In the News

Oct 18, 2016

Last week, federal, provincial and territorial (FPT) ministers responsible for justice and public safety concluded two days of productive engagement, working on justice and public safety priorities for Canadians.

An Elder welcomed ministers to traditional Mi'kmaw territory.

Ministers discussed key issues including violence against Indigenous women and girls and the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls; tangible responses to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action; the implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in the Canadian context; and how best to address overrepresentation of and gaps in services to Indigenous peoples throughout the justice system. The FPT ministers also approved the release of a compilation of recommendations from published reports which address violence against Indigenous women and girls.

Ministers talked about the importance of continuing to support professional, dedicated and culturally responsive policing services in Indigenous communities. Ministers will continue to collaborate towards a renewed approach for policing in Indigenous communities, recognizing the need for adequate and sustainable funding.

A significant point of discussion was the federal government's ongoing review of the criminal justice system to make it more effective and efficient. The federal ministers provided an overview and update on their discussions to date with stakeholders. FPT ministers noted the importance of this review to address delays in the completion of criminal cases. Ministers also expressed the need to address issues affecting vulnerable people and Indigenous overrepresentation in the criminal justice system.

"I truly appreciate the opportunity to meet with my provincial and territorial colleagues again as well as Indigenous leaders for an open and frank discussion on the issues that confront us all," said Jody Wilson-Raybould, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada. "By maintaining strong partnerships we can ensure that our justice system meets the highest standards of equity and fairness, respects the Charter, and keeps our communities safe."

Provincial and territorial ministers were updated on the implementation of the Office for Community Outreach and Countering Radicalization to Violence and on the Government of Canada's national security consultation. Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to coordinate their efforts to counter radicalization to violence.

Ministers received recommendations on bail, remand, judicial case management, and the need to modernize fingerprinting legislation. Discussions also took place on challenges related to cybercrime and progress made on justice system innovation. They agreed to explore ways to improve access to justice for sexual assault complainants and to share best practices and lessons learned.

They discussed the challenges that the justice system faces in appropriately responding to those with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) and other neurocognitive disabilities and agreed to publicly release the Final Report of the Steering Committee on FASD and Access to Justice. They also considered the social and economic impact of alcohol abuse and supported the need for FPT collaboration to identify solutions.

The FPT ministers also agreed to continue to work together to address issues leading up to the legalization of marijuana for non-medical use.

"Once again, I was very impressed with the high level of dedication and passion ministers expressed while discussing key issues affecting public safety in Canada," said Ralph Goodale
Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness. "Together, through the sharing of best practices, varying perspectives and innovative thinking, we can make real progress for the benefit of all Canadians."

Ministers also met with leaders and representatives from five National Indigenous Organizations to hear their perspectives on justice and public safety matters and future engagement.

The meeting was co-chaired by the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Jody Wilson-Raybould, P.C., Q.C., the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Ralph Goodale, P.C., and the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Nova Scotia, Diana Whalen.

Federal, provincial and territorial attorneys general and ministers responsible for justice and public safety usually meet at least once a year to discuss key justice and public safety issues and give direction to government officials from the various jurisdictions on new and ongoing collaborative work being conducted over the year.

The five National Indigenous Organizations represented were: the Assembly of First Nations, the Métis National Council, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, the Native Women's Association of Canada, and the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples.