The CRT gratefully and respectfully acknowledges that our work spans across the traditional territories of 198 First Nations and 38 Métis chartered communities in British Columbia. Many CRT staff, and all tribunal members, work remotely from different areas of British Columbia.
We recognize the historic relationship between Indigenous peoples and the land continues today, and we are thankful our work is able to reach people across all these territories.
Our Commitments to Indigenous Peoples
The CRT recognizes the historical and present experiences of colonialism that Indigenous peoples continue to face in Canada. This includes being overrepresented in many areas of our legal system.
The CRT is committed to providing a friendly and culturally safe space that will support, encourage and maintain relationships with Indigenous people.
The CRT acknowledges the need to provide equitable opportunities to Indigenous peoples, including as participants navigating the CRT dispute resolution process and as staff and tribunal members.
The CRT publicly declares its accountability to Indigenous peoples in British Columbia, and in particular to those who access the CRT to resolve their dispute.
The CRT is committed to implementing a Reconcili(action) Plan. It includes short and long-term actions to better serve Indigenous people through the CRT process.
The CRT is committed to continuous improvement, and is especially focused on ensuring that Indigenous participants feel safe and supported. If there are more ways we can help you use the CRT, please contact us.
Questions and Answers
What is the CRT’s Reconcili(action) Plan?
The CRT is currently developing its Reconcili(action) Plan. It includes short and long-term actions to better serve Indigenous people through the CRT process.
These actions include efforts to hire self-identifying Indigenous people at all levels of the tribunal, decolonizing wording and processes, and finding ways to incorporate Indigenous legal orders into the CRT process to better acknowledge that there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach to resolving disputes.
The following actions have been completed as of July 2020. These are only the start of our Reconcili(action) Plan:
- Updating the CRT website so that Indigenous peoples see themselves represented, can easily navigate the website, and feel invited to use the CRT to resolve their matter
- Developing the CRT Reconcili(action) Plan
- Hiring an Indigenous Summer Law Student for 2020
- Requesting the creation of an CRT Navigator position to support all self-identifying Indigenous participants
- Providing cultural competency training and Trauma-informed Practice training for all CRT staff and members
- Providing Indigenous languages as interpretation options
The CRT is committed to this plan, and plans to demonstrate accountability by providing updates in its Annual Report and blog posts when actions are completed and implemented.
For more information on the CRT’s future Reconcili(action) Plan, see the blog post written by our 2020 Indigenous Summer Law Student.
Is the CRT an adversarial process like the court system?
The CRT hosts a safe and friendly environment that will support Indigenous peoples as they navigate a dispute.
The CRT’s dispute resolution process focuses on resolving disputes by conversations and agreement. Most disputes are resolved at the negotiation or facilitation stage, where the parties work together to reach an agreement, often with the help of a case manager. If the parties can’t agree, then the dispute is decided by a tribunal member during the tribunal decision process. This phase is adversarial, in that the tribunal member considers each party’s evidence and arguments, and makes a binding decision. The CRT’s focus is on collaborative dispute resolution, and adjudication is used as a valuable last resort.
Indigenous peoples may find this approach more appealing and approachable than a typical court process.
Where are the CRT offices located?
The CRT’s main office is in Victoria. The CRT acknowledges the Lkwungen speaking Peoples including the Songhees, Esquimalt and W̱SÁNEĆ peoples on whose traditional territories this office is located.
The CRT Vancouver office is located on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skxwú7mesh (Squamish), and səlil̓wətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Coast Salish peoples.
The CRT acknowledges the historical relationships between Indigenous peoples and the land continue to this day and allows us to work, learn and collaborate on these territories.
What cultural training do CRT staff have?
Since 2017, all CRT staff and full-time tribunal members have been required to complete cultural competency and cultural humility training in order to better understand and acknowledge the unique experiences and worldview of Indigenous peoples.
In addition, all tribunal members and lawyers receive Trauma-informed Practice training.
If I self-identify as Indigenous, how will the CRT support me?
The CRT has added a question during its intake process for participants to voluntarily self-identify as Indigenous. Self-identifying is completely optional, and this information is not shared with anyone other than tribunal staff and members. It’s not shared with other parties in the dispute.
By asking participants to self-identify as Indigenous, the CRT is able to provide dedicated resources and supports specifically for Indigenous participants. The CRT has created a staff position called the CRT Navigator. This person is available to assist participants who self-identify as Indigenous throughout the CRT process, acting as a consistent point of contact. The creation of the CRT Navigator role is part of the CRT’s commitment to providing a friendly and culturally safe space that supports, encourages and maintains relationships with Indigenous people. Using the CRT Navigator for assistance is optional.
Asking participants to self-identify as Indigenous also helps us track the experiences, feedback and number of Indigenous peoples who use the CRT. This will help us better understand the needs of Indigenous participants and implement our Reconcili(action) Plan actions.
Will other parties in my dispute know I have self-identified as Indigenous?
No. Only authorized CRT staff and members will know if a party has self-identified as Indigenous.
CRT staff and members adhere to strict Codes of Conduct, including confidentiality requirements.
What if English is not my first language? Or I have trouble reading and writing in English?
The CRT process is done mostly through written communication. But options are available for people who have difficulty with written communication and/or the English language.
Someone who has trouble reading or writing can tell us if they need accommodation. The CRT may be able to help by using less written communication and more teleconferences or phone calls, for example.
To help people who can’t read English, we provide multilingual information material to help participants and their helpers understand the CRT process and their roles.
We encourage dispute participants to ask for help from trusted family members, neighbours, friends or others who have the necessary language skills.
We also support people with language barriers by providing access to free telephone interpretation services in over 200 different languages, including these Indigenous languages:
- Cree-James Bay
- North Slavey
- South Slavey
- Swampy Cree
Free telephone interpretation is available at every stage of the CRT process.
Dispute participants can also use their own accredited interpreters, just as they do in court cases.
The CRT prioritizes hiring multilingual staff where possible, so we can provide legal information and help in a variety of languages.
I am Indigenous. Are there hiring opportunities with the CRT?
As part of our Reconcili(action) Plan, the CRT is committed to hiring Indigenous people at all levels of the tribunal. This includes front-line staff, summer students, case managers, and tribunal members.
We highly encourage Indigenous applicants to apply. The CRT is committed to having a diverse workplace that represents the population we serve and better meet the needs of our citizens per the Public Service Act.
The BC Public Service (BCPS) and the CRT are focused on building an inclusive workforce reflective of British Columbians. A new Indigenous Applicant Advisory Service is available to support internal and external participants who self-identify as Indigenous (First Nations, Métis or Inuit) in the following aspects of applying for a job with the BCPS:
- Navigating the hiring system
- Preparing résumés and cover letters
- Completing questionnaires
- Preparing for oral interviews
I am an Indigenous law student. Are there articling opportunities with the CRT?
Yes. The CRT offers one articling position each year, and encourages Indigenous applicants to apply. The CRT also offers one summer position (May-August) each year for an Indigenous Law Summer Student.
Students work closely with our in-house legal counsel and other tribunal staff while gaining valuable work experience and legal skills.
Please contact us if you would like more information about either of these articling positions.