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Mission

To develop a sense of Native community in the City of Thunder Bay with opportunities for involvement and control by community members in addressing the issues that affect their lives.

Courtworker Program

There are three different Courtworkers

  • Criminal Courtworker
  • Family Courtworker
  • Combined Courtworker

The Native Courtworker Program was established in 1973 and is funded by the Ministry of the Attorney General. It was recognized that, because of cultural differences, a communication barrier existed between Native people and the legal system. This program meets the needs of the native people who come into conflict with the law and are unfamiliar with the legal system in an urban environment.

Goals

To provide opportunities for native people to gain access to support systems, liaison services, resources and information on matters relating to the judicial system in order to increase their understanding of legal rights and responsibilities thereby enabling an effective transition through the judicial system.

Objectives

  • To increase opportunities for individuals to gain awareness and understanding by providing information and guidance on their legal rights and responsibilities regarding justice related matters.
  • To increase opportunities for individuals to function within the community by providing counseling, referrals, follow-up and encouragement in order to assist them in becoming contributing members of the community.
  • To increase opportunities for Native community members to gain awareness of the judicial process by providing information thereby increasing their understanding for justice related matters.
  • To provide opportunities for justice personnel to gain understanding of the unique needs of the Native community in relation to the judicial system

The Courtworkers are available to provide assistance in the courts. They are skilled in explaining the legal rights and court procedures to those charged and liaison between the client, Crown Attorneys, Lawyers, Duty Council, Police, service providers and other related agencies/programs. Courtworkers are responsible for identifying individuals eligible for participating in the Aboriginal Alternative Justice Program. The Courtworkers also act as a liaison between the offender, the courts, and the Aboriginal Community Council Program (ACCP).

The Courtworkers attend Provincial Court Monday to Friday. They also attend out-of-town court in Nipigon and Armstrong on a regular basis in order to meet the needs of clients in outlying communities.