Is sentencing different if I’m Indigenous?
Question & AnswerIs sentencing different if I’m Indigenous?
1. Get legal help
Gladue applies to all Indigenous people. It doesn't matter if they live on a reserve or off reserve. And it doesn't matter if they are a youth or adult.
The test for whether Gladue applies is based on self-identification. Self-identification means that, based on you and your family's lived experience or history, you identify as Indigenous, Métis, First Nations, or Inuit.
You don't have to have a status card or prove that you're connected to an Indigenous community for Gladue to apply.
Indigenous court workers
Ask your lawyer or if there is an Indigenous court worker at the courthouse where you're appearing. If there is an Indigenous court worker, ask your lawyer or duty counsel for a referral.
Indigenous court workers often work out of Indigenous Friendship Centres. Most courthouses have an Indigenous court worker who can:
- offer you support
- give you legal information
- help you apply for a Legal Aid certificate
- refer you to community services for help with issues like mental health, trauma, addictions, or homelessness
- help you with your plan of care for your sentencing
- help you with Indigenous , if appropriate
If you qualify for a legal aid certificate but are having difficulty choosing a lawyer, the Indigenous court worker might be able to refer you to a lawyer.
If you're out of , ask your lawyer or duty counsel if there is an Indigenous court worker at your courthouse and, if so, what days they are available.
If you're in custody, you can ask your lawyer or duty counsel to refer you to the Indigenous court worker if you would like them to help you.
Plan of care
The Indigenous court worker can help you to make a plan of care that your lawyer or duty counsel can use at your sentencing hearing.
The plan of care might include suggestions for community resources that can help you to address issues that could bring you back to court. For example, the plan might suggest Indigenous supports for mental health, trauma, addictions, or homelessness. It might also include suggestions for participation in cultural activities.