Department of Justice Canada

Department of Justice Canada

March 12, 2015 11:00 ET

Government of Canada Announces Funding for Aboriginal Justice Programs in Northwest Territories

Funding for the Territorial Government supports a range of services to Aboriginal communities.

YELLOWKNIFE, NORTHWEST TERRITORIES--(Marketwired - March 12, 2015) - Department of Justice Canada

Today, Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of the Environment, Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency and Minister for the Arctic Council, on behalf of Peter MacKay, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, announced $631, 204 in funding over two years for the Northwest Territories Department of Justice Community Justice Division. The funding will support its Community Justice Program, which works with partners to provide restorative justice services programs and crime reduction activities. The program also assists community justice committees in 13 communities across the Territories to manage diversion programs, reintegration support for offenders, and on-the-land programs for youth.

The funding was provided as part of the Aboriginal Justice Strategy, through which the Government works with provinces, territories and Aboriginal communities to support community-based justice programs. These programs provide an alternative to the mainstream justice system for less serious offences in appropriate circumstances. These programs also enable Aboriginal people to assume greater responsibility for the administration of justice in their communities and strengthen the voice of victims.

As part of Economic Action Plan 2014, the Government had committed to invest in the Aboriginal Justice Strategy by providing $22.2 million over two years. The Government recently announced that it will extend its support of this important work to include an additional $11.1 million for fiscal year 2016-17.

Quick Facts

  • The Aboriginal Justice Strategy currently supports approximately 275 community-led programs that serve more than 800 urban, rural, and Northern communities, both on- and off-reserve.
  • The Strategy consists of two key funds:
  • the Community-Based Justice Fund, which supports community-based justice programs in partnership with Aboriginal communities. Programs are cost-shared with provincial and territorial governments and are designed to reflect the culture and values of the communities in which they are situated; and
  • the Capacity-Building Fund, which helps strengthen training and professional development for existing Aboriginal community justice programs, and fosters partnerships between the mainstream justice system and Aboriginal communities.
  • The Aboriginal Justice Strategy is part of the Government's Plan for Safe Streets and Communities. This Plan focuses on tackling crime, enhancing victims' rights, and ensuring a fair and efficient justice system.
  • Because of the role Aboriginal Justice Strategy programs have in holding offenders accountable, the Strategy was identified as one of the federal government's responses to violence against Aboriginal women. This was outlined in the Government of Canada's Action Plan to Address Family Violence and Violent Crimes Against Aboriginal Women and Girls, announced on September 15, 2014.

Quotes

"It is important that the Northwest Territories' Aboriginal communities have the tools they need to address crime and to provide culturally appropriate access to the justice system. Our Government will continue to work with its territorial partners to help address the disproportionately high rates of victimization, crime, and incarceration experienced by Aboriginal people throughout the North."

The Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of the Environment, Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency and Minister for the Arctic Council

"We are encouraged by the success the Northwest Territories Community Justice Program has had in helping to address crime and the challenges faced by Aboriginal people in the justice system. I am pleased that the Government of Canada can support this program and its continued efforts to keep their communities safe."

The Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Related Documents:

Backgrounder: Northwest Territories Community Justice Program

Associated Links

Northwest Territories Department of Justice - Community Justice

Aboriginal Justice Strategy

Community-Based Justice Fund

Capacity-Building Fund

Backgrounder

Government of Northwest Territories - Community Justice Program

The Government of the Northwest Territories manages its Community Justice Program in partnership with the Aboriginal Justice Strategy. The program works directly and indirectly with local justice committees across the Territories to develop and deliver a variety of diversion and restorative justice activities.

Diversion supports and encourages the community to deal with criminal matters from a holistic perspective. The diversion process within a community reflects the local values, traditions, and language. Within the Northwest Territories, the diversion of criminal matters from the criminal court system to the local community justice committee is an important component of the Restorative Justice Program.

Restorative justice is a collaborative and inclusive process which involves working with the offenders, the victims, their families, and their communities to address crime. Local justice committees, made up of volunteers who are interested in justice issues, are the cornerstone of the restorative justice approach. The committees help youth and adult offenders take responsibility for their actions, making the community a safer place to live. Some additional services provided by the local justice committees include inmate support services, healing circles, attention to local community issues, and career development.

In all of their work, the committees draw on their unique capacity, knowledge and strength to create a restorative justice system relevant to their own community. Although each community may provide restorative justice services in a different way, their vision is the same: to provide a holistic restorative justice model which holds individuals accountable for their behaviour and repairs the harm to the victim and community by utilizing the strengths, traditions, language and culture that reflects their community.

The success of community and restorative justice also relies on close collaboration among all parties involved, which is why non-governmental organizations, the RCMP, and the local, territorial, federal and Aboriginal governments all provide their support and expertise.

Through the Aboriginal Justice Strategy, the Government of Canada will provide the Northwest Territories Community Justice Program with $631,204; $315,602 in fiscal year 2014-15 and $315, 602 in fiscal year 2015-16.

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Contact Information

  • Clarissa Lamb
    Press Secretary
    Office of the Minister of Justice
    613-992-4621

    Media Relations
    Department of Justice
    613-957-4207