Statement by Minister Lametti on Royal Assent of legislation that addresses systemic racism and discrimination in the criminal justice system
The Honourable David Lametti, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, today issued the following statement:
(Excerpt) “Bill C-5 received Royal Assent yesterday, reforming sentencing under the Criminal Code and the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. These sentencing reforms will help address the overrepresentation of Indigenous people, Black persons, racialized Canadians, and members of marginalized communities in the criminal justice system. I am grateful for the support of Parliamentarians in both the House of Commons and the Senate.
“Systemic racism is a reality for too many in Canada’s criminal justice system. We have heard from the public, the courts, and criminal justice experts, and seen the evidence of the disproportionate representation of Indigenous people, Black persons, racialized Canadians, and members of marginalized communities, both as offenders and as victims.
“With this law, we have repealed the mandatory minimum penalties that have most contributed to the overincarceration of Indigenous people, Black persons and racialized Canadians. These reforms will ensure a fairer, more effective justice system for all, while maintaining public safety.
“Also, in keeping with the Government’s public health-centred approach to simple drug possession, this new legislation allows for greater use of early diversion programs. This means that an individual can get the help they need to address underlying issues and avoid reoffending. This is particularly important in the context of the opioid crisis, which is having devastating effects on individuals, families, and communities across Canada.
“These evidence-based reforms address systemic racism and discrimination in our criminal justice system and keep communities safe by reducing the risk of re-offending. Our approach promotes fair and just outcomes for Indigenous people, Black persons, racialized Canadians, and members of marginalized community, while continuing to punish serious criminal offences and protecting public safety.”