6 FJ McAulay Court |Charlottetown, PE C1A 9M7 |Phone: 902-892-5314 | Fax: 902-368-7464 | www.ncpei.com
Press Statement – For Immediate Release Date Nov 26 2021
Native Council of PEI Creates Indigenous Courtworker Program
The Native Council of PEI is proud to announce the creation of a new
Indigenous Courtworker position. The Indigenous Courtworker, Lynn Bradley, will
work with Indigenous clients and families to explain court proceedings, appear with
clients in court, raise awareness of Indigenous issues in the criminal justice system, and
refer clients to other restorative justice services. Lynn Bradley is a certified Gladue
Report writer, a member of the Justice Committee for the Native Council, and has
multiple years of experience working with Indigenous clients in mental health,
addictions, and justice.
The Native Council previously operated PEI’s first-ever Aboriginal Courtworker
program in 1975. The pilot program included three Aboriginal Courtworkers and was
later adopted as an initiative of the Federal Government in 1978. The Native Council
continued to operate the program until 1980 when the program was expanded and
split between the Native Council and the Abegweit Band. The Native Council and
other Indigenous organizations on PEI then operated various Aboriginal Courtworker
programs until the last program concluded in 2007.
The Native Council conducted an Indigenous Justice Survey in 2018-19 and released
a final report in April 2019. The Indigenous Justice Survey as a result of a
resolution passed at the 2018 Annual General Assembly to “seek funding to re-establish an
Aboriginal Justice program.” When respondents of the Indigenous Justice Survey were
asked about Support Services that Would be Helpful, the top three responses were case
planning, court support, and an Aboriginal Case Worker. The top recommendation
coming from the Indigenous Justice Survey was to “Investigate the opportunity for
Indigenous Courtworker Program funding with federal and/or provincial governments.”
The Native Council developed a formal Indigenous Courtworker Proposal that was
submitted to Justice Canada and Premier King in December 2019. The Native Council
has submitted ongoing requests to Premier King to request for an update on the
proposal, including most recently at the Standing Committee on Health and Social
Development meeting on September 29th. PEI previously allocated $100,000 in budget
2020 to work with Justice Canada to establish an Indigenous Court work Program.
Despite this commitment in 2020 and the proposal written by the Native Council in 2019,
PEI remains as one of only three provinces and territories in Canada without a
provincially or federally funded Indigenous Courtworker.
The decision to create an Indigenous Courtworker position came after President &
Chief Lisa Cooper grew increasingly disappointed with the delays and inactivity on
behalf of the Premier’s Office. “It is time that we take the initiative to address the
suffering of our own community rather than waiting for continued inaction and
empty promises” stated President & Chief Cooper. “We hope that the province will see
that we have the initiative, the capacity, and the willingness to create an Indigenous
Court Worker of our own, and we hope that they will be able to help us with funding
the program to reach even more Indigenous clients in the coming years.”
The first steps of the program will involve Lynn Bradley reaching out to individuals known to be in
contact with the law as well as establishing positive relationships with justice system professionals on the
new initiative. Media requests for interviews can be directed to Lynn Bradley, Indigenous Courtworker,
at email@example.com or 902-892-5314.
The Native Council of PEI (NCPEI) is the self-governing Indigenous Representative Organization
for Indigenous people residing off-reserve across ancestral Mi’kmaq territory in PEI (Epekwitk).
NCPEI’s membership exceeds 1,050 rights-holding Indigenous people, comprising of Status and
Non-Status Mi’kmaq, Métis, and Inuit among other Nations.
Lisa Cooper, B.A., B.Ed., M.Ed.
President and Chief