Call to Action # 30: Actions and Commitments

Fed. Govt.

January 20, 2022

BC First Nations Justice Strategy

Dept. of Justice, Canada – Announcement of the signing of a tripartite memorandum of understanding (MOU) between BC, Canada and BC First Nations Justice Council to support the implementation of the BC First Nations Justice Strategy, as well as funding to support Indigenous Justice Centres in British Columbia. The parties have committed to work together on advancing shared priorities relating to Indigenous justice.

That includes:

  • addressing the overrepresentation of Indigenous peoples in the justice system
  • nhancing restorative justice and First Nations-led community justice programs

This important work will be guided by the principles outlined in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and by an integrative, holistic and comprehensive approach to address all forms of interactions between Indigenous peoples and the justice system.

Through the Justice Partnership and Innovation Program, the Government of Canada will provide over $8.9 million over five years to the BCFNJC as it continues to support and expand the number of Indigenous Justice Centres in BC. This funding will also support the BCFNJC’s Virtual Indigenous Justice Centre, a unique web-based platform that allows for the delivery of remote legal services to Indigenous peoples across the province.

March 22, 2017

Budget 2017 investments

$55.5M/5 yrs ($11.1/yr): Funds for Indigenous Justice Program to help reduce overrepresentation of indigenous people in the criminal justice and corrections systems.

$65.2/5 yrs.$10.9.yr ongoing: To address the over-representation of Indigenous peoples in the criminal justice and corrections systems and help previously incarcerated Indigenous Peoples heal, rehabilitate and find good jobs,” 

January 12, 2021

Custody Rating Scale Class Action Lawsuit

A class-action lawsuit filed in federal court challenges the Custody Rating Scale over systemic bias in its security classifications. “CSC’s ongoing use of [the Custody Rating Scale] on Indigenous inmates must be recognized as the product of deliberate and conscious race-based discriminatory treatment of Indigenous inmates that resulted in and continues to result in, longer and harsher prison sentences for indigenous people, especially Indigenous women,” the statement of claim reads in part.

The Capacity Building Fund of the Aboriginal Justice Program has not been accepting applications for a number of years despite significant success of the program in reducing recidivism.

Government also acknowledges impacts of systemic issues outside of justice system that also need to be addressed. Multiple initiatives at both the federal and provincial/territory levels.

October 16, 2017

Govt. Actions to Reduce Overrepresentation

Indigenous Community Corrections Initiative (ICCI)

CISION – $10M over 5 years for Indigenous Community Corrections Initiative (ICCI) to help previously incarcerated Indigenous Peoples heal, rehabilitate and find good jobs through community-based and culturally relevant projects, with a focus on alternatives to incarceration and on reintegration supports. Eligible projects could include counselling, treatment for addictions, mental health treatment, job training, literacy, and skills development.

December 16, 2020

Govt. Actions to Reduce Overrepresentation

Mandate letter to Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of Canada

The January 2021 mandate letter to the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of Canada David Lametti states as a priority to “introduce legislation and make investments that take action to address systemic inequities in the criminal justice system, including to promote enhanced use of pre- and post-charge diversion and to better enable courts to impose sentences appropriate to the circumstances of individual cases.

First Reading of Bill Feb. 18, 2021 – Bill C-22 “An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act”.  The Bill would repeal mandatory minimum penalties for all drug offences and some firearm offences, expand the use of conditional sentences, such as house arrest, for a variety of criminal offenses; and encourage police and prosecutors to keep drug possession cases out of the courts (Toronto Star, Feb. 19, 2021). Died in parliaManet