Canada, Ontario and Chiefs of Ontario launch process to collaborate on enforcement and prosecution of First Nations laws

From: Department of Justice Canada
Canada, Ontario and Chiefs of Ontario launch process to collaborate on enforcement and prosecution of First Nations laws

Collaboration with provincial partners and Indigenous communities is essential to walking the shared path of reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. Renewing that relationship includes upholding and protecting Indigenous peoples’ inherent right to self-determination, and ensuring community well-being and safety.

Today, Ontario Regional Chief RoseAnne Archibald, the members of the First Nations Leadership Council, the Honourable Doug Downey, Attorney General of Ontario, the Honourable Sylvia Jones, Solicitor General of Ontario, the Honourable Greg Rickford, Minister of Indigenous Affairs and Minister of Energy, Mines, Northern Development, the Honourable David Lametti, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, the Honourable Bill Blair, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, and the Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Indigenous Services, announced the launch of a tripartite collaborative technical table to explore solutions to challenges associated with the enforcement and prosecution of First Nations laws and by-laws in First Nations communities within Ontario.

This collaborative table of officials and experts will provide a forum to work together, in the spirit of reconciliation, to identify the underlying obstacles and barriers to the enforcement and prosecution of First Nations laws and by-laws, and work towards developing recommendations on how to overcome them, as well as identifying pathways to support the implementation of those recommendations. More specifically, the collaborative table will:

  • discuss and identify COVID-19 related enforcement and prosecution issues
  • explore and prioritize other enforcement and prosecution matters that have been raised by First Nations communities within Ontario
  • identify potential solutions to the prosecution and enforcement issues, and develop pathways to support their implementation
  • discuss and identify pathways to support First Nations communities that wish to develop and assume greater control over the administration of justice within their communities
  • discuss any other relevant issues identified at the table

The collaborative table will undertake its work according to a set of guiding principles, based on the spirit of collaboration, recognition of rights and reconciliation. In its work, the table will seek to identify solutions that respect the diversity of First Nations and their laws and will seek to ensure equitable access to justice and improve community safety.

Quotes

“The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the critical need for First Nations’ laws to be respected and implemented, in order to keep community members safe. First Nations Leadership work tirelessly to establish and maintain laws for the protection of their communities, but this is meaningless if those laws aren’t enforced or prosecuted when necessary. I welcome the creation of the collaborative table as a necessary resource to remove these obstacles and create new pathways for enforcement and prosecution so that First Nations are able to keep their communities healthy and safe.”

Ontario Regional Chief RoseAnne Archibald

“The lack of recognition and enforcement of First Nations laws has limited our First Nations’ ability to protect their communities for years. We acknowledge the commitment by the federal and provincial governments to work with us to find solutions. It is essential that this work upholds First Nations’ right to govern through our own laws and justice systems, and supports our members in accessing justice in ways that respect their autonomy and self-determination.”

Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler

“The launch of this tripartite collaborative table is an important step in ensuring that access to justice is expanded in First Nation communities in Ontario. Collaboration between the Chiefs of Ontario, and the Governments of Ontario and Canada can help bridge jurisdictional divides to deliver effective and equitable access to justice for First Nation communities. I am honoured to be a part of this process and look forward to working together and supporting the work of this Table going forward.”

The Honourable Doug Downey

Attorney General of Ontario

“We are extremely pleased with the launch of this tripartite collaborative table, which will explore the barriers and obstacles associated with the enforcement and prosecution of First Nations laws and by-laws within First Nations communities in Ontario. Tripartite cooperation like this is essential to developing new solutions and strategies to improve the community safety and well-being outcomes of First Nations peoples, and I am honoured to participate in this process.”

The Honourable Sylvia Jones

Solicitor General of Ontario

“The safety and well-being of Indigenous people is an ongoing priority for our government. I welcome this new forum for collaboration between Ontario, Canada and the Chiefs of Ontario to work collectively towards addressing challenges and identifying solutions around the prosecution and enforcement of First Nations laws in order to improve community safety and well-being.”

The Honourable Greg Rickford

Minister of Indigenous Affairs, and Minister of Energy, Mines, Northern Development

“The launch of this process is an important step forward. It will bring together federal, provincial and Indigenous partners to address challenges relating to the prosecution and enforcement of First Nations laws and by-laws. This collaborative table is a great opportunity to advance reconciliation and self-determination by improving access to justice for First Nations in Ontario.”

The Honourable David Lametti, P.C., Q.C., M.P.

Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

“I am very pleased that Canada, Ontario and the Chiefs of Ontario are coming together in this positive and collaborative manner to work to overcome challenges currently faced in enforcing and prosecuting First Nations laws in Ontario. The launch of this table is an important milestone and I look forward to working with my colleagues to address this important topic.”

The Honourable Bill Blair, P.C., Q.C., M.P.

Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

“One of the key ways we can support Indigenous self-government and self-determination is through working together to find and implement solutions to address the challenges of enforcing and prosecuting First Nations Laws. We are grateful to participate in this collaborative table, which will allow federal, provincial and First Nations partners to develop strategies which result in improved community safety and well-being.”

The Honourable Marc Miller

Minister of Indigenous Services

Quick facts

  • The Government of Canada and the Province of Ontario have committed to a cost-sharing arrangement that will ensure First Nations within the province can fully participate in the collaborative table.

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