The province announced on Monday that it is supporting a community-led safety strategy and will be working to strengthen partnerships to increase the use of restorative justice in northern Manitoba.
“Building a safer, stronger and more resilient community must be done in partnership with the people who live and work there,” said Cliff Cullen, the province's Justice Minister, in a news release.
The City of Thompson will be given a $35,000 grant from the province, which will go towards working with a consultant and developing a community safety and well-being strategy.
“We are pleased to invest in the development of a community safety strategy, led by the City of Thompson, with input from community members, Indigenous partners, and stakeholders. By working together, we can make a real difference in the safety and wellness of citizens while advancing reconciliation in Manitoba.”
Cullen said the goal is to have the tools in place which can help identify the factors that contribute to crime and victimizatio, and then identify solutions to the problems.
Thompson mayor Colleen Smook, said the city is excited about the perspectives being brought forward.
“The team we’ve assembled has already been working to improve public safety and well-being in Thompson for many years, and all have a detailed understanding of Thompson’s realities, challenges and opportunities,” said Smook in a news release.
The province is also investing more than $2.8 million into restorative justice programs this year, with one of the projects being Restorative Justice North.
The pilot project is a partnership between the Manitoba Metis Federation and the Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak. Its goal is to "assess and divert matters to the appropriate programs and resolve them in a more timely way," a news release said.
MKO Grand Chief Garrison Settee, said his organization is hopeful this is the start of using culturally appropriate and Indigenous ways to address issues in the north.
“Criminal offences stem from systemic causes that require more in-depth and holistic approaches that focuses on the victim, offender and the community at large. Without holistic approaches to address justice, the cycle continues without any benefit to the community. Restorative justice is a step forward in addressing the impacts of colonialism. The approach must be Indigenous-led with First Nations, Inuit and Métis at the table and inputting into the design, having decision making authority and implementing from a culturally appropriate lens,” said Settee.
The investment from the province is $400,000 more compared to the previous fiscal year and the increase will feature investments of $50,000 with both the MMF and MKO.