The Aboriginal Legal Services of Toronto was established February 21, 1990 to provide Aboriginal individuals equitable treatment in the justice system, access to legal and related resources within the justice system as well as an understanding of the system and their options.
The Community Council Program is an urban criminal diversion program that allows the Aboriginal community of Toronto to take a measure of control over the manner that the criminal justice system deals with youth or adult Aboriginal offenders.
The Program takes Aboriginal offenders out of the criminal justice system and brings them before members of the Aboriginal community where a variation of diversions concepts are used, such as counselling, restitution, community service, treatment suggestions or a combination of the above. The focus of the Program is to develop a plan by consensus that will allow the offender to take responsibility for his/her actions, address the root causes of the problem, and reintegrate him/her into the community in a positive way.
These diversions concepts can break the cycles of recidivism and dependencies and prove more effective when they are community controlled and based on the traditional cultural norms and values of the Aboriginal community.
The Program promotes a positive, holistic environment, related to justice issues, based on mutual understandings with non-aboriginal groups/services such as schools and police.