Alternative Processes for Indigenous Complainants in Human Rights Proceedings (6:VIII)

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This information applies to British Columbia, Canada. Last reviewed for legal accuracy by the Law Students' Legal Advice Program on August 1, 2023.

On January 15, 2020, the Tribunal released a report titled Expanding Our Vision: Cultural Equality and Indigenous Peoples’ Human Rights. It makes recommendations for addressing the serious access to justice concerns for Indigenous Peoples that face human rights violations in BC. It seeks to bring in more Indigenous voices into the Tribunal process. The report can be found here:

First Nations, Métis, and Inuit people can now self-identify as Indigenous on the complaint form and ask the Tribunal to contact them. The Tribunal will call to explain the process and options for Indigenous complainants, such as including Indigenous protocols, such as an elder or smudge, and Indigenous ways to deal with the complaint.

Regarding the mediation process, an Indigenous party can tell the Tribunal that they want a traditional ceremony before or after the mediation, such as a smudge, prayer, or song, and they can request an Indigenous mediator, or an Indigenous dispute resolution approach.

In March 2023, in order to fulfill Recommendation 9.2 in the Report, the Tribunal hired four Indigenous Navigators. These Indigenous Navigators are there to guide and support Indigenous Peoples through the Tribunals’ process, helping them to address any administrative barriers that might prevent them from protecting their human rights. Indigenous Navigators are there to work with both parties in a complaint, and are familiar with Indigenous protocols, like smudging and incorporating Elders into the dispute resolution process.

© Copyright 2023, The Greater Vancouver Law Students' Legal Advice Society.