The Co-Chairs of the Aboriginal Justice Council, Attorney General and Minister for Public Safety and Solicitor General have signed a B.C. Indigenous Justice Strategy Memorandum of Understanding at the B.C. Cabinet and First Nations Leaders’ Gathering today.
The B.C. Indigenous Justice Strategy will focus on reconciliation with Indigenous peoples, decreasing the overrepresentation of Indigenous peoples in the justice system, addressing violence against Indigenous peoples – especially women and girls – improving access to justice and justice services for Indigenous peoples, and designing services for Indigenous peoples that are culturally relevant and appropriate.
The ministries will be providing capacity funding of $400,000, to sustain the BC Aboriginal Justice Council’s (BCAJC) participation in this important work and to enable joint development of the strategy over the next two years.
“This is a pivotal time in the building of a new partnership with Indigenous leadership organizations,” said Attorney General David Eby. “We know that the justice system is not working well for Indigenous peoples and we have heard the clear message from leaders – we must do things differently. This is the first step in working together to develop a justice system that is culturally relevant and meets the needs of these communities. The funding allows us to work collaboratively toward practical solutions and actions.”
“New and robust engagement between government and Indigenous peoples is essential for increasing opportunities for restorative justice and addressing public safety concerns such as violence against Indigenous women and children,” said Solicitor General Mike Farnworth. “In order to improve outcomes, and ensure the justice and public safety sector is responsive to these concerns, collaboration is critical. My ministry looks forward to working in partnership with the BC Aboriginal Justice Council to develop concrete actions and objectives to increase safety for Indigenous people and communities.”
“The BC Aboriginal Justice Council has an urgent mandate to address much-needed reform in the criminal justice system, and child and family system,” said Douglas White, Co-Chair of the BC Aboriginal Justice Council. “Our people are grossly overrepresented in both systems. Today’s announcement of an MOU between the BCAJC and B.C. is an important step in signalling real partnership to act on the needs of Indigenous peoples in our province and to create a more just society.”
“Signing this Memorandum of Understanding and commitment to funding the work of the BCAJC, is acknowledgement of the collaboration that is needed to advance justice issues for all Indigenous People in the province,” said Nancy Sandy, Co-Chair of the Aboriginal Justice Council.
- The B.C. government has committed to adopting the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), which has been accepted by 148 nations, including the Government of Canada.
- In all government ministers’ mandate letters, the Premier included a requirement that they review policies, programs and legislation to determine how to bring the principles of UNDRIP to action in British Columbia.
- The government will also accept and implement the 94 Calls to Action in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s final report and will work with First Nations and the Government of Canada to do this.
- The B.C. government has committed to implementing the recommendations from Grand Chief Ed John’s report, Indigenous Resilience, Connectedness and Reunification – From Root Causes to Root Solutions, and provide better supports so Indigenous children grow up in their communities and not in care.
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