Addressing the overrepresentation of Indigenous peoples in the criminal justice system in Montréal
From: Department of Justice Canada
June 9, 2022 – Montréal, Québec – Department of Justice Canada
Advancing reconciliation requires dealing with both systemic racism and the overrepresentation of Indigenous peoples in the criminal justice system. Supporting culturally appropriate, Indigenous-led and community-based justice services is key to making systemic change Canadians know is necessary.
Today, the Honourable David Lametti, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, the Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, and Ellen Filippelli, Executive Director of the First Peoples Justice Center of Montréal (FPJCM) announced funding to address the overrepresentation of Indigenous peoples in the criminal justice system and provide community-based justice services to Indigenous peoples in Montréal.
The FPJCM’s “Towards an Indigenous Model of Justice” program supports, informs and empowers Indigenous persons in addressing their justice issues and in resuming a healthy, constructive, and autonomous lifepath. Through this program, the FPJCM provides Gladue Aftercare support to community members to help them access culturally appropriate community-based programs and healing plans. Gladue Aftercare supports and services include:
- healing circles and traditional healing with Elders
- referrals and advocacy for clients with other service providers, including mental health and addiction supports
- post-trial community reintegration supports
- healing supports for clients in circumstances where the development of Gladue Reports bring up past trauma
In addition to Gladue Aftercare, the FPJCM provides a continuum of community-based justice services in the areas of prevention, diversion, probation and reintegration, as well as victim supports and services. The program improves access to alternative measures for Indigenous peoples involved in the justice system, and provides education and training to socio-judicial actors involved in the justice process, such as police, legal advisors, judges, probation and reintegration officers and community organizations.
To support this work, Justice Canada is providing $492,000 in total funding to the FPJCM through the Indigenous Justice Program. This includes:
- $215,000 over 3 years in funding for the provision of Gladue Aftercare services
- $89,500 over 3 years in program integrity funding to support the increased demand for community-based justice services
- $187,500 over 5 years ($37,500 on-going annually) to support the continued delivery of their community-based justice program
A portion of this funding is provided as part of the Government of Canada’s commitment to increase the application of Gladue principles in the criminal justice system. This will help address the systemic factors that contribute to the overrepresentation of Indigenous peoples – a commitment that is echoed as a key initiative to address systemic racism in the criminal justice system in the Government of Canada’s Federal Pathway to Address Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ People. This investment also supports the Government of Canada’s efforts to advance reconciliation in Canada and respond to the Truth and Reconciliation Commissions (TRC) Calls to Action.
“The FPCJM works to bring to light a vision of partnership through a dedicated Indigenous-led justice organization that delivers a community-based service that empowers First Nations, Inuit and Metis. This provides a safe gateway to access legal support and information as our peoples navigate the justice system in Tiohtià:ke / Montreal.”
Executive Director, First Peoples Justice Center of Montréal
“Indigenous peoples are alarmingly overrepresented in Canada’s criminal justice system. By providing support for Indigenous justice services, such as Gladue Aftercare, we are helping bring systemic change to address this unacceptable reality. Funding to Indigenous-led community-based justice programs will support our efforts to improve access to justice and fairness in our criminal justice system, and help advance our work to respond to the national tragedy of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people.”
The Honourable David Lametti, P.C., Q.C., M.P.
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
“National Indigenous History Month is a time to recommit ourselves as a government and as a country to advancing reconciliation and ensuring a better, healthier and more just future for all people. The First Peoples Justice Center of Montreal is a vital partner in these efforts by providing holistic, community-based justice services to Indigenous Peoples in Montreal. This is a critical part of the work needed to address the overrepresentation of Indigenous Peoples in the criminal justice system.”
The Honourable Marc Miller, P.C., Q.C., M.P.
Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations
- To help reduce the overrepresentation of Indigenous peoples 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 the FPJCM for their Gladue Aftercare services is part of this larger investment.
- 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.
For more information, media may contact:
Office of the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
Department of Justice Canada