within a police service's jurisdiction."

V Division's Community Policing Unit is actively gathering information from the 25 detachments that serve Nunavut communities with respect to there community engagement activities. This has been initiated in an effort to inventory what our members are contributing territory wide and also to seek out opportunities to take a more active role in community and cultural events whether through providing enhanced support to the detachments and or promotion through our public relations platforms.

The path forward

In many respects, V Division is well down the path of meeting expectations of reconciliation within the territory through very active and mindful efforts. Within three years, the division will be seeking to have many of the afore noted programs, projects and initiatives well established into the fabric and culture of our division's operations. V Division does acknowledge that it will take time and that reconciliation will be best advanced through a consultative and cooperative approach working closely with the communities we serve and inevitably encountering some rough waters that may impede progress such as the current pandemic.

The V Division RCMP believe our current time represents and unprecedented opportunity in our history in Nunavut to build trust and advance relationships. The RCMP and are resolved in our commitment to provide the best policing service possible to the territory and in a manner that best meets the needs and expectations of our Inuit communities.

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