Government of Canada supports Indigenous community-based justice
February 12, 2018 – Charlottetown, PEI – Department of Justice Canada
Community-based justice programs help to reduce crime, victimization and incarceration, increase community safety, and provide culturally relevant access to justice services. The Government of Canada is committed to reducing Indigenous victimization, addressing the overrepresentation of Indigenous Canadians in the corrections system, and putting a greater emphasis on restorative justice.
Today, Sean Casey, Member of Parliament for Charlottetown, on behalf of the Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, announced a five-year tripartite funding agreement with the Province of Prince Edward Island and the Mi’kmaq Confederacy of Prince Edward Island (MCPEI). This agreement, which will total $600,000, will fund the MCPEI’s Indigenous Justice Program and support community-based justice programming and projects. This agreement will help provide the MCPEI stability for long-term planning to serve their communities.
The MCPEI Indigenous Justice Program strives to develop sustainable justice support systems for Mi’kmaq and other Indigenous persons in the PEI justice system. The Program holds justice circles, including accused, victims, families and the community. It also works to build capacity within the PEI Mi’kmaq community so that they can assume a greater role in the administration of justice, by providing ongoing education to justice system personnel and partners in order to increase their understanding of Indigenous justice issues. As well, where appropriate, the Program supports Indigenous persons caught in the criminal justice system in accessing culturally relevant, community-based justice alternatives.
The MCPEI is a not-for-profit tribal council and provincial-territorial organization that works to advance Indigenous and treaty rights on Prince Edward Island. In addition to the Indigenous Justice Program, it delivers a wide range of programs and services, including Event Management Services, the Aboriginal Skills Employment Training Strategy, Child and Family Services, Education, Health and Economic Development.
“That Indigenous Canadians are at a disproportionately higher risk of being involved in the criminal justice system, both as offenders and as victims, is an intolerable situation that our Government is working very hard to address. It is not only a matter for concern, but an indicator of the health of our society as a whole. Today’s announcement reflects our Government’s commitment to implement all the Truth and Reconciliation’s Calls to Action, including through addressing gaps in services to Indigenous peoples and increasing the use of restorative justice processes and other initiatives within our criminal justice system.
The Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould, P.C., Q.C., M.P.
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
“Addressing the overrepresentation of Indigenous people involved in the criminal justice system is an essential part of our path to reconciliation. For 25 years, the Government of Canada has supported community-based justice programs like the Mi’kmaq Confederacy of Prince Edward Island, and we are proud to continue our support for these initiatives.”
Member of Parliament for Charlottetown and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage
“We are very pleased to receive the five-year funding commitment from the Government of Canada as part of a tripartite agreement which also includes the Province of PEI. As the only Indigenous justice program on PEI, providing restorative justice to all Indigenous people living on and off reserve, the MCPEI recognizes that there is more that needs to be done to support all Indigenous people involved in the criminal justice system. As leaders, we want to make our communities as safe as possible, and that can only be achieved if the Program has the capacity to provide a comprehensive range of culturally appropriate services to all Indigenous people. This funding is an important step toward the MCPEI Indigenous Justice Program being able to continue to deliver fair, equitable and culturally sensitive programming for all Indigenous people across PEI.”
Chief Brian Francis and Chief Matilda Ramjattan,
Co-Chairs, Mi’kmaq Confederacy Board
“The Government of Prince Edward Island is proud of MCPEI’s Indigenous Justice Program and the continued work in providing holistic and culturally relevant approaches to justice. We understand that the path to reconciliation requires ongoing commitment to address issues such as overrepresentation and victimization of Indigenous peoples, so we are pleased to see this invaluable work continue in our province.”
Minister of Justice and Public Safety and Attorney General, Government of Prince Edward Island
- The Department of Justice Canada’s Indigenous Justice Program (IJP) currently supports 197 community-led programs that serve over 750 urban, rural, and Northern communities, both on- and off-reserve.
- The IJP partners with provinces and territories in a cost-shared relationship to support Indigenous community-based justice programs in all 13 provinces and territories.
For more information, media may contact:
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Justice
Department of Justice Canada