Canada, British Columbia and the BC First Nations Justice Council continue to advance Indigenous justice priorities in British Columbia
July 6, 2022 – Victoria, British Columbia – Department of Justice Canada
Dismantling systemic racism and discrimination from our justice system and revitalizing Indigenous legal traditions will benefit everyone in Canada. A justice system that improves public safety and community well-being while addressing the challenges faced by Indigenous peoples is something that all Canadians can be proud to support.
Today, the Honourable David Lametti, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, the Honourable David Eby, Attorney General of British Columbia, the Honourable Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Sollicitor General of British Columbia, and Doug White, Chair of the BC First Nations Justice Council (BCFNJC), met for their first annual Tripartite Ministers’ Meeting under the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Canada, British Columbia and the BCFNJC.
Through this MOU, announced in January 2022, the governments of Canada and British Columbia and the BCFNJC committed to collaborate on advancing shared priorities relating to Indigenous justice, including addressing the overrepresentation of Indigenous people in the justice system, and enhancing restorative justice and First Nations-led community justice programs.
Today’s in-person meeting provided an opportunity to deepen the relationship between Canada, British Columbia and the BCFNJC, while providing space for the parties to set priorities for the coming year. During the meeting, the BCFNJC raised several priorities to advance work on their First Nations Justice Strategy.
In March 2020, the Province of British Columbia and the BCFNJC launched their First Nations Justice Strategy as part of an ongoing shared commitment to address the overrepresentation of Indigenous people in BC’s justice system.
The meeting was also an opportunity to discuss future investments to advance Indigenous justice priorities in British Columbia and in Canada, such as the implementation of Gladue principles and the development of an Indigenous Justice Strategy to address the overrepresentation of Indigenous people in the justice system across Canada.
The partnership between the Government of Canada, the Government of British Columbia and the BCFNJC will enable meaningful transformation within the justice system and supports the recognition and implementation of Indigenous justice systems in British Columbia.
“The BC First Nations Justice Strategy sets the stage for, and commits BC, Canada, and First Nations, to transform the justice system. This will require the federal, provincial governments, the First Nations Justice Council and First Nations, along with leadership of the justice system, to work together in close coordination and partnership to bring about the justice system we have envisioned together.”
Doug White, Q.C.
Chair of the British Columbia First Nations Justice Council
“Collaboration between Indigenous peoples and all levels of government is key to advancing meaningful change. I am glad to have had the opportunity to meet with Mr. White, Minister Eby and Minister Farnworth today to discuss important priorities in the areas of Indigenous justice in British Columbia. Together, we can make a real difference in the lives of Indigenous peoples in the province and in Canada. I look forward to advancing the important work ahead.”
The Honourable David Lametti, P.C., Q.C., M.P.
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
“Our partnership with the First Nations Justice Council and Canada is creating opportunities to improve the justice system for Indigenous people across the province. The First Nations Justice Strategy is working in British Columbia because of the commitment of our partners and the fact that it is Indigenous authored and led. I am thrilled about the work we have done together to date. This meeting helps us solidify those gains and accelerate the work to come.”
The Honourable David Eby
Attorney General of British Columbia
“Our government is continuing to work with the First Nations Justice Council to advance policing and public safety priorities for First Nations and Indigenous Peoples in B.C. My Ministry is committed to finding a path forward that will reduce the over representation of Indigenous Peoples involved with the criminal justice system. It is essential that we continue to provide programs and services that meet the unique needs of Indigenous people while also collaborating with Indigenous communities to support the successful reintegration of people who are transitioning out of custody.”
The Honourable Mike Farnworth
Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General of British Columbia
The BC First Nations Justice Strategy includes for 43 calls to actions and a two path approach to transform the existing criminal justice system and restore First Nations laws and justice systems. Signed March 6, 2020, the strategy was jointly developed by the BC First Nations Justice Council, BC First Nations communities and the Province of British Columbia. In addition to the reformation of the current justice system, the strategy also seeks to restore First Nations’ legal traditions and structures.
The Government of Canada provided $1.5 million over three years to the BCFNJC to support their work on advancing Indigenous justice priorities in British Columbia, including those outlined in the BC First Nations Justice Strategy.
The Province of British Columbia is investing over $2.9 million to support the operation of existing, and the creation of new Indigenous Justice Centres, and $1.25 million to the BCFNJC for Gladue services and reports.
Through the 2020 Fall Economic Statement, the Government of Canada provided $28.6 million over five years to support Community Justice Centre (CJC) pilot projects in British Columbia, Manitoba and Ontario, as well as consultation to expand the CJCs concept to other provinces and territories. $8.9M over five years was provided to BCFNJC for their Indigenous Justice Centres.
For more information, media may contact:
Office of the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
Department of Justice Canada
Ministry of Attorney General (British Columbia)
Director of Communications & Engagement
BC First Nations Justice Council
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