NB Dept. of Justice apologizes to Pabineau First Nation man following human rights complaint

A man from the Pabineau First Nation has received an apology from the province's Department of Justice and Public Safety after he was denied traditional spiritual services while he was incarcerated at a Shediac jail back in 2011.

Anthony Peter-Paul complained to the New Brunswick Human Rights Commission after the jail told him it was unable to facilitate spiritual practices like smudging.

A confidentiality clause prevents Peter-Paul from speaking on the settlement, however CBC reports it includes: 

  • $1,000 for general damages;
  • That Indigenous people have reasonable access to spiritual services; 
  • That an attempt be made to hire more Indigenous employees;
  • That spiritual elders be recruited to work with inmates;
  • That both the jail and department honour obligations related to religion under the Human Rights Act and Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms;
  • That the Human Rights Commission review the jail's policies and make recommendations within six monts.

But former Human Rights Commission employee and Tobique First Nation elder Dan Ennis criticizes the settlement and says it could have gone further.

(with files from CBC)