New funding for projects to address overrepresentation of Indigenous peoples in criminal justice system
June 30, 2021 – Ottawa, Ontario – Department of Justice Canada
Advancing reconciliation requires dealing with both systemic racism and the overrepresentation of Indigenous peoples in the criminal justice system. Understanding the lived experiences of Indigenous peoples who come in contact with the criminal justice system is essential to making progress on these goals.
Today, the honourable David Lametti, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, announced the launch of a call for proposals to support projects that would address bias and other barriers faced by Indigenous peoples in the criminal justice system. A total of $10 million over 4 years is provided through the Department of Justice Canada’s Indigenous Justice Program for these projects. Organizations are invited to submit project proposals by August 5, 2021.
This funding will provide support for projects informed by Gladue Principles that:
- seek to increase knowledge and understanding of criminal justice professionals of the root causes of Indigenous overrepresentation in the criminal justice system and of community-led options for addressing crime, including Indigenous and restorative justice programs
- will support Indigenous-led community, regional and national efforts to change policies, practices, processes and structures to address systemic barriers and discrimination of Indigenous peoples.
This funding is part of larger investments proposed in the 2020 Fall Economic Statement that seek to increase the application of Gladue Principles in the criminal justice system in order to help address the systemic factors that contribute the overrepresentation of Indigenous peoples. The implementation of Gladue Principles in the criminal justice system is also a key federal initiative in the Government of Canada’s Federal Pathway to Address Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ People.
This work will further support the Government of Canada’s efforts to advance reconciliation with Indigenous peoples in Canada, eliminate systemic discrimination from the justice system, and respond to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s (TRC) Calls to Action.
“Indigenous peoples are alarmingly overrepresented in Canada’s criminal justice system. By providing support for projects informed by Gladue Principles, our government is helping bring systemic change to address this unacceptable reality. At the same time, these projects will support our efforts to address systemic discrimination against Indigenous peoples, and improve access to justice and fairness in our criminal justice system.”
The Honourable David Lametti, P.C., Q.C., M.P.
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
The 2020 Fall Economic Statement proposed investments of $49.3 million to support the implementation of Gladue Principles in the mainstream justice system across Canada, as well as Indigenous-led responses in order to help reduce the overrepresentation of Indigenous peoples in the criminal justice system.
Section 718.2(e) of the Criminal Code is a remedial provision enacted in 1996 in response to the alarming rates of overrepresentation of Indigenous peoples in the criminal justice system. This provision is often referred to as the “Gladue provision” because of the 1999 Supreme Court of Canada R. v. Gladue decision, which interpreted it for the first time and set out the factors that should be taken into account by a court in determining a sentence that is fit for an Indigenous offender.
Gladue Principles recognize the need to:
- address the issue of overrepresentation of Indigenous peoples in the criminal justice system
- consider the unique systemic or background factors which may have played a part in bringing an individual in contact with the law in criminal justice decision-making
- use alternative measures wherever reasonable, including culturally-appropriate restorative justice processes.
The implementation of Gladue Principles in the mainstream justice system responds to the TRC’s Calls to Action 30, 31 and 38 and the MMIWG Calls for Justice 5.11, 5.15 and 5.16.
- Call for Proposals: Systemic change informed by Gladue Principles to address Indigenous overrepresentation in the criminal justice system
- Fall Economic Statement 2020: Supporting Canadians and Fighting COVID-19
- Federal Pathway to Address Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ People
- Budget 2021: A Recovery Plan for Jobs, Growth and Resilience
- Indigenous Justice, Recognition and Reconciliation
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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