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November 1, 2022
The overrepresentation of Indigenous people in the criminal justice system is a serious and complex issue rooted in systemic racism and the legacy of colonialism. The Government of Canada is committed to advancing reconciliation with Indigenous peoples and to developing, in consultation and collaboration with Indigenous partners, provinces, and territories, an Indigenous Justice Strategy (IJS) that is informed by the lived experiences of First Nations, Inuit and Métis.
Today, the Honourable David Lametti, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, announced the launch of engagement efforts led by Justice Canada to inform the development of the IJS. To start this process in the right way, the inaugural dialogue session was held with First Nations, Inuit and Métis Elders and Knowledge-Keepers from across Canada.
In the spirit of reconciliation, and out of respect for Indigenous rights to self-determination, Justice Canada recognizes that an IJS must be developed in partnership and collaboration with First Nations, Inuit and Métis. Engagement on the IJS is intended to be broad and inclusive, with participation from: First Nations, Inuit and Métis rights holders, including modern treaty signatories, self-governing nations and historic treaty partners, as well as national and regional Indigenous representative organizations, communities and individuals.
Justice Canada will also be engaging with Indigenous women, youth, Elders, persons with disabilities, and 2SLGBTQI+ persons, as well as urban and other Indigenous organizations and groups and justice system practitioners, along with representatives of the provinces and territories.
These engagement efforts will take place in the form of dialogue sessions and online engagement opportunities. Information about next steps for the development of the IJS is available on Justice Canada’s IJS webpage. Individuals and organizations can also register to participate in dialogue sessions, participate in online engagement activities and submit feedback through the IJS online engagement platform.
Justice Canada’s engagement with partners will complement Indigenous-led engagement already underway to inform the development of the IJS. Following a call for proposals held in December 2021, Justice Canada provided $11 million in funding to 38 Indigenous groups to support Indigenous-led engagement until March 2024. This funding was provided through Budget 2021, which committed investments to support Indigenous-led engagement, as well as collaboration between Indigenous groups and the Government of Canada.
Working closely with Indigenous partners as well as provinces and territories on the development of the IJS is an opportunity to inform the creation of a framework that will respect and recognize the rights, cultures and traditions of Indigenous peoples in Canada.
“The Indigenous Justice Strategy needs to reflect the specific realities and barriers faced by First Nations, Inuit and Métis if we are to address systemic racism experienced by Indigenous peoples in Canada’s justice system. This engagement will support collaborative development of an Indigenous Justice Strategy, which will be crucial in addressing systemic discrimination against Indigenous peoples. I look forward to our discussions with Indigenous leaders and communities and to seeing the results of our engagement efforts.”
The Honourable David Lametti, P.C., K.C., M.P.
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
For more information, media may contact:
Office of the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
Department of Justice Canada
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