October 14, 2016 – Halifax, NS – Canadian Intergovernmental Conference Secretariat
Today, 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.
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.
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.
"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. 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."
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
"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. Together, through the sharing of best practices, varying perspectives and innovative thinking, we can make real progress for the benefit of all Canadians."
Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness
"The meeting this week in Halifax gave us a valuable opportunity to share good ideas, find common ground and work together to address many of the most critical challenges facing all provinces and territories, including Nova Scotia."
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Nova Scotia
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