What are the challenges of being involved in compliance or enforcement?

For both Indigenous Guardians who conduct education and outreach to achieve compliance with rules and regulations or those guardians who are involved with enforcing Indigenous or Canadian laws and policies - there can be very real challenges.

Often guardians are interacting with both the general public and members of their own community who are not following the rules. Guardians report being particularly challenged if there is a familial relationship with the person in question, or if the person who is not following the rules holds a position of power in the community. 

The difficulties of seeking compliance in this context can be eased by ensuring that:

  • Clear and documented information on policies and regulations is available to and shared with the community and the public.
  • Indigenous laws and community policies are well known, understood and supported by community members and the general public.
  • Elected and hereditary leaders publicly support and uphold these policies including standing firm behind guardians when action is taken.
  • Guardians feel safe, well- trained, and guided by clear protocols and policies to deal with compliance and enforcement in the field.
  • Guardians are well-trained to collect information and evidence to enable the appropriate authorities to follow up to pursue enforcement action, charges, legal recourse, etc.

“You are not looking for confrontation in the backcountry but respectful interaction. If you have policies, you need to state them. You are not getting into a stand off. Be a good role model. Know the federal and provincial policies so that you know what information and evidence to collect to bring it to the authorities to get a conviction. Push policy change by documenting violations even in the absence of regulation or recognized legal authority.”

Bruce Maclean, Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation

“You are not looking for confrontation in the backcountry but respectful interaction. If you have policies..."