Alternative Measures Program for adults in Aboriginal communities

The Alternative Measures Program for adults in Aboriginal communities was established in 2001. It was revised in 2015, in particular in order to review the eligibility criteria for crimes of domestic violence. 

The Program applies exclusively to Québec's Aboriginal population. 

The Program aims, in particular, to promote stronger involvement by Aboriginal communities in the administration of justice. 

It offers people who have been accused of a criminal offence an opportunity to take part, if they agree, in a supervised reconciliation and reparation process as part of the judicial proceedings.

The Program targets the following objectives:

  • Promote greater community involvement in the administration of justice;
  • Allow communities to re-establish the required traditional intervention practices for their members;
  • Give communities greater responsibility for the conduct of their members who are in conflict with the law;
  • Give victims an opportunity to present their point of view and to take part, if they want to do so, in a process of reparation and reconciliation;
  • Offer solutions to encourage community members to:

    • Take responsibility for their own conduct;
    • Play an active role in repairing the harm they have done;
    • Deal with the problems that may have led to their conflict with the law.

In general, an Aboriginal community must have established a justice committee before its members can benefit from the Program.

The Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions (in French) then signs a memorandum of agreement with the justice committee. 

The memorandum defines the operation of the Program and provides for its implementation. 

The justice committee helps define and monitor the measures applied.

The Program specifies the criteria that determine whether alternative measures may be applied. For example:

  • an information has been laid concerning the offence;
  • the offence was committed within an Aboriginal community with an active justice committee;
  • the offence is eligible under the Program;
  • the accused person is not eligible for the Program to deal non-judicially with certain criminal offences committed by adults;
  • the accused person has been summoned to appear before the court. 

In addition, the conditions set out in section 717 of the Criminal Code must be met. 

The following offences may be eligible for the Program:

  • offences prosecuted by summary conviction only;
  • hybrid offences liable to a sentence of 2 or 5 years, prosecuted by summary conviction or indictment;
  • offences prosecuted by indictment only, liable to a maximum sentence of 2 or 5 years;
  • hybrid offences liable to a maximum sentence of 10 years, prosecuted by summary conviction, except offences against the person. 

It is important to note that alternative measures may also be applied for certain offences involving forced entry, and for certain domestic violence offences.

Domestic violence offences

The Program has criteria that apply to the use of alternative measures for domestic violence offences, in order to ensure the safety of persons.

For this purpose, organizations working in Aboriginal communities must express their support before a memorandum of understanding is signed to make it possible to deal with this type of offence. This ensures, in particular, that services are available to intervene with the victim and the accused if alternative measures are applied.

The Program also includes criteria that make it compulsory to obtain the victim's consent before alternative measures are applied for a domestic violence offence.

Some offences are excluded from the Program, including:

  • offences for which a minimum sentence is specified;
  • offences against public order;
  • sexual offences, child pornography offences and sexual assault offences. 

A range of measures may be applied, depending on the nature of the offence. These include: 

  • the completion of community work;
  • participation in mediation sessions;
  • compensation;
  • participation in psychological and social therapy sessions;
  • other measures considered appropriate by the justice committee. 
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