Bear Clan board chair addresses former executive director James Favel’s firing

Favel helped resurrect the group in 2014 after the murder of Tina Fontaine

While it’s still not clear exactly what led to the ousting of Bear Clan Patrol Inc.’s former executive director and co-founder James Favel, the neighbourhood-watch group’s board chair claims the firing resulted from accusations of misconduct.

Favel’s departure was announced by the Bear Clan board of directors in an email sent to reporters on the evening of July 31, a Friday prior to a long weekend.

In a recent round of interviews, Favel has claimed he was “betrayed and bullied” by the board of directors.

But Shaneen Robinson-Desjarlais, Bear Clan board chair, says there are a number of reasons why Favel’s employment as the executive director was ended.

In a series of email responses, Robinson-Desjarlais says those reasons include but are not limited to a Workplace Safety and Health investigation which took place after an employee at Bear Clan Patrol Inc. filed a complaint.

Robinson-Desjarlais, who became board chair in July 2020, said, “That investigation agreed the victim was intimidated and treated in an unprofessional manner.”

Robinson-Desjarlais says Favel participated in the investigation.

Despite repeated requests, Favel would not agreed to an interview with APTN News. However, Favel has spoken with other media outlets, where he denied the accusations.

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The board has accused Favel of inappropriate behaviour involving more than one person.

Robinson-Desjarlais said, “In order to protect the victims, the board will not comment on this. What I can says is there are serious accusations that have been confirmed (presumably by Workplace Health and Safety) and they also have played a part in his dismissal.”

Favel’s firing was a unanimous decision of the board.

Favel has been the face of the volunteer organization that is now a registered charity.

Over the past six years, dozens of Bear Clan chapters have opened in communities across Canada.

Dozens of posts on social media have speculated about what led to the firing, but the facts remain unclear.

Six years ago, when the Winnipeg chapter came out of hibernation, hundreds of dollars were involved.

Now, hundreds of thousands of dollars roll into the organization that has also expanded to include services like food sharing programs.

Favel’s salary as executive director of the volunteer organization was more than $100,000.

Concerns have also been raised over the number of former and active Winnipeg Police Service members sitting on the board.

One of those members recently resigned.

Devon Clunis, former police chief and first Black police chief in Canada, remains a board member.

There is also an active police service member, Brian Chrupalo, who is Indigenous and was the previous board chair.

Robinson-Desjarlais says Chrupalo is single-handedly responsible for creating the weekly food hamper distribution program.

Bear Clan Patrol Inc. will hold its annual general meeting on Aug. 24.

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