Department of Justice Canada

Department of Justice Canada

April 30, 2012 15:36 ET

Government of Canada Announces Renewal of Legal Aid Program and Aboriginal Justice Strategy

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - April 30, 2012) - The Honourable Rob Nicholson, P.C., Q.C., M.P. for Niagara Falls, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, today announced that federal funding for the Legal Aid Program and the Aboriginal Justice Strategy will continue at current levels.

"Our Government is committed to keeping our streets and communities safe. This funding helps make the justice system more effective, fair, and accessible, and ensures value for taxpayers' dollars," said Minister Nicholson. "Our Government is continuing to support the provision of criminal legal aid for economically disadvantaged persons charged with serious criminal offences and to help Aboriginal communities develop community-based justice processes."

Ongoing federal funding helps the provinces and territories deliver criminal legal aid for economically disadvantaged adults and youth ($111.9 million annually) and legal aid in public security and anti-terrorism cases ($2 million annually). Federal funding of $11.5 million for immigration and refugee legal aid and $1.65 million for court-ordered counsel in federal prosecutions has been renewed for two years (2012-2014).

As well, the one-year renewal of the Aboriginal Justice Strategy will provide $12.5 million to on- and off-reserve, urban, rural and northern Aboriginal communities for community-based justice programs.

Criminal legal aid is fundamental to a cost-effective, well-functioning criminal justice system in Canada. It protects Canadians' rights, helps support the Government's ability to combat crime and hold criminals fully accountable for their actions.

The Government of Canada is committed to continuing to work with the provinces and territories to provide criminal legal aid to those financially in need. In this time of fiscal restraint, the Government has renewed its funding commitment at current levels, including continued funding for legal aid in immigration and refugee matters.

The Aboriginal Justice Strategy is a federally-led, national program that has operated for twenty years to assist on- and off-reserve, urban, rural and northern Aboriginal communities to develop and implement community-based justice processes that operate within the Canadian justice system. Provincial and territorial governments provide equivalent contributions.

The Strategy has been shown to play an important and effective role in helping to achieve safer and healthier communities and reducing crime in Aboriginal communities by holding offenders accountable and enabling Aboriginal communities to take greater responsibility for the administration of justice services.

The Aboriginal Justice Strategy's community-based justice programs are linked to lower recidivism rates and are cost-effective in dealing with non-violent offenders, where circumstances warrant. The delivery of community-based programs helps to address the high rate of over-representation of Aboriginal people in the Canadian justice system, both as victims and offenders.

In addition, funding totalling $43.59 million annually to support initiatives such as the Access to Justice Service Agreements, the Aboriginal Courtwork Program, the Supporting Families Initiative, the Intensive Rehabilitative Custody and Supervision Program, and the Access to Justice in Both Official Languages Support Fund will continue at current levels.

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Contact Information

  • Julie Di Mambro
    Press Secretary
    Office of the Minister of Justice

    Media Relations
    Department of Justice