The purpose of the First Voice Working Group on Police Oversight (the “Working Group”) is to develop a provincial framework for implementing Calls for Justice 5.7 and 9.2(iii) of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (“MMIWG”).
These two Calls for Justice urge federal, provincial, and territorial governments to establish robust and well-funded civilian-led oversight authorities of police services within their own jurisdictions. They also call on all actors at all levels of the justice system to work together to ensure adequate and appropriate representation of Indigenous Peoples, women, and 2SLGBTQQIA people within all such oversight authorities.
The Working Group will advance action in these areas by bringing together First Voice Partners, Contributors, and Supporters along with community members, government representatives, and other stakeholders to discuss, debate, and develop a set of recommendations to strengthen civilian oversight of police services in Newfoundland and Labrador.
The Working Group is led by the following Co-Chairs:
- Catherine Fagan, President of the Board of Directors of First Light: St. John’s Friendship Centre
- Caitlin Urquhart, Chair of the Board of Directors of the St. John’s Status of Women Council
The following organizations are Permanent Members of the Working Group:
- First Light: St. John’s Friendship Centre
- St. John’s Status of Women Council
- Newfoundland and Labrador Human Rights Commission
- Provincial Advisory Council on the Status of Women
- Safe Harbour Outreach Project
- YWCA St. John’s
In addition, Permanent Members of the Working Group may from time to time invite other organizational stakeholders as well as non-affiliated individuals to participate in the Working Group. Such participants may serve either as contributing Associate Members or as non-contributing Observers.
The Working Group is responsible for overseeing the production, review, approval, and publication of the following documents:
- An interim Discussion Paper, which will include (1) a legislative review of existing civilian-led oversight mechanisms in Newfoundland and Labrador; and (2) an environmental scan of civilian-led oversight mechanisms that are already in place in other relevant common-law jurisdictions.
- A Final Report, which will include specific recommendations in line with MMIWG 5.7 and 9.2(iii) for strengthening civilian oversight of police services in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Final versions of both documents will be made publicly available on the First Voice website and any other appropriate channels by no later than December 15, 2021.
Terms of Reference
The Working Group’s full Terms of Reference are available here.