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50. Establish Indigenous law institutes

In progress - Projects proposed


The 2019 federal budget proposed to provide $9.1 million over three years, starting in 2019–20, to support the construction of an Indigenous Legal Lodge at the University of Victoria.

The Call to Action:

In keeping with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, we call upon the federal government, in collaboration with Aboriginal organizations, to fund the establishment of Indigenous law institutes for the development, use and understanding of Indigenous laws and access to justice, in accordance with the unique cultures of Aboriginal Peoples in Canada.


In July 2021, the federal government committed $918,000 to the Association of Iroquois and Allied Indians and Lakehead University’s law faculty over three years, to support Indigenous law-making research and “lay the foundation” for an Indigenous legal institute in Thunder Bay, Ont.

In May 2021, the federal government committed $9.5 million for 21 projects through its Justice Partnership and Innovation Program, that would, according to the federal government website, help “First Nations, Inuit, and Métis to respond effectively to the changing conditions affecting Canadian justice policy by supporting the revitalization of Indigenous law in all regions of Canada.”

This was, however, a continuation of a previously announced commitment. In 2019, the federal budget proposed to provide $10 million over five years in support of Indigenous law initiatives (among others) across Canada through the Justice Partnership and Innovation Program.

Through that program, $134,127 has gone to the University of Alberta for the development of the Wahkohtowin Law and Governance Lodge, a partnership between the U of A’s Faculties of Law and Native Studies.

As of 2021, however, according to the Department of Justice website, they are no longer accepting unsolicited proposals.

The 2019 federal budget proposed to provide $9.1 million over three years, starting in 2019–20, to support the construction of an Indigenous Legal Lodge at the University of Victoria.

In 2018, the University of Victoria launched a new law program combining the study of Indigenous and non-Indigenous law with a funding commitment from the provincial government. Students will graduate with degrees in Canadian common law and Indigenous legal orders.

The program would be housed in the university’s proposed Indigenous Legal Lodge along with the Indigenous Law Research Unit.

In October 2017, University of Victoria President Jamie Cassels formally requested $18.39 million in federal funding.

Part of the Legal Lodge’s mandate will be to expand understanding of what law is, and secure more engagement with Indigenous communities.

The Legal Lodge, according to the University of Victoria’s official proposal, will be “a foundation for understanding, researching and deliberating upon the nature of Indigenous legal systems and their continued use today.”

In December 2016, the Federation of Law Societies of Canada (the national co-ordinating body of Canada’s 14 provincial and territorial law societies) created an advisory committee to develop recommendations on Calls to Action #27, #28 and #50.

In June 2020, the FLSC released its Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action Advisory Committee, focusing on Calls to Action #27 and #28.

According to a 2018 statement from Bob Linney, communications director for the FLSC, the committee’s first priorities were Calls to Action #27 and #28 and Call to Action #50 will be dealt with at a later date.

“We are unable to provide an estimated timeline for when this work will conclude, but we can say the Committee is committed to a timely response,” Linney stated.