Government of Canada publishes a report to tackle anti-black racism in the justice system

It emphasized transforming the criminal justice system to ensure equal treatment under the law

Government of Canada publishes a report to tackle anti-black racism in the justice system

The Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Arif Virani, announced the publication of a report by the external steering group on developing Canada’s Black Justice Strategy to address anti-Black racism and systemic discrimination in the criminal justice system.

The external steering group, comprising nine experts and leaders from black communities across Canada, presented 114 recommendations to combat the overrepresentation of black individuals in the criminal justice system. These recommendations are categorized under five pillars: social determinants of justice, policing, courts and legislation, corrections, and parole, re-entry and reintegration. The recommendations include eight overarching accountability measures designed to drive impactful changes within and beyond the criminal justice system.

The report emphasized transforming the criminal justice system to ensure equal treatment under the law for all Canadians. It reflected the outcomes of extensive consultations and engagements with Black communities in the fall of 2023. These consultations, organized by 12 black-led community-based organizations across Canada, gathered real-life experiences and stories of anti-black racism.

The steering group's work is grounded in intersectional, anti-black racism, and anti-oppression lens, considering the diverse histories, backgrounds, and regional realities of Black communities in Canada.

Minister Virani expressed his gratitude for the steering group's efforts, stating, "I welcome the Report and am pleased to share it publicly, given its importance in guiding the work ahead, with our partners. I want to reiterate my appreciation of the external Steering Group, in particular to the authors of this substantial report. They have given us a history-making report that lays the groundwork for policies, programs and legislation that will help build a fairer, more effective justice system, confront systemic anti-Black racism and address the disparities that limit opportunities and increase marginalization and overrepresentation for Black people in our justice system."

Dr. Akwasi Owusu-Bempah, a steering group member, emphasized the need to address systemic inequities to create a more inclusive and equitable Canada, calling Canada’s Black Justice Strategy “a beacon of hope for dignity, respect, and fairness for all.”

"Canada has a strong and diverse Black population, and as a co-author of the report, it was the honour and privilege of my life to receive the stories entrusted to us by the members of participating organizations from coast to coast to coast. This report both remembers our ancestors and builds a better future for our children,” said Zilla Jones, another steering group member and co-author.

Justice Canada will develop and release a response outlining the actions the government will undertake to address the report’s recommendations and tackle the overrepresentation of Black people in the criminal justice system.

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