Aboriginal Justice Strategy

About the strategy

Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) has developed an Aboriginal Justice Strategy (AJS) to improve legal aid services to Aboriginal people, including First Nation people, Métis people and Inuit people, regardless of whether they live on or off-reserve, are status or non-status or live in rural or urban contexts.

The mandate of LAO's Aboriginal Justice Strategy (AJS) is to establish a plan to achieve measurable improvements in service to Aboriginal people.

More about the AJS

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About the Aboriginal Justice Strategy

The Aboriginal Justice Strategy (AJS) is an initiative by Legal Aid Ontario to expand access to justice and increase Legal Aid Ontario’s ability to respond to local needs of First Nation, Métis, and Inuit clients and communities.

The AJS was launched in 2008 to address the disproportionate amount of Aboriginal clients of LAO in the criminal and child protection systems. The AJS’ goals include:

  • Developing a localized model for delivering legal aid services that is responsive to the needs of Aboriginal individuals and communities
  • Strengthening LAO’s internal capacity to enhance services to Aboriginal clients and communities, and ensure sustainability of improvements
  • Improving relationships and increase LAO’s understanding of the legal needs and unique circumstances of Aboriginal populations in Ontario and how to address them
  • Improving and increasing access to Gladue services (where every criminal court in Canada is required to take into consideration an Aboriginal person’s background during sentencing)

Since its implementation eight years ago, the AJS has been able to assist with:

  • Forming partnerships with Aboriginal defence counsel to provide community based legal advice services in First Nation communities and Aboriginal organizations
  • Providing on-going duty counsel services in Gladue and Indigenous court locations in Ontario and funding for Gladue report writers in 16 locations across Ontario
  • Providing ongoing funding for:
    • Nishnawbe-Aski Legal Services Corporation
    • Grand Council Treaty #3
    • Aboriginal Legal Services
    • The Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres
    • Community Legal Clinics’ Aboriginal justice programs

LAO is committed to providing the best legal services available to Aboriginal Peoples throughout Ontario. With the AJS, LAO has taken the first steps in a new approach to legal, representative and justice partnerships which will help the Aboriginal community better their lives and thrive in a fair and just society for all.

For more information

For more information or to request a meeting or provide written feedback, please contact:

Fallon Melander, Policy Counsel
aboriginalstrategy@lao.on.ca