The Indigenous Justice Centre (IJC) in Merritt offers legal services to Indigenous people in the community who otherwise cannot access it. They may not be eligible for Legal Aid for a variety of reasons, or need legal advice on matters not covered by Legal Aid.
The Merritt IJC has a Community Outreach Coordinator working with Nations and local service providers to maintain accurate, up-to-date information on each program, eligibility criteria, waitlists and more for programming that may be of interest to our clients.
The Merritt IJC also provide reintegration services for people coming back into community from correctional institutions. They have an Outreach Worker who focuses on children, youth and family concerns.
Merritt IJC Structure
The Merritt IJC is a partnership between the BC First Nations Justice Council and the Nicola Valley Community Justice Services Society (NVCJSS). The NVCJSS board is made up of representatives from five Nations in the Nicola Valley;
- Upper Nicola
- Lower Nicola
The Society provides advocacy for their people living in poverty and those facing court proceedings. Their programs include facilitating restorative justice circles and extra-judicial sanctions and also provides Indigenous adult probation supervision and legal aid intake. The Society coordinates the Nicola Valley Indigenous Court and provides navigation services for the Court’s Indigenous clients.
The IJC has a steering committee that ensures that the broader community has input into how the IJC operates, the services it provides and to whom. It is made up of about 20 members from the Nations, social service agencies, the RCMP, Nicola Valley Institute of Technology and other community partners.
The Merritt IJC has a very active and dedicated group of Elders who provide guidance and advice to the Steering Committee.