Can I request a Gladue  report?

A Gladue report must be ordered by the court. The order may be made on the basis of the arguments presented by the accused, the lawyers for the case (whether working for the defence or the prosecution), or a justice committee (a local authority bringing together representatives from the Aboriginal community who work on local justice issues), or the report may be ordered directly by the judge. The accused must be an Aboriginal person covered by section 25 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982, regardless of whether the person lives in an Aboriginal community. The process applies to all, but an accused person may waive his or her right to have a Gladue report prepared.

What is a Gladue Report?

The Gladue report is named after a 1999 decision by the Supreme Court of Canada, R. v. Gladue. Some of the key principles were reiterated in a 2012 decision, R. v. Ipeelee, which highlighted the over-representation of Aboriginals in the prison system, and concluded that the sentencing process for Aboriginals needed to be approached from a different perspective. The objective of a Gladue report is to review the historical, systemic and individual factors that may have led to the accused's presence before the court and to propose, where applicable, a range of options adapted to the accused's needs. The Gladue report does not make a causal link between the crime and the factors it describes. Its goal is to determine a fair, appropriate sentence while paying particular attention to the circumstances of an Aboriginal offender and the actual options available that may increase the likelihood of dealing with the underlying causes for the crime in a comprehensive and fair way and, if possible, prevent re-offending.

What does a Gladue report include?

A Gladue report generally includes:

  • the personal history of the accused, which may cover his or her childhood and family environment, any trauma experienced and daily life in the past and present;
  • the history and current context of the community, and the accused's links with his or her community;
  • the accused's previous appearances in court, his or her reactions to the crime committed, and the measures that may be considered;
  • a summary of the individual and systemic factors to be taken into consideration, recommendations, and culturally appropriate restorative/rehabilitative options.

What is the difference between a presentence report and a Gladue report?

There are some similar elements in both, but a Gladue report focuses more on the systemic and historical factors affecting Aboriginal offenders and their community. It presents the difficulties experienced over the years by the offender and community, including the impacts of sedentarization and residential schools, the offender's current situation, his or her criminal record and any other relevant elements that may make it easier to understand the offender's actions. The report also mentions the alternative solutions to imprisonment available inside or outside the Aboriginal community to help rehabilitate the offender while focusing on his or her Aboriginal culture and healing.

Who can prepare a Gladue report?

The Gladue report writer must have a minimum level of understanding of Aboriginal culture, the community and the resources available in the community or region. The writer must have completed the training provided by organizations in Québec or Canada in connection with the preparation of Gladue reports. The Ministère de la Justice is responsible for recognizing the training completed.

What are the offences for which a Gladue report can be requested?

A Gladue report may be requested for offences, in particular under the Criminal Code, that lead to a prison sentence. The longer the possible sentence, the more appropriate it is to have a report prepared.

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