The over-representation of Indigenous people in the criminal justice system can be attributed to the confluence of the inter-generational effects of colonization, the legacy of Residential Schools and ongoing institutionalized violence that affects the health and wellbeing of Indigenous communities. Friendship Centres across Ontario respond to the immediate and long-term needs of urban Indigenous communities through a variety of justice-related programming. The OFIFC seeks to amplify the role of Friendship Centres in community safety planning processes, providing Indigenous-specific options for sentencing, as well as broader strategies of community healing and self-determination.
“In order for governments to address the TRC’s Calls to Action there will need to be radical reforms to justice legislation. This submission is largely in favour of the bail reforms outlined in Bill C-75, but calls for criminal reform related to repealing mandatory minimum sentences in the Criminal Code. Justice issues including administration of justice offences and guilty pleas are analysed and legislative amendments are recommended. The OFIFC continues to call for progress on federal criminal justice reform that disproportionately affects Indigenous accused.”