(Ottawa, ON) The Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) is extremely disappointed at the ongoing inaction in tackling the persistent and unjust trend of over-incarceration affecting Indigenous Peoples. With the Métis community comprising 27 percent of all Indigenous individuals in federal custody, it is crucial to address the root causes that lead to a significant number of Métis individuals being incarcerated and denied access to justice.

The recent release of the “2022-2023 Annual Report of the Office of the Correctional Investigator” (OCI) has brought to light critical findings that underscore the pressing need for action to rectify the overrepresentation of Métis, First Nations and Inuit Peoples within Canada’s correctional facilities and the broader justice system.

Of relevance to the MNO is the report’s review of Canada’s lack of progress in implementing recommendations related to section 81 of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act (CCRA), which provides legislative authority for Indigenous governments and the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) to establish “Healing Lodges.” Regrettably, the report documents Canada’s failure to adequately fund and expand these crucial programs, resulting in an ongoing lack of access for Métis offenders.

The MNO echoes the OCI’s concerns, highlighting key issues that persist in relation to section 81, including:

  • Absence of permanent funding arrangements for Section 81 facilities
  • No new Section 81 facility added since 2001, despite a 40% increase in Indigenous incarceration
  • Inadequate application of Gladue social history considerations in correctional decision-making
  • Overemphasis on penitentiary-based interventions, neglecting community reintegration alternatives

The MNO calls on Canada to collaborate with and support its comprehensive, wrap-around culturally responsive approach. This program aligns seamlessly with the calls to action outlined in the OCI report. Moreover, the MNO urges the Minister of Public Safety to create funding arrangements that would support the development of Métis-led healing spaces and enable the transfer of care for Métis individuals to these facilities. While we are dedicated to providing culturally sensitive justice, the absence of such an agreement presents a significant obstacle.

Additionally, the MNO calls for a renewed focus on section 84 of the CCRA. This section enables Indigenous communities to actively participate in the release and supervision of Indigenous offenders, providing an effective means to restore balance and make reparations for harm done. The MNO advocates for increased utilization of section 84 community release and urges the establishment of agreements with the Minister of Public Safety to conduct community releases for Métis individuals.

The Métis Nation of Ontario reiterates its commitment to advocating for the rights and well-being of Métis individuals within the justice system and calls upon all stakeholders to work collaboratively in implementing the recommended actions outlined in this statement, thereby fostering a more equitable and inclusive justice system for all Indigenous Peoples.


“We cannot ignore the stark reality laid out in the 2022-2023 Annual Report of the Office of the Correctional Investigator. The chronic lack of progress in implementing sections 81 and 84 of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act is a glaring injustice that disproportionately affects our Métis community. It is imperative that Canada take swift and meaningful action to address this systemic issue and ensure access to culturally appropriate justice for all Indigenous Peoples, including the Métis.”

  • Margaret Froh, President of the Métis Nation of Ontario

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