Bear Clan Patrol to provide community-led crime prevention downtown Kenora
NEWS July 24, 2020 KENORA—Ontario is investing $800,000, with $400,000 from the Kenora District Services Board (KDSB),to support a one-year pilot project with the Kenora Bear Clan Patrol to strengthen community safety and well-being of the community’s most vulnerable.
The Indigenous-led Kenora Bear Clan Patrol will monitor city streets and public spaces24 hours, 7 days a week, connecting at-risk community members to support. “Today’s investment is a direct response to the on-going crisis in Kenora’s downtown,” said Greg Rickford, MPP for Kenora-Rainy River, Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines, Minister of Indigenous Affairs. “Together, my government, the KDSBand the Kenora Chiefs Advisory has taken action to deliver a community-led, culturally-appropriate solution that respects our community and those in need of support. ”The Kenora Bear Clan Patrol will begin operation at 2:00 p.m. CDT on Friday, July 24.
The Ontario Government acted quickly to deliver this funding today, bringing together financial contributions from multiple ministries including the Office of the Solicitor General, the Ministry of the Attorney General and the Ministry of Indigenous Affairs.“The Kenora District Services Board is honoured to be a partner in developing the Bear Clan Patrol within Kenora,” said Henry Wall, Chief Administration Officer at the Kenora District Services Board. “The KDSB is pleased to provide $400,000 in funding towards such a critical initiative. This has only been possible due to our Board and Municipalities' collective vision in supporting each other in a time of need.” This community-led approach will ensure that at-risk individuals are supported at the first point of contact by patrol members with shared social and historical contexts who can provide supports in ways that are respectful and cognizant of their culture and beliefs.
“We are happy to see support for the Bear Clan Patrol pilot project in Kenora. COVID-19 has pushed to the breaking point all the social issues facing our people such as homelessness, mental health and addictions issues, and lack of employment opportunities,” said Francis Kavanaugh, Ogichidaa, Grand Council Treaty #3. “It is our hope that indigenous-led projects such as this can be positive steps forward towards addressing these growing concerns.” “TheBear Clan Patrol is a positive way to protect vulnerable members of society and alleviate some of the struggles faced by disadvantaged people, said Deputy Grand Chief Derek Fox, Nishnawbe Aski Nation. “The coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated social issues that many people in Kenora are facing, and this project is a promising step towards helping the city’s vulnerable community members.
We look forward to monitoring their success and will advocate for similar initiatives to be implemented across the region.”If successful, the pilot project could be extended to other regions where a culturally-sensitive and appropriate response model is also needed to assist Ontario’s most vulnerable populations.“As a result of physical distancing and isolation measures, the COVID-19 situation has exacerbated mental health and addiction challenges for Kenora’s most-vulnerable population —creating an increased need for services and assistance,” said Sylvia Jones, Solicitor General. “By partnering with the Bear Clan Patrol, our government is supporting the community as a whole to address challenges, while also allowing the OPP to focus their time and resources on community safety issues. ”The Ontario Provincial Police welcomes the Bear Clan Patrol Project as a way to provide culturally-sensitive support during situations involving vulnerable individuals who may be experiencing mental health or addiction-related crisis,” said OPP Commissioner Thomas Carrique.
“Collaboration such as this between police and communities contributes greatly to community safety and wellbeing.”As Attorney General I’m committed to advancing new and innovative ways of keeping people safe in northern and remote communities,” said Attorney General Doug Downey. “Our government’s investment in the Kenora Bear Clan Patrol Project will help expand community-led public safety solutions and reduce the cycle of offending –goals shared by our Kenora Justice Centre pilot project.”
•The year-long pilot will run until the end of July 2021.
•Created in 2015, in Winnipeg, Manitoba the Bear Clan Patrol is a community-based solution to crime prevention that has several chapters across Canada.
•Patrollers wear high visibility vests and patrol the downtown core areas.
The team has a mobile support worker who has access to a vehicle to respond to calls to transport people to hospitals and other locations or to bring needed items.