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Indigenous Justice Association in Chilliwack gets $327,000 from province

Government funding will help association enhance its restorative justice programming

A restorative justice organization is receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars from the provincial government to enhance its programming in Chilliwack.

The Indigenous Justice Association has been granted $327,000 in funding over the next three years.

“The Indigenous Justice Association in Chilliwack does great work to help make sure that Indigenous people who are at risk of, or who have come into contact with the justice system, can have access to Indigenous justice programs,” said Dan Coulter, MLA for Chilliwack. “Restorative justice practices are key to making sure our justice system is effective, as is working together with First Nations organizations towards reconciliation.”

The $327,000 is part of $3 million in funding the province has provided through the Law Foundation of B.C. to strengthen restorative justice services throughout the province.

Restorative justice addresses the needs of victims and the community when they experience a crime, while holding offenders accountable for the harm they have caused. Victims have an opportunity to share the impact of the events with the offender, and offenders have an opportunity to talk about the circumstances of the crime. They can make amends with the victim and community in ways that can be more meaningful than through other criminal justice processes.

“Empowering people to take accountability for their crimes allows them to address the underlying causes of harm,” said Niki Sharma, attorney general. “By investing in restorative justice programs that promote healing and reconciliation, we can help reduce the cycle of incarceration and build a more fair and equitable justice system for people and communities in B.C.”

Created in 2019, the association is based out of the Stó:lō Service Agency on Vedder Road and it offers programs to people in 27 communities throughout B.C., according to the website. In Chilliwack, it is called Qwi:qwelstóm - Stó:lō Nation Justice Program.

“Honouring Indigenous justice practices benefits the whole community,” said Kelli Paddon, MLA for Chilliwack-Kent. “Community-specific programs are an important part of healing and the reconciliation process and I’m glad we can help fund the Indigenous Justice Association here in Chilliwack, who know the needs of local people navigating the justice system in our community best.”

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Jenna Hauck

About the Author: Jenna Hauck

I started my career at The Chilliwack Progress in 2000 as a photojournalist.
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