CBABC requests that the Province of British Columbia commit to meaningful change to address systemic inequality. Indigenous communities deserve a unique and collaborative approach to justice that addresses the issues prevalent within their population.
As an association, we believe that much work is still needed to ensure the justice system is working for Indigenous peoples in BC. This CBABC submission provides a comprehensive overview of issues impacting Indigenous justice in BC, with 27 recommendations for improvement.
CBABC calls on the government to:
- Move forward with the process of implementing UNDRIP, provide a roadmap to Indigenous groups as to the steps to be taken in the process and provide meaningful and ongoing opportunities for consultation and cooperation with Indigenous peoples.
- Provide adequate funding to ensure that the objectives of the First Nations Justice Strategy are met, and must be clear and transparent regarding the sources of that funding.
- Work with Indigenous groups and other stakeholders in the criminal justice system to build upon the existing restorative justice framework to build new and better programs that will meet the needs of Indigenous peoples and are easily accessible for Indigenous communities across the province.
- Provide high-speed internet and computers to rural communities in the province to improve access to justice, as well as to encourage lawyers to practice in rural communities by implementing a student loan forgiveness program.
- Increase funding to legal aid to ensure that Indigenous peoples in BC have access to the services they need.
- Completely overhaul the child protection system and the CFCSA and make dealing with the overrepresentation of Indigenous children a top priority.
- Ensure all actors in the justice system receive mandatory cultural competency training, and that the details of such training be readily available to the public to ensure greater transparency.
The CBABC Indigenous Justice Advocacy Committee was formed in 2019, with a mandate to review matters relating to Indigenous justice and to develop specific recommendations for improvement. The committee includes lawyers working in the field of Aboriginal law, criminal justice, child protection, and constitutional and human rights law, among many others. CBABC consulted with the First Nations Justice Council, Métis Nation BC, and other Indigenous organizations in developing this submission.
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