Nov. 6, 2020
For Immediate Release
Brantford – Wilfrid Laurier University has launched the Gladue Principles: Indigenous Peoples and the Canadian Criminal Justice System courses to help students and professionals learn practice and theory related to this important aspect of Canada’s Criminal Code.
The result of a collaboration between the university’s Centre for Public Safety and Well Being, Office of Indigenous Initiatives and the Faculty of Human and Social Sciences, the Gladue Principles courses offers both credit and non-credit opportunities.
“These courses were created in response to a direct request; we were asked to raise awareness of the issues related to Indigenous peoples’ experiences in the Canadian criminal justice system, and specifically to experiences in Indigenous People’s Courts,” said Melissa Ireland, director and interim senior advisor, Indigenous Initiatives. “We felt it was critical that the information come from Indigenous voices, so we ensured the design was by Indigenous academics and experts in the field.”
The 1999 Supreme Court of Canada decision, R. v. Gladue, acknowledged that the Canadian criminal justice system is systemically discriminatory in its treatment of Indigenous peoples and recommends courts consider an Indigenous person’s background when making sentencing decisions. Despite this recommendation, issues persist, and Indigenous persons still account for 30 per cent of those incarcerated in Canadian federal prisons.
These courses – with non-credit and for-credit options available – take an in-depth look at the past and present of Gladue principles as applied in Canadian courts, and probes into what the process could evolve to in the future.
The non-credit certificate includes six modules totalling 80 hours of course work delivered online. Participants learn at their own pace, making it accessible for working professionals, including those seeking positions in the criminal justice field and those interested in Indigenous rights. Registration is now open.
Modules cover historic factors contributing to the creation of Gladue Principles, an introduction to restorative justice, the importance of Indigenous laws and will dive into Gladue case law.
The Gladue Principles credit course, offered for the first time in January 2021, is designed as a comprehensive examination of Gladue for Laurier and non-Laurier students who anticipate careers in the legal, social, Indigenous rights and public safety sectors.
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