Feb. 21, 2023: The B.C. Supreme Court has ruled that a traditional Wet’suwet’en trespass law cannot “coexist” with the injunction order issued to Coastal GasLink in response to pipeline protests from the nation’s hereditary leadership. In other words, Indigenous laws are subordinate to and subject to Canadian law
Nov. 2, 2023: Canada’s prison watchdog is denouncing the over-representation of Indigenous people in federal prisons as a travesty while urging significant reform, as he releases the second part of a two-year investigation. In the conclusion of his Ten Years Since Spirit Matters report, Correctional Investigator Ivan Zinger calls for the devolution of correctional power to Indigenous people to address worsening rates of over-representation.
“The steady and unabated increase in the disproportionate representation of Indigenous peoples under federal sentence is nothing short of a national travesty and remains one of Canada’s most pressing human rights challenges,” Zinger wrote.
March 27, 2023: The Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) welcomes Kathy Neil as the Deputy Commissioner for Indigenous Corrections (DCIC). Ms. Neil will assume her new duties on May 1, 2023.
Dec. 17, 2021: APTN – Ivan Zinger, the Correctional Investigator issued a report indicating that incarceration rates for Indigenous people on federal prisons has increased to 32% and almost 50% for Indigenous women despite only composing less than 5% of the population in Canada
Office of the Correctional Investigator. Government of Canada.
Jan. 21, 2020: Toronto Star – The same urgent calls to action are raised in the final reports of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG), as well as two recent parliamentary committee studies on Indigenous peoples in the criminal justice system. These bodies have called upon the federal government to implement measures recommended by the Office including:
- Transfer resources and responsibility to Indigenous groups and communities for the care, custody and supervision of Indigenous offenders.
- Appoint a Deputy Commissioner for Indigenous Corrections.
Increase access and availability of culturally relevant correctional programming.
- Clarify and enhance the role of Indigenous elders.
- Improve engagement with Indigenous communities and enhance their capacity to provide reintegration services.
- Enhance access to screening, diagnosis and treatment of Indigenous offenders affected by Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder.
- Develop assessment and classification tools responsive to the needs and realities of Indigenous people caught up in the criminal justice system.
As Dr. Ivan Zinger, the correctional investigator concluded: “It is not acceptable that Indigenous people in this country experience incarceration rates that are six to seven times higher than the national average. Bold and urgent action is required to address one of Canada’s most persistent and pressing human rights issues.”