The purpose of the Native Courtworker program is to help you access justice if you are involved in the criminal justice system. We will help you obtain fair, just, equitable and culturally sensitive treatment.
To provide Indigenous accused at the earliest possible stage, and all stages of the criminal justice process with timely and accurate information about:
- the nature and consequences of the charge;
- their rights, responsibilities and options under the law including alternative justice processes (if available)
- the philosophy and functioning of the criminal justice system, and of alternative justice processes (if available);
- court procedures; and the disposition or direction given by the court or community to the offender.
How we can help you:
- Provide Indigenous accused with appropriate referral to legal resources (as available and where practical).
- Refer Indigenous accused to appropriate social, education, employment, medical and other resources to enable them to address the underlying problems which contribute to their charges and where appropriate, follow-up on these referrals.
- Liaise between Indigenous accused and criminal justice personnel to help overcome communication barriers and reduce Indigenous alienation from the criminal justice system. This may include being available to provide appropriate information to the court and/or speaking on behalf of the accused.
- Inform justice officials about the cultural traditions, values, languages, socio-economic conditions and other concerns of the Indigenous community and the perspective of Indigenous accused. Initiate further understanding when required.
- Promote understanding within the Indigenous community, of the existing criminal justice system and alternative justice processes.
- Promote and facilitate community-based justice initiatives and help build community capacity to identify and address problems, which could end up in the courts or community justice system.
Our Native Courtworker program is a cost-shared program jointly funded by the provincial Ministry of Justice and the federal Department of Justice.