Policing infrastructure rejig in Canada’s northwestern Yukon territory

Besides infrastructure updates, the Royal Canadian Police will also initiate new regional operational models in five Yukon communities: Faro, Ross River, Haines Junction, Burwash Landing and the Destruction Bay area. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and the Government of Yukon announced new plans this week for policing infrastructure in the territory.

Besides renovations to police buildings in the communities of Faro and Ross River, a new detachment building is planned for the community of Carcross in consultation with the Carcross Tagish First Nation and Yukon’s departments of justice and highways and public works.

Costs are expected to run around $11-million.

“It’s important for us to address ageing infrastructure with respect to how we deliver police services here in the territory,” Tracy-Anne McPhee, Yukon’s justice minister, told Eye on the Arctic in a phone interview on Friday.

“(The government and RCMP) have really tried to put our heads together to make sure that we are coming up with creative ideas to address policing issues here in the territory.”

'We need creative ideas': Yukon justice minister
Yukon Justice Minister Tracy-Anne McPhee and Scott Sheppard, the Yukon RCMP commanding officer chief superintendent, at the Yukon policing announcement this week. (Courtesy Government of Yukon)

For more on Yukon’s policing plans and the importance of keeping the community policing model in Yukon, listen to Eye on the Arctic‘s conversation with Yukon Justice Minister Tracy-Anne McPhee:

New operational models

Besides building rejigs, new regional operational models will be put in place in five Yukon communities: Faro, Ross River, Haines Junction, Burwash Landing and the Destruction Bay area.

“Policing in Yukon continues to evolve,” said Scott Sheppard, the Yukon RCMP commanding officer chief superintendent, in a news release on Tuesday.

“It’s important that we remain flexible to new service delivery models, so we can maintain our ability to respond to Yukon’s unique policing requirements. This can only be achieved through ongoing and honest discussions with our policing partners. Providing proper facilities for our employees will have a positive impact on the work we carry out in these communities.”

RCMP in the North
The RCMP (earlier called the North West Mounted Police) has been policing Yukon since the 1800s. In this undated photo, the North West Mounted Police are shown in Tagish Post, Yukon. (National Archives of Canada/The Canadian Press)

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police are Canada’s national police force. The also provide policing in the majority of rural Canada and places without municipal law enforcement. The RCMP also provides policing in Canada’s three northern territories: Yukon, the neighbouring Northwest Territories and the eastern Arctic territory of Nunavut.

Sources: Government of Yukon, Royal Canadian Mounted Police

The RCMP provides  policing to Yukon under contract.

The policing infrastructure investments announced this week are governed under the 20-year Territorial Police Service Agreement between Canada and Yukon.

There are around 36,000 people living in the territory.

Write to Eilís Quinn at eilis.quinn@cbc.ca

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Former Canadian Mountie sues after developing PTSD while policing in the North, CBC News

Denmark: Nordics report high abuse levels against women, Radio Sweden

Finland: Finnish-Swedish police launch cross-border cooperation, Barents Observer

Russia:  Service reindeer for police in Russia’s Arctic, The Independent Barents Observer

Sweden:  Cross-border Nordic policing would better serve Arctic: politician, Radio Sweden

United States: New police unit to fight violent crime in west Alaska, Alaska Dispatch News

Eilís Quinn, Eye on the Arctic

Eilís Quinn is an award-winning journalist and manages Radio Canada International’s Eye on the Arctic news cooperation project. Eilís has reported from the Arctic regions of all eight circumpolar countries and has produced numerous documentary and multimedia series about climate change and the issues facing Indigenous peoples in the North.

Her investigative report "Death in the Arctic: A community grieves, a father fights for change," about the murder of Robert Adams, a 19-year-old Inuk man from Arctic Quebec, received the silver medal for “Best Investigative Article or Series” at the 2019 Canadian Online Publishing Awards. The project also received an honourable mention for excellence in reporting on trauma at the 2019 Dart Awards in New York City.

Her report “The Arctic Railway: Building a future or destroying a culture?” on the impact a multi-billion euro infrastructure project would have on Indigenous communities in Arctic Europe was a finalist at the 2019 Canadian Association of Journalists award in the online investigative category.

Her multimedia project on the health challenges in the Canadian Arctic, "Bridging the Divide," was a finalist at the 2012 Webby Awards.

Her work on climate change in the Arctic has also been featured on the TV science program Découverte, as well as Le Téléjournal, the French-Language CBC’s flagship news cast.

Eilís has worked for media organizations in Canada and the United States and as a TV host for the Discovery/BBC Worldwide series "Best in China."

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