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Aboriginal Criminal Law | Gladue

Canada’s Aboriginal people make up about 3.8% of the Canadian population but account for almost 24% of the total inmate population. Recently, Howard Sapers, the Correctional Investigator of Canada, called for more oversight for Aboriginal inmates. Sapers has made several recommendations, including: appointing a deputy commissioner for Aboriginal corrections, and addressing Aboriginal-specific provisions in the Corrections and Conditional Release Act. These recommendations were made in 2013 but Sapers is hopeful that the new federal government will be quick to enact changes in order to address the growing number of Aboriginal inmates. Sapers notes that Aboriginal inmates are more likely to spend time in custody and in segregation cells. Aboriginal Criminal Law is constant evolving before the courts.  The aboriginal criminal law team at Smordin Law is constantly updating their knowledge of the law that affects aboriginal criminal issues.

Longer time in jail for Aboriginal inmates

Sapers concerns are obviously well founded. For example, according to a 2014 Corrections and Conditional Release Statistical Overview, Aboriginal inmates are less likely to get early release. Nearly 85% of Aboriginal inmates remain until they have served two-thirds of their sentences – compared to 69% of non-Aboriginal inmates. Sapers also refers to the lack of healing lodge spaces in prisons across the country. He is hopeful that the new government will be able to address the issue of over representation of aboriginal people and the criminal justice system.

While Canada’s prison watchdog fights for Aboriginal inmates, efforts are being made to help Aboriginal accused through restorative justice programs. For example, in 2014, an Aboriginal Persons was created in Brantford, Ontario. The Aboriginal Persons’ court is designed to handle the cases of Aboriginal people who have been charged with a criminal offence and propose sentences using a restorative justice approach aligned with Aboriginal culture and traditions. It runs two days per week and deals with guilty pleas and sentencing. Even if you’re charged outside of Brantford, you can request that your matter be transferred to this special court.

Smordin Law Experienced Advocates in Aboriginal Criminal Law

If you identify as Aboriginal and have been charged with a crime, it’s important to know the options available to you during your trial or plea, sentencing, and incarceration. The lawyers at Smordin Law have worked extensively with Aboriginal clients and understand how to incorporate Aboriginal culture and traditions into your case.

aboriginal criminal law
Smordin Law Criminal Lawyers
41 King William St. #200
Hamilton, ON
L8R 1A2
Tel: 1 (905) 525-0005
Toll Free: 1 (844) 525-0005
Fax: 1 (905) 525-5716


Police Vehicle Stop. What you need to know.

police vehicle stop

What to do/what not during a police vehicle stop.

  • police vehicle stop occur thousands of times daily.
  • first things first, the law in Ontario sees driving as a privilege, not a right. So while you are protected by the charter, there are certain obligations that you have during a police vehicle stop.
  • if a police officer has signalled for you to stop, you must immediately come to a safe stop
  • you could face fines or jail time for failing to stop when requested
  • The Highway Traffic Act requires you to provide the officer with three items during a police vehicle stop:
    • your driver’s license
    • proof of insurance
    • vehicle registration
  • Failure to provide these items can result in a fine
  • when you are pulled over, you should stay in the car, turn on the interior lights, roll down the window and place your hands on the steering wheel
  • when the officer comes to the window, provide them with your documents when they request them
  • In Ontario, your passengers are under no obligation to provide identification or to answer questions during a police vehicle stop.
  • The police can order to step out of your car if:
    • they suspect you are impaired and they are administering a roadside breath or sobriety test
    • they’re concerned for their safety (must be reasonable belief)
  • The police may ask to search your car
  • You do not have to give them consent – even if it sounds like an order
  • If you have been pulled over and they want to search your car, you have the right to call a lawyer
  • note that section 8 of the charter applies to the search of the vehicle so the police must have reasonable grounds for the search
  • act respectfully and provide the necessary documentation
  • sometimes, given the context, it’s better to comply with the officer’s requests than to argue with them

– it’s always your right to ask why you have been stopped and to contact a lawyer before answering any questions or consenting to a search