19.2 million dollars to improve service to First Nations and Inuit in the area of justice
Québec City, March 5, 2021. — The Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Québec, Simon Jolin-Barrette, and the Minister Responsible for Indigenous Affairs, Ian Lafrenière, today announced an investment of 19.2 million dollars to implement concrete measures aiming to increase accompaniment services for Indigenous people in the area of justice.
The Gouvernement du Québec wishes to put forward important initiatives to better accompany Indigenous people in the Québec justice system. This is in response to calls to action from the two commissions of inquiry that were active in Québec from 2016 to 2018, namely the Public Inquiry Commission on relations between Indigenous Peoples and certain public services: listening, reconciliation and progress (CERP) and the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) as well as the report of the Groupe d’action contre le racisme.
This investment allows for implementation of the following three important measures:
- Hiring additional Indigenous workers responsible for providing crime victims assistance services ($7.7 million):
- These workers will be deployed in the CAVAC network and in Indigenous organizations that have established victim assistance services, or that wish to do so.
- An increased deployment of courtworker services for Indigenous people ($6 million):
- Adjustment of the compensation for courtworkers already employed ($1 million);
- Increased funding for the operation of Indigenous organizations responsible for providing courtworker services ($2.5 million);
- Hiring of new courtworkers from within the community for First Nations and Inuit ($2.5 million);
- Improvement and deployment of interpreter services in Indigenous languages ($5.5 million):
- Development of agreements with Indigenous organizations for the training, accreditation and hiring of interpreters in Indigenous languages in the context of justice-related activities.
“Improving services to First Nations and Inuit in the area of justice constitutes a priority for the Gouvernement du Québec. In order to respond to the issues raised by the commissioners in the two commissions of inquiry, we have chosen to implement and support measures aimed entirely toward Indigenous people, and in which they are an integral part of the solution. These measures contribute to improving access to legal services for Indigenous communities, adapted to their needs and cultural specificities.”
Simon Jolin-Barrette, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Québec
“The concrete measures announced today provide more room for the participation of First Nations and Inuit in the administration of justice. In addition, they reinforce the autonomy of Indigenous organizations and nations, particularly by increasing their capacity to provide adapted services of which they will have taken ownership. This also demonstrates the willingness of the government to take the necessary corrective measures. I hope that these measures will contribute to reducing the inequities between communities and between nations with regard to justice.”
Ian Lafrenière, Minister Responsible for Indigenous Affairs
“As the new Minister Responsible for the Fight Against Racism, I am pleased that a first action from the report of the Groupe d’action contre le racisme is being implemented. In collaboration with my colleagues, we will proceed with the implemention of a series of priority actions aiming to eliminate racism and contributing to the legitimate fight that we must lead for greater inclusion, law, justice and dignity. Today’s announcement fits in with this approach, and will make it possible to better respond to the realities experienced by Indigenous communities.”
Benoit Charette, Minister Responsible for the Fight Against Racism
“This grant of increased and recurrent funding will contribute to providing targeted services of Indigenous courtworkers to a larger number of communities, in order to better respond to their many needs. By means of custom intervention, it will be possible to improve access to justice for clientele from First Nations and Inuit communities that are still over-represented in the criminal justice system today.”
Marcelle Thibodeau, Executive Director, Native Para-judicial Services of Quebec (SPAQ)
“I wish to salute this initiative by the Gouvernement du Québec, which recognizes the importance of our language, through the support granted for translation and interpretation services for justice-related activities. For people involved with the justice system, this will greatly improve accessibility to the services to which they are entitled, thus leading to greater understanding of a complex system.”
Pita Aatami, President of Makivik
Ministère de la Justice du Québec: www.justice.gouv.qc.ca
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