Ta na wa Téy̓wilhay̓lhem
Public Safety

Ta na wa Téy̓wilhay̓lhem is responsible for ensuring the safety and enhancing the resilience of our people and communities through prevention, education, advocacy, intervention, support, and enforcement. 

Department Contact
Phone: 604-980-4553
Email: public_safety@squamish.net 
Address: 320 Seymour Blvd., North Vancouver, BC V7J 2J3
Director: Gursimran Gill

Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Name:  Ta na wa Téy̓wilhay̓lhem
“Ta na wa Téy̓wilhay̓lhem” could be interpreted as “the ones protecting the descendants”.

Programs & Services

Emergency Response & Planning

The Emergency Response & Planning team focuses on increasing the Nation’s capacity to respond to emergencies like fires, flood, and heatwaves, and provides the first 72-hour emergency support services to Members affected by these types of events. The team also provides initial emergency support services to off-reserve Members. Members requiring assistance in emergencies can contact emergencyresponse@squamish.net or 604-374-2687.

Emergency Planning & Response oversees the submission and review of Event Safety Plans (Communicable Disease Prevention) which increase public safety and assist in having all events run smoothly. Organizers of community events are required to submit an Event Safety Plan a minimum of five business days before an event.

Manager: David Harrison 
Phone: 604-982-7600
Email: David_Harrison@squamish.net

Community Guardians

Community Guardians patrol Squamish Nation communities and other locations and proactively observe, record, educate, and report safety incidents. They also support emergency preparedness/prevention education, events, and outreach, and assist Members who are affected by emergencies such as fires and floods.

Public Safety Task Force

On May 19, 2022, Nexwsxwníw̓ntm ta Úxwumixw (Council) approved an Integrated Public Safety Action Plan, which included the creation of a task force on public safety with a mandate to investigate, seek expert advice, and make recommendations to Council.

The objectives of the Public Safety Task Force are to:

  1. Improve the enforcement of Sḵwx̱wú7mesh laws, by-laws and policies;  
  2. Develop a response strategy to critical incidents or urgent situations that could give rise to public safety concerns; and, 
  3. Develop a holistic and integrated approach and framework to preventing and reducing urgent situations that give rise to public safety concerns in the medium- to long-term.     

The Task Force is made up of individuals who bring extensive experience, knowledge, and expertise on public safety issues, including prevention, policing, justice, health, and harm reduction. 

Janice Abbott is of Northern European and Secwepemc (Neskonlith) ancestry. She has been the CEO of Atira Women’s Resource Society since 1992. She has led the Society through its incredible growth from a single transition house located in South Surrey with a staff of seven to a large multi-service agency with two, for-profit subsidiaries, a development arm and more than 1400 staff. Janice is also an appointee to the Board of Directors of Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation; and to the Board of Directors of the First Nations Health Authority. She is also the Vice Chair and Treasurer on the Board of Directors of the Aboriginal Mother Centre Society.

Curtis Bedwell is a settler who grew up on the traditional and unceded territories of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), Səl̓ílwətaʔ (Tsleil-Waututh) and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) Nations. He is the Director of Policy for the BC First Nations Justice Council and is part of the team responsible for implementing the BC First Nations Justice Strategy.

Shannon McDonald is a recently retired public and population health physician who has worked for over 25 years specializing in Indigenous health and Wellness.  She most recently worked as the Chief Medical Officer at the First Nations Health Authority. She is Métis/Anishinaabe and comes originally from the Red River Valley of Manitoba (Treaty 1 territory). She is married, and has a loving family of 4 adult children, 3 grandchildren and two dogs. She resides as a guest on Tsawout First Nation.

Mary Clare Zak is a second generation settler and mother of three living on the traditional and unceded lands of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. She is grateful to Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Nation for the invitation to participate in the Task Force. Her role as Managing Director, Social Policy at the City of Vancouver includes advising Mayor and Council on social issues and supporting collaboration across governments and communities to respond to these.

Khelsilem (Task Force Chair) is the current Chairperson of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw. Khelsilem’s lifelong work has focused on progressive social change, including climate justice, social democracy and gender equity. Khelsilem brought this passion for change when he became leader of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw in 2021. Khelsilem has been a strong advocate for democratic reform, good governance, and policy change that addresses the material needs & conditions of his people.

The work of the Task Force is supported by both the CAO (Sheldon Tetreault) and the Public Safety Commissioner (Gursimran Gill), as well as a Technical Team comprising Department Directors and Managers whose work interests with public safety. The work is supported by a facilitator (Andrea Reimer) and a researcher (Kinwa Bluesky), as well as Special Projects Manager from Strategic Operations (Sharon Roling).

The Task Force began meeting in December 2022 at the Main Office on the North Shore and will continue meeting until June 2023 (5 meetings total). In April, a series of small focus group discussions will be held with Members. In July, the final report with key findings and recommendations will be presented to Council.

Community input and feedback on the Task Force’s preliminary findings and suggestions will be gathered from a number of small focus groups on the North Shore and in the Squamish Valley during in April and early May, including:

  • Elders Advisory Committee
  • Community Services Committee
  • Focus Group at CJMC
  • Technical Team (Directors and Managers whose work intersects with public safety)
  • Focus Group at Totem Hall
  • Off-Reserve Focus Group