New Legislation clarifies, strengthens role of Conservation Officers
MGEU President Michelle Gawronsky Joins Conservation Officers for Announcement by Conservation and Water Stewardship Minister Gord Mackintosh
Nov 28, 2014
Manitoba has introduced legislation formally recognizing Natural Resource Officers as Conservation Officers, with the powers of law enforcement and peace officers, Conservation and Water Stewardship Minister Gord Mackintosh announced today.
“Conservation Officers have an important role and carry the responsibility of protecting people and the environment,” Minister Mackintosh said. “As the third largest armed law enforcement agency in the province, they deserve unique recognition and without any ambiguity in law.”
The Conservation Officers Act formally creates an entity similar to a police service, including provisions for establishing a complaints process. It also formally changes the designation to Conservation Officers from Natural Resource Officers. Conservation Officers enforce all resource-based legislation relating to wildlife, forestry, parks, Crown lands and wildfires. They find poachers, issue summons, conduct investigations and testify in court.
“I’m so proud to be here today to help usher in this legislation that our COs have long advocated for,” said MGEU President Michelle Gawronsky. “Each day, these Manitobans are out there putting themselves on the line and now they will have a specific Act that recognizes the training, mandate and authority to do the job that they’re there to do.”
Manitoba has had Resource Officers since the 1940s but until now, the group did not have formal legislation to confirm their authorities, function and mandate. The new Act also ensures that the training, qualifications and oversight process will be similar to the process for police services, while recognizing the differences because of the unique functions of a Conservation Officer.