Review of the Nunavut Community Justice Program: Final Report

3. Mandate, Goals and Objectives of the Nunavut Community Justice Program


3.1 Mandate

Through the Community Justice Program, the Government of Nunavut has continued the commitment to a system of community-based justice. This means that Nunavut Justice aims, through its Community Justice Program, to support communities in taking greater responsibility for offenders and victims. It also means that the department has emphasized prevention and healing at the community level in an attempt to shift complete reliance away from the mainstream approaches involving formal charges, court appearances and incarceration. As a basic premise, Nunavut Justice aims to ensure that Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit[8] underlies any programs that it puts in place.

The Program is funded in part by the Government of Canada which supports these commitments. The Contribution Agreement between Canada and the Government of Nunavut for the fiscal year 2003-04 stipulates the Program's mandate as follows:

The Program's mandate is to assist communities to build their capacity to address their own justice issues in a way that meets their own unique needs and maintains security in the community. As stated in the Memorandum of Understanding on the Aboriginal Justice Strategy and the National Crime Prevention Strategy, to assist the Inuit to assume greater responsibility for the administration of Justice in their communities, to reflect and include their traditional values within the justice system, and to help create a fair, just and supportive community alternative to the Criminal Justice System.

3.2 Goals

The Contribution Agreement lists the Program's goals as the following:

  1. to increase the capacity and role of the community to administer justice issues;
  2. to fund and provide other support to community justice committees;
  3. to help community members build their capacity to carry out community-based justice initiatives and to represent the Nunavut Department of Justice;
  4. to support victims of crime so that they have a meaningful role in the justice system, by providing funding and other support to community justice committees;
  5. to ensure access to justice for all residents, by providing funding and other support to community justice committees; and
  6. to promote safe communities, by providing funding and other support to community justice committees.

3.3 Objectives

The Contribution Agreement sets out the overall objectives for Canada's contribution to the Program for the 2003-04 fiscal year, as follows:

Nunavut shall operate a Community Justice Program that provides funds to communities for community justice committees for adult and youth diversion, victim support services, and crime prevention activities.

A more specific set of objectives is laid out in the draft Diversion Protocol and Agreement between each Community Justice Committee, the Crown Prosecutor Prosecutor's office, the RCMP, and Nunavut Justice[9] . They are as follows:

  • Improve access to justice services in the community;
  • Promote community participation in the delivery of justice programs;
  • Enhance and preserve Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit and customary law;
  • Encourage a more holistic approach to social problems;
  • Encourage local participation and responsibility in resolving these issues;
  • Develop a community-driven and locally-accountable Diversion Program that works in partnership with the existing criminal justice system;
  • Promote a more effective use of the distinctive resources found in Nunavut communities;
  • Encourage community-based resources to administer and deliver local justice services; and
  • Promote a greater awareness and understanding of justice and related issues at the community level.

A copy of the draft Diversion Protocol and Agreement is included as Appendix 4.

3.4 Comment

It is clear in reviewing the mandate and goals for the Community Justice Program that there is significantly more to the program than simply responding to offenders and victims. The program also aims to ensure that IQ underlies the approaches taken, and that the community itself is encouraged to exercise its responsibility with respect to community problems. These cultural and community development aspects of the Community Justice Program are therefore considered in the review.

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