In 2012, more than ten years after R v Gladue came out, the Supreme Court of Canada revisited section 718(2)(e) in a case called R v Ipeelee, and reaffirmed and expanded upon the principles first discussed 13 years earlier in the Gladue case.

The case that has come to be known as "Ipeelee” actually comes from a case where the Supreme Court of Canada heard two appeals at once.

pipeThe first case involving Manasie Ipeelee, and the second, Frank Ralph Ladue. These two cases and the decision are collectively referred to as Ipeelee.

Central issue in this appeal was the determination of a just sentence for Aboriginal Offenders for breach of long-term supervision orders.  In Ipeelee the Court took the opportunity to review and further emphasize the factors Courts need to consider in sentencing Aboriginal Offenders – such as ‘cultural oppression’, ‘poverty’, ‘history of abuse in residential schools.’.

The following excerpt from Ipeelee (pdf) was quoted with approval on May 29, 2013 in R. v. Williams, 2013 BCSC 1082 at paragraph 24.

[24] Further, I am mindful in particular of s. 718.2(e) and the following passages from R. v. Ipeelee, 2012 SCC 13 (CanLII), [2012] 1 S.C.R. 433, paragraphs 59 and 60: 

When sentencing an Aboriginal offender, a judge must consider [the factors outlined in R. v. Gladue, 1999 CanLII 679 (SCC), [1999] 1 S.C.R. 688] : (a) the unique systemic or background factors which may have played a part in bringing the particular Aboriginal offender before the courts; and (b) the types of sentencing procedures and sanctions which may be appropriate in the circumstances for the offender because of his or her particular Aboriginal heritage or connection . . . 

Courts have, at times, been hesitant to take judicial notice of the systemic and background factors affecting Aboriginal people in Canadian society [I omit the citation of example case]. To be clear, courts must take judicial notice of such matters as the history of colonialism, displacement, and residential schools and how that history continues to translate into lower educational attainment, lower incomes, higher unemployment, higher rates of substance abuse and suicide, and of course higher levels of incarceration for Aboriginal peoples. These matters, on their own, do not necessarily justify a different sentence for Aboriginal offenders. Rather, they provide the necessary context for understanding and evaluating the case-specific information presented by counsel.