The relationship between the Canadian justice system and Indigenous peoples is flawed. The failures of the system are manifested most concretely in the severe overrepresentation of incarcerated Indigenous peoples. In 2017-2018 the Indigenous population represented 28% of those incarcerated while only representing 4.1% of the overall Canadian population. Proportions of Indigenous incarceration continues to rise while the overall inmate population remains consistent. Causes of overrepresentation include histories of colonialism, socio-economic marginalization, and systemic discrimination.
In 2021, an announcement to improve access to justice for Indigenous peoples was announced in the formation of an Indigenous Justice Strategy (IJS). The IJS will seek to address the systematic discrimination and overrepresentation of Indigenous peoples within the justice system. It includes engagement with “Indigenous communities and organizations” to develop legislation and initiatives that focus on the systematic barriers to justice access. A three-year timeline is expected for the IJS to be completed and likely will involve various processes including engagements with both Provinces and Territories.
MNC representatives have had the opportunity to share their priorities and procedural expectations of the Métis Nation for the IJS. The MNC has presented support for the development of the IJS that includes engagement with Métis Nation citizens and the development of specific policy. While not including organizational measures, and must be confirmed with Justice Canada, it is expected Indigenous partners the MNC will have continued opportunities to voice the priorities of the Métis Nation as the IJS progresses.