Indigenous Justice Strategy
The Indigenous Justice Strategy (IJS) is a key component of the Alberta Court of Justice’s commitment to work to provide a culturally relevant, restorative, and holistic system of justice for Indigenous peoples that access the Court including accused persons, offenders, victims, families, youth and children as well as those Indigenous communities impacted by the actions of those who find themselves before the Court.
Alberta Court of Justice Indigenous Justice Strategy
The IJS is the product of two years of discussions with leaders of Indigenous communities across the Province as well as with leaders of legal and service organizations that interact with those communities. The Court acknowledges and recognizes the significance of the prior findings and recommendations of various commissions and inquiries, notably the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, the Calls for Justice of the Murdered and Missing Women and Girls Inquiry and 113 Pathways to Justice: Recommendations of the Alberta Joint Working Group on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.
The IJS consists of 20 concrete responses by the Court to the identified priorities and needs of the Indigenous peoples it serves.
- Providing educational opportunities and resources so as to ensure that judges, justices of the peace and staff have a broad-based understanding of the history, heritage, and laws of local Indigenous communities.This educational training will also include an understanding of and, where appropriate, the participation in cultural activities.The Court’s educational program will also ensure that judges and justices of the peace are provided with resources that facilitate a fulsome understanding of the foundational legal principles that apply when Indigenous peoples are involved with the Court system (Responses 1 and 2);
- Engaging in relationship building with the leadership of Indigenous communities and Indigenous service providers, though conducting meetings on at least an annual basis between the leadership of the Courts and the leadership of Treaty 6, 7 and 8 as well as with the leadership of the Métis Nation of Alberta and the Métis Settlements (Responses 3 and 4);
- Addressing access to justice issues by working to understand the structures, systems and processes that impede access amongst Indigenous peoples (Response 5);
- Supporting the establishment of restorative justice programs, Indigenous courts and the incorporation of Indigenous principles into courts serving Indigenous communities (Responses 6 - 8);
- Incorporating Indigenous cultural practices in courthouses and courtrooms where appropriate (Responses 9 – 15);
- Encouraging Indigenous applications for employment in various capacities within the court system (Response 16);
- Mentorship opportunities for Indigenous lawyers and students (Response 17);
- Supporting the work of the Tri-Court Gladue Committee and providing educational opportunities and materials to judges and justices of the peace that address the consideration of the Gladue principles in criminal proceedings (Responses 18 and 19); and
- Observing the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation (Response 20).
As it implements these responses, the Court is committed to fulfilling its ongoing obligation to listen and engage in collaborative dialogue with Indigenous peoples and communities so as to better understand their distinct priorities. The Indigenous Justice Strategy is intended to be a living document that continuously evolves as the Court works towards achieving its priority of providing a culturally relevant, restorative, and holistic system of justice.