Blue Line

Manitoba Government enhances safety officer program to protect communities

March 4, 2024  By Government of Manitoba

Mar. 4, 2024, Winnipeg, Man. – The Manitoba government has proclaimed legislation and enacted regulations that expand the role of safety officers in protecting Manitoba’s communities, Justice Minister Matt Wiebe announced today.

“Community and First Nation safety officers are an integral part of the public safety landscape,” said Wiebe. “The Police Services Amendment Act and updated safety officer regulations will expand the scope and authority of safety officers to respond to safety threats, enforce provincial and First Nation laws, and assist law enforcement, freeing up Manitoba’s police services to respond to complex crime.”

In 2023, the Manitoba legislative assembly passed Bill 34, the Police Services Amendment Act. Bill 34 expands the role of safety officers in assisting their local policing authority and enables safety officers to provide an initial response to safety threats and detain individuals posing a safety threat. The updated community and First Nation safety officer regulations expand these authorities further, adding additional provincial offences and enforcement powers.

Bill 34 and the updated regulations will help First Nation communities respond to public safety concerns and more effectively enforce band bylaws. It will also help rural communities crack down on speeding and other traffic safety challenges using safety officers, the minister noted.


“It is the vision of the MKO First Nations that our communities are the safest and healthiest places for our citizens to live,” said Grand Chief Garrison Settee, Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (MKO). “The close collaboration between MKO and Manitoba Justice is an example of how First Nations and government can work creatively and positively together to support and pursue public safety and well-being in First Nation communities.”

The updated regulations will require safety officers to receive advanced training, which now includes searches and seizures; detentions and arrests; crisis response tactics and strategies; road safety and traffic enforcement; and Indigenous awareness and community diversity. The required training is currently being offered by Assiniboine Community College.

Upon successful completion of the program, community safety officers and First Nation safety officers will have the powers and protections of a peace officer while performing their duties and exercising their lawful authority.

“It is long-awaited to have the recognition and enhanced training and authorities for our First Nation safety officers to enforce the First Nation laws that we need to protect our community,” said Chief Michael Yellowback, Manto Sipi Cree Nation.

Bill 34 and the updated regulations respond to recommendations and long-standing requests from Indigenous leaders to expand the enforcement authorities of First Nation safety officers, noted the minister. The legislation and accompanying regulations were co-developed with Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak and First Nation leaders across the province.

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