Blue Line

MODG awaits justice department response on police board position

July 19, 2023  By Lois Ann Dort, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

July 19, 2023, Guysborough, N.S. – Councillors for the Municipality of the District of Guysborough (MODG) voted against the formation of a police advisory board, as required under the provincial Police Act, during a committee of the whole meeting last month.

In its stead, council favours a quarterly meeting with the RCMP – a system in use for many years in the MODG – which acts as a forum to advance any questions or issues that those councillors represent have brought forward regarding policing.

Following the June meeting, the MODG sent a letter to the Nova Scotia Department of Justice petitioning the minister responsible for the Police Act of Nova Scotia for approval to maintain the current system, which they believe is equal to or better than a police advisory board.

On July 14, MODG CAO Barry Carroll told The Journal that the MODG had not received a reply from the justice department.

Asked what the municipality’s history was regarding the formation of a police advisory board, Carroll stated in an email, “Council had advertised for a number of years with no volunteers stepping forward. As a result, council did assign the committee of the whole the responsibility of meeting with the RCMP.”

The Journal contacted the justice department to ask where they stood on this file and the MODG’s request to forego the implementation of a police advisory board in favour of quarterly meetings between the RCMP and council.

Justice department spokesman Andrew Preeper responded via email on July 17 stating, “Our position has not changed on this matter. Under the Police Act – Section 44 (1) and 57 (1), municipalities are responsible for establishing a Police Advisory Board or a Municipal Board of Police Commissioners that provides civilian oversight on behalf of the council. In May 2023, a letter was sent to all municipalities reminding them of their obligation under the Police Act. The department received a follow-up letter on this matter from the Municipality of the District of Guysborough dated July 6; it will be replied to in due course,” Preeper wrote.

According to the Police Act, Section 44 (1) Every municipality that establishes a municipal police department pursuant to Section 36, 84 or 85 shall, by by-law, provide for a board of police commissioners and Section 57 (1) A municipality receiving policing services in whole or in part from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police or the Provincial Police shall establish a police advisory board.

– Guysborough Journal

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