Indigenous communities, like all communities in Canada, should be places where individuals and families feel safe. That is why the Government of Canada has been making unprecedented investments in community safety, including in policing and in initiatives aimed at preventing serious and organized crime.
Today the Honourable Marco Mendicino, Minister of Public Safety, announced funding of more than $12 million to help increase community safety in Akwesasne.
To help combat serious and organized crime, Public Safety Canada is providing the Akwesasne Mohawk Police Service with funding renewal of $10.4 million through the Akwesasne Organized Crime Initiative (AOCI) to support a team dedicated to combatting serious and organized crime in and around the Akwesasne Mohawk Territory.
Over the next five years, federal support will continue to enhance the Akwesasne Mohawk Police Service’s capacity to address cross-border crime, investigate and disrupt organized crime, strengthen the coordination of enforcement efforts across jurisdictions, equip officers with additional tools and training and raise awareness among youth in the community about the risks of criminal involvement.
Public Safety Canada is also providing the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne with one-time funding of over $849,000.00 under the First Nations and Inuit Policing Program to purchase additional equipment for the provision of policing services, including an airboat, vehicles, firearms and tasers, and forensic equipment and materials. Through this investment, the Akwesasne Mohawk Police Service will be better equipped to ensure the safety of the communities they serve.
Finally, Akwesasne will receive up to $1.13 million under the Building Safer Communities Fund (BSCF) to help the Mohawk Nation at Akwesasne address the underlying conditions that give rise to crime. This funding will support community-led projects to prevent violence among young people who are involved in gangs, or at risk of joining them, helping them set themselves up for success in life.
The funding announced today will be essential to helping stop crime and supports the Government of Canada’s commitment to building safer Indigenous communities.
During the minister’s visit, he met with elders and Council chiefs at the Snye Homemakers to discuss current public safety concerns in the community. He was also provided with a brief tour of Akwesasne.
“As Minister of Public Safety, keeping all Indigenous, First Nations and Métis communities across Turtle Island safe is my number one priority. Investments in grassroots efforts and law enforcement for Akwesasne allow for bolstered efforts in crime prevention and policing. Today’s announcement will give additional resources to law enforcement, support young people in making good choices and help our communities thrive.”
– The Honourable Marco Mendicino, Minister of Public Safety
“These initiatives are very important to our community and the overall safety of the people of Akwesasne. With the help of the fund, initiative and agreement our Akwesasne Mohawk Police Service may combat ongoing issues within the community of Akwesasne. We would like to thank the Minister’s office for their ongoing support and look forward to continued collaborations.”
– Grand Chief Abram Benedict, Mohawk Council of Akwesasne
“The Building Safer Communities Fund will help us build, develop and strengthen our relationships with the younger generation of our community. In light of the recent events that have occurred within our community, we welcome the renewal of the Akwesasne Organized Crime Initiative as this agreement helps us disrupt organized criminal activity. The FNIPP (one-time agreement) will permit us to fill gaps in our operational needs by using technology in helping us detect and deter crime.”
– Shawn Dulude, Chief of Police, Akwesasne Mohawk Police Service
Quick Facts:
Funding to support the continuation of the Akwesasne Organized Crime Initiative (AOCI) is from the Contribution Program to Combat Serious and Organized Crime (CPCSOC).
First signed in 2001, the agreement between Public Safety Canada and the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne supports a team dedicated to combatting serious and organized crime in and around the Akwesasne Mohawk Territory.
The initiative helps to address cross-border crime through inter-agency collaboration with partners on both sides of the border, including the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) the Sûreté du Quebec, the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribal Police, the Department of Homeland Security, United States Border Patrol and New York State police.
The First Nations and Inuit Policing Program (FNIPP) is a contribution program created in 1991 that provides funding to support professional, dedicated and responsive policing services.
Federal Budget 2021 provided $540.3 million over five years, beginning in 2021–2022, and $126.8 million ongoing, to support Indigenous communities currently served under the FNIPP and expand the program to new Indigenous communities.
The $250-million Building Safer Communities Fund (BSCF) was announced in March 2022. It builds on the success of other federal action, such as the Initiative To Take Action Against Gun and Gang Violence – a five-year $356.1 million investment announced in 2018. This includes the Gun and Gang Violence Action Fund, which brings together federal, provincial and territorial supports to tackle the increase in gun-related violence and gang activity in Canada, with over $214 million in funding provided to provinces and territories over five years.
In 2023, the Government of Canada announced an additional $390 million over five years through the Gun and Gang Violence Action Fund to provinces and territories for a variety of initiatives, including support for law enforcement and prevention programs.