Earlier today, the Dementia Justice Society of Canada delivered the following message of congratulations to Perry Bellegarde on his re-election as the National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations:
28 July 2018
National Chief Perry Bellegarde
Assembly of First Nations
1600 - 55 Metcalfe Street
Ottawa, ON K1P 6L5
Dear National Chief Bellegarde:
Re: Message of Congratulations
On behalf of the Dementia Justice Society of Canada, I wish to extend our warmest congratulations on your re-election as the National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations. We wish you continued success during your second term.
Dementia Justice is a federally incorporated non-profit society dedicated to advancing the rights, needs and dignity of people with dementia who are, or are at risk of becoming, involved with the criminal justice system. We aim to achieve our objectives through public advocacy, awareness-raising, education, and interdisciplinary legal and policy research.
Most people with dementia will not come into conflict with the criminal justice system. But for those who do, it can often be a long and difficult experience. One particular challenge is housing.
As such, in a project funded by The Law Foundation of B.C., we are currently studying and making recommendations related to the housing vulnerability of criminal defendants with dementia. Ultimately, we aim to make recommendations that will improve their housing security.
As you know, the risk of dementia is higher in First Nations communities than the general Canadian population, and it is also higher among First Nations men than women. Accordingly, addressing the justice-related dementia needs of First Nations communities is of great importance to us. In particular, in recognizing that “[i]t’s not the traditional way to place a [First Nations] family member in a nursing home,” we are committed to find housing solutions that are culturally-appropriate for both rural and urban First Nations people with dementia.
To help inform our forthcoming report, as well as our work more generally, we would welcome the opportunity to collaborate with the AFN on improving the lives of First Nations people with dementia who are in conflict with the criminal justice system.
In the meantime, may I again offer our congratulations on your re-election as National Chief. Please accept our best wishes.
Heather Campbell, BA (Hons.), LLB, LLM
Dementia Justice Society of Canada
 Norma Rabbitskin, Senior Health Nurse, Sturgeon Lake First Nation Health Centre cited in Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology, Dementia in Canada: A National Strategy for Dementia-friendly communities (November 2016) at 40.