Working Together to End Violence Against Indigenous Women and Girls National Scan of RCMP Initiatives May 2017


The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) is committed to the prevention of violence against women. As frontline police officers, we know that Indigenous women are at greater risk of being victimized; because of this, the RCMP Commissioner called for more research on this issue. The resulting 2014 Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women: A National Operational Overview, and the subsequent 2015 Update to the National Operational Overview, provided the most comprehensive and accurate statistics available to date on the extent of the problem of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG), incorporating data from police forces Canada-wide.

The 2014 report found 1,181 police-recorded incidents of Indigenous female homicides between 1980 and 2012, and missing Indigenous females dating back to 1951. Of these, there were 164 missing and 1,017 homicide victims, making Indigenous women and girls over-represented among missing and murdered women in Canada. The data also found that police solve almost 90% of homicides of Indigenous women and girls; the clearance rate for Indigenous women was 88% versus 89% for non-Indigenous women. The Statistics Canada Homicide Report, 2014 found that Indigenous women are six times more likely to be the victim of a homicide than are non-Indigenous womenFootnote 1.

Both the Overview and the subsequent Update made another fact clear: in most cases the perpetrators of these crimes were known to their victims. The most likely perpetrator of solved homicides of Indigenous women were acquaintances (30%) and spouses (29%), followed by other categories of relationships such as other family members and other intimate relationshipsFootnote 2. These reports guide our continued efforts, and focus our crime prevention strategies in the communities most vulnerable to violence against Indigenous women.

This report provides a summary of family violence, violence prevention, MMIWG and related initiatives conducted or participated in by the RCMP at the national, divisional and detachment levels. Annex A provides greater detail on the initiatives by division in which the RCMP has policing jurisdiction. Annex B provides a map of RCMP jurisdictions.

There are three broad types of initiatives. The first involves policing, investigations or the justice system. The second relates to outreach and prevention activities (as part of the outreach, RCMP employees participate or hold short-term workshops and presentations on crime prevention topics for specific audiencesFootnote 3. These have been identified separately for clarity). Finally, there are special initiatives such as shelters specifically for Indigenous women and children seeking refuge from violence, which are outlined under "Other Initiatives."

While the RCMP is only one partner among many agencies that must work to improve this issue, we are cognizant of the key role we play in Canada's communities. A collective focus on healthy familial relationships, particularly in vulnerable communities, is needed to mitigate violence towards Indigenous women. We remain committed to not only resolving outstanding cases and providing justice for families, but striving to prevent future tragedies from occurring.

Policing, Investigative and Justice Initiatives

Two mounties walking up stairs in the fall

Alternative Service Models

Community Constable Program

The RCMP's operational response is based on cultural awareness and sensitivity to the issues involved in policing Indigenous communities. In order to ensure an appropriate and culturally effective policing response, the RCMP has a number of initiatives in place.

In 2011, the first pilot troop of Aboriginal Community Constables graduated from Depot. This troop was focused on providing an alternative service delivery option in some Indigenous communities in Canada. In 2013, the Senior Executive Committee approved the rebranding of the program as the Community Constable Program and expanded the pilot program to any community to participate. The first troop of Community Constables graduated from Depot, the RCMP's training academy, in Regina, Saskatchewan, in February 2016. There were candidates from Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Northwest Territories and British Columbia in this first troop. An evaluation of the Community Constable Program is scheduled for the 2017-18 fiscal year; at this time, the program remains a pilot.

The Community Constable Program involves armed, uniformed peace officers recruited from the communities they serve. Their primary focus is on crime prevention and building relationships within their communities.

"D" Division

Three Community Constables have been serving in "D" Division since 2013. They were hired through the original Aboriginal Community Constable pilot program. They are now complemented by an additional four Community Constables who completed Depot training in April 2016. The four new Community Constables are Indigenous.

In response to the termination of the federal Band Constable Program, in November 2014, the Government of Manitoba tabled Bill 5, The Police Services Amendment Act (First Nation Safety Officers), creating the First Nation Safety Officer Program. The program contains significant improvements to the former Band Constable Program through a focus on qualifications, training, and a clear legislative foundation and program parameters, as well as defining the relationship between the First Nation Safety Officers and local policing authorities.

Manitoba had 31 First Nation communities that received funding through Public Safety Canada for the Band Constable Program. With the termination of the Band Constable Program, the Province of Manitoba has secured the previous federal funding, and provided additional provincial funding towards establishing the First Nation Safety Officer Program in these communities. Approximately 80 First Nation Safety Officers were trained prior to March 31, 2016. First Nation Safety Officers will assist with community safety, crime prevention, restorative justice and the enforcement of First Nation bylaws, along with select portions of provincial legislation, e.g., Highway Traffic Act, Liquor Control Act.

First Nations Policing Policy and Program

The First Nations Policing Policy was approved in 1991 as the framework for the negotiation of culturally appropriate policing arrangements between the federal, provincial or territorial governments and First Nation and Inuit communities. The policy is intended to provide First Nation and Inuit communities with access to police services that are professional, effective, culturally appropriate and accountable, without prejudice to the provinces or territories that are responsible for policing their respective jurisdictions.

The purpose of the program is to support the provision of police services in First Nation and Inuit communities, where such services are presumed to contribute to the improvement of social order, public security and personal safety, in particular for women, children and other vulnerable groups. The program is intended to enhance public safety in First Nation and Inuit communities; it is not intended to replace police services normally provided by the province or territory. The program supports the provision of professional, dedicated and culturally responsive policing services, and has had a measurable and positive impact on public safety.

The First Nations Policing Policy and Program are currently being reviewed to reflect modern policing and policy landscapes, and ensure the sustainability and effectiveness of the program into the future. This renewal exercise is expected to be completed by March 31, 2018, when current agreements will expire. Consideration will be given to how the Policy and Program can continue to address the needs of vulnerable groups, for instance by preventing violence against women and girls.

Coordination and Cooperation

Two mounties in Chestervield Inlet (Nunavut)

Aboriginal Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit

In 2004, "C" Division created an integrated team to focus on organized crime occurring on Indigenous territories or affecting residents of Indigenous communities in Quebec. This team still exists and primarily consists of police officers from the RCMP, the Sûreté du Québec, and various Quebec Indigenous communities. Different police officers from Indigenous communities are rotated through the team every 12 to 24 months. Over the years, the unit has trained and prepared dozens of Indigenous police officers to conduct investigations focusing on organized crime and drug enforcement.

The unit has developed a two-hour awareness workshop on human trafficking with a special emphasis on Indigenous persons. This workshop was given at the 2016 Quebec Aboriginal Chiefs of Police Annual Meeting, which was organized by the Quebec Department of Public Safety.

Hub/Cor Model

The Hub/Cor Model provides immediate, coordinated, and integrated responses through the mobilization of resources to address situations facing individuals and/or families with acutely elevated risk factors, as identified by a range of service providers. The model has decreased crime rates and improved the lives of individuals. The Hub/Cor model is being utilized in "D", "E", "F", "J" and "K" Divisions. It is based on the model first set up in Canada, in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan.

Other communities have employed similar Hub‑type committees. For example, in 2001, four community organizations in Selkirk, Manitoba, became concerned that youth requiring multi-agency involvement were falling through the cracks. Each organization held a piece of the puzzle, but no one had a complete picture. Carefully treading uncharted territory and with the Youth Criminal Justice Act mandating multi-disciplinary approaches, they created a collaborative communication network so that agencies could work together in the best interest of the youth and their families. This collaboration became what is now the Selkirk Team for At-Risk Teens (S.T.A.R.T.) Program. On May 2, 2013, the Coordinator of S.T.A.R.T. attended the House of Commons Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security to talk about and answer questions about the S.T.A.R.T. model. The model is now being used in four other communities in Manitoba, with growing interest at the national level.

Inter-Agency Family Violence Coordination

The RCMP works with key stakeholders to identify victims at highest risk. Victims can be safely removed from danger while the RCMP investigates the offender. Victims are provided with emotional and financial support. Inter-agency cooperation is key due to certain challenges, including geography and a lack of cell service in some areas. These are mini-Hubs, which utilize the resources available in communities, nearby and further afield, as necessary.

Risk Management Team

Similar to Hubs, the composition of the Risk Management Teams differs by community, but usually it involves representation from the RCMP, Crown Counsel, probation, mental health and addiction counsellors, nurses, Elders, and the Chief and Council, who meet regularly. The group discusses issues and trends and identifies "at risk" community members. Those at risk are typically victims of family violence and/ or those with high risk lifestyles. Interventions are specific to individuals. For example, the group may offer enrollment in addictions treatment, or have conditions placed on an accused to protect the victim from further abuse. Safety plans are put in place where needed prior to court to protect the victims. In other models, families with lower risks are identified, with the permission of the families themselves, and they are referred to intervention teams to assist with resource options.

Third Party Reporting

Third party reporting is an initiative between the RCMP and the Yukon Women's Transition Home to address the fact that sexual assaults are one of the most underreported crimes in Canada. Many victims of sexual assault do not report to police, particularly those from Indigenous communities. Third party reporting is a process where a victim can report a sexual assault to the police anonymously, while at the same time receiving support and assistance. Police are able to evaluate the information and then follow up with the victim by requesting that the third party ask the victim contact a specific police officer.

Western Canada Criminal Operations Officers Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls and Missing Persons Working Group

RCMP Criminal Operations Officers from western provinces ("D", "E", "F", and "K" Divisions) meet to discuss MMIWG and missing persons investigations in order to identify challenges and gaps and share best practices.

Operational Policy Development, Review and Updates

Operational polices are continually reviewed and updated, and new ones added as necessary. Selected policies are noted below.

Child Abuse: The Child Abuse Policy is currently being updated.

Elder Abuse: The Elder Abuse Policy is new. It is awaiting publication.

Matrimonial Property: The Matrimonial Property Policy is new. It is awaiting publication.

Missing Persons Intake Form: The RCMP has developed a new Missing Persons Intake Form, which will record information to assist in missing persons investigations, and potential future investigations of repeat occurrences. This is a mandatory, national form and will enhance the quality of missing persons investigations across the country. The form is part of the RCMP's National Missing Persons Strategy. The updated Missing Persons policy was published on December 12, 2016. A Missing Persons Investigators course is also being created. This training will be linked to national policy, and will be mandatory for all RCMP members who investigate missing persons, as well as those members who supervise or provide oversight to members who investigate missing persons.

Restorative Justice: The Restorative Justice Policy is new and was published on June 24, 2016. Transgender Persons in Custody: The Transgender Persons in Custody policy is new and was published on July 12, 2016. It addresses transgender persons as they are being taken into RCMP custody, while they remain in RCMP custody, or while being transferred by the RCMP.

Truth and Reconciliation: An analysis of the actions recommended in the Truth and Reconciliation report related to policing and justice is underway. The RCMP is preparing policy in direct response to Call to Action #25, which states: "We call upon the federal government to establish a written policy that reaffirms the independence of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to investigate crimes in which the government has its own interest as a potential or real party in civil litigation." Furthermore, the RCMP participates on a federal Truth and Reconciliation Working Group which is developing the whole-of-government response to the Calls to Action.

Victim Assistance: The Canadian Victims Bill of Rights came into effect in April 2015. The RCMP kept its employees advised via Frequently Asked Questions and information about the repercussions to the RCMP and how to implement the Canadian Victims Bill of Rights requirements. The Victim Assistance Policy was updated to reflect the Canadian Victim Bill of Rights. The updated version was published on January 1, 2016.

Violence and Abuse in Relationships: The Violence and Abuse in Relationships Policy has been significantly updated and was published on March 2, 2016. Youth Officer: The Youth Officer Policy is new. A Youth Officer, also known as a School Liaison Officer, School Resource Officer, or Youth Liaison, is a RCMP member designated to work with youth, in schools, with parents, and in community agencies to foster positive relationships between youth and the police. It was published on December 30, 2015.

Improving our Understanding of the Issues

Detachment-Specific Family Violence Statistics

Reviewing statistics by detachments allows detachment commanders and crime reduction units to work with local First Nations Chief and Council to identify ways in which services can be provided and for crime prevention initiatives to be targeted specifically at the community needs.

Hitchhiking Studies

The RCMP participates in and partners with experts on a variety of initiatives related to this issue. Detachments in the North District of "E" Division have participated in a multi-year hitchhiking study undertaken by the University of Northern British Columbia. As part of the initiative, GPS devices were provided to commercial carriers along Highways 16 and 97; when a driver observes a hitchhiker, they press a button to log the time, date and coordinates. Detachments along the highways' corridors developed policies which direct RCMP members, when operationally feasible, to make personal contact with people they see hitchhiking. Specifically, these people will be queried in the Canadian Police Information Centre database with their locations noted. These people are also informed of the inherent dangers of hitchhiking. In addition, the Canadian Police Information Centre will continue to be used to ensure there are no outstanding matters (e.g. missing person reports) with respect to the person being checked.

MMIWG Reports

English Cover of 2015 update report

In May 2014, the RCMP published Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women: A National Operational Overview. This report provided the most comprehensive and accurate statistics available about the extent of the problem of MMIWG. Partnering with Statistics Canada and receiving support from 300 police forces across the country, the report found 1,181 police-recorded incidents of Indigenous female homicides between 1980 and 2012, and unresolved missing Indigenous females dating back to 1951. Of these, there were 164 missing and 1,017 homicide victims. The most likely perpetrator of solved homicides of Indigenous women were acquaintances (30%) and spouses (29%), followed by other categories of relationships such as "other family", "other intimate", "stranger" and "unknown." Research also identified the most vulnerable communities across the country for violence against Indigenous females, allowing targeted intervention to where it is most urgently required.

A year later, in June 2015, an update was provided in the 2015 Update to the National Operational Overview. This follow-up report covered only cases in RCMP jurisdiction. Changes in the status of cases from the first report in 2014 were provided: six women had been located; ten homicide cases were cleared by charges; two homicide suspects were confirmed deceased; three homicides were deemed to be accidental death, overdose or suicide; and, one missing person case was deemed a homicide. The update also provided information on cases of MMIWG from 2013 and 2014 in RCMP jurisdictions. There were 17 Indigenous women killed in 2013 and 15 in 2014. These 32 victims made up 38% of the female victims of homicide in RCMP jurisdiction. In those cases, the update report also found that the solve rate was similar between Indigenous females and non-Indigenous females, at 81% and 83% respectively. The report also found that there were 174 Indigenous females missing as of April 2015, across all jurisdictions. Of these, 111 cases are females missing under suspicious circumstances.

Vulnerable Communities

During the research for the 2014 Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women: A National Operational Overview, the most vulnerable Indigenous communities in RCMP jurisdictions were identified. These communities had high rates of police-reported violence against women and children, including sexual assault and family violence. Indigenous leaders requested that these communities not be publicly identified to avoid further stigma; the RCMP has respected this request. The detachments and divisions continue to work with the communities to reduce violent crime.

Major Case Management

Current RCMP national policy defines major cases as cases/investigations that are serious in nature, and due to their complexity, risk and resources require the application of the principles of major case management. This model provides a protocol for managing serious and complex investigations. The model provides a command structure for major cases and a methodology for organizing them. The model provides accountability, clear goals, planning, allocation of resources and control over the speed, flow and direction of the investigation.

National RCMP major case management policy emphasizes the importance of decision-making, intelligence processing, regular reporting and using a database management system. Specifically, the policy states that individual managers, supervisors and investigators must make complete notes documenting their participation, rationale, time, direction and decisions. The "Command Triangle" of management ensures that early consideration is given to intelligence processing, analysis and assignment of the required resources.

The methodology of the model encompasses the following nine essential elements: the command triangle; managerial considerations; crime-solving strategies; leadership and team-building; legal considerations; ethical considerations; accountability; communication; and, partnerships.


3 Mounties with snow mobile

Alcohol Seizures

Some Indigenous communities are designated as "dry", meaning that the band or local council has chosen not to allow alcohol within the community. Regardless of whether a community is dry or not, bootlegged or legally purchased alcohol and illegal substances are smuggled into communities. For fly-in and remote communities, detachments have created positive partnerships with local airlines to increase the detection and seizure of bootlegged alcohol and controlled substances. Alcohol seizures are performed in "D", "G" and "V" Divisions. Additionally, "C" Division works in close collaboration with "V" Division, Canada Post, the Sûreté du Québec, and the Kativik Regional Police Force on an ongoing basis to detect and seize contraband, such as alcohol and illicit drugs, being illegally smuggled to Indigenous territories in Quebec and Nunavut.

Chronic Missing Persons Initiative

The Chronic Missing Persons Initiative with the Missing Persons Coordinator or Unit identifies youth who are chronic (repeat) runaways in order to reduce the frequency, and thus the risk. In some divisions, the initiative is called the Chronic Runaway Initiative. A singular intake form has been created for use within all care facilities which allows information to be available for police, including photographs, when youth go missing from foster care or group homes.

Conditions, Bonds, Breaches

In some detachments, emphasis has been placed on ensuring priority remands. The intent is to reduce the number of violent crimes being perpetrated by offenders out on bail. In other detachments, there has been a focus on managing offenders at high risk to re-offend while they are out on bail by ensuring that breaches are acted upon immediately. It is recognized that there is a small offender population committing the majority of serious crime in the community.

Focus on Women at High Risk

Divisions differ on how women at high risk of exploitation or violence should be approached. In some cases, victim service workers or other civilian members or public service employees liaise with the women themselves and social service providers for exploited women organizations, drop-in centres or homeless shelters. Engagement with the police may also occur in remand, corrections, half-way houses or group homes. Other divisions have RCMP members meet the women directly. In some cases there is a registry of vulnerable persons. RCMP members provide guidance and information to vulnerable youth about the recruitment techniques used by gangs or human traffickers. Detachments may also assist people to develop strategies to avoid or escape sexual exploitation and put safety plans in place. There are many goals: reduce victimization due to human trafficking and exploitation, provide support to those who have, or want to, exit sexual exploitation, gather intelligence and, where appropriate, enforce municipal, provincial and federal statutes. In "B" Division, women at high risk of victimization due to fleeing intimate partner violence are provided prepaid cellular telephones.

Gang Awareness

In 2007, "E" Division Aboriginal Policing Services was the first to create a Recruiting Unit and a Gang Awareness Unit. Since then, they have attended all detachments along Highway 16, with the exception of Kitimat. The unit gives presentations to Indigenous youth and Elders on the dangers, influences, and early warning signs of gang activity within their communities and have assisted in the development of strategies to address these issues. The Aboriginal Policing Services have visited every community along the route in a vigorous campaign to encourage Indigenous people to see the RCMP as a viable career choice. The Aboriginal Recruiter and the Aboriginal Gang Awareness units continue to be active in all Indigenous communities in "E" Division.

In "F" Division, the Crime Prevention/Crime Reduction program incorporates gang awareness into the Aboriginal Shield Program (see below, Youth Crime Prevention), and, along with "F" Division's Aboriginal Policing Services Unit, delivers gang awareness presentations to youth and community groups across the province, with a particular focus on Indigenous communities.

Hitchhiking Interventions

Hitchhiking is a high risk activity. On Highway 16 (the Highway of Tears) in British Columbia, one of the specific recommendations directed at police in a public symposium held in 2005 was to stop and pick up persons who meet the victim profile while patrolling the highway. The RCMP has been doing so where operationally feasible.

Investigative Units

Woman from behind, with hair piece and shall

There is no such thing as a "cold case" and the RCMP is committed to bringing much needed answers to the families and friends of victims and the community at large. To that end, the RCMP pursues all investigative avenues in order to resolve cases. The RCMP investigates all cases within our jurisdiction of reported missing and murdered persons regardless of sex, ethnicity, background or lifestyle. Accordingly, resources and investigational tools are assigned according to the circumstances of each caseFootnote 4.

There is a need, however, to address the fact that Indigenous women are at considerably higher risk of violence and homicide. The RCMP is working with policing partners to directly address the issue of missing and murdered persons, including Indigenous women and girls. Joint taskforces collaborate and cooperate in the investigations of missing and murdered persons. The first was Project Evenhanded in "E" Division which looked into missing women in the Vancouver area, ultimately leading to the arrest and conviction of Robert Pickton. There are now three additional, large investigative units in addition to Project Evenhanded. Many of the unsolved homicides and unresolved missing persons cases investigated by these specialized units involve Indigenous people.

Project Evenhanded

Project Evenhanded, the first joint taskforce, began in the spring of 2001. The primary focus of the taskforce was to investigate the disappearances of vulnerable women from the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver. The majority of these missing women were suffering from drug addictions and were exploited in the sex trade.

A strategy was developed based on a multi-phased approach. This included, but was not limited to, a structured file review of solved and unsolved murders, and violent sexual assaults of exploited women and hitchhikers. Based on the reviews, hundreds of persons of interest were identified and crime scene DNA samples were obtained. Evenhanded also collected familial DNA samples for the missing women and DNA from unidentified found human remains in the province. In addition, the team sought to identify all missing exploited women in the province, and to review and complete these investigations. In doing so, Evenhanded's investigations resulted in the identification and arrests of various suspects unrelated to the Pickton case but involving missing women or violence against exploited women.

In February 2002, during the multi-phase approach of this investigation, Pickton came into focus when a search was conducted on his property. This would develop into the largest serial killer investigation in Canadian history. The Pickton investigation would carry on until his conviction in 2007. At the peak of the file there were approximately 270 resources attached to the Pickton investigation. Ultimately, the investigation would cost $250 million, the bulk of which can be attributed to the investigation and prosecution of Pickton.

The investigation into Pickton identified 33 victims whose remains (DNA) were located on his property. Pickton may be responsible for an additional 16 victims, although there is no evidence to support this other than his admission to killing 49 people. The investigation saw several important advances in many areas. For instance, there were developments in crime scene investigation in relation to DNA evidence recovery, and forensic DNA analysis with the introduction of robotics in the laboratory. There were also developments in the use of electronic major case management, which successfully managed and disclosed over two million documents and associated entities.

Key accomplishments of Evenhanded include the conviction of Pickton on six counts of second-degree murder in December 2007. Twenty counts of first- degree murder were stayed by the Crown, and one case was quashed by the Court. The Crown declined to lay further murder charges.

Further, the investigation led to the identification of another killer relative to Project E-Alley, a series of six murders of exploited women in Vancouver in the late 1980s. An offender was identified, but died during the investigation before charges could be laid. In a third set of serial killings, Project E-Valley, the killer of three exploited women remains unidentified.

The investigation into the remaining 33 missing women is complete. Over one hundred women reported as missing to various police agencies were located during Evenhanded. In addition to the homicide cases, numerous historical sexual assaults against exploited women were solved as a result of the submission and development of offender DNA. With the project's conclusion the files have been returned to their respective agencies. The unresolved missing women investigations remain active with their respective police agencies, mainly the Vancouver Police Department. However, any investigation linked to Pickton has now been concluded.

KARE / Pro-Active Team

In the spring of 2003, a vulnerable persons project team was formed in response to numerous human remains found in the Edmonton area. The KARE/Pro-Active Team, a sub-unit of "K" Division's Missing Persons Unit, was originally created to investigate the deaths of several vulnerable missing persons in the Edmonton area. Known to many as "Project KARE" since the unit's inception in 2003, KARE's mandate expanded considerably until its conclusion in March 2014. The team, a model upon which police organizations across the country have based their own vulnerable missing persons units, investigates and reviews files of missing vulnerable persons throughout Alberta.

Today, lessons learned from early KARE cases have led to a holistic approach to identifying and educating those who may be at higher risk of becoming missing persons. Teams canvass, identify and register people engaged in vulnerable lifestyles in various cities in Alberta. This High Risk Registry Program is completely voluntary and the information collected is retained explicitly for the purpose of identification.

Through investigational strategies, KARE strived to prevent or minimize risks such as violence, exploitation, and the murders of vulnerable persons within Alberta. These strategies have been developed throughout the implementation of the program and continue to evolve. KARE advanced significantly since its inception. Its creation also served as a catalyst for the creation of "K" Division's Missing Persons Unit that now encompasses the KARE/Pro-Active Team, Alberta Missing Persons and Unidentified Human Remains initiative and a specialized Victim Services Coordinator. The Missing Persons Unit falls under the Serious Crimes Branch and is strategically linked to the Historical Homicide Unit. In 2014, it ceased to be a stand-alone project. Its resources and infrastructure were normalized into four permanent units: the KARE Pro-Active Unit, Missing Persons and Unidentified Human Remains Unit, Historical Homicide Unit and KARE Victim Services Unit.

The program consists of three main components: collection of personal information, harm reduction/ education and criminal intelligence. Personal engagement between Pro-Active Team members and those living a vulnerable lifestyle have expanded to include regular meetings with those in remand centres, correctional facilities, Protection of Sexually Exploited Children Act homes and social care facilities.

Project E-PANA

A series of missing and murdered young women, apparently at the hands of strangers, occurred along the Highway 16 corridor in northern B.C. in the early to mid-1990s. This is the area known as the "Highway of Tears." Police conducted extensive, unsuccessful investigations. These investigations were scrutinized in 1995 and again in 2004 by a team of criminal profilers, investigators, and staff from the Behavioural Sciences Branch to examine the available evidence for the possibility of serial killer involvement. Team members believed that some of the cases could be linked.

In January 2006, the Unsolved Homicide Unit was directed by RCMP senior management to form a project team to review and investigate cases of murdered and missing women associated with highways in northern British Columbia. The mandate of the project, which came to be known as Project E-PANA, was to determine if a serial killer was responsible for murdering young women moving along major highways in northern British ColumbiaFootnote 5. The secondary goal, regardless of whether or not a serial killer was detected, was to develop investigational plans for all cases which fit E-PANA's criteria, namely:

  1. The victim was female;
  2. The victim was engaged in one or more 'high risk' behaviours, i.e., behaviours which would tend to place them in the control of strangers in isolated environments without witnesses, easy avenues of escape or sources of assistance – the primary examples of this would be hitchhiking alone or sexual exploitation through prostitution;
  3. The victim went missing from, or her body was found near, Highway 16 from Prince Rupert to Hinton, Highway 97 from Merritt to Fort Nelson, or Highways 5 and 24 connecting Valemont and 100 Mile House; and,
  4. The evidence indicated a stranger attack, i.e., no suspect was seen or identifiable and there was no grounds to believe that death was the result of suicide, misadventure or domestic violence.

E-PANA set about identifying cases which fit these criteria by utilizing the Violent Crime Linkage Analysis System – the primary search tool – supplemented by other police systems: mainly, Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC), Police Records Information Management Environment (PRIME), Police Information

Retrieval System (PIRS) and the Missing Persons Registry. When even more detail was sought, other protected and open sources of information were used to assist in the decision regarding inclusion or exclusion. After exhaustive research, 18 cases were identified and taken into the project for review and investigation. These involved 13 unsolved murders and five cases of females who were missing and presumed murdered.

The E-PANA investigation began with a two year review of over 700 banker boxes of material emerging from the 18 investigations. All documents were reviewed and entered into a database. To date, over 1,500 persons of interest have been identified, and over 99% of those have been eliminated. This was accomplished through 2,500 interviews, polygraphs and DNA analysis. More than 825 DNA samples were collected for comparison.

E-PANA is in its tenth year of investigation, and much has been accomplished during this time. Garry Handlen has been charged in the murders of Monica Jack (1978) and Kathryn-Mary Herbert (1975, not an E-PANA investigation); these are currently before the courts. Bobby Jack Fowler was identified through DNA for the murder of Colleen Macmillan in 100 Mile House in 1974. Police believe he is also responsible for the murders of Pamela Darlington in Kamloops (1973), and Gale Weys in Clearwater (1973). Fowler died in custody in the United States in 2006 and remains a suspect in several U.S. murders. Garry Taylor Handlen has been charged with the first-degree murder of Monica Jack (1978) and Kathryn-Mary Herbert (1975)Footnote 6.

There are two other investigations where the offenders have been identified but are now deceased. This information has been shared with the victims' families. None of the missing women have been located and investigators are satisfied that there is not just one killer responsible for all the remaining cases.

The E-PANA investigative resources continue to meet with family members of victims, appropriate agencies, and support groups.

Project Devote

The Government of Manitoba, the RCMP and Winnipeg Police Service established Project Devote in 2011 following a review by the Manitoba Integrated Task Force for Missing and Murdered Women. It is a two-pronged approach to addressing unsolved historical homicides and missing person cases where exploited and at-risk persons are believed to have met foul play.

Located in RCMP "D" Division Headquarters in Winnipeg, Project Devote consists of RCMP members and civilian analysts and Winnipeg Police Service police officers, bringing together a team with the necessary knowledge, skills and abilities for these types of investigations.

Project Devote concentrates on investigating 30 unsolved homicides and missing person cases where foul play is suspected, involving exploited and at-risk persons. One case, the disappearance of Myrna Letandre who went missing in 2006, was solved and resulted in the arrest of Traigo Andretti, who was convicted of second-degree murder.

In addition to the investigations, a proactive team has been established to further enhance the on- going efforts of dealing with exploited and at risk persons. The RCMP's Exploited Persons Proactive Strategy team spends time in communities throughout Manitoba to assist women and girls that are currently being exploited or are at increased risk of becoming victims of violent crime in the future.

Specialized Positions Within Divisions or Detachments

Two mounties watching children fish on the ocean

Aboriginal Liaison Officer

The RCMP has seven Métis Liaison Officers. In the 2016-17 fiscal year, three new Métis Liaison Officers were created. Métis Liaison Officers are currently in "E", "K", "F", "D", "G", "O" and "C" Divisions.

Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Family Liaison

A dedicated resource for the families of MMIWG is an important element to ensuring family involvement, and ongoing communication with the RCMP. A schedule for communication between the RCMP and families was established as a best practice in the 2014 National Missing Persons Strategy. In some divisions, the family liaison or Victim Services may also organize victim support groups and family gatherings.

Missing Person Coordinator or Division-Direction on Missing Persons

Some divisions have established a Missing Persons Coordinator position. Other divisions have issued a directive to all detachments to review outstanding missing persons files. Upon analysis, outstanding cases are linked to the National Centre for Missing Persons and Unidentified Remains and are added to the "Canada's Missing" website. Where there is a Coordinator in a division, that position is responsible for reviewing all missing persons files daily and providing operational guidance, support and guidance on compliance with policy to RCMP members throughout the division. The Coordinator collects and analyzes trends and tracks chronic runaway youths, provides weekly tracking and updates all missing persons on the Canadian Police Information Centre. They liaise with social services and work with the districts. "C" Division has a RCMP member on Quebec's integrated missing persons team. This initiative is headed by the Sûreté du Québec and coordinates all missing persons investigations in Quebec, including missing Métis and Indigenous persons. Missing Person Coordinators are found in "E", "K", "F", "D", "B", "H" and "C" Divisions.

Urban Indigenous Liaison Officer

In many urban areas with a significant Indigenous population policed by the RCMP, a dedicated community policing resource has been created. The Liaison Officer develops relationship within the urban Indigenous community and any nearby Indigenous communities. Trust and open communication are necessary for Indigenous women to report violence to the police. The Liaison Officer engages stakeholders to raise awareness of the importance of charging perpetrators and preventing violence against Indigenous women.

Victim Services Coordinator

Victim Services Coordinators provide a variety of services to the community. In addition to participation at local events, vigils and memorials for MMIWG, this position works with youth on preventive education, provides outreach to individuals at risk of sexual exploitation, conducts workshops on human trafficking and violence against women, and encourages people to report violence that they have experienced or have information about. They may also join in on family briefings during ongoing cases to provide support, such as victim support groups or family gatherings for the families of MMIWG. Outreach training to the community on Indigenous loss and grieving may also be provided by the Victim Services worker.

Specialized Units

Behavioural Sciences Branch

The Behavioural Sciences Branch provides specialized investigative services and operational support on a national and international scale, as well as delivering on its national policy centre responsibilities. The Behavioural Sciences Branch has three primary programs, namely:

  1. The Violent Crime Linkage Analysis System Program, which aims to identify serial crimes and criminals by focussing on the linkages that exist among crimes committed by the same offender;
  2. The National Sex Offender Registry and High Risk Sex Offender Program, which deals with the registration of sex offenders, the investigation of Transnational Child Sex Offenders and provides immediate assistance to sexual offence investigations through tactical queries and analysis; and
  3. The Criminal Profiling and Threat Assessment Program, which utilizes a number of investigative techniques, including unknown offender profiling, geographic profiling, indirect personality assessment, equivocal death analysis and case linkage analysis used to assist the law enforcement community in Canada and abroad in solving violent crimes. The analysis is done from both an investigative and behavioural perspective, providing insight into the unknown offender, as well as investigative suggestions, interview and interrogation strategies, undercover operations strategies and assessments of violence threat/risk.

Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation

Poster - home is where the hurt is

The RCMP has established a Human Trafficking National Coordination Centre at RCMP Headquarters. The Centre provides a focal point for law enforcement in their efforts to combat and disrupt individuals and criminal organizations involved in human trafficking activities. The Centre has five priorities:

  1. Develop tools, protocols and guidelines to assist in human trafficking investigations.
  2. Coordinate national awareness/training and anti-trafficking initiatives.
  3. Identify and maintain lines of communication, identify issues for integrated coordination and provide support.
  4. Develop and maintain international partnerships and coordinate international initiatives.
  5. Coordinate intelligence and facilitate the dissemination of all sources of information/ intelligence.

Part of the role of the Centre is to assist divisions in providing awareness and delivering training on human trafficking to law enforcement, Crown Counsel, border and immigration officials, government and non-government organizations as well as the general public. They work with the divisions to organize sessions and/or workshops which address Indigenous issues and the vulnerability of Indigenous women and girls to human trafficking. The divisions, as well as the Centre, are also responsible for developing key partnerships with groups that have a vested interest in human trafficking, including various Indigenous groups. Some divisions have a dedicated Human Trafficking and/or Sexual Exploitation Coordinator, who works with Major Crimes.

The RCMP has sought to raise awareness of human trafficking within Indigenous populations. One tactic involved a mass distribution of the I'm Not for Sale human trafficking awareness campaign to Indigenous communities and groups across Canada, which it continues to distribute upon request. Aboriginal Liaison Officers also work with Indigenous communities to increase awareness of the risks of human trafficking and sexual exploitation.

Intimate Partner Violence Units/Officers

Dedicated RCMP members who specialize in cases of intimate partner violence are found in divisions and detachments across Canada. In smaller divisions, there may be individual officers, whereas in larger divisions and detachments, there may be units with several dedicated RCMP members.

Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Inquiry Team

The RCMP is fully supportive of the MMIWG Inquiry which began on September 1, 2016. A team in National Headquarters has been established to: respond to requests from the Commission of Inquiry; support divisions; and brief the Senior Executives on the process, findings and themes of the pre-Inquiry consultations. The Team will also continue to collaborate and work with the lead federal departments: Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada, the Department of Justice Canada, and Status of Women Canada.

National Aboriginal Policing Services

In 1990, the RCMP conducted a study on the needs of Indigenous people with regards to policing. As a result of the study's recommendations, a dedicated Aboriginal Policing Directorate was created, now known as the National Aboriginal Policing Services branch at National Headquarters in Ottawa. Aboriginal Policing Services units in the divisions followed in all provinces and territories.

In 2003, the RCMP identified "service to Aboriginal communities" as a strategic priority. It is aligned with the federal government's commitment to strengthen its relationship with Indigenous people. The objective of this strategic priority is to contribute to safer and healthier Indigenous communities. Indigenous communities remain one of five strategic priorities today. National Aboriginal Policing Services is responsible for developing and evaluating practical and culturally competent policing services for Indigenous communities; consulting with Indigenous organizations so that policies and programs reflect their needs; promoting and encouraging recruitment of Indigenous people for the RCMP; supporting proactive and preventative initiatives culturally tailored to Indigenous communities; and, working with Federal/Provincial/Territorial government agencies to align the RCMP with government policy.

National Centre for Missing Persons and Unidentified Remains

The National Centre for Missing Persons and Unidentified Remains provides support to law enforcement, medical examiners, and chief coroners through specialized investigative services. As part of its operations, the Centre manages the National Missing Children/Persons and Unidentified Remains Database, the provision of investigative advice and case analysis to law enforcement partners and the provision of specialized services to investigators of primary jurisdiction.

Crime Prevention

Mountie talks to 2 women - mural in background

Addressing Offenders

Offender Treatment

Although some treatment programs or groups have specific names, others do not. Some of the participants in treatment programs are court-mandated and others are self-referred. These programs are developed and presented by the RCMP and local women's shelters or other social service providers. There are separate groups for male and female family violence offenders. Detachment commanders or other RCMP members may also participate on Boards of Directors of organizations offering services.

Parolee Reintegration

The successful integration of parolees back into society requires a concentrated effort by many stakeholders. For example, the Prince George Activators Society specializes in Indigenous parolee integration. The Activators take a strong, vocal stance against violence against women. Offenders with a history of abuse are provided preventative education, as well as preparing and assisting in sweats for Indigenous women who have been victims of violence. Individual detachments also do risk assessment and ensure parolees are provided the services required to prevent further offending.

Restorative Justice

Restorative justice attempts to address a high number of chronic Indigenous offenders. Attempts are made to increase awareness of the underlying reason for offending in order for offenders to take responsibility and reduce recidivism. The victims' comfort and safety are paramount in the restorative justice process.


Band Engagement on Family Violence

Detachments serving Indigenous communities have found that a dialogue between the RCMP and Chief and Council, often with the involvement of Elders, is helpful in establishing and confirming issues and problems in the community. Supports and initiatives from all stakeholders can arise from these meetings to address the issues raised.

Community Advisory Councils

In order to enhance communication and promote solid relationships with the goal of reducing overall victimization of Indigenous people, Advisory Committees have been created, composed of detachment or division Commanders and local Indigenous people. Issues and challenges specific to the community are discussed and a collaborative effort towards resolution is achieved.

Community Safety Planning

The RCMP contributes to Public Safety Canada's Aboriginal Community Safety Development Contribution Program, which is a community mobilization and safety planning process that includes input from vulnerable communities. This initiative forms part of the Action Plan released by the Government of Canada in September 2014 to address Family Violence and Violent Crimes against Aboriginal Women and Girls. Public Safety Canada has engaged with identified communities to initiate Community Safety Plans that are community-driven and complementary to RCMP operational plans established in consultation with community leaders. Funded through contribution agreements, Community Safety Plans are developed by the Indigenous communities to address service gaps, which can reduce the marginalization of women and girls. Women and girls may leave the community due to abuse, or to seek better educational or occupational opportunities. Many women and girls then find themselves alone and vulnerable in urban centres. Community safety planning can prevent this marginalization, assist women to remain safely in their communities, and identify proper supports for those leaving for urban centres.

Elders, Grandmothers and Grandfathers:

A variety of community events centred around Elders in the community are attended by RCMP employees. For example, a Grandmothers Walk is hosted in many Indigenous communities and urban areas. The Keep the Fires Burning awards night provides an opportunity to celebrate members of the community. In other communities, through workshops or on-going support programs, RCMP members assist in working with grandparents who are guardians to their grandchildren (or other kin).

Warrior Camps for Men

Week-long camps are held for Indigenous men to engage in a spiritual, mental and physical transformation journey utilizing traditional teachings. RCMP members participate in these events.

Other Crime Prevention Initiatives

Mountie from behind, with feathers on his hat

Diversion Courts or Programs

There are many different models of diversion courts and programs. For instance, the Community Wellness Court has been offered in "M" Division since 2007. It is a therapeutic court model that works with offenders to address the underlying causes of their offending behavior. People who choose to take part in the court receive support and counseling to deal with any addictions, mental health or cognitive issues such as Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. Participants work with a coordinated team of professionals and community supports to develop and follow a holistic wellness plan. The court recognizes that these problems, including addictions, historical trauma, and poverty, are deeply embedded in the fabric of many Yukon families and communities.

Firearm Safety

Some detachments have been undertaking efforts to reduce the incidence of violence in the community, including violence in relationships, by promoting gun safety. Examples of this work include: working with community leaders and partner agencies to secure funding for gun lockers; transportation to remote fly- in locations; and identifying families or individuals that are most at risk. In addition firearms safety education has been provided through presentations to the community.

Indigenous Language Material

The RCMP has worked with Crime Stoppers to create an education and awareness poster with Indigenous content in both the English/French and an Indigenous language.

Public Awareness Campaigns

The RCMP has a variety of campaigns intended to bring awareness to specific areas of vulnerability:

  • Family Violence and Missing Persons
    The RCMP partnered with the Native Women's Association of Canada and the Assembly of First Nations on a series of posters. Their purpose is to encourage victims of family violence to report incidents to police, encourage people to report cases of missing persons without delay, and to highlight that every detail associated with a missing person is important and should be reported.
  • Healthy Relationships
    In 2016, the RCMP released its Healthy Relationships initiative which encourages Canada's youth to take a stand against relationship violence by embracing the concept of #HealthyLove.
  • Hitchhiking
    Another poster campaign with Native Women's Association of Canada focused on hitchhiking safety. Interventions involved billboards and workshops aimed at educating Indigenous youth on the dangers of hitchhiking.
  • RCMP Materials
    The RCMP has posters and brochures available to raise awareness about dating violence, the effects of family violence on children and intimate partner abuse.

Public Service Announcements

In order to keep the public informed about violence, safety information and where to seek assistance, the RCMP has created a number of public service announcements. These messages ultimately aim to stop the generational cycle of violence, encourage the reporting of incidents to the police, reduce crime and increase awareness:

  • Jordin Tootoo
    A public service announcement featuring Canadian Inuk National Hockey League player Jordin Tootoo was released in 2016. The video message is designed to raise awareness, particularly among Indigenous men and boys, about the issue of violence against Indigenous women and girls.
  • Shania Twain
    In 2014, the RCMP developed a public service announcement regarding family violence featuring Canadian singer Shania Twain. The video addressed the issue of reporting incidents of family violence to police.
  • Missing Indigenous Children
    The Canadian Centre for Child Protection, in collaboration with the Assembly of First Nations and the RCMP, is raising awareness about programs available for Indigenous families in their search for missing children., the Canadian Centre for Child Protection's missing children resource and response centre, is a central place for critical tools for parents and communities, as well as resources to prevent children from going missing. As part of this initiative, there will be PSAs to air on the Aboriginal People's Television Network. Also, over 150,000 pieces of program materials will be distributed to approximately 650 band offices and 700 RCMP and Indigenous police detachments across Canada. Finally, staff will personally reach out to hundreds of Indigenous communities to survey their needs and raise awareness.

Awareness Campaigns


Local, regional and provincial social media campaigns have been created to target specific communities, or are done in conjunction with local organizations. Examples of the types of initiatives from various divisions are:

  • A Better Way
    A Better Way is a men's group focused on male offenders of family violence. The group works with Indigenous organizations and women's shelters, as well as the RCMP. In addition to counseling and group therapy, the group may hold awareness walks or attend candle light vigils for MMIWG or victims of violence at women's shelters. The RCMP's Victim Services Unit or Coordinator is also involved with the group. This program is in "E" Division.
  • Be More Than a Bystander
    The Be More Than a Bystander program is a BC Lions and Ending Violence Association of BC campaign that creates awareness and encourages people to break the silence around violence against women. The celebrity and status of the BC Lions provides leadership to preventing violence against women. The program has gone into Indigenous communities, where RCMP members attended to support the dynamic presentation. This program is in "E" Division. In "D" Division, a similar project is being developed with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
  • Don't Be That Guy
    The Don't Be That Guy poster campaign focuses on sexual abuse. The posters highlight that "no means no," and that sexual assault is never to be tolerated, even when the victim is intoxicated. This program is in "E" Division.
  • Jennifer's Story
    Connie Saulnier tells her daughter's harrowing tale, known as "Jennifer's Story." Jennifer was 38 when she was seriously assaulted in her home in Florida in 2010. Her mother eventually brought her home to Nova Scotia, paralyzed. With the assistance of the RCMP, Jennifer's boyfriend in Florida was eventually convicted and sentenced to five years in prison. This presentation is provided to highschool students in "H" Division.
  • REDress
    REDress is an art installation / awareness raising initiative started by Métis photographer Jaime Black in which red dresses are hung on hangers, often outdoors, to represent MMIWG. "B" Division participates in provincial REDress events.
  • What Will It Take?
    The government of the Northwest Territories has created a NWT-specific family violence initiative, entitled "What Will It Take?" The workshop empowers residents to help reduce violence, informs them of the role of the RCMP, what bystanders can and should do, and how to address family violence within their own lives and communities. The workshop toolkit contains a DVD featuring NWT residents, a facilitator's guide and script, workshop activities, handouts and evaluation forms. This program is in "G" Division.


The RCMP actively participates in national awareness campaigns to promote safety and prevention of violence against women or family violence.

  • I Am a Kind Man
    The Ojibway phrase "Kizhaay Anishinaabe Niin" means "I am a kind man." The initiative began in Ontario and is spreading across the country. It can include training or posters featuring Indigenous men and boys and include their own messages. The training is standard, but can be adapted to be appropriate to a particular community.
  • Moose Hide Campaign
    The Moose Hide Campaign is a grassroots initiative for Indigenous and non-Indigenous men to show their support for ending violence against Indigenous women and children. Squares of moose hide are worn to indicate commitment to the initiative. In some divisions, Indigenous RCMP members are spearheading the campaign in communities, which is accompanied by a poster campaign. In some communities, the campaign includes a day of fasting during which a talking circle about family violence is held, followed by a feast.
  • Walk a Mile in Her Shoes:
    Walk a Mile in Her Shoes is an international movement to stop rape, sexual assault and gender violence. It was begun by the White Ribbon organization. It is a playful event for a serious issue. Men in the community wear high heels and walk one mile. The walk raises awareness and supportive allies on the topic of sexualized violence. It recognizes that it is not a solely a woman's issue. RCMP members, in uniform, participate in the local community walks.
  • We Can (End All Violence Against Women)
    This international campaign is often referred to as We Can! It seeks to end gender-based violence by building a broad social movement that challenges and changes attitudes and beliefs that support and perpetuate violence.
  • White and Purple Ribbon Campaigns
    The White Ribbon Campaign began in 1991. Men and boys are asked to wear a white ribbon and to pledge to never commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women and girls. The International Purple Ribbon Project asks supporters to wear a purple ribbon, or tie one on their car. Over 35 countries participate in the project to bring awareness to interpersonal violence.

Working in Partnerships

Female mountie with snow background (Maureen)

Circle for Change

A new advisory committee, the Circle for Change, was created in 2016 to provide direction to the RCMP on its initiatives, identify gaps in existing initiatives, and establish partnerships. Circle for Change members are Indigenous leaders, subject matter experts and advocates. The group is scheduled to meet two to three times a year, at National Headquarters in Ottawa.

Collaborative Planning

Training workshops are provided for multi-agency/cross-sectoral collaborative teams dealing with high-risk domestic violence files, or individuals at risk of suicide and/or harming others. Interagency Case Assessment Teams are growing in number where communities are providing support. This concept and training is offered by the Ending Violence Association BC and the Community Coordination for Women's Safety.

Commanding Officer's Diversity Management Advisory Committee

The Commanding Officer of Depot has an advisory committee which provides a forum for the continuing discussion of recruiting, training and community relations. The discussions include inter-cultural relations and other related matters which may emerge.

Commissioner's National Aboriginal Advisory Committee

The RCMP Commissioner's National Aboriginal Advisory Committee was formed in 1990 to provide strategic advice and cultural perspective on matters pertaining to the delivery of Indigenous policing services in all provinces and territories, except Ontario and Quebec. The Commissioner meets with the committee bi-annually. Additionally, some divisions have similar committees headed by the Commanding Officer.

Focus on MMIWG

In December 2014, the RCMP hosted a meeting in Saskatchewan to identify best practices, share perspectives, identify federal funding opportunities and lay the groundwork for collaborative efforts to counter violence against Indigenous women. In attendance were detachment representatives, divisional crime prevention coordinators, federal partners and the Native Women's Association of Canada. In Edmonton in January 2014, the RCMP, Edmonton Police Services and non-governmental organizations held a two-day symposium on violence against Indigenous women and Indigenous awareness training to stakeholders, including those in the criminal justice system.

National Indigenous Organizations

For many years, the RCMP has had regular meetings with the National Indigenous Organizations to maintain solid working relationships. The organizations involved are the Assembly of First Nations, Native Women's Association of Canada, the Indigenous Peoples' Assembly of Canada, Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada, the Métis National Council and the National Association of Friendship Centres. The RCMP and the National Indigenous Organizations meet three to four times annually, in Ottawa. These meetings have led to a variety of joint initiatives. For instance, the RCMP has worked with Native Women's Association of Canada to share data between agencies on cases of missing and/or murdered Indigenous women where a police report was not made.

Protocols / Memorandums of Understanding between Divisions and Indigenous Organizations

Some divisions have signed agreements with Indigenous organizations on debriefing on certain cases or concerns, communication protocols and joint initiatives. Protocols and Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) might be specific to violence against Indigenous women and girls, or be more general in nature.

On July 12, 2016, AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde and RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson signed a protocol agreement focused on reconciliation and relationship building.

Safe House Initiative

In "D" Division, the RCMP implemented the Safe House Initiative in one Indigenous community. Certain residences with working telephones display a "Safe House" sign for victims of domestic violence to go to in case they are in need of assistance. There, the police can be contacted.

Working with MMIWG Groups

The RCMP works with various MMIWG organizations at the national, divisional and detachment levels. Interaction may be for policy or program review or evaluation, attending or organizing memorial vigils or other events, operational or investigative assistance, or awareness initiatives. Where there are cases of MMIWG within a detachment area, RCMP members may also provide a presentation on the cases.

Youth Crime Prevention

Mountie hold two Inuit children

Aboriginal Shield Program

The Aboriginal Shield Program focuses on the prevention of substance abuse through healthy life-styles coaching. The program is aimed at children and youth in grades five through eight.

Cadet Corps

The Cadet Corps is managed through partnerships with targeted First Nations and Métis communities who wish to be involved. The Cadet Corps is aimed at children at risk in the 12 to 18 age group. Younger cadets can be considered. A Cadet Corps involves a great deal of commitment from the RCMP members involved and also from the community. The RCMP act as mentors and facilitators but provide no financial assistance to the project. The Cadet Corps is a good way to guide youth away from gang involvement. The program gives participants a sense of self-worth and belonging along with a degree of discipline. Being issued a uniform gives them recognition and a sense of pride.

Camps and Conferences for Indigenous Girls and Female Youths

In collaboration with partners, weekend or week-long camps for Indigenous girls and/or youths are developed in which to engage at-risk youth in leadership, confidence-building and empowerment. Participants in one camp were all from group homes around the province. Children in the child welfare system are at increased risk of being exploited. In other divisions, week-long conferences for Indigenous youth focus on the effects of violence, family violence, addictions, bullying, HIV/STDs, gangs and healthy relationships.

Children in Provincial Care

Social events that centre on children in the child protective system are attended by RCMP members. For example, picnics offer the opportunity for RCMP members to meet with at-risk children in a non-threatening, social atmosphere.

Seeing Oneself

Seeing Oneself is a personality-targeted alcohol and substance abuse prevention and early intervention program for youth in "F" Division. It is intended to reduce alcohol and substance abuse and associated antisocial behaviours by directly addressing each young person's specific reasons and motivations, and by working with them to build their relevant coping skills.

Youth Diversion

Youth Liaison Officers work directly with youth at schools and youth centres. They may also be involved in restorative justice sessions, which are held to help youth who are in conflict with the law.

40 Developmental Assets for Adolescents

Research shows that youth with the most develop-mental assets are least likely to engage in four different patterns of high-risk behavior, including problem alcohol use, violence, illicit drug use and sexual activity. Workshops are being delivered to communities and police personnel. The goal is to provide police and partners with the knowledge of the "gateway assets" through which young people more readily acquire the full complement of 40 Developmental Assets for Adolescents to become academically, socially, and emotionally well-prepared for adult life.


Training for All RCMP Staff

All RCMP staff, including RCMP members, public servants and civilian members, are required to take two courses related to violence and respect in the workplace. The courses are: Violence Prevention in the Workplace and Respectful Workplace.

Training for Members

Cultural Competency Training

Cultural competency of RCMP members is enhanced through training to ensure a solid knowledge of cultural elements and history of Indigenous people. RCMP members are initially introduced to cultural sensitivity in their Depot training. RCMP Cadets receive introductory sessions on a variety of topics, including ethics, bias-free policing, the Human Rights Act, harassment, discrimination, community justice forums and hate crimes, as relating to the needs of all clients. These topics are integrated throughout the remainder of the training program by way of discussions, paper-based scenarios and practical scenarios. Classroom exercises provide cadets with an opportunity to understand the important issues related to Indigenous rights, history, culture, and policing. Topics include treaties, the Indian Act, residential schools, land claims, and Indigenous self-government.

After leaving cadet training and completing six months of 'on the job training', new constables are required to create a Post-Field Coaching Program Learning Plan. The Learning Plan includes completing the Aboriginal First Nations Awareness Course. This course is supplemental to training received at Depot. The course describes how Indigenous people perceive their relationships with the land, outlines the history of Indigenous treaties and describes the culture and its influence on Indigenous ways of life, communication, and points of view. Completion of the course is monitored quarterly at National Headquarters in Ottawa. As a reminder, quarterly reports are sent out to divisions for action. All three northern divisions have made this a mandatory course for all categories of employees. The average completion rate of the course is 77%. It is impossible to obtain 100% completion as the RCMP employs approximately 25 new constables per week.

The RCMP offers its membership no less than 29 learning programs that either share or include Indigenous culture. This number includes courses and programs where members of the RCMP are trained to deliver culturally relevant material. Some divisions have created training specific to the Indigenous peoples and cultures within their jurisdiction, such as the Labrador Innu and Inuit of "B" Division, the Inuit of "V" Division or the Maliseet and Mi'qmak of "J" and "H" Divisions. There are also courses specific to the Indigenous people in "E", "G", "D", "F", "K", and "M" Divisions.

Division-Specific Indigenous Cultural Competency Training

Four RCMP divisions provide an Aboriginal Perception Training workshop tailored to reflect the Indigenous groups of their provinces. RCMP members posted to detachments involved in policing Indigenous communities receive this training.

The RCMP also offers, through the Canadian Police College, training for front line police officers working in communities facing Indigenous domestic violence issues. The Integrated Approaches to Interpersonal Violence and Abuse course is available to all law enforcement agencies, including provincial, municipal Indigenous police services, social services, corrections and the Canada Border Services Agency. The course develops an understanding of interpersonal violence and abuse in Indigenous communities, and provides strategies for mobilizing community resources to help address these issues.

Division-Specific Family Violence Training

Courses and training sessions provided by the RCMP specific to each division are also offered. These courses may focus on areas of particular concern in the division, such as substance abuse or mental health in the context of family violence.

Division-Specific Violence Investigation Courses

Many divisions have specific mandatory or voluntary courses around family violence and violence against women that are geared specifically to the communities served. Courses include risk assessment and safety planning, forensic child interviewing, interagency case assessment training, or investigation training for child sexual abuse, elder abuse or sexual assault cases.

Domestic Violence Training for Cadets

As part of the Cadet Training Program, an entire module (module 7) focuses on the issue of domestic violence. This module consists of approximately two hours of online instruction, nine hours of in-class instruction, seven hours of role play/scenarios and two hours spent with a non-police resource for a presentation on domestic violence. Seven of the 11 RCMP contract divisions also have mandatory training on investigations related to violence in relationships.

Domestic Violence Investigation Course

The course was developed by numerous policing, justice, victim and social service providers in BC. The Canadian Police Knowledge Network modified the content, in consultation with the RCMP, to create a provincially relevant e-learning course; each province and territory has the option to tailor the curriculum to meet its unique needs. Currently, the course curriculum is province-specific in "E", "D", "F", "J", and "K" Divisions.

Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation

RCMP members are trained to identify potential victims of human trafficking and/or sexual exploitation through prostitution. Information regarding charges, Victim Services, legislation and research and evaluation in the area of human trafficking are offered. This course is offered through the Canadian Police College.

Integrated Approaches to Interpersonal Violence and Abuse

This course provides an intensive program of instruction, taking students beyond the basic understanding of domestic violence. The course offers the enhancement of knowledge, competencies and skills to assist supervisors and front-line police officers working in communities facing Indigenous domestic violence issues. This course has been designed to help police officers understand why interpersonal violence and abuse is so prevalent in Indigenous communities, and how to identify, empower, mobilize and work with the community and associated agencies in developing reduction and prevention strategies. This course is offered through the Canadian Police College.

Major Case Management Training

The following list of courses provides a snapshot of major case management training:

  • Major Case Management: Team Commander
    This eight-day course prepares experienced investigators for the management challenges that are inherent in major cases. To this end, participants acquire the analytical, legal and managerial knowledge and skills to manage a major case.
  • Major Crime Investigative Techniques
    This ten-day course is designed to provide participants with the knowledge, skills and abilities required to employ advanced techniques to investigate some of the most serious Criminal Code offences. The course focuses on the role of the Primary Investigator guiding participants through different decision-making models which affect the speed, flow and direction of an investigation.
  • Disclosure Course
    This five-day advanced disclosure course teaches police officers how to successfully manage disclosure of investigative files using paper and electronic file management systems. Participants will be able to respond more effectively to Crown and Defense requests for disclosure.
  • Foundations of File Coordination Course
    This five-day course provides learners with foundational knowledge and skills for file coordinating in major case management investigations.
  • Online Major Case Management Course
    This course provides candidates with a good basic understanding of major case management and is now utilized as a mandatory prerequisite for the Foundations of File Coordination Course and the Advanced Disclosure Course.

Matrimonial Real Property Training

The Family Homes on Reserves and Matrimonial Interests or Rights Act aims at ensuring that women, children and families living on First Nation reserves have access to the same matrimonial rights as those living off reserve. The Act will protect couples, especially women, in the event of a relationship breakdown or upon the death of a partner, and in situations of family violence. This resource guide helps peace officers working on reserves to navigate and apply the specific sections of the Act. It includes general information about the legislation as well as a flow chart/job aid that helps police officers know when and how to apply the legislation. The RCMP has developed training on the legislation available to all RCMP employees, and made it available on the Canadian Police Knowledge Network to other police forces. From 2014-2018, Public Safety Canada will provide up to $870,000 of contribution funding over four years to an eligible recipient of the First Nations Policing Program. This funding is to develop training supports to assist non-RCMP police services serving in First Nation communities with the enforcement aspects of the new Act.

Missing Persons Investigation Training

The National Centre for Missing Persons and Unidentified Remains has created on-line training for missing persons investigators. Five courses are available to all law enforcement agencies:

  • Missing Adults Level One Investigator;
  • Missing Children Level One Investigator;
  • Unidentified Remains Level One Investigator;
  • Child Abduction – Amber Alert (Pilot and Specialized); and
  • Child Abduction – Applicable Legislation and Charging.

Missing Persons Investigations

The Operational Policy and Compliance unit in Contract and Aboriginal Policing at National Headquarters is finalizing a Missing Persons Investigations course. The training will be available online and includes a module on missing Indigenous persons. The anticipated completion date is Spring of 2017. This training will be linked to national policy, and will be mandatory for all RCMP members who investigate missing persons, as well as those members who supervise or provide oversight to members who investigate missing persons.

Supervisory Training

These programs are designed to maximize the leadership skills and potential of employees to better equip them in carrying out their duties to deliver on the objectives of the organization. The aim is to provide a pathway for leadership development for all employees in the RCMP and to build a sound legacy for the future.

  • Field Coaches Course
    This three-day course is designed to provide participants with the knowledge and skills required to effectively coach and assess individuals participating in the Field Coaching Program. The Field Coaching Program allows new RCMP members to prepare for the role of being a police officer with the assistance of one main coach and other supplementary coaches, as required, in the detachment to which they are posted.
  • Supervisor Development Program
    The Supervisor Development Program is a competency-based leadership development program that develops and supports all categories of RCMP employees in making the transition from individual contributor to supervisor. The Supervisor Development Program uses a mixture of instructional methods with an emphasis on problem-based learning to develop supervisory and leadership competencies. Participants are expected to implement a Performance Improvement Plan strategy with their team to increase unit capacity and results to enhance service delivery to Canadians. The program includes three phases (pre-class, in-class and application of learning in the workplace), and generally takes eight to 12 months to complete. The main target audience is new and existing supervisors.
  • Senior Police Administration Course
    This 13-day Canadian Police College course provides police managers with the necessary competencies to manage effectively in response to the ongoing needs of the community and the police organization itself. Participants have the opportunity to learn how to improve and adapt their personal management and leadership skills to meet changing social conditions.
  • Manager Development Program
    The Manager Development Program is a competency-based leadership development program. The goal of the program is to enhance the leadership and management competencies of the RCMP's manager cadre. Participants are exposed to a variety of knowledge, skills and tools to help them be successful in their new manager role. The program focuses on three main areas: action management and strategic thinking, employee management and personal leadership effectiveness. Participants are expected to implement a Project and Leadership Development Plan. Participants are expected to plan and execute a project from beginning to end using strategic thinking in a project management framework, as well as implement a Leadership Development Plan in the workplace. The program includes three phases (pre-class, in-class and application of learning in the workplace), and generally takes 10 months to complete. The main target audience is Non-Commissioned Officers at the Sergeant rank.
  • Executive / Office Development Program
    The Executive/Officer Development Program is a competency-based leadership development program with a focus on enhancing the leadership and management capacity of the RCMP's executive cadre. The program uses a blended learning approach which includes online learning, in-class instruction, self- development and application activities on the job. Participants are expected to implement a strategic change initiative, implement a Leadership Development Plan and develop their employees' leadership skills. The program includes three phases (pre-class, in-class and application of learning in the workplace), and generally takes 10 months to complete. All newly Commissioned Officers to the Inspector rank and newly promoted executives at the EX- 01 level (civilian or public servants), who have been at their rank/level for a minimum of one year, are expected to complete the Executive/ Officer Development Program.

Training and Support for Indigenous Recruits

Aboriginal Mentorship Program

The Aboriginal Mentorship Program matches experienced Indigenous RCMP members with self-identified Indigenous recruits at Depot. The program, which began in 2015, has had over 50 mentees and 150 volunteer mentors. It is intended to boost the number of Indigenous recruits to the RCMP, increasing the force's diversity and helping it better represent the more than 600 Indigenous communities it serves.

Aboriginal Pre-Cadet Training Program

The Aboriginal Pre-Cadet Training Program is a nationally supported RCMP program that encourages Indigenous youth ages 19-29 to consider a career in law enforcement by providing summer employment with the RCMP. Approximately thirty-two Indigenous youth are selected from across Canada to attend a three-week orientation and training course at Depot.

Training, Workshops and Outreach to Communities & Individuals

Inuit girl with Mountie's baby

Aboriginal Youth Training: Staying safe on social media

"C" Division has developed an awareness workshop designed to make Quebec Métis and Indigenous youth aware of the risks associated with using social media, particularly human trafficking, recruitment by gangs (or organized crime groups), and sex-related crimes. The workshop will be presented to youth in Indigenous communities beginning in 2016-17.

Bullying and Cyber-Bullying

Bullying, whether in person or online, can have serious consequences for the victims. Workshops focused on bullying and cyber-bullying teach strategies of prevention, protection, disclosure of incidents and Internet safety.

Children and Youth

The RCMP works with numerous specialists and speakers to provide workshops to children and youth in schools. Topics may include family violence and sexual exploitation (including trauma-based intergenerational violence), online luring, and the dangers of becoming incapacitated by drugs and alcohol. Awareness, prevention and disclosure are all discussed. Guest speakers are often brought in to speak to their own experiences and how they found safety.

Drugs, Alcohol and Addictions

The misuse of prescription and illegal drugs and alcohol have strong correlations to family violence and sexual assault and exploitation. Workshops are provided to youth and the community at large regarding the linkage between substance use and violence.

Elder Safety

Financial and personal safety are the focus of workshops provided to Indigenous Elders. Areas covered include: identity theft, frauds and scams, internet safety, safe banking, fall prevention, substances and gambling, estate planning, safe driving, emergency preparedness, fire safety, scooter safety and Elder abuse.

Family Violence and Historic Trauma

Workshops and training sessions led by frontline workers, Elders, victim service coordinators, community members or RCMP members focus on root causes of violence and the impacts of violence. Both historic intergenerational and personal trauma are discussed. The goal is to engage Indigenous men and boys in violence prevention and to empower Indigenous women and girls to speak out and seek support.

Family Violence Frontline Training

Training is provided for Indigenous community members who may confront family violence as part of their jobs both on and off reserve. Subject matter experts provide training, while RCMP members offer guidance and language assistance.

Family Violence

The RCMP, Victim Services Units and Crime Prevention Officers are educating people about family violence, including its cyclical nature and recidivism. As a result of these efforts, police found they were being called to disturbances before an actual assault took place. There are a wide variety of workshops, but ones which are popular across divisions are the Healthy Relationships talks.

Girls' Empowerment and Safety

The RCMP works with various organizations such as Big Brothers Big Sisters Go Girls to encourage empowerment, self-esteem and confidence in girls before they reach their teenage years.

Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation

Communities assessed to be at high risk for exploitation and trafficking of youths and young women are provided information sessions. Topics covered include "Romeo" boyfriends, gang recruitment for the purposes of sexual exploitation and other pathways to exploitation. The RCMP's I'm Not for Sale posters and toolkits are used for these workshops.

Mental Health for Youth

RCMP members, Crime Prevention Officers and/or Victim Services workers within communities identify youth and young adults who may be in need of mental health services. Safe spaces are identified, and references and supports provided. The goals are crime prevention, suicide prevention and the safety of at-risk youth and young adults.

Self-Defence and Martial Arts

RCMP members donate their time to provide self-defence or martial arts training to children and youth at risk of exploitation or suicide. Other RCMP members may assist in coaching youth in various sports activities.

Sexual Assault and Sexual Interference

RCMP members provide information about sexual assault, sexual interference and consent to youths at high schools.

Suicide Prevention and Intervention

Workshops and training sessions such as the Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training program teaches participants how to intervene with a person at risk of suicide. RCMP members and employees in operational communications centres may be provided with training.

Trauma-Informed Training

Training that uses trauma-informed practices with respect to family violence, crime victims, rape, suicide and chemical addictions has been developed for crisis teams, professionals and police officers.

Victim Services

Using dedicated Victim Services workers as facilitators, sessions cover an overview of the criminal justice system and social programs available to Indigenous women in their communities. The program also aims to reduce barriers to reporting sexual and family violence, and increasing the accessibility of support. There is specific training in terms of behaviour safety and choices, such as travelling smart, awareness of human trafficking, sexual violence and family violence.

Other Initiatives

Female mountie hugs Elder

Awareness and Commemoration of MMIWG

Community MMIWG Events

Many communities have events for MMIWG and violence against women. These include walks, memorials and vigils. RCMP employees attend these events to show solidarity for the prevention of violence against women and support the families of MMIWG.


Every year on October 4th, the Native Women's Association of Canada organizes Sisters in Spirit vigils across the country to remember the Indigenous women and girls who are missing or have been murdered. On December 6th every year, all female victims of violence are remembered, including the 14 women who died in the 1989 École Polytechnique massacre. RCMP members and employees attend these events to show solidarity for the prevention of violence against women and support the families of MMIWG. Usually held in the fall, Take Back the Night vigils and events are held across the country.

Federal Funding / Coordination

Family Violence Initiative Fund

As a partner to the Government of Canada's Family Violence Initiative, the RCMP's National Crime Prevention Services receives annual funding to distribute to RCMP detachments, non-profit community organizations as well as provincial, territorial and municipal partners to support community initiatives that respond to relationship violence, victim issues and sexual assault investigators' training. The RCMP administers the Family Violence Initiatives Fund in collaboration with detachments across the country. Detachments are eligible for up to $50,000 in funding, and organizations may receive up to a $25,000 grant for: activities that aim to prevent high-risk groups from re-offending; crime prevention initiatives in Indigenous communities; public events (conferences, workshops, etc.) that promote awareness about family violence; activities that support victims of crime; and, initiatives that promote law enforcement activities of the RCMP. Since 2015-16, Indigenous community projects have been prioritized, and constitute approximately 50% of the projects funded.

Indigenous-Specific Shelters

Over 625 emergency or transition homes for women and children fleeing violence are found throughout Canada. Of these, 32 are located on reserves, some of which also provide services to off-reserve and rural populations. Some jurisdictions have Indigenous- specific transition or emergency shelters, which may or may not be in RCMP jurisdictions, but are in provinces in which policing services are provided by the RCMP. Where the Indigenous-specific shelter is not in RCMP jurisdiction, generally there is communication between division headquarters and the shelter, and RCMP members may sit on the Board of Directors.

ANNEX A: Violence Against Women Initiatives Across RCMP Divisions

Policing, investigative and justice initiatives
Initiative "E"
"C"Footnote 7
Alcohol seizures X X X X X X X
Conditions, bonds, breaches X X X X X X X X
Diversion courts or programs X X X X X X X X
Detachment-specific family violence statistics X X X X X X X
Focus on women at high-risk X X X X X X X X X X
Hub/Cor Model X X X X X X X
Inter-agency family violence coordination X X X X X X X
MMIWG family liaison X X X X X X
Missing person coordinator / direction X X X X X X X X X
Offender treatment X X X X X X X X
Parolee reintegration X X X X
Restorative justice X X X X X X X X X X X X
Risk management team X X X X
Third party reporting X X
Crime prevention
Initiative "E"
Aboriginal Shield Program X X X X X X X X
Band engagement on family violence X X X X X X
Cadet Corps X X X X X X X
Camps & conferences for girls & youth X X X X X X X X
Children in provincial care X X X
Community advisory councils X X X X X X X X
Community MMIWG events X X X X X X X X X X
Chronic missing persons initiative X X X X X X X
Collaborative planning X X X X X X X
Community safety plans X X X X X X X
Elders, grandmothers & grandfathers X X X X
Firearm safety X X X X
Hitchhiking interventions X X X
Indigenous language material X X X X
Seeing Oneself X X X
Social media campaigns (local) X X X X X X X X X
I am a kind man X X X X
Moose hide campaign X X X X X X
Walk a mile in her shoes X X X X X
We Can! X
White and purple ribbons X X X X X X X X
Urban Indigenous liaison officer X X X
Victim services coordinator X X X X X X X
Vigils X X X X X X X X X
Warrior camp for men X
Working with MMIWG groups X X X X X X X X X
Youth diversion X X X X X X X X X X X
40 Developmental Assets X X X X X
Initiative "E"
Children and youth X X X X X X X X X X X X
Bullying & cyber-bullying X X X X X X X X X X X X
Drugs, alcohol and addictions X X X X X X X X X
Elder safety X X X X X X X X
Family violence X X X X X X X X X X X
Family violence and historic trauma X X X X X X X
Family violence frontline training X X X X X X X
Girls empowerment and safety X X X X X X X X
Human trafficking & exploitation X X X X X X X X X
Mental health for youth X X X X X X X
Self-defence / martial arts X X X
Sexual assault and interference X X X X X X
Suicide prevention & intervention X X X X X X
Victim Services X X X X X X X X X
Trauma-informed training X X X X
Initiative "E"
Family Violence Initiative- funded project X X X X X X X X X X X X
Indigenous-specific shelter X X X X
Protocols with Indigenous organizations X X X X X X X X X

ANNEX B: Map of RCMP Divisions

Map of RCMP Divisions
  • HQ - Headquarters, Ottawa, Ontario
  • National Division - Ottawa, Ontario
  • B - St. John's, Newfoundland
  • C - Montreal, Quebec
  • D - Winnipeg, Manitoba
  • E - Surrey, British Columbia
  • F - Regina, Saskatchewan
  • G - Yellowknife, Northwest Territories
  • H - Halifax, Nova Scotia
  • J - Fredericton, New Brunswick
  • K - Edmonton, Alberta
  • L - Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island
  • M - Whitehorse, Yukon Territory
  • O - London, Ontario
  • T - Depot, Regina, Saskatchewan
  • V - Iqaluit, Nunavut
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