From BC Gov News:
The VIJC is a partnership between the Province and the BC First Nations Justice Council (BCFNJC). The centre will provide a range of assistance and supports to Indigenous peoples, including First Nations, Inuit and Métis, who are otherwise not eligible and/or cannot access legal aid, including:
- providing legal advice and representation to Indigenous clients in rural and remote communities for family and criminal court cases who would not otherwise have access to support, or for clients in other legal proceedings which could reasonably lead to imprisonment or a child becoming in need of protection;
- working with the court, where appropriate, to divert legal matters from the formal court system to less intrusive measures, such as alternative dispute resolution processes, mediation and restorative justice processes, in consultation with officers of the court and local protocols;
- helping Indigenous peoples access the legal, social, housing, transportation and health and wellness supports to positively and adequately address the challenges many people face in dealing with the current mainstream justice system.
The centre is part of the broader BC First Nations Justice Strategy that was launched in March 2020. This strategy was created in consultation with First Nations communities throughout B.C and reflects their vision and priorities to transform B.C.’s justice system.
In addition to the virtual centre, there are three Indigenous justice centres in the province, located in Merritt, Prince George and Prince Rupert. The Province is working with BCFNJC to determine locations for 12 other centres over the coming years.
Read more about the VIJC here: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2021AG0148-001909