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Sask. establishes mandate and objectives of new provincial police force | CBC News


The Saskatchewan government has approved the mandate for how its new police agency will operate in the province and what the marshals will prioritize. 

Premier Scott Moe signed an order in council last week, officially approving the terms and conditions.

The government had created the framework for its new marshals service by passing amendments to The Police Act, 1990 earlier this year. The service is expected to be operational in 2026 and will cost around $20 million annually.

According to the government order, the mandate of the marshals is to: 

  • detect, disrupt, and deter criminal activity primarily in rural and remote areas, focusing on higher crime locations throughout the province through highly visible and intelligence-led rural and remote patrol functions
  • enforce provincial and federal statutes
  • locate and apprehend high-risk and prolific offenders wanted on arrest warrants
  • conduct proactive enforcement actions and investigations into offences related to farming and agriculture such as cattle, crop, metal and farm chemical theft, and trespassing that may result in crop damage
  • provide emergency and specialized support or assistance to Saskatchewan police services or other law enforcement when requested

Service will be overseen by gov’t minister, not board

The new marshal service will report to and be guided by ministry officials. 

According to the government order, the Chief Marshal will be subject to “the general direction of the minister of corrections, policing and public safety and to The Police Act, 1990 and the regulations.”

Furthermore, “the deputy minister of corrections, policing and public safety will act in place of a board for the Saskatchewan Marshals Service” and that the deputy minister will “have the same duties and responsibilities as those of a board responsible for police pursuant to the provisions of The Police Act, 1990.”

Christine Tell, who is the minister of corrections, policing and public safety, said Tuesday that the deputy minister will act in place of a board on a temporary basis.

“He will be appointed as an interim board, so that is until we get a Chief Marshal hired, procurement of equipment and vehicles, whatever the case may be, ensuring that the policies and procedures are in place and making sure that they are appropriate for a service like this.”

Tell said the government will hire a Chief Marshal in the next few months. She also said she hoped a board would eventually be established after that, but she did not provide a time frame for that. This formation of a board is not reflected in the order in council. 

Opposition questions oversight structure

On Tuesday, Nicole Sarauer, who is the opposition critic for correctionspolicing and public safety, questioned the reporting structure and independence of the new police force.

“It’s very concerning,” she said. “The most egregious thing is the deputy minister will be acting in place of the board. It’s a slap in the face to the rule of law.”

Sarauer said this structure is a departure from how police agencies are traditionally governed in Canada.

“Boards exist as the oversight body for policing for a very distinct reason and to remove that is a marked departure from Canadian policing principles.”

Sarauer said she has concerns about politicians directing the police force.

“Another concern is: do they want to have more access to information that police have right now? All of that is kept separate from political bodies —  and separate from government in democracies like ours — and that’s for very good reason.”

She said the Opposition will be pushing the government to ensure the agency is independent and free of political interference.

Marshal services pushed forward despite concerns

The NDP is not alone in raising concerns about the new police force. Others have criticized the need for a new service as certain crime statistics have trended down. The union that represents Saskatchewan police officers have called the marshals service “completely unnecessary.”

The service is being created “to provide an increased level of public safety” throughout the province, according to Minister Tell. 

She said marshals will be tasked with helping combat specific issues, like outstanding warrants of violent prolific offenders.

“There are increases in the crime of trafficking of drugs and or illegal firearms. There are increases in crime with respect to gang-related activity and sadly we are also seeing increases in human trafficking,” she said. “These are areas that require strategic attention.”

Marshals will be stationed throughout the province — potentially at satellite offices, including at places where other government employees, such as conservation officers, already work. 

When it comes to responding to calls for assistance, “the direction will come from the police of jurisdiction — but that’s not to say the marshals are not able to self-generate,” Tell said. 

The order says the marshals will have jurisdiction within Saskatchewan but it “is not the police of jurisdiction for areas policed under the Provincial Police Service Agreement or by established municipal police services.”

Tell said the marshals will work in conjunction with the RCMP and that the provincial government intends to have the Mounties remain as the primary provincial police force.

She said they will collaborate with existing agencies to iron out details for the new agency in the coming years. 

“We’re starting from ground zero here,” she said.


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