“This PLEI will provide culturally appropriate supports to address the overrepresentation of Indigenous peoples in our criminal justice system, including remote communities across the province. It builds on the three physical locations already open and removes barriers that can prevent someone from going to a justice facility in person, including distance, concerns about COVID-19, or simply not being able to attend. not being able to take the time to take time off from family obligations. “
The VIJC is a partnership with the province and the British Columbia First Nations Justice Council (BCFNJC), it will provide a range of help and support to Indigenous peoples, including First Nations, Inuit and Métis, who are otherwise ineligible and / or unable to access legal aid. This includes:
- providing legal advice and representation to Indigenous clients in rural and remote communities for family and criminal matters that would otherwise not have access to assistance, or for clients in other legal proceedings that could reasonably lead to imprisonment or a child in need of protection
- work with the court, where appropriate, to divert legal matters from the formal justice system to less intrusive measures, such as alternative dispute resolution processes, mediation and restorative justice processes, in consultation with court officials and local protocols
- help Indigenous people access legal, social, housing, transportation, health and wellness supports to positively and adequately address the challenges many people face when dealing with the traditional justice system current
“Being able to quickly access legal advice and representation from anywhere in the province, especially for remote and rural areas that are generally underserved, is a key aspect of a fair justice system,” said Doug White, QC, President of BCFNJC.
“In many cases, this type of lawful access can change the lives not only of individuals, but also of their families and communities. “
The VIJC is made up of three lawyers, a navigator and a legal assistant. Individuals can access support and make appointments with a free lawyer on weekdays between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Pacific Time by calling 1-866-786-0081 or emailing virtual @ bcfnjc .com. Lawyers will do their best to accommodate the person’s schedule, with appointments available after hours and on weekends.