Access to Justice in Indigenous Communities: An Intercultural Strategy to Improve Access to Justice
Canadian Research Institute for Law and the Family
In 2015, the Canadian Research Institute for Law and the Family partnered with Calgary Legal Guidance (CLG) to develop a project that would build intercultural partnerships in two Indigenous communities in order to build agency capacity that would increase access to justice. The project was funded in large part by the Human Rights and Education Multiculturalism Fund, with in-kind funding provided by the Institute through the Alberta Law Foundation, CLG and our community partners. Our community partners included Vanessa Omeasso of the Restorative Justice program in Maskwacis and Dr. Laura Kiepal of the Peace River Region Women’s Shelter in Peace River. In addition to agency partners and community members, we have also worked with Elders from these communities who have advised on the strategy. The project goal was to improve access to the justice system for all people, particularly in communities where there are barriers such as transportation and a lack of legal education. Over the last year, we conducted stakeholder meetings with community members, justice staff and social agency staff, and compiled information about the work already being undertaken in the communities that have been working with us. Our project sought to meet five primary outcomes: 1. establish intercultural partnerships that meet the diverse and unique needs of Indigenous communities; 2. foster agency relationships in order to deliver the project strategy, developed by the community and elder consultations; 3. support strategic partnerships to meet future research and project needs, identified throughout the consultations and focus groups; 4. increase access to and utilization of existing legal services in Indigenous communities; and 5. generate a method of practice for working inclusively within Indigenous communities.
Wright, A.C. (2017). Access to Justice in Indigenous Communities: An Intercultural Strategy to Improve Access to Justice - Prepared for Human Rights Education and Multiculturalism Fund. Calgary, AB: Canadian Research Institute for Law and the Family.