Jean-Michel Blais has over twenty-eight years of policing experience, having served with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the United Nations and now with the Halifax Regional Police. He began his policing career in 1988 in the RCMP in the Québec City area working on various criminal organizations. In 1995, he completed his first tour of duty with the United Nations in Haiti. Following his return, he worked in Québec City and Montréal on the Hell’s Angels and on Colombian drug cartels in Canada, Columbia and Cuba. He was then transferred to Manitoba as a commissioned officer where he worked in municipal, provincial and First Nations policing and was the officer in charge of Major Crimes Services for the province.
In 2004, he was transferred to Ottawa to become a permanent disciplinary adjudicator, then director of the RCMP’s internal disciplinary tribunal. In early 2008, he was assigned to the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti as the Deputy Police Commissioner in charge of operations. Upon his return from Haiti in 2009, he worked as the chief prosecutor for the same disciplinary tribunal. In January 2010, following the devastating earthquake that hit Haiti, he returned there to personally lead the recovery of two Canadian police officers and the senior management of the United Nations mission who had perished in the collapse of the UN headquarters. In July 2010, he was transferred to Halifax where he was responsible for labour relations for the Atlantic Region. In September 2011, he was promoted to the rank of Chief Superintendent in charge of Halifax District RCMP. In October 2012, after twenty-five years in the RCMP, Jean-Michel retired to become the fourth chief of the Halifax Regional Police (HRP) where he works presently.
Since his arrival in HRP, he has reoriented the senior ranks of the organization and spearheaded a new 10-year Strategic Plan. He has also been heavily involved in the community on The Salvation Army Advisory Board and on the Board of Directors of United Way Halifax. In 2014 and 2015, he was the co-chair for the United Way’s Charitable Workplace Campaign, helping to raise more than $12 million dollars.
He has two degrees, one in political science and economics from McGill University and another in law from University of Laval in Québec City. He has published several works on international and national police-related topics, including organized crime, Internet child pornography, human rights, the rule of law in Haiti, aboriginal law and the use of human sources in policing. He has also lectured extensively on leadership and modern police management, with emphasis on dealing with problem employees, unexpected events, the legal obligations of the employer, sustainability of policing in Canada and mental health in policing.
Jean-Michel’s interests vary from reading and writing to cycling and hockey as a hockey Canada Level III referee. He resides in Hammonds Plains, Nova Scotia and is married with three children aged 30, 23 and 13 as well as two dogs.