A message from the Board of Directors of Bear Clan Patrol Inc.

The termination of employment of Bear Clan executive director, James Favel, has led to a number of false allegations being made by Mr. Favel and others. The following corrects this misinformation.

False statement 1: Bear Clan Patrol has a budget of $1.5 million dollars.

The facts: Audited financial statements for 2019 report that Bear Clan had total revenues of just over $600,000. We project a slight increase in 2020, but this will be largely due to one-time federal grants to cover the cost of providing food hampers during the pandemic.

Mr. Favel has been a salaried employee of Bear Clan for a period of about three years.

All members of Bear Clan Board of Directors including its chair, are 100% volunteers. No board member is compensated for the work they do on behalf of Bear Clan and the community.

False statement 2:  The Board is not diverse / does not reflect the community / doesn’t do the work of Bear Clan.

The facts: The Board has nine members.

Five Directors, including three women, are Indigenous. Of the remaining four, one is Filipino, one is Black Canadian, and two are of European ancestry. The composition accurately reflects the make-up of the communities we serve, according to the federal census. As well, board members either grew up in, and/or current live in the communities we serve.

Each member brings specific expertise and insight and has been vital to Bear Clan’s outreach and growth. Several of our board members also walk with patrols, while James Favel has not walked with a patrol for more than a year.

The Board has been responsible for building relationships with donors and completing grant applications that fund important programs such as the food hamper distribution program.

False statement 3: The Board is overreaching / dismissed James Favel with no warning or valid explanation and should be disbanded.

The facts: James Favel has not been forthcoming about the causes for his dismissal. In order to protect the privacy of those involved, the Board cannot comment in detail on those causes.

It is the Board’s responsibility to hold the executive director accountable and ensure the effective, professional operation of Bear Clan in compliance with all applicable laws. Serious human resources issues came to light, that were independently confirmed, and they are among the reasons for his dismissal.

The following is a quote from an independent human resources workplace evaluation completed in March 2020:

“…there were significant, ongoing concerns from a number of participants relating to staffing and accountability, primarily revolving around James. In the assessor’s opinion, the potential impact could be a total breakdown of the organization as a whole.”

The following is a quote from a July 2020 Manitoba Workplace and Safety report resulting from an investigation of a complaint about James Favel’s conduct:

“Mr. Favel does not believe that he has done anything wrong, however, his treatment of _(name redacted)_ has been unprofessional and intimidating.  Although he has been asked to apologize to _(name redacted)_ for his mistreatment, he has not done so to date.”

When the Board attempted to address a formal staff complaint against Mr. Favel in March 2020, he responded by hiring a lawyer and attempting to dismiss the Board. This was the third time he resorted to this tactic. He had similarly fallen out with, and forced to dissolve, two previous Boards.

The majority of the members of all of these Boards were personally recruited by Mr. Favel, including seven out of the nine current Board members. The fact is, he has consistently demonstrated an inability to work with any Bear Clan Board, or any Bear Clan Board member, no matter who they are.

False statement 4: The Board is dominated by the Winnipeg Police Service (WPS).

The facts: Bear Clan Patrol is based on the principle of a community working closely with police to improve the safety and security of vulnerable residents, particularly women and children.

There are two Directors on the Board with current or former connection to the WPS. One, Brian Chrupalo, is a police officer who acts as a liaison with the WPS.

Another, Devon Clunis, is nationally recognized as an authority on police reform and community policing.

Both Mr. Chrupalo and Mr. Clunis were recruited to the Board by Mr. Favel.

False statement 5: The Board is “chaotic” and hasn’t been able to hold an Annual General Meeting within the legal time limit.

The facts: The Board held its last AGM on January 12, 2019. It had planned to hold the next AGM in the Spring of 2020, well within the 18-month time limit stipulated by its Bylaws. However, due to the COVID-19 crisis, Bear Clan’s accountant was unable to complete the financial audit until July 2020.

Also due to the COVID-19 crisis, the Province of Manitoba has allowed non-profit organizations such as Bear Clan to delay their AGMs until the end of September. The AGM will be held well within the new provincial deadline, at a date to be announced.

Every board decision made in the last six months has been unanimous (with the exception of one director’s abstention in one vote). We were also unanimous in our decision to release Mr. Favel.

False statement 6: The Board interfered unreasonably in the Executive Director’s responsibilities.

The facts: The Bylaws mandate the Board “to determine and effect” the organization’s policies.

The Board acted appropriately, and in full compliance with its Bylaws, at all times in its former relationship with Mr. Favel.

The Board’s goal, and responsibility, is to at all times ensure compliance with important human resource laws, policies and procedures, as well as financial accountability. It properly held the Executive Director accountable for meeting these requirements.