In the spirit of reconciliation, and out of respect for Indigenous rights to self-determination, Justice Canada recognizes that the development of an Indigenous Justice Strategy must be informed by First Nations, Inuit and Métis.
Working closely with Indigenous partners on the development of an Indigenous Justice Strategy will be an opportunity to inform and put in place effective and concrete measures, informed by the lived experiences of First Nations, Inuit and Métis, to improve Canada’s justice system.
The Indigenous Justice Strategy will be developed in five phases:
- Pre-engagement (Summer 2021)
- Indigenous-led and Justice Canada-led engagement (current phase: 2022 to 2024)
- Reporting and development (2024)
- Finalization and validation (2024)
- Release of the Indigenous Justice Strategy (2024)
Yet to occur
Indigenous-led and Justice Canada-led engagement
Reporting and development
Finalization and validation
Release of the Indigenous Justice Strategy
Phase 1: Pre-Engagement
Starting in the summer of 2021, Justice Canada met with Indigenous representative organizations that could provide a voice for their membership at the national level and offer early guidance on the scope and preferred approach to develop the Indigenous Justice Strategy. These discussions informed the initial scope and direction for the Indigenous Justice Strategy.
The pre-engagement sessions with National Indigenous Organizations, including Indigenous women’s organizations, provided great insight into what could be included in this strategy. Through these sessions, partners have suggested that an Indigenous Justice Strategy should include concrete actions in the areas of crime prevention, policing and diversion, courts, corrections, and reintegration. Partners have also discussed the importance of social supports (e.g. health, mental health, housing) in improving the experiences and outcomes of First Nations, Inuit and Métis in the Canadian justice system. Partners have also emphasized the importance of supporting the revitalization of Indigenous justice systems, self-determination and criminal law reforms.
Phase 2: Indigenous-led and Justice Canada-led engagement (current phase)
The engagement phase will help identify the main issues and areas of concern for Indigenous people in relation to their overrepresentation in the justice system.
Engagement with key partners and contributors will also continue throughout all phases. There are two aspects to the engagement: Indigenous-led and Justice Canada-led.
Budget 2021 provided $11 million in funding, until March 2024, to support Indigenous-led community engagement, as well as collaboration between Indigenous groups and the federal government, as first step towards developing an Indigenous Justice Strategy in Canada.
From December 13, 2021 to January 24, 2022, Justice Canada held a call for proposals to support Indigenous peoples and eligible organizations to undertake Indigenous-led engagement to gather input, ideas and proposals to inform the development of a future Indigenous Justice Strategy.
Through this call for proposals, Justice Canada provided $11 million in funding to 38 Indigenous communities, organizations, and governments to undertake their own engagement activities from 2022 to 2024.
Justice Canada-led engagement
In addition to, and to complement Indigenous-led engagement, Justice Canada is engaging directly with key partners on the development of the Indigenous Justice Strategy. These partners include National Indigenous Organizations, First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities, Indigenous justice experts, Indigenous justice program and service providers, justice practitioners (including law enforcement) and Indigenous academics.
Justice Canada’s engagement on the development of the Indigenous Justice Strategy will take place from the fall of 2022 to 2024.
To learn more about how to participate in engagement led by Justice Canada on the development of the Indigenous Justice Strategy, please visit the Indigenous Justice Strategy engagement platform.
Phase 3: Reporting and development
During the reporting and development phase, Justice Canada will develop a What We Heard report presenting the outcomes of Indigenous-led and Justice Canada-led engagements, and work with Indigenous partners to develop a draft Indigenous Justice Strategy.
The draft Strategy will be based on all input received from partners and present the key takeaways from Indigenous-led engagement and Justice Canada’s engagement. The draft will be provided to partners for validation and, where necessary, further engagement.
It is anticipated that the draft Indigenous Justice Strategy will be made available to the public in 2024.
Phase 4: Finalization and validation
Justice Canada, Indigenous partners, and provincial and territorial governments will collaborate on finalizing the final Indigenous Justice Strategy.
More information on the process to finalize the Indigenous Justice Strategy will be available following engagement with partners (Phase 2). The finalization of the Indigenous Justice Strategy will include direct engagement with partners and online validation opportunities.
The objective is to have a final Indigenous Justice Strategy released in 2024.
Phases 5: Release
The release of the final Indigenous Justice Strategy is planned for 2024. Developed in partnership with Indigenous partners and the provinces and territories, the final Indigenous Justice Strategy will provide the framework to address systemic discrimination against and the overrepresentation of Indigenous people in the justice system.
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