Addressing the overrepresentation of Indigenous people in the criminal justice system in Québec
From: Department of Justice Canada
June 22, 2022
Advancing reconciliation requires supporting culturally appropriate, Indigenous-led and community-based justice services, and building policies informed by the lived experiences of Indigenous peoples. These are key to achieving systemic change and to reducing the alarming rates of overrepresentation of Indigenous people in the justice system.
Today, the Honourable David Lametti, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Emmanuella Lambropoulos, Member of Parliament for Saint-Laurent, and Pita Aatami, President of Makivik Corporation, announced significant investments to help address the overrepresentation of Indigenous people in the criminal justice system in Nunavik, Québec.
Makivik Corporation’s Makivik Justice Program provides community-based justice services to Inuit peoples in Nunavik. Ten local justice committees offer direct services to Inuit in need of support while they move through the justice and correctional systems, both at the pre- and post-charge stages.
The program uses culturally adapted approaches that emphasize healing for individuals, families and communities and address the underlying causes of crimes. This includes Gladue Aftercare services, which help individuals in carrying out Gladue recommendations—recommendations contained in Gladue Reports to access culturally appropriate community-based programs. In providing alternative justice processes, the Makivik Justice Program helps offenders understand their behaviour and its impacts and helps reduce their risk of reoffending. These initiatives contribute to lowering the overrepresentation of Indigenous people in the justice system.
Makivik Corporation will also undertake regional engagement with stakeholders to help inform the development of an Indigenous Justice Strategy. This will include:
- engagement sessions with key stakeholders such as justice committees, para-judicial workers, community members and organizations, policing and corrections services and organizations, and regional government organizations within Nunavik and urban areas in Québec
- development of targeted reports and case studies to inform engagement with key stakeholders
- research to identify gaps and needs within Nunavik, and
- production of a regional report to be presented to the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami
The goal of the Indigenous Justice Strategy is to address systemic discrimination and the overrepresentation of Indigenous people in the justice system.
Justice Canada is providing over $2.22 million over 5 years to Makivik Corporation. This investment includes:
- $75,000 over 3 years for Gladue Aftercare services
- $250,000 over 3 years for program integrity
- $1.5 million over 5 years to support the continued delivery of their community-based justice program
- $400,000 over 3 years to support engagement to inform the development of an Indigenous Justice Strategy
Addressing the systemic factors that contribute to the overrepresentation of Indigenous people, as well as systemic racism in the criminal justice system is part of the Government of Canada’s commitments outlined in the Federal Pathway to Address Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ People. Today’s announcement also supports Canada’s efforts to advance reconciliation in Canada and respond to the Truth and Reconciliation Commissions (TRC) Calls to Action.
“The delivery of justice services in Nunavik has been a struggle for all governments for the longest time as the system that is imposed on the Inuit is foreign to us and not culturally adapted. With this funding from Canada, Makivik will exercise a more efficient role in the justice field. The Nunavik Inuit are committed to achieve self-determination and justice is an area in which Makivik’s involvement can make a huge impact for our communities’ well-being.”
President, Makivik Corporation
“Indigenous people are alarmingly overrepresented in Canada’s criminal justice system. By providing support for Indigenous justice services, such as Gladue Aftercare, and support for Indigenous-led engagement on the development of an Indigenous Justice Strategy, we are helping bring systemic change to address this unacceptable reality. These investments 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
- Makivik Corporation represents the Inuit of Nunavik, Québec. Politically, culturally and economically, Makivik has been a leader in building and developing a vibrant region called Nunavik, where Inuit have established their own distinct place and identity. Under the Makivik Justice Program, 10 local justice committees are in place and offer direct services to the population at various stages of the justice and correctional system in collaboration and with the support from the regional office composed of the Nunavik Justice Officer, the Administrative Assistant, the Justice Initiatives Coordinator and the Project Manager.
- To help reduce the overrepresentation of Indigenous people in the criminal justice system, the Government of Canada’s 2020 Fall Economic Statement invested $49.3 million to support the implementation of Gladue principles in the justice system across Canada, as well as Indigenous-led responses. Support to Makivik Corporation for their Gladue Aftercare services is part of this larger investment.
- Budget 2021 provided $11 million over 3 years in funding to support engagement with Indigenous communities and organizations on the development of legislation and initiatives that address systemic barriers in the criminal justice system, including collaboration on an Indigenous Justice Strategy.
- The implementation of Gladue principles in the justice system responds to the TRC’s Calls to Action 30, 31 and 38 and the National Inquiry into MMIWG’s Calls for Justice 5.11, 5.15 and 5.16.
- The development of an Indigenous Justice Strategy has the potential to respond to the TRC’s Calls to Action and the National Inquiry into MMIWG’s Calls for Justice that call for federal measures to improve access to justice, and address systemic racism and the overrepresentation of Indigenous people in the criminal justice system.
For more information, media may contact:
Office of the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
Department of Justice Canada
Director of Communications