tkwəɬniwt (Westbank), Syilx Territory – On Wednesday, January 26, 2022, the first four Indigenous Justice Centres were officially opened in the province of British Columbia.
An inspiring virtual grand opening event celebrated this milestone with nearly 600 guests in attendance. During the event, at least 80 messages of congratulations were received.
Distinguished guest appearances included:
- Doug White, Q.C., Chair of the BC First Nations Council
- Honourable Minister David Eby, Q.C., Attorney General for British Columbia
- Honourable Minister David Lametti, P.C., Q.C., M.P., Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
The Indigenous Justice Centres help support the well-being of future generations by transforming the status quo today – upholding self-determination, reclaiming Indigenous legal traditions and addressing systemic injustice.
Given that justice issues do not exist in isolation but are linked to social and health determinants, the Indigenous Justice Centres take a holistic approach to client and community wellness by facilitating connections to supports such as elder guidance, housing, mental health and addictions treatment and employment services, in addition to providing legal advice and representation.
If you missed the grand opening, you may watch it here.
“Our four Indigenous Justice Centres – one in Prince Rupert, Prince George and Merritt as well as a virtual centre – provide vital legal services to underserved communities. These centres are on the frontlines of justice reform and assist with criminal and child protection matters. For Indigenous clients, the legal advice and representation they receive can be life-changing.”
Doug White, Q.C.
Chair of the BC First Nations Justice Council
“British Columbians should be proud of the work being done by the First Nations Justice Council to support Indigenous people in contact with the justice system. Beyond helping individuals address the underlying reasons for their contact with the justice system and escape from the revolving door of the prisons into a better life, Indigenous Justice Centres are the beginning of work between the BC First Nations Justice Council and governments to use Indigenous legal traditions and laws to provide better outcomes for Indigenous people, and for all British Columbians.”
The Honourable David Eby, Q.C.,
Attorney General of British Columbia
“Indigenous Justice Centres give individuals and communities the opportunity to have better outcomes by diverting them towards the services they need to address their specific challenges. This type of approach is exactly what is needed to address the longstanding systemic challenges faced by Indigenous peoples in Canada. I would like to congratulate the BCFNJC for leading this innovative work in British Columbia and am proud that our government is supporting Indigenous Justice Centres in the province. I look forward to collaborating with the BCFNJC and the province of British Columbia on more initiatives to advance reconciliation and eliminate systemic discrimination within our justice system.”
The Honourable David Lametti, P.C., Q.C., M.P.
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
About the BCFNJC
The BC First Nations Justice Council has been entrusted with the mandate to transform the justice system and create better outcomes for Indigenous people through implementation of the BC First Nations Justice Strategy.
The strategy, signed March 06, 2020, was jointly developed by the BC First Nations Justice Council, BC First Nations communities and the Province of British Columbia. It includes 43 actions along two paths which involve the reformation of the current system as well as the restoration of First Nations’ legal traditions and structures.
For any media questions or requests for interviews regarding the grand opening, please contact:
BC Ministry of Attorney General
Office of the Minister of Justice
Department of Justice Canada