Next Steps

Infographic: Developing the Indigenous Justice Strategy to address the overrepresentation and systemic discrimination of Indigenous people in the justice system

In the spirit of reconciliation, and out of respect for Indigenous rights to self-determination, Justice Canada recognizes that the development of an Indigenous Justice Strategy must be informed by First Nations, Inuit and Métis.

Working closely with Indigenous partners on the development of an Indigenous Justice Strategy will be an opportunity to inform and put in place effective and concrete measures, informed by the lived experiences of First Nations, Inuit and Métis, to improve Canada’s justice system.

The Indigenous Justice Strategy will be developed in five phases:

  1. Pre-engagement (completed)
  2. Indigenous-led and Justice Canada-led engagement (completed)
  3. Reporting and development (current phase)
  4. Finalization and validation (2024)
  5. Release of the Indigenous Justice Strategy (2024)
Legend

Completed

Current stage

Yet to occur

Current status

Completed

Pre-engagement

Completed

Indigenous-led and Justice Canada-led engagement

Current stage

Reporting and development

Yet to occur

Finalization and validation

Yet to occur

Release of the Indigenous Justice Strategy

Phase 1: Pre-Engagement (completed)

Starting in the summer of 2021, Justice Canada met with Indigenous representative organizations that could provide a voice for their membership at the national level and offer early guidance on the scope and preferred approach to develop the Indigenous Justice Strategy. These discussions informed the initial scope and direction for the Indigenous Justice Strategy.

The pre-engagement sessions with National Indigenous Organizations, including Indigenous women’s organizations, provided great insight into what could be included in this strategy. Through these sessions, partners have suggested that an Indigenous Justice Strategy should include concrete actions in the areas of crime prevention, policing and diversion, courts, corrections, and reintegration. Partners have also discussed the importance of social supports (e.g. health, mental health, housing) in improving the experiences and outcomes of First Nations, Inuit and Métis in the Canadian justice system. Partners have also emphasized the importance of supporting the revitalization of Indigenous justice systems, self-determination and criminal law reforms.

Phase 2: Indigenous-led and Justice Canada-led engagement (completed)

The engagement phase helped to identify the main issues and areas of concern for Indigenous people in relation to their overrepresentation in the justice system.

There were two aspects to engagement: Indigenous-led and Justice Canada-led.

Indigenous-led engagement

Budget 2021 provided $11 million in funding, until March 2024, to support Indigenous-led community engagement, as well as collaboration between Indigenous groups and the federal government, as a first step towards developing an Indigenous Justice Strategy in Canada.

From December 13, 2021 to January 24, 2022, Justice Canada held a call for proposals to support Indigenous peoples and eligible organizations to undertake Indigenous-led engagement to gather input, ideas and proposals to inform the development of a future Indigenous Justice Strategy.

Through this call for proposals, Justice Canada provided $11 million in funding to 38 Indigenous communities, organizations, and governments to undertake their own engagement activities from 2022 to 2024.

Justice Canada-led engagement

In addition to, and to complement Indigenous-led engagement, Justice Canada consulted and cooperated with key First Nations, Inuit and Métis partners on the development of the Indigenous Justice Strategy. These included National Indigenous Organizations, First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities, Indigenous justice experts, Indigenous justice program and service providers, justice practitioners (including law enforcement) and Indigenous academics. Justice Canada also engaged provinces and territories in this work.

Justice Canada’s engagement on the development of the Indigenous Justice Strategy took place from the fall of 2022 to December 2023.

Engagement with key partners and contributors will continue throughout all phases.

Phase 3: Reporting and development (current phase)

During the reporting and development phase, Justice Canada will develop a What We Heard report presenting the outcomes of Indigenous-led and Justice Canada-led engagements, and work with Indigenous partners to develop a draft Indigenous Justice Strategy.

The draft Strategy will be based on all input received from partners and present the key takeaways from Indigenous-led engagement and Justice Canada’s engagement.

It is anticipated that the Indigenous Justice Strategy will be finalized in 2024.

Phase 4: Finalization and validation

Justice Canada will work in consultation and cooperation with First Nations, Inuit and Métis partners to finalize the Indigenous Justice Strategy. Provincial and territorial governments will also be engaged in this process given the shared responsibility for Canada’s justice system.

The objective is to have a final Indigenous Justice Strategy released in 2024.

Phases 5: Release

The release of the final Indigenous Justice Strategy is planned for 2024. The final Indigenous Justice Strategy will provide the framework to address systemic discrimination against and the overrepresentation of Indigenous people in the justice system.