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Indigenous rights: Diversion

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How does Indigenous diversion work?

Like many other diversion programs, Indigenous diversion is usually available for less serious and non-violent offences. Examples include theft, not following bail conditions, and not showing up to court. Diversion is not usually offered for violent crimes where there are injuries, domestic assault charges, and other serious offences like drug trafficking.

Both you and the Crown must agree to diversion. In most cases the Crown will refer your case to the Indigenous diversion program. You can also ask your lawyer or duty counsel if diversion is an option for you and what types of diversion are available at your courthouse.

The court process for Indigenous diversion is different across Ontario. In some cases, the Crown might ask the court to have your charges stayed or withdrawn as soon as you agree to diversion. In other cases, the Crown might ask the court to have your charges stayed or withdrawn only when you show proof that you completed your diversion.

A stay or withdrawal means there is no trial or criminal conviction. The criminal charges are not added to your criminal record.

It's important that you complete your diversion to the best of your ability. The time it takes to complete depends on what you're asked to do and how quickly you can do it. If you don't complete your diversion, you may not be able to do another diversion program in the future if you get more charges.