Funding for another RCMP officer
Council voted to fund a new RCMP officer at the Banff detachment this July, and will consider funding an additional permanent position starting in 2023. Currently, 14 officers are municipally funded and two are funded by the Government of Alberta.
This new position will be funded through tax dollars. In 2022, the budget will increase $71,000, rising to $144,800 in 2023 for a full year for salary, with benefits, equipment and other overhead. During the budget debates starting this November, Council will discuss adding an additional permanent position.
Council also voted to engage the province in discussion about their funding, which has historically paid for more officers in Banff. At the time of the Town’s incorporation in 1990, the Town of Banff became financially responsible for nine members, and the province would pay for seven members, totalling 16 municipal members for general policing of the townsite. There were an additional two officers identified as “rural” paid by the province for policing of the area surrounding the municipality, bringing the total detachment size to 18 members.
In 2010, the Government of Alberta’s office of the Solicitor General said that Banff had one of the least busy detachments in the province, and they would therefore no longer fund seven positions.
According to the Town’s Incorporation Agreement, “The Town shall pay for an RCMP detachment, together with support services, facilities and police officers, as are deployed in Alberta towns of similar size, and Alberta shall provide and pay for, under the RCMP Provincial Policing Contract, additional policing as may be required for the ordinary policing of the townsite, having regard to its unique circumstances as a centre for Park visitors.”
The Town will ask the province about meeting the needs outlined in the Incorporation Agreement.
Town Creating Indigenous Framework Document
An Indigenous Framework is being developed by the Town of Banff this year. Council received an update on the progress of the framework, which was a key action identified by in the 2019-2022 Strategic Plan.
Grounded in the spirit of Truth and Reconciliation, this initiative recognizes that our community’s history is deeply connected to Indigenous Peoples and that we must work together as partners and stewards of the land. Reconciliation is about understanding the past and working together to build a new future. With an emphasis on building relationships, education, and action, the Town’s Indigenous Framework is to be a guiding policy to assist the municipality in being respectful, cooperative, and active partners in the process of reconciliation.
The framework will be developed entirely from guidance from Indigenous leaders, knowledge keepers and Elders in the region. The meetings to build and strengthen relationships this year are a critical phase.
In developing the framework, the 10 Principles of Reconciliation as identified by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada are being used to frame the process:
1. The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is the framework for reconciliation at all levels and across all sectors of Canadian society.
2. First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples, as the original peoples of this country and as self-determining peoples, have Treaty, constitutional, and human rights that must be recognized and respected.
3. Reconciliation is a process of healing of relationships that requires public truth sharing, apology, and commemoration that acknowledge and redress past harms.
4. Reconciliation requires constructive action on addressing the ongoing legacies of colonialism that have had destructive impacts on Aboriginal peoples’ education, cultures and languages, health, child welfare, the administration of justice, and economic opportunities and prosperity.
5. Reconciliation must create a more equitable and inclusive society by closing the gaps in social, health, and economic outcomes that exist between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Canadians.
6. All Canadians, as Treaty peoples, share responsibility for establishing and maintaining mutually respectful relationships.
7. The perspectives and understandings of Aboriginal Elders and Traditional Knowledge Keepers of the ethics, concepts, and practices of reconciliation are vital to long-term reconciliation.
8. Supporting Aboriginal peoples’ cultural revitalization and integrating Indigenous knowledge systems, oral histories, laws, protocols, and connections to the land into the reconciliation process are essential.
9. Reconciliation requires political will, joint leadership, trust building, accountability, and transparency, as well as a substantial investment of resources.
10. Reconciliation requires sustained public education and dialogue, including youth engagement, about the history and legacy of residential schools, Treaties, and Aboriginal rights, as well as the historical and contemporary contributions of Aboriginal peoples to Canadian society.
The Truth and Reconciliation Report also outlines 94 Calls to Action on how governments of all levels, institutions, and residents of Canada can support the process of reconciliation. Alberta Municipalities (formerly AUMA) narrowed down the list to 12 calls to actions to serve as a starting point for municipal governments, two of which the Town of Banff has made significant progress in setting the foundation for future collaborative efforts.
Action #45 iii Renew or establish Treaty relationships based on principles of mutual recognition, mutual respect, and shared responsibility for maintaining those relationships into the future.
Action #57 Educate public servants on the history of Indigenous peoples, including the history and legacy of residential schools, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Treaties and Indigenous rights, Indigenous law, and Indigenous Crown relations.
Both action items describe activities that the Town of Banff has expressed interest in addressing and will support more detailed subsequent action items that become initiatives related to programs, policy, installations and commemorative naming in the future, once the Indigenous Engagement Framework is established.