Budget 2021: A Recovery Plan for Jobs, Growth, and Resilience
Budget 2021 focuses on ending the fight against COVID-19 and ensuring a robust economic recovery that takes into consideration all Canadians. This commitment includes providing meaningful access to justice for our most vulnerable and marginalized citizens. Budget 2021 represents a starting point for healing, and invests in a better, fairer and more prosperous future for all Canadians.
On this page
- Indigenous Justice Engagement and Reconciliation
- Anti-Racism Measures
- Gender-Based Violence National Action Plan
- Expanding Access to Drug Treatment Courts
- Ensuring Good Governance of the Justice System
- National Action Plan in response to the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls’ Calls for Justice
- Working with other Departments and Agencies
Indigenous Justice Engagement and Reconciliation
Budget 2021 proposes to provide $74.8 million over three years, starting in 2021-22, to improve access to justice for Indigenous people and support the development of an Indigenous justice strategy to address systemic discrimination and the overrepresentation of Indigenous people in the justice system. Of this amount, $24.2 million will go 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. This is a critical part of reconciliation.
A further investment of $31.5 over two years would go to support the co-development of an Action Plan with Indigenous partners to implement legislation on the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Additionally, the Budget proposes $27.1 million to help Indigenous families navigate the family justice system and access community-based family mediation services.
Re-establishing of the Law Commission of Canada
Independent expertise is critical if Canada’s legal system is to be responsive to the complex challenges of the day, such as systemic racism in the justice system, legal issues around climate change, establishing a new relationship with Indigenous peoples, and rapid technological shifts in the world. This is why Budget 2021 proposes to provide $18 million over five years, starting in 2021-22, and $4 million ongoing to revive the Law Commission of Canada.
Justice Data Modernization
To modernize Canada’s justice system, support evidence-based policies, and ensure accountability within the criminal justice system, the Government needs to update and fill gaps in its collection and use of data. Under Budget 2021 Justice Canada and Statistics Canada would receive $6.7 million over five years, starting in 2021-22, and $1.4 million ongoing, to improve the collection and use of disaggregated data. This is part of ongoing efforts to address the overrepresentation of Indigenous peoples and racialized groups in the justice system.
Youth Justice Diversion Programming
Budget 2021 proposes to provide $216.4 million over five years, starting in 2021-22, and $43.3 million ongoing for the Youth Justice Services Funding Program to increase funding to the provinces and territories in support of diversion programming and to help reduce the overrepresentation of Indigenous peoples, Black Canadians, and other racialized groups in the youth justice system. By diverting youth to the right services at the right time and addressing the root causes of crime, this measure would help reduce the crime rate and promote better outcomes for young people and their communities.
Racialized Communities Legal Support Initiative
To help build a strong justice system with fair outcomes for all, the government is making investments to support access to legal information and advice for racialized Canadians and asylum seekers. As part of this commitment, Budget 2021 proposes to provide $21.5 million over five years, starting in 2021-22, for a Racialized Communities Legal Support Initiative. This would support organizations that provide free public legal education and information as well as organizations that provide legal services and advice to racialized communities.
Immigration and Refugee Legal Aid
Budget 2021 proposes $26.8 million to enable participating provinces to maintain immigration and refugee legal aid support for asylum seekers, while protecting the efficiency and integrity of the asylum system.
Gender-Based Violence National Action Plan
When co-parenting during a divorce or separation, having supervised options can protect women’s safety and protect children from experiencing violence in their homes. To support supervision services for parenting time in cases of separation and divorce, Budget 2021 allocates $28.4 million over five years, starting in 2021-22, to help protect the safety and well-being of children and families. Moreover, the Budget proposes to provide $85.3 million over five years to providing free legal advice and support pilot projects for victims of intimate partner violence.
Expanding Access to Drug Treatment Courts
The pandemic has exacerbated the crisis of problematic substance use in Canada. Drug treatment courts can break the cycle of drug addiction and criminal behaviour by helping non-violent offenders get the treatment they need. Budget 2021 proposes to provide $40.4 million over five years, beginning in 2021-22, and $10 million ongoing, to support up to 25 additional drug treatment courts. This funding will provide eligible participants with access to a comprehensive program that includes substance use treatment and social services support.
Ensuring Good Governance of the Justice System
The judges that preside over Canada’s courtrooms should uphold the values of trust, impartiality, and respect. It important that when allegations of misconduct arise, investigations are conducted in an efficient, transparent, and accountable manner. To this end, the government proposes to amend the Judges Act to reform the judicial conduct process by increasing public participation, streamlining appeals, and giving the Canadian Judicial Council new tools to address misconduct, at an estimated cost of $10 million over five years and $2 million ongoing. Budget 2021 also proposes to provide $8.5 million over five years, starting in 2021-22, and $0.5 million ongoing, to the Canadian Judicial Council and the Office of the Commissioner for Federal Judicial Affairs to continue investigations and inquiries during upcoming reforms of the judicial conduct process.
The Budget also proposes $49.3 million over five years starting in 2021-22, and $10.4 million ongoing, for 13 additional superior court judicial positions to improve the efficiency of court processes and help Canadians obtain timely resolutions to their legal disputes.
National Action Plan in response to the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls’ Calls for Justice
Budget 2021 is accelerating work on the National Action Plan in response to the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls’ Calls for Justice and the implementation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action. It lays out a plan that will build on progress and remain accountable to communities, families, and survivors across Canada.
Working with other Departments and Agencies
The Department will also continue to collaborate with other departments, agencies and stakeholders to address issues such as gun control, problematic substance use, medical assistance in dying, missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, as well as government-wide initiatives to fight COVID-19 and ensure safe court services for Canadians during the pandemic.
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