We call upon the federal government, in consultation with Aboriginal organizations, to appoint a public inquiry into the causes of, and remedies for, the disproportionate victimization of Aboriginal women and girls. The inquiry’s mandate would include:
- Investigation into missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls.
- Links to the intergenerational legacy of residential schools
Indigenous Watchdog Status Update
|Current Status||June 14, 2021||STALLED|
|Previous Status||March 31, 2021||IN PROGRESS|
Why “IN PROGRESS”?
June 3, 2021 – The federal government’s MMIWG Action Plan is widely panned by a majority of Indigenous women’s advocacy groups for its lad of substantive details, timelines or budget: Ontario Native Women’s Association (not invited to participate), Québec Native Women, Union of BC Indian Chiefs, Chair in Indigenous Governance at Ryerson University, Feminist Alliance for International Action, BC Union of Indian Chiefs and Marion Bullard, former lead Commissioner of the MMIWG Inquiry ALL find the government’s Action Plan too general and deficient in details.
June 3, 2021 – The AFN and the AFN Women’s Council released “Breathing Life inro the Calls for Justice: An Action Plan to End Violence Against First Nations Women, Girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ People” with recommendations in four priority areas:
- Justice: address barriers and inequalities in Canada’s justice system
- Human security: ensure equitable access to basic needs, including shelter, food, and education
- Health and wellness: provide services and programs that are culturally appropriate and trauma informed
- Culture as safety: make cultural identity a priority in all preventative, supportive, and healing activities
June 1, 2021: Toronto Star – The Native Women’s Association of Canada “has lost confidence in the federal government and is walking away from the ‘toxic, dysfunctional’ process” to develop its own action plan “Our Calls, Our Actions…The plan includes 65 costed actions to address the MMIWG Inquiry’s 231 Calls for Justice estimated to cost $30M annually.
Dec. 15, 2020 – Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs announced their ongoing plans to develop and implement a distinctions-based, regionally relevant, and accountable National Action Plan but offered no timelines or details other than $35 million over six years and $6 million ongoing for Indigenous and 2SLGBTQQIA organizations to continue to consult with their members and ensure the National Action Plan remains accountable and evergreen. So the unanswered question: when will the National Action Plan be released for review and comment?
The comprehensive Violence Prevention Strategy expands access to a continuum of culturally relevant supports for Indigenous women, children and LGBTQ and two-spirit people facing gender- based violence: funding for Child Welfare services and $85.6M for First Nations and Métis women’s shelters.
The Ontario Native Women’s Association released “Reconciliation with Indigenous Women: Changing the Story of MMIWG (2020)” on Oct. 4, 2020 highlighting 13 key recommendations covering 28 systems to help guide the development of the National Action Plan.
Entitled Reclaiming Power and Place, the National Inquiry’s two-volume final report released on June 3, 2019 calls for transformative legal and social changes to resolve the crisis that has devastated Indigenous communities across the country. It delivers 231 individual Calls for Justice directed at governments, institutions, social service providers, industries and all Canadians in addition to the recommendations and calls for immediate action included in the Interim Report. Carolyn Bennett announced on May 26, 2020 that the government’s response to the MMIWG Final Report would not be released as expected in June. Citing the COVID-19 pandemic, she was unable to predict when the Action Plan could be expected.
Aug. 15, 2019 – Removal of the 1951 cut-off takes effect. “Bill S-3 An Act to Amend the Indian Act” received Royal assent in Dec. 12, 2017 ending 143 years of gender-based discrimination in the Indian Act.
“Reclaiming Power and Place” The Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls
Principles for Change
Our Calls for Justice are based on a solid foundation of evidence and law. Witnesses who shared their truths with us also explained that there are many important principles and ideas that must inform the implementation of any of the Calls for Justice in order for them to be effective and meaningful.
- A Focus on Substantive Equality and Human and Indigenous Rights
- A Decolonizing Approach
- Inclusion of Families and Survivors
- Self-Determined and Indigenous-Led Solutions and Services
- Recognizing Distinctions i.e. Self-Identification, Residency, Geography
- Cultural Safety.
- Trauma-Informed Approach
The significant, persistent, and deliberate pattern of systemic racial and gendered human rights and Indigenous rights violations and abuses – perpetuated historically and maintained today by the Canadian state, designed to displace Indigenous Peoples from their land, social structures, and governance and to eradicate their existence as Nations, communities, families, and individuals – is the cause of the disappearances, murders, and violence experienced by Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people, and is genocide. This colonialism, discrimination, and genocide explains the high rates of violence against Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people.
An absolute paradigm shift is required to dismantle colonialism within Canadian society, and from all levels of government and public institutions. Ideologies and instruments of colonialism, racism, and misogyny, past and present, must be rejected.
Canada has signed and ratified many international declarations and treaties that affect Indigenous women’s, girls’, and 2SLGBTQQIA people’s rights, protection, security, and safety. Canada has failed to meaningfully implement the provisions of these legal instruments, including PPCG, ICESCR, ICCPR, UNCRC, CEDAW, and UNDRIP.
Further, the Canadian state has enacted domestic laws, including but not limited to section 35 of the Constitution, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and human rights legislation, to ensure the legal protection of human rights and Indigenous rights. All governments, including Indigenous governments, have an obligation to uphold and protect the Indigenous and human rights of all Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people as outlined in these laws. Canada has failed to protect these rights and to acknowledge and remedy the human rights violations and abuses that have been consistently perpetrated against Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people.
There is no accessible and reliable mechanism within the Canadian state for Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people to seek recourse and remedies for the violations of their domestic and international human rights and Indigenous rights. The Canadian legal system fails to hold the state and state actors accountable for their failure to meet domestic and international human rights and Indigenous rights obligations.
The Canadian state has displaced Indigenous women and 2SLGBTQQIA people from their traditional roles in governance and leadership and continues to violate their political rights. This has been done through concerted efforts to destroy and replace Indigenous governance systems with colonial and patriarchal governance models, such as the Indian Act, and through the imposition of laws of general application throughout Canada. Indigenous governments or bands as established under the Indian Act or through local municipal governments do not have the full trust of Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people. Indigenous bands and councils and community leadership who have authority through colonial law are generally seen as not representing all of the interests of Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people.
We recognize self-determination and self-governance as fundamental Indigenous and human rights and a best practice. Indigenous self-determination and self-governance in all areas of Indigenous society are required to properly serve and protect Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people. This is particularly true in the delivery of services.
Efforts by Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people to be self-determining face significant barriers. Many Indigenous women’s advocacy organizations and grassroots organizations engaging in essential work to support survivors of violence and families of missing or lost loved ones, and working toward restoring safety, are underfunded and under supported by current funding formulas and systems.
Temporary and deficit-based approaches do not increase capacity for self-determination or self-governance, and fail to adequately provide protection and safety, as well as substantive equality. Short-term or project-based funding models in service areas are not sustainable, and represent a violation of inherent rights to self-governance and a failure to provide funding on a needs-based approach, equitably, substantively, and stably.
231 Calls for Justice
|For all levels of Government = 58 Calls to Justice|
|The National Inquiry heard many truths connected with the deliberate actions and inactions of all levels of government. In addition, the evidence makes clear that changing the structures and the systems that sustain violence in daily encounters is not only necessary to combat violence, but is an essential legal obligation of all governments in Canada. We target many of our Calls for Justice at governments for this reason, and identify how governments can work to honour Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people, and to protect their human and Indigenous rights, in the thematic areas examined within this report.|
Human and Indigenous Rights and Governmental Obligations 11
Health and Wellness 7
Human Security 8
|Industries, Institutions, Services, and Partnerships = 58 Calls to Justice|
|As this report has demonstrated, so much of the violence shared in the truths of those who testified began with an encounter between a person and an institution or a service that could have ultimately contributed to wellness, if it had occurred differently. In this section of our Calls for Justice, we identify important industries, institutions and services that are featured in testimony throughout this report. We include the idea of partnership, because so many of these services and institutions operated in partnership with governments at all levels; these Calls, therefore, while aimed at service providers, must be interpreted with an insistence on proper resourcing and interjurisdictional cooperation, in order to ensure safety for Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people.|
Media and Social Influencers 1
Health and Wellness Service Providers 9
Transportation Service Providers and the Hospitality Industry 1
Police Services 11
Attorneys and Law Societies 1
Social Workers and Those Implicated in Child Welfare 15
Extractive and Development Industries 5
Correctional Service Canada 13
|For All Canadians = 8 recommendations|
|As this report has shown, and within every encounter, each person has a role to play in order to combat violence against Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people. Beyond those Calls aimed at governments or at specific industries or service providers, we encourage every Canadian to consider how they can give life to these Calls for Justice.|
|Calls for Justice for Inuit = 46 recommendations|
|Testimony shared by Inuit witnesses, experts, and Elders, and submissions by Inuit representative organizations, along with existing reports and research, demonstrated that Inuit have unique and distinct experiences of colonial oppression and violence. Further, witnesses emphasized distinct areas of concern and priority areas for Inuit women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people that require distinct recommendations.|
|Métis-Specific Calls for Justice = 29 recommendations|
|The Calls for Justice in this report must be interpreted and implemented in a distinctions-based manner, taking into account the unique history, culture and reality of Métis communities and people. This includes the way that Métis people and their issues have been ignored by levels of government, which has resulted in barriers to safety for Métis women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people. The diversity of the experiences of Métis women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people, both among themselves, and as between other Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people, must be fully recognized and understood.|
All actions taken to ensure the safety and well-being of Métis women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people must include their participation, including those with lived experience. In addition, the recognition and protection of, and compliance with, the human rights and Indigenous rights of Métis women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people on a substantively equal basis is a legal imperative.
Métis witnesses who testified at the National Inquiry, and Parties with Standing’s closing submissions, emphasized the need for greater awareness of Métis issues and distinctive realities, and practical supports for Métis families. They also focused on guiding principles such as: Métis self-determination, and the need for culturally-specific solutions; respect for human rights; prevention in relation to violence and child welfare, and substantively equal governmental support for Métis children and families; and, inclusion of all Métis perspectives in decision making, including 2SLGBTQQIA people and youth.
|2SLGBTQQIA-Specific Calls for Justice = 32|
|Witnesses who testified at the National Inquiry emphasized the need for greater awareness of 2SLGBTQQIA issues, including the important history and contemporary place of 2SLGBTQQIA people within communities and ceremony, and practical supports and safe places for 2SLGBTQQIA people. Several priority areas were identified, including policing, education, justice, socio-economic priorities, health and healing, and child welfare. Witnesses also focused on guiding principles such as self-determined and culturally-specific solutions for 2SLGBTQQIA people, respect for human rights, prevention in relation to violence and child welfare, and inclusion of all perspectives in decision making, including youth. Submissions made to the National Inquiry, specific to 2SLGBTQQIA peoples, reflected the need for a distinctions-based approach that takes into account the unique challenges to safety for 2SLGBTQQIA individuals and groups, including youth.|
Federal Government’s MMIWG National Action Plan
Message from the National Family and Survivors Circle’s
“The Path Forward – Reclaiming Power and Place” is the National Family and Survivors Circle’s contribution to the 2021 Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ People National Action Plan: Ending Violence Against Indigenous Women, Girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ People. A summary of key components is provided in this National Action Plan document. It is available in full at our website at https://familysurvivorscircle.ca. “The Path Forward
– Reclaiming Power and Place” highlights our advocacy and guidance to the National Action Plan development partners.
Message from the Core Working Group
The Core Working Group is collaborating with the National Family and Survivors Circle and Contributing Partners to co-develop a National Action Plan that will drive transformative change to end systemic racism and violence against Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people. Survivors and family members are central in the development and implementation of the Plan.
The National Action Plan is meant to be an overarching framework which connects the work of the National Family and Survivors Circle and the Contributing Partners but recognizes each of their different paths and priorities. Therefore, the National Family and Survivors Circle, Contributing Partners, and provinces and territories are developing their own strategies or action plans.
Our work is not done – the 2021 National Action Plan is a first step towards ending all forms of gender- and race-based violence. It is a living and evergreen document which lays the way forward and is adaptable so that changing needs can be incorporated. The next step involves preparation of an implementation plan with in-depth descriptions of short-, medium- and long-term priorities, and the identification of those responsible for implementation of each action, as well as milestones and required resources.
The National Action Plan also responds to the report entitled “Métis Perspectives of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and LGBTQ2S+ People”, released on June 30, 2019, by Les Femmes Michif Otipemisiwak (LFMO).
Short-Term Goals Priorities
The National Action Plan identifies 23 short-term priorities under the following 7 goals, identifying the Themes and alignment with specific Calls to Justice:
- Achieve transformative changes in attitudes, behaviours, and knowledge within the broader society to prevent and end the root causes of systemic racism, inequality, injustice, and violence against Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people in Canada
- Keep families and survivors at the centre of the process and provide concrete support to survivors and families of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people
- Support the delivery of programs and services by Indigenous organizations, including at the grassroots level, to address all forms of gender- and race- based violence
- Address the broader root causes of violence against Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people
- Develop a national Indigenous human rights accountability mechanism focused on Indigenous human rights that include inherent, Treaty, and Constitutional rights. This mechanism will create shared accountability for upholding the human rights of Indigenous Peoples regarding gender-based violence
- Support a paradigm shift in policies and systems across Canada which defines transformative change in justice, health and wellness, human security, culture, and Indigenous human rights that include inherent, Treaty, and Constitutional rights
- Establish a culturally appropriate Indigenous data infrastructure reflective of Indigenous and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people, based on Indigenous data sovereignty and culturally rooted and distinctions-based indicators
Immediate Next Steps
The National Inquiry’s Call for Justice 1.1(i) called for development and implementation of a flexible and distinctions-based National Action Plan, including regionally-specific plans with devoted funding and timelines for implementation, rooted in local cultures and communities of diverse Indigenous identities, with measurable goals and necessary resources dedicated to capacity building, sustainability, and long-term solutions. This 2021 National Action Plan lays out guiding principles, goals, short- term priorities, immediate next steps, and a strategy/action plan from the National Family and Survivors Circle, Contributing Partners, and provinces/territories. As discussed below, an in-depth implementation plan for the National Action Plan will be developed with more specific information on the short-term priorities, as well as the identification of medium- and long-term priorities. In addition, it will include funding, timelines and who is responsible for implementation.
The National Action Plan is not intended to be a final plan but one that is evergreen and requires monitoring and reporting on progress, as well as further co-development and course correction as required. It also needs to be flexible to address the needs of remote, rural, and urban communities. On the path to ending violence, reclaiming power and place, and restoring the roles and responsibilities of Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people, some of the 231 Calls for Justice and 62 Calls for Miskotahâ can be implemented fairly quickly. However, others will require careful planning to achieve the desired results.
The National Inquiry’s Call for Justice 1.1 calls upon federal, provincial, territorial, municipal, and Indigenous governments, in partnership with Indigenous people, to develop and implement a National Action Plan to address violence against Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people. The following are immediate next steps that governments and representative Indigenous organizations will focus on over the next 12 months to implement the National Action Plan.
- Immediate Support Services for Survivors and Family Members
- Provide funding to establish accessible healing and support services for survivors and family members of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people wherever they are.
- Develop a comprehensive approach for providing support to Indigenous and 2SLGBTQQIA+ victims and families/ friends of Indigenous missing or murdered Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people.
2. Continued Involvement of Survivors and Family Members in the Implementation of the National Action Plan
- With adequate funding, the National Family and Survivors Circle will develop and implement an engagement strategy that provides further opportunity for family and survivors to provide insight and input into the National Action Plan’s next steps.
- The Contributing Partners will continue to complete their Action and Implementation Plans built upon their engagement with survivors and family members.
3. Create an Oversight Body
- Creation of an oversight body which represents the interests of families, survivors, and Indigenous communities by investigating and addressing complaints of mal-administration or a violation of right.
4. Public Awareness and Training
- Begin immediate work on the development of a public education/ awareness campaign on the issues Indigenous people experience and to challenge the acceptance and normalization of violence against Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people.
- Implement trauma-informed training for those who work with Indigenous people, on topics such as history, culture, issues, anti-racism, anti-sexism, anti-homophobia, transphobia, etc.
5. Immediate Development of an Implementation Plan
- Develop an Implementation Plan for the National Action Plan that includes the short-term priorities identified in the National Action Plan, as well as medium- and long-term priorities that will lead to real systemic change.
- Each priority will include specific actions, expected outcomes, timelines, and resources.
- Determine mechanisms and processes for national independent oversight and coordination of the National Action Plan, that includes Contributing Partners and governments with financial support.
- Continuance of Contributing Partners to continue to develop their implementation plans.
- Clearly define the roles and responsibilities of all governments (federal, provincial/territorial, municipal, Indigenous) and Indigenous organizations to implement the 231 Calls for Justice and 62 Calls for Miskotahâ.
- Develop an accountability/results structure for the National Action Plan.
- An Indigenous and gender-based analysis plus (GBA Plus) lens will be applied to the implementation plan
6. Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Federal-Provincial/ Territorial Table
- Create a Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Federal- Provincial/Territorial Table to provide a specific forum to consider and coordinate intergovernmental collaboration and discussion on various areas such as administrative issues, policy, resourcing, resolution of interjurisdictional responsibilities, and processes that emerge from the implementation of the National Action Plan.
7. Create Accountability Mechanisms for the Reporting on the 231 Calls for Justice and the 62 Calls for Miskotahâ
- Create broad accountability mechanisms rooted in Indigenous data sovereignty focused on truth-telling to ensure the National Inquiry’s 231 Calls for Justice and LFMO’s 62 Calls for Miskotahâ are implemented by all governments (federal, provincial/territorial, municipal, Indigenous) and organizations, and their outcomes are measured for effectiveness in creating transformative change and achieving decolonization. This could be part of the responsibilities of the independent committee or working group.
- Create data accountability mechanisms rooted in Indigenous Data Sovereignty.
- Create an independent web portal to post annual reports which track the progress on responding to the Calls for Justice and Calls for Miskotahâ.
- By June 2022, publish the first annual report on progress in responding to the Calls for Justice and the Calls for Miskotaha
Federal, Provincial, Territory Government Commitments to Reduce Violence Against Indigenous Women
Matrimonial Real Property Implementation Support Program
Annual since 2013, $ 3M per year. Renewed 2018-20
Created to protect Indigenous women living on reserves in cases where a relationship ended and property division was required. This investment will allow for continued initiatives for safer environments and opportunities for Indigenous women.
It’s Time: Canada’s Strategy to Prevent and Address Gender-Based Violence, Ministry of the Status of Women
Mar. 5, 2018 – Invests in cultural competency training for federal law enforcement officers, and provides important program funding for at-risk populations, including Indigenous women and girls.
Status of Woman Canada and Indigenous Womans Circle
May 24, 2018 – The Honourable Maryam Monsef, Minister of Status of Women, met with the newly created Indigenous Women’s Circle today to discuss ways of addressing systemic inequalities that disproportionately impact Indigenous women and girls. The Circle will have an advisory role for a two-year term and provide an opportunity for Status of Women Canada to consult with leaders in Indigenous communities on the challenges they face and their priorities for the Government of Canada related to advancing gender equality.
Addressing the Economic Security and Prosperity of Indigenous Women
July 30, 2018 – $4.3M: $350K Regional; $500K National
Proposed projects will engage women and a range of community partners in working together to create lasting change to improve economic conditions for Indigenous women. Projects will:
- Identify issues, strengths and opportunities affecting Indigenous women’s economic security and prosperity;
- Expand community understanding of these issues, strengths and opportunities;
- Take action, together with partners, to identify effective, community-specific mechanisms and solutions; and
- Implement these solutions
National Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking
July 29, 2020 – Funds are to support victims and survivors of human trafficking. $14 million will be distributed by Women and Gender Equality Canada (WAGE) and $5 million through Public Safety Canada. WAGE’s call for proposals will support organizations that work to prevent and address human trafficking to develop and implement promising practices to enhance empowerment supports for at-risk populations and survivors of human trafficking. The call will remain open until September 4, 2020.
The funding available through Public Safety Canada will support two initiatives. The first is for projects that seek to empower victims and survivors of human trafficking through the provision of supports and services that are trauma-informed and culturally relevant. The second is for pilot projects to establish and test best practices to raise awareness of human trafficking among at-risk youth. The call will remain open until September 4, 2020.
Oct. 2, 2020 – Federal Government announced $50M in COVID-19 related funding including for up to $10 million to support organizations providing services related to gender-based violence to Indigenous people off-reserve
Jan. 26, 2021 – Indigenous Services Canada commits to fund the construction and operations of shelters for Inuit women and children across Inuit Nunangat as well as in urban centres
Minister’s Advisory Council on Indigenous Women’s (MACIW Giving Voice Program
May 29, 2019 – $689K over 2 yrs. Grants from $2.5K-$16K
The Province is supporting Indigenous communities and organizations to end gender-based violence through 48 unique community-driven projects that support, teach and celebrate Indigenous women throughout B.C. This year’s projects include traditional activities like knowledge workshops and healing circles. It also includes more community-focused projects, such as monthly dinners, guided community dialogues, cultural retreats and workshops on healthy masculinity.
Affordable Housing Agreement
Mar. 26, 2018 – $6.15M
Support the construction and renovation of off-reserve shelters and transitional housing for families fleeing family violence. Includes $1.9M for Mountain Rose Women’s Shelter to increase capacity
Joint Working Group on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls
The Alberta government has appointed three Indigenous community members and three members of the legislative assembly to inform a government action plan that responds to the calls for justice of the National Inquiry on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. The joint working group will support the government’s actions by:
- Advising on options to address issues of violence and the calls for justice.
- Making recommendations on how to work with Indigenous communities, other governments and the private sector to leverage actions to combat violence against Indigenous women and girls.
Providing input and making recommendations on the government’s action plan.
Aboriginal Friendship Centres of Saskatchewan
July 30, 2018 – $304,950
Develop an Indigenous Women’s Economic Framework with local business and economic partners.
Prince Albert Métis Womans Association
July 30, 2018 – $255,844
Identify and respond to barriers affecting the economic security of vulnerable women in Central and Northern Saskatchewan using research, best practices and capacity building.
The Clean Environment Commission Report
Aug. 24, 2018 – Included cases of sexual abuse, physical abuse and the RCMPs failure to take the complaints of Indigenous women seriously. These allegations highlight the past and present connections between the energy industry, policing, and the ongoing epidemic of violence against Indigenous women in Canada. This is especially evident in resource heavy regions like Manitoba. NWAC calls on Manitoba Hydro and the RCMP to take responsibility for their neglect and active participation in the exploitation and abuse of Indigenous women involved in these cases. Additionally, to ensure accountability, Manitoba Hydro and the RCMP must submit to a collaborative review of their current process. This is to prevent the continuation of violence, to recognize their failures and to acknowledge how these failures continue to impact Indigenous women today.
Re-organization of MMIWG Investigations
Mar. 6, 2020 – The Winnipeg Police Service will be consolidating its approach to MMIWG. The new model will see a coordination of resources from the Homicide Unit, the Counter Exploitation Unit, the Missing Persons Unit, and the Internet Child Exploitation Unit.
These Units form part of the Investigations Branch of the WPS under the direction and oversight of a Deputy Chief and Superintendent. Each of these units is directly supervised by experienced sergeants with a mandate to readily coordinate and rapidly transition investigations involving the exploitation of Indigenous women and girls, including missing persons investigations and homicide investigations.
Walking Together: Ontario’s Long-Term Strategy to End Violence Against Indigenous Women.
Feb. 23, 2016 – $110M over 3 years
Main focus areas: Support for children, youth and families, Community safety and healing, Policing and justice, Prevention and awareness
Providing more than 200 Indigenous communities with supports and services through the Family Well-Being program, which includes hiring and training more front-line service workers, developing community-based programming and creating safe spaces.
Expanding Kizhaay Anishinaabe Niin: I Am a Kind Man, from five to 26 sites across Ontario to support Indigenous men through healing and violence prevention programming.
The Anti-Human Trafficking Act
Feb. 22, 2017 – Introducing the Anti-Human Trafficking Act, which, if passed, would enable individuals to apply for restraining orders against human traffickers and make it easier for survivors to get compensation from those who trafficked them.
The Indigenous Anti-Human Trafficking Liaisons Program
Feb. 28, 2017 – Launching with the Ontario Native Women’s Association to support Indigenous-led approaches to end human trafficking. Through the liaison program, ONWA will continue to work with its Indigenous partners to:
- Support Indigenous communities in providing survivor-focused and localized responses to human trafficking
- Provide advice, training and capacity-building to Indigenous and non-Indigenous service providers
- Contribute to the design, development and implementation of an Indigenous-Led Initiatives Fund
- Identify trends and targeted populations, as well as gaps in existing services.
Supporting indigenous-led approaches to end human trafficking is one of many steps on Ontario’s journey of reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.
Talk4Healing Helpline by Indigenous Women for Indigenous Women
Oct. 9, 2019 – Launched on October 19, 2012, Talk4Healing is a 24-hr. helpline for Indigenous women, by Indigenous women’, offering services in 14 Indigenous languages as well as English. The expansion of the helpline that promotes the mental health and well-being of Indigenous women is supported by funding from the Provincial Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services.
Currently available only in northern Ontario communities with this expansion Talk4Healing will now be available throughout the province with telephone, text and chat services available to over 129,000 Indigenous women. With this expansion Talk4Healing will increase their call intake capacity ten-fold. Helpline services will continue to be provided by operating partner, Beendingen.
Journey to Safe SPACES: Indigenous Anti- Human Trafficking Engagement Report. Ontario Native Women’s Association
May 29, 2019 – The report, funded in collaboration with the Minister of Children, Community and Social Services and Minister Responsible for Women’s Issues, provides a pathway for new collaborative and integrated working relationships in Ontario. ONWA has developed 14 recommendations, which ONWA proposes to implement through a six-part strategy rooted in relationships and collaboration:
- Survivor- centred and survivor informed services that are culture and gender based and delivered in a trauma-informed approach.
- Prevention through education, training and public awareness campaigns, both in print and in person, targeting those who are most at risk and those who can respond first to the signs, namely peers, parents and educators.
- Access to safe and respectful spaces at service delivery agencies that offer women only programming so women can speak openly and without fear about their experiences.
- Core supports for transitioning to a new life, including emergency funding for immediate relocation, which is delivered in an expedient and efficient manner to ensure women and girls have no wait times to safety.
- Evidence-based policy and system reform informed by survivor expertise and the successful extraction of Indigenous women by ONWAs multi-partner collaborative network that works across government, disciplines and professions.
- Streamlined supports offered through a barrier free simplified process.
Anti-Human Trafficking Strategy
Mar. 6, 2020 – $307M over 5 years
A new, comprehensive five-year strategy to combat human trafficking and end child sexual exploitation across the province through a proactive, comprehensive action plan focused on four key areas:
- Raising awareness of the issue by launching a new, province-wide marketing campaign to educate children, youth, parents, and the broader public about what human trafficking is, how to recognize the signs, and where to get help.
- Holding offenders accountable by giving law enforcement more specialized Crown prosecution support for human trafficking cases, strengthening intelligence gathering in the correctional system, and investing in police services to help coordinate anti-human trafficking investigations and expand the Ontario Provincial Police Child Sexual Exploitation Unit.
- Protecting victims and intervening early by investing in specialized intervention teams involving police and child protection services, incorporating human trafficking awareness into the education curriculum, and establishing dedicated, licensed residences to support victims, including those under the age of 16.
- Supporting survivors by investing new funding in wrap-around, community-based supports and Indigenous-led initiatives to make more services available for survivors and by enhancing victim services to assist survivors throughout the court process.
To address the needs of First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities and organizations, and frontline workers, Indigenous-specific initiatives are integrated throughout Ontario’s new strategy. Examples of these initiatives include targeted public awareness activities, Indigenous-led community-based supports for survivors such as counselling, cultural teachings and healing ceremonies, victim services delivered by Indigenous communities and organizations, and culturally-appropriate supports for at-risk youth.
Anti-Human Trafficking Community Supports Fund
June 15, 2020 – $46M over 5 years to increase community-based and Indigenous-specific supports for child and youth victims of sex trafficking. The Fund will prioritize early intervention and increased protection for victims of sexual exploitation and dedicated survivor supports. focus on areas such as:
- Trauma-informed programming developed and delivered by survivor-led organizations,
- Dedicated services for victims under age 18, including residential placements and treatment, peer mentoring, as well as education and employment training programs;
- Culturally-appropriate, Indigenous-designed supports for First Nations, Inuit and Métis victims, families and communities;
- Targeted supports for sexually exploited boys, individuals with developmental disabilities, LGBTQ2S individuals, and racialized and newcomer populations;
- Specialized programs for children and youth involved in or transitioning out of child welfare or the youth justice system.
Aug. 24, 2020 – $7.65M over 5 years as part of the Anti-Human Trafficking Strategy. Funding for specialized services to support human trafficking victims and survivors as part of the government’s comprehensive anti-human trafficking strategy. A portion of this funding will be directed to Victim Services Toronto, Victim Services of York Region and the province’s other Victim Crisis Assistance Ontario organizations. Programs include
- Victim Quick Response Program+
- Victim Crisis Assistance Ontario
- Vulnerable Victims and Family Fund
Aug. 31, 2020 : New Tools to Prevent Human Trafficking– The new tools are designed to provide innovative ways to actively engage youth in discussions about human trafficking and provide culturally-specific resources for Indigenous communities. They respond directly to needs identified by frontline service providers, survivors of human trafficking and Indigenous communities and organizations.
- “Speak Out: Stop Sex Trafficking” is an Indigenous-focused anti-human trafficking educational campaign, designed by and for Indigenous people, that provides information about sexual exploitation and human trafficking – how to recognize it, why Indigenous people may be particularly vulnerable to being targeted and where to go for help. Resources include a website, downloadable materials for distribution in communities, and culturally relevant activities to help leaders and caregivers facilitate conversations with youth, to raise awareness and provide support.
- “The Trap” is a Human Trafficking Digital Education Tool designed to raise awareness about sex trafficking among middle and high school-aged children and teens. The interactive tool allows youth to experience what it feels like to be targeted and recruited by a sex trafficker through an immersive chat experience. It features scenarios based on real-life experiences and with the support of an adult facilitator, youth learn the skills they need to stay safe.
The tools released today complement Ontario’s updated Health and Physical Education curriculum for grades 1-8 implemented last September.
Dec. 10, 2020 – The Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services announced funding to be used by the Ontario Native Women’s Association (ONWA) to further develop and expand the Aakode’ewin – Courage for Change Program across Ontario, addressing the unique needs of the disproportionate numbers of Indigenous women, youth and girls affected by human trafficking.
The program supports Indigenous women and girls at risk, currently involved in, or a survivor of human trafficking. It will focus specifically on exploited youth to get them the services and tools they need to exit. The program offers support in a variety of ways, including 24/7 crisis response, harm reduction and safety planning, 1-1 support with referrals to healthcare, counselling and addiction services, and programming focused on capacity building, empowerment and culturally specific healing. Through a multi-sector approach, care and services are provided in a trauma-informed anti-oppressive way, ensuring integration of culture-based practices and mainstream supports.
- Programs for children aged 12 to 18 at the Roberts – Smart Centre in Ottawa that provide mental health supports, residential services, life skills training and mentorship.
- A survivor-led peer mentoring and day program for children and youth at BridgeNorth in Newmarket, which provides supports from early intervention through to stabilization, transition and reintegration.
The creation of a mobile team at Timmins and Area Women in Crisis, which will travel to five remote and 11 rural First Nation communities in the region, providing culturally appropriate and survivor-led programming in preferred languages for vulnerable and underserviced Indigenous communities
Feb. 22, 2021 – New legislation and amendments to existing legislation to build upon the province’s $307 million Anti-Human Trafficking Strategy.
The proposed changes include two new acts – the Anti-Human Trafficking Strategy Act, 2021 and the Accommodation Sector Registration of Guests Act, 2021 – as well as amendments to the Child, Youth and Family Services Act, 2017 and the Prevention of and Remedies for Human Trafficking Act, 2017. Together, the proposed changes would support the government’s response to human trafficking by:
- Supporting a long-term provincial response to human trafficking and emphasizing that all Ontarians have a role to play in combatting human trafficking;
- Strengthening the ability of children’s aid societies and law enforcement to protect exploited children;
- Supporting more survivors and the people who support them in obtaining restraining orders against traffickers, with specific consideration for Indigenous survivors;
- Increasing the government’s ability to collect non-personal data to better understand the impact of the strategy and respond to human trafficking;
- Providing law enforcement with more tools to locate victims and charge traffickers by:
- Increasing penalties for traffickers who interfere with a child in the care of a children’s aid society;
- Clarifying how and when police services can access information from hotel guest registries to help deter trafficking and identify and locate victims, while establishing regulation making authority to include other types of accommodation providers.
- Requiring companies that advertise sexual services to have a dedicated contact to support investigations into suspected human trafficking.
May 27, 2021 – The province has released a strategy developed in collaboration with Indigenous partners that reinforces Ontario’s commitment to act on the Calls for Justice in the Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls…including the need for better access to stable housing, health care, education and employment. Pathways to Safety: Ontario’s Strategy in Response to the Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls includes 118 initiatives organized under six pathways that will help create the changes required to eliminate the root causes of violence and advance meaningful reconciliation.
The Pathways for Action are:
- Pathway to Security – Initiatives that promote safety, healing and wellness through prevention-focused resources, investments and programs, such as access to safe and affordable housing.
- Pathway to Culture – initiatives supporting the education, training, employment and revitalization of Indigenous languages, cultures and identities.
- Pathway to Health – initiatives that will promote safety and improve access to services including mental health supports for Indigenous women, children and justice-involved youth.
- Pathway to Justice – initiatives that will contribute to system-wide transformation in priority sectors including policing services and child welfare.
- Pathway to Responsibility and Accountability – principles that will be upheld to promote ongoing government accountability in collaboration with the Indigenous Women’s Advisory Council and Indigenous organizations.
- Pathway to Identifying and Addressing Systemic Anti-Indigenous Racism and Indigenous Gender-based Analysis – initiatives that focus on addressing anti-Indigenous racism and developing an Indigenous gender-based analysis approach to inform Ontario’s strategy.
As part of Ontario’s strategy, the mandate of the Indigenous Women’s Advisory Council has been extended beyond March 2022. This will ensure that Indigenous voices continue to drive the strategy’s priorities and help build on the province’s progress to date in responding to violence against Indigenous women, children and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people.
Prince Edward Island
June 3, 2021 – The Abegweit and Lennox Island First Nations and Indigenous organizations will each receive financial support to advance the important work from the Calls to Justice of the Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG). The Indigenous Relations Secretariat will provide annually a total of $250,000, $50,000 to each organization, to help increase their capacity to meaningfully engage their communities on MMIWG priority areas. The advice provided back to the Province will inform future government initiatives to support Indigenous peoples in Prince Edward Island. The Province formed the MMIWG Indigenous Working Group in 2020 with government officials as well as representatives from the Lennox Island and Abegweit First Nations and Indigenous organizations to identify and prioritize work that can respond to the local Calls to Justice. As of 2021, the four priority areas include education, health, housing, and capacity funding for the Indigenous led MMIWG work.
June 19, 2020 – Release of “Calls for Justice. MMIWG. A Preliminary Status Report for the Government of PEI” by the PEI Government with updates in actions taken in response to Calls to Justice in:
- Human and Indigenous Rights and Governmental Obligations (4)
- Culture (6)
- Health and Wellness (12)
- Human Security (13)
- Justice (30)
- Education (6)
- Social Work and Child Welfare (8)
Public Inquiry Commission on relations between Indigenous Peoples and certain public services in Québec: listening, reconciliation and progress
Dec. 21, 2016 – Mandate will be to investigate more broadly the discrimination in the administration of public services towards the members of the Indigenous Peoples of Québec. The following public services are targeted: police, correctional, legal, health and social services, as well as youth protection services.
May 28, 2017 – Quebéc Native Women Open call for Indigenous women to participate in the Public Inquiry that starts in Val D’Or on June 5, 2017
Oct. 23, 2017 – Announces that it will no longer be represented by its lawyers at the hearings of the Public Inquiry Commission due to financial realities limiting the organization’s access to legal expertise and the continued refusal of funding bodies in the Quebec government to ensure their access to legal representation.
Mar. 12, 2020 – $200M over 5 yrs
Investments from Quebec’s 2020-21 budget to implement initiatives that will support Indigenous women and girls and improve access to services that are culturally adapted and thus meet the needs of Indigenous people. The Regroupement des centres d’amitié autochtones du Québec (RCAAQ) believes that the Government of Québec will consider the observations presented in the report of the “Public Inquiry Commission on relations between Indigenous peoples and certain public services” regarding piecemeal and discontinuous government actions. “The Native Friendship Centres play a key role in Indigenous wellness. It is our hope that, with this budget, the current administration will continue to recognize existing inequalities and the need to create and consolidate front-line services in the Friendship Centres to meet our members’ needs.”
First Nations Forum on Sexual Assault
Mar. 26, 2018 – 128 delegates from First Nations across the province of Québec. Organized in partnership by Québec Native Women (QNW) and the First Nations of Québec and Labrador Health and Social Services Commission (FNQLHSSC), the objective of this forum is to define an action plan to fight the cycle of sexual violence within First Nations by supporting both victims and aggressors in their healing journey. In a spirit of respect for our cultures, our action plan focuses on four main objectives:
- better access to services
- improved collaboration between all local and regional partners
- mobilization of all the First Nations people to break the cycle of sexual violence, and
- a consolidation of tools and mechanisms needed to break this cycle in a safe and sustainable way
Bureau des enquêtes indépendantes (BEI)
Aug. 10, 2018 – CISION – Québec Ministry of Public Security confirming the establishment of a special unit, including certain additional measures, within the Bureau des enquêtes indépendantes (BEI), which function will be to investigate any complaint alleging criminal acts towards a First Nation member committed by a police officer in Québec. These new measures will come into force on September 17, 2018
Dec. 4, 2020 – $18M funding to finance a set of measures intended to better adapt police intervention to the realities of Indigenous communities, in particular when it comes to women who are victims of domestic violence or sexual assault. Funding includes:
- $1.2M to combat the sexual exploitation of Indigenous women and girls and countering all forms of sexual violence
- $4M to improve the training of Indigenous police officers to be better equipped when intervening in situations of domestic violence or sexual assault.
- $3.8M giving them access to the services offered by the Québec’s police school.
- Provide Indigenous police forces with liaison officers responsible for helping them better manage cases of sexual assault and to better inform victims of their rights in the event of legal recourse
- Training on the reality Indigenous people experience in Québec will be designed and offered to correctional service officers, so that they have a better understanding of them.
Jan. 27, 2021: NationTalk – A team of researchers from the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) have collaborated with Quebec Native Women to examine how the Service de police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM) responded to the crisis of MMIWG in Montreal?
From these potential solutions, several concrete actions have been identified and these must be undertaken by the SPVM in order to improve its response to MMIWG in Montreal:
- The SPVM must put forth an approach that is clear, coherent, that recognizes the binding nature of the 2015 Agreement and denotes a sincere and systematic engagement on behalf of the institution.
- The SPVM must implement a system that permits data analysis and the development of follow-up indicators regarding racial profiling.
- The SPVM must develop a model of protocols specific to all cases of MMIWG and applicable to any and all interventions with Indigenous women and girls.
- The SPVM must explore methods that are culturally safe and relevant in an effort to build cooperation, a culture of partnership and to establish a relationship of trust with Indigenous people.
- The concept of absolute equality and the different shapes that it can take when applied within the context of police intervention, must be mastered by all members of the SPVM.
- The SPVM must develop an Indigenous liaison team, with adequate Aboriginal representation amongst its members, to effectively distribute the responsibilities and workload amongst several persons.
- A working task force that involves the SPVM as well as other Indigenous organisations based in Montreal, such as Quebec Native Women, must be created without delay.
- Continued financial support for Indigenous organisations in Tiohtiá:ke/Montreal must be committed and ensured.
June 3, 2021 – $28.5M over 5 years for programs to address domestic violence:
- $10 million has been allocated to help support prevention and intervention services in the field of domestic and family violence in Nunavik.
- $9.8 million will be made available to Indigenous police forces to meet specific needs connected with domestic and family violence
- $6 million for the implementation of the recommendations made by the Viens Commission and the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls to support local, culturally relevant services to assist Indigenous men and women, and their close relatives, in the healing process.
Increasing Private Sector Leadership and Investments in Women Experiencing Violence
Aug. 23, 2018 – $308,724
Funding from Status of Women Canada for a project
that will increase women’s economic security. This 36-month project will help increase the economic security of women who have experienced domestic violence by providing opportunities for sustainable employment by engaging key stakeholders in the development of an action plan to address barriers faced by women fleeing situations of violence. The main activities include a needs assessment to determine the scope of the issue and the creation of an action plan to develop new business policies and procedures that include accommodation options for women fleeing violence. The project will also pilot the implementation of such options through work experiences for women and provide an evaluation of the initiative.
Indigenous Missing Person’s Helpline
April 2, 2019 – A new helpline will assist families and friends of missing Indigenous people in New Brunswick navigate police, media and justice systems in an effort to find their loved ones and bring them home safely. The helpline is the latest resource developed in a collaboration between UNB law professor Dr. Jula Hughes, the New Brunswick Aboriginal Peoples Council and Gignoo Transition House. The project, “Looking out for each other: Assisting Aboriginal families and communities when an Aboriginal woman goes missing,” is seeking ways to prevent victimization and improve outcomes for missing Indigenous people including women, girls and sexual and gender minorities in Eastern Canada.
Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation
Feb. 20, 2020 – $1.4M per yr over 5 yrs
- Investing more into programs, services and supports that will raise awareness, prevention and directly help victims and survivors, with an added focus on Mi’kmaw and African Nova Scotian communities.
- hire family and victim support navigators for Halifax Regional Municipality, Cape Breton Regional Municipality and the South Shore. These navigator roles will provide additional support to African Nova Scotian and Indigenous victims and survivors
- provide funding to hire a new Crown prosecutor dedicated to prosecuting human trafficking cases and for specialized training for Crown prosecutors on human trafficking issues
- designate six province-wide positions from the Additional Officer Program as dedicated investigators in the areas of gender-based violence, specifically domestic violence, sexual violence and human trafficking investigators
- the province will also provide funding to re-open the Jane Paul Indigenous Women’s Resource Centre
Appointment of Crown Attorney dedicated to prosecuting human trafficking offenses
July 8, 2020 – Senior Crown Attorney Ms. Josie McKinney, the first Crown attorney dedicated to the prosecution of human trafficking offences is Mi’kmaq and Maliseet and an alumna of the Indigenous Black and Mi’kmaq Initiative at Dalhousie University in Halifax.
Newfoundland and Labrador
Ministers Committee on Violence Against Women and Girls
Dec. 8, 2017 – The top justice issues identified by participants were:
- Education and training for justice professionals;
- More resources for Indigenous communities;
- Restorative Justice, including adequate programming for offenders to end cycle of violence; and
- Re-victimization of individuals at various stages of the justice system, including victim blaming and fear of children being removed from home.
Building Understanding: Strengthening Lives
Aug. 17, 2018 – $291,243 from the Status of Women Canada.
Newfoundland Aboriginal Women’s Network Inc. is receiving funding for a 36-month project focused on increasing Indigenous women’s reporting of domestic violence, and improving access to culturally-relevant support services within the island portion of Newfoundland and Labrador.
Progress Report on Minister’s Committee on Violence Against Woman and Girls
Oct. 1, 2018 – The steering committee has met five times since forming in April. Through these meetings the committee has identified a number of priority issues including, but not limited to examining:
- the application of Emergency Protection Orders (EPOs);
- alternative means to encourage higher rates of reporting sexual and intimate partner violence, such as third party or anonymous reporting; and
- enhanced mechanisms to monitor and deter perpetrators of intimate partner violence.
Moose Hide Campaign
Mar. 11, 2020 – Announcement that the House of Assembly is participating in the Moose Hide Campaign (MHC) today. The campaign – launched in 2011 – is an Indigenous-led initiative of men and boys who are standing up against violence towards women and children. This is the third year for the Newfoundland and Labrador House of Assembly to participate in the MHC.
Addressing Gendered Violence against Inuit Women: A review of police policies and practices in Inuit Nunangat
Jan. 31, 2020 – Pauktuutit Inuit Women Canada and Dr. Elizabeth Comack Department of Sociology and Criminology University of Manitoba examined the role of policing behind the following statistics around Inuit women in Inuit Nunangat:
Violent crime = 13 x higher than national average
Sexual assault = 12 x higher than prov./terr. average
The report issued recommendations in the following areas:
- Culturally competent policing
- Inuit Advisory Committee
- Trauma-informed policing
- Vicarious trauma
- Gender-based Violence Training
- Gender-based Policing Protocols
- Female Officers
- Gendered Violence Prevention Liaison
- Community Integration
- Duration of Postings
- Inuit Civilian Positions
- Police Accessibility
- Community Education
- Community Engagement
- Federal Government Responsibilities
Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada and the RCMP Commissioner meet to discuss police practices relating to Inuit women
July 14, 2020 – NationTalk – President Rebecca Kudloo and RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki discussed police practices as they relate to Inuit women, and the possibility of creating an MOU between Pauktuutit and the RCMP. Brian Brennan, RCMP Deputy Commissioner of Contract and Indigenous Policing, also took part in the conference call. Specifically, Commissioner Lucki expressed her support for the Inuit-specific Calls for Justice, as outlined in the 2019 MMIWG report, as well as the importance of investing in related community supports, such as access to emergency shelters and mental health services. She also spoke about the RCMP’s current work in recruiting and training a much greater number of Inuit police officers.
Jan. 26, 2021 – Government is committed fund the construction and operations of shelters for Inuit women and children across Inuit Nunangat as well as in urban centres. Funding for the new shelters will be part of the $724.1 million for a comprehensive Violence Prevention Strategy as announced in the 2020 Fall Economic Statement. The government will continue to work with Pauktuutit and other Inuit partners to determine the locations and define the details of the projects to best meet the needs of women and families seeking shelter.
Jan. 27, 2021 – NationTalk – “Pinasuqatigiinniq (Inuit for working together collaboratively) Agreement” between Pauktuutit Inuit Women Canada and the RCMP MOU. The agreement formalizes the two organizations’ working relationship, and improves the protection and safety of Inuit women, children and gender-diverse persons. The agreement commits each organization to working together towards implementing recommendations from Pauktuutit’s 2020 report, “Addressing Gendered Violence against Inuit Women: A review of police policies and practices in Inuit Nunangat”.
As the first step in this historic agreement, the RCMP and Pauktuutit are implementing a work plan that includes reviewing the RCMP’s cultural competency training, establishing a family violence coordinator in Nunavut (RCMP V Division), and consulting with Inuit women on the RCMP’s Body-Worn Cameras pilot project in Iqaluit. Pauktuutit and the RCMP are committed to sharing information and working together on emerging issues. Regular meetings will occur between the two organizations’ national leadership, as well as with RCMP Commanding Officers in the Northwest Territories, Nunavut, and Newfoundland and Labrador
Jan. 27, 2021 – NationTalk – As part of the RCMP’s Vision 150 modernization strategy and reconciliation efforts, the RCMP is entering into agreements with women’s National Indigenous Organizations to develop collaborative, community-driven and culturally sensitive crime prevention, violence reduction and training initiatives. Through funding provided by the Government of Canada’s Strategy to Prevent and Address Gender-Based Violence, the RCMP developed two courses for RCMP employees on how to use a trauma-informed approach when conducting investigations, as well as helping employees better understand the impacts of culture and personal identity on actions, perceptions, interactions and experiences.
Joining the Circle: Identifying Key Ingredients for Effective Police Reconciliation
Nov. 2019 – The purpose of this paper is to identify the key ingredients, techniques, challenges, and opportunities for police professionals to engage in effective collaboration within Indigenous communities. The consultations and data gathered for this paper identify how police involvement in information-sharing and collaboration with various Indigenous human service sectors can help reduce barriers, establish trust for police, and reduce violence against women and girls.
Objectives & Outcomes
This project was driven by several objectives originally outlined in the proposal, and reinforced during preliminary and interim reporting activities to Public Safety Canada. They include:
- Identify areas of police policy and practice requiring improvement;
- Identify successful models of multi-sector collaboration that reduce violence against Indigenous peoples;
- Determine key ingredients, traits and skill-sets that contribute to positive police-Indigenous
- Prepare recommendations that support the development of tools and resources for police (and other human service professionals) to use in improving collaborative opportunities to reduce violence against Indigenous people.
The objectives for this project were designed to help produce three intended outcomes. These include:
- Enhanced awareness of key challenges in police-Indigenous relations, together with the identification of key mitigating strategies and tactics;
- Improved understanding of, and commitment to, adopting multi-sector collaboration within an Indigenous context;
- Knowledge of opportunities to reduce violence against Indigenous people through effective multi-sector collaboration.
The key deliverable in this paper is a list of actionable recommendations that government stakeholders, police administrators and frontline professionals can implement in order to effectively collaborate with Indigenous communities in a way that reduces violence against women and girls. Appearing in no particular order of importance, the following recommendations are inspired by the findings of this report.
Efforts should be made to encourage senior police leaders to initiate a paradigm shift within their organizations to align and prioritize strategic planning, resource allocation, policies, procedures and practices with multi-sector collaboration efforts. Leadership commitments to this transformation process will contribute to medium and longer-term outcomes in community safety and well-being.
Police organizations should focus on engaging mid-level managers in building pathways to effective police collaboration within Indigenous communities. Both the literature and interview process single out mid-level management as the place where high-level commitments and frontline experience seem to disconnect. Having mid-level managers involved will close this gap, and bring much-needed support for frontline officers making efforts in communities to effectively collaborate.
Police educators, with the support of Public Safety Canada’s First Nations Policing Program, should pursue development of imbedded coursework in cadet training around multi-sector collaboration, problem-solving, and upstream service mobilization within Indigenous communities.
Public Safety Canada, in partnership with Indigenous educators and policing stakeholders, should develop a robust police training program and corresponding campaign to be implemented Canada-wide and at all levels of police organizations. Training should focus on Indigenous history, colonialism, residential schools, the 60’s scoop, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 Calls to Action, and findings of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. Training strategies might include experiential learning, virtual reality, survivor stories, usage of self-reflection, and the KAIROS blanket exerciseFootnote6. Proven approaches to the delivery of such training should be incorporated to present the relevant history and experience without undermining the very spirit and intents of both collaboration and reconciliation.
5) UPSTREAM PROCESS
Police organizations should empower and enable police officers to detect vulnerability to violence upstream, and support client service access before violence occurs. The most effective efforts in crime prevention, violence elimination, and community safety are when vulnerable individuals and families are supported before crisis occurs—not after. Police are in very advantageous positions to detect risk upstream, and by collaborating with service partners, open up opportunities to support individuals at-risk of violence. To act on this, police need support and encouragement from leadership to get involved, and collaborate upstream.
6) CULTURAL COMPETENCY
Police professionals at all levels should be assessed for cultural competency, in a manner co-created by Indigenous and police stakeholders. This competency should be embedded and continuously supported throughout the life of a police career.
Police organizations should develop a measurement structure used to track police involvement, challenges, solutions, and positive outcomes in collaboration within Indigenous communities. Ongoing monitoring of these data can help identify opportunities to build capacity, troubleshoot, and strengthen collaborative commitments police make to Indigenous communities.
Police organizations should establish longer postings of officers in Indigenous communities. By the time most police officers have created positive relationships, are able to problem-solve, and are contributing to improvements in the community, they are transferred. Too often, important police relationships with communities come to an end when an invested officer transfers out.
A criterion for candidate assessment should be their willingness to see collaboration as a vital tool in law enforcement, their interest in Indigenous community engagement, and their ability to see themselves as an asset and support to individuals who are at-risk of or who have been exposed to violence.
10) SHARED OWNERSHIP
Police planning, measurement, accountability, and reporting should be pursued through a framework of shared ownership between police, their authority (e.g., provincial government), and local Indigenous communities. This provides an opportunity for both police and their human service partners, to become mutually accountable for the safety and well-being outcomes in a community. A shared ownership framework would help build leadership support required to overcome difficult challenges in multi-sector collaboration. It would also contribute to increased capacity for police and Indigenous human service partners to generate a collective impact on violence against women and girls.
In the spirit of collaboration, police themselves should have a nationally and provincially-coordinated and collaborative approach to implementing these recommendations, and learning from one another during the implementation process.
Indigenous Responses to the MMIWG Final Report
Les Femmes Michif Otipemisiwak
June 4, 2019 – Les Femmes Michif Otipemisiwak is the voice of Métis women from across the homeland.
The National Inquiry has failed its mandate for Métis Women and Girls. While the Final Report has 29 Métis-Specific Calls for Justice, none of these provide concrete and effective action that can be taken or include the identification and examination of practices that have been effective in reducing violence and increasing safety for Métis Women and Girls that the Inquiry was specifically directed to do in the Terms of Reference of the National Inquiry. Very few of the recommendations actually speak to working in partnership with Métis communities or organizations to remedy these gaps, or establishing a nation-to-nation, government-to-government approach. The Final Report contains numerous problematic statements and recommendations that actually undermine the self-determination actions of the Métis Nation to respect self-identification of Métis and completely ignores the Métis Nation Definition.
Assembly of First Nations
June 3, 2021 -The AFN together with the AFN Women’s Council, today released a 44-page action plan “Breathing Life into the Calls for Justice: An Action Plan to End Violence Against First Nations Women, Girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ People”, urging enhanced and improved coordination efforts and resources to see real action and change to improve the safety of First Nations and assist families seeking justice. The plan was developed with direct input and contributions by First Nations survivors of gender-based violence and families of missing or murdered loved ones through an extensive and still ongoing engagement process led by the AFN Women’s Council.
It makes recommendations for coordinated action in four priority areas:
- Justice: address barriers and inequalities in Canada’s justice system
- Human security: ensure equitable access to basic needs, including shelter, food, and education
- Health and wellness: provide services and programs that are culturally appropriate and trauma informed
- Culture as safety: make cultural identity a priority in all preventative, supportive, and healing activities
This First Nations action plan is part of a broader plan developed in coordination with the National Families and Survivors Circle, federal, provincial/territorial, municipal and Indigenous governments, Indigenous representative organizations, and Indigenous partners and communities. Both reports are in response to the 231 Calls for Justice from the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls released two years ago today.
April 26, 2021 – The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) is developing a First Nations-led National Action Plan to End Violence Against Indigenous Women, Girls and 2SLGBTQQIA Peoples as mandated in Resolution 67/2019 passed at the AFN Annual General Assembly in Fredericton, NB. Resolution 67/2019 directs the AFN Secretariat to work together with the AFN Women’s Council to develop a First Nations-led National Action Plan with input from the regions and First Nation survivors, families and First Nations Coalitions and Grassroots Family organizations.
Throughout April and May 2021, AFN is hosting regional engagement sessions across the country designed with a “families first” approach to ensure those most impacted have a key role in driving efforts to address and end violence. The engagement sessions will welcome First Nation survivors, families and leadership to provide input and guidance in the development of the plan based on experiences in the different regions across the country.
Input from these discussion sessions in the regions will help build regional reports that will then inform the First Nations-led National Action Plan. This work will ultimately contribute to the broader National Action Plan being developed by Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada (CIRNA).
June 8, 2020 – The Chair of the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) Women’s Council, Chief Connie Big Eagle, said a National Action Plan which addresses violence, policing, and justice issues is urgently needed. There are numerous recommendations within the National Inquiry’s report that deal with policing issues and police interactions with First Nations women and girls,” said Chief Big Eagle. The AFN and the AFN Women’s Council have consistently advocated for immediate action such as greater funding for shelters and safe spaces, mental health supports, programming for men and boys, prevention, and greater funding for First Nations to develop land-based prevention and healing programs.
June 4, 2019 – AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde says immediate and sustained action in coordination with First Nations is essential to fully implement the recommendations and Calls to Justice in the final report. The AFN, together with First Nations, families and other Indigenous organizations, has consistently called for immediate action prior to the Inquiry and during the Inquiry process, and has outlined specific areas where immediate action can be taken to address and end violence.
Inuit Tapariit Kanatami
June 3, 2020 – On the anniversary of the release of the final report of the MMIWG, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK) remains committed to the full implementation of the 231 Calls for Justice, including the co-development of a National Action Plan with Inuit leadership, National Indigenous Organizations, the Prime Minister, and the Government of Canada. ITK continues to advocate for the implementation of Call for Justice 1.7 regarding the creation of a National Indigenous and Human Rights Ombudsperson and a National Indigenous Human Rights Tribunal, and calls for these measures to be included in forthcoming legislation to implement the UN Declaration in Canada.
ITK has committed to implementing all of the Calls for Justice, including 46 Inuit-specific calls, through a June 2019 resolution of the ITK Board of Directors. To this end, the implementation of the Calls for Justice are now a priority area within the Inuit-Crown Partnership Committee, where Inuit leadership, the Prime Minister and federal ministers pursue mutual goals to implement shared ambitions.
At an organizational level, ITK developed its 2020-2023 Strategy and Action Plan with an MMIWG lens. It was released in May with a 98% overlap in its deliverables and the 46 Inuit-specific Calls for Justice. It sets as objectives a number of policy areas with direct links to the Calls for Justice, including:
- taking action to reduce poverty among Inuit, which includes quantifying the social costs associated with poverty in Inuit Nunangat and advancing poverty reduction interventions;
- advancing Inuit-specific health and social development policies, programs and initiatives, which includes specific reference to supporting the implementation of the Calls for Justice; and
- supporting Inuktut revitalization and promotion.
June 27, 2019 – In a resolution passed unanimously at a meeting of the ITK Board of Directors, Inuit leaders, including the Presidents of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, the Nunatsiavut Government, Makivik Corporation, Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated, and the Chair and CEO of the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation supported the full implementation of the Calls for Justice contains within the National Inquiry into Missing, Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls in their final report and commit to fulfilling obligations laid out through its Calls for Justice, including the 46 Inuit-Specific Calls for Justice.
ITK will work with the Inuit regions, Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada and the National Inuit Youth Council to facilitate the full implementation of all Calls for Justice contained in the Final Report of the National Inquiry.”
Inuit leaders discussed the Inuit-specific Calls for Justice (16.1 to 16.46) within the full context of the report. Inuit leaders support
- the affirmation that land claim and self-government agreements between Inuit and the Crown be upheld and implemented,
- the commitment to Inuktut, Inuit knowledge, culture and values, and art within the Calls for Justice.
- Inuit leaders also welcome the acknowledgement of the importance of the implementation of the National Inuit Suicide Prevention Strategy,
- the full realization of the Nanilavut project, and
- the implementation of the recommendations contained within the Qikiqtani Truth Commission.
Native Women’s Association of Canada
June 3, 2019 – The process of colonization created the crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people. The report exposes this crisis that is centuries in the making. It also highlights that discrimination is deeply rooted in policies, practices and laws, denying Indigenous women their basic human rights. This discrimination and systemic violence must end by implementing the National Inquiry’s Calls for Justice. Recommendations (from MMIWG section NWAC website):
- Engage with communities through a culturally relevant gender based analysis to address and end the systemic violence that impacts Indigenous women, girls, gender-diverse people and their families and communities.
- Provide Indigenous women, girls and gender-diverse people with the option and opportunity of removing themselves from abusive relationships through community and network support.
- Enhance, promote and foster the social, economic, cultural and political well-being of Indigenous women, girls and gender-diverse people.
June 23, 2020 -NWAC is calling upon ministers — federal, provincial and territorial — as well as police forces across Canada and the RCMP to take the first necessary steps to end the needless deaths and assaults of Indigenous women, men and gender-diverse people at the hands of Canadian police by immediately implementing the three following reforms:
- all frontline police officers be equipped with body cameras;
- “shoot-to-kill” orders be revised to make non-violent apprehension the imperative when suspects are not brandishing firearms, and to better train officers on how to de-escalate potentially dangerous situations; and
- turn over some of the duties currently performed by police when called to deal with an Indigenous person who is suffering from a mental health issue to social workers, health professionals or elders (many others have called for this reform in recent days as well).
Feb. 10. 2021 – NWAC and the Moosehide Campaign Development Society have signed an historic memorandum committing the two organizations to work together to end the ongoing violence against Indigenous women, girls, and gender-diverse people. It is an acknowledgement that men, including Indigenous men, must be part of the solution to end what the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls determined to be a genocide. Raven Lacerte, the co-founder and ambassador of the Moose Hide Campaign, said: “Our collective efforts of ensuring this country is a safe and loving place for our precious Indigenous women is driving this connection. We realize the need for everyone to be part of the solution … We believe men and boys need to be part of the conversation in order to be part of the solutions to make this country safe for all of us.”
Ontario Native Women’s Association
June 3, 2021 – ONWA is the oldest and largest Indigenous women’s organization in Canada and yet was not invited to participate in the development of the National Action Plan in response to the MMIWG Inquiry Final Report Calls to Justice. The ONWA left the Native Women’s Association of Canada in 2016 so, in effect, the voices of Indigenous women in Ontario have been excluded from the MMIWG process.
The federal government’s Nation-to-Nation approach excludes Indigenous women who are not connected to a First Nation, Metis organization, or Inuit land claim organization. It reinforces patriarchal systems and values that continue to keep Indigenous women unsafe and vulnerable to violence. ONWA will advocate to not only be included in the implementation process but also advocate for:
- Addressing the immediate safety needs of Indigenous women.
- The reinstatement of the Aboriginal Healing Foundation for all Indigenous community members in Canada to have access to healing programs that meet their needs.
- Inclusion of Indigenous women’s voices
To view ONWA’s Reconciliation with Indigenous Women report go to:
June 3, 2020 – We have recently completed our consultations to contribute to the National Action Plan on MMIWG. We heard consistent messages across Ontario. The time to invest in Indigenous Women is now – during the crisis and one year after the report was released.
We need stable and consistent funding devoted to addressing gender-based violence. Indigenous women have the solution to ending violence against them, and they need the funding to address it. Indigenous women need to lead the National Action Plan to ensure accountability to addressing the issue. We need to be at the table making decisions about or for Indigenous women. Indigenous women have a right to safety and a right for services that meets their needs that are designed, developed and implemented by them.
June 3, 2019 – ONWA board president Dawn Lavell-Harvard, “ONWA is committed to ending violence against Indigenous women, rooted in a long legacy of colonialism that has diminished the value of Indigenous women, girls, and two spirit people in this country. The best way we can remember the value of those missing or murdered is to put an end to the conditions, attitudes, behaviours and systems that have caused this devastating situation.”
ONWA has seen how effective holistic strength-based services, combined with Indigenous ways of knowing and being are in providing wrap around services to Indigenous women and families which mirrors many of the recommendations within the Inquiry Final Report.
Oct. 4, 2020 – Release of “Reconciliation with Indigenous Women: Changing the Story of MMIWG (2020)” with 13 key recommendations covering 28 systems that Indigenous women navigate throughout their lifetime and the forms of violence they face within them, including: healthcare, child welfare, education, food/income security, homelessness/housing, employment, social services, media/social media, etc. firstname.lastname@example.org The report incorporates the traditional 13 Grandmother Moon Teachings. These strength-based recommendations and a wholistic approach foster independence, resilience, and environments in which Indigenous women and girls are respected, not dehumanized, and their safety is supported.
Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada
June 2, 2020 – Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada called on Prime Minister Trudeau to immediately implement at least one of the 46 Inuit-specific recommendations contained in last year’s Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) – namely, funding for five new Inuit shelters in Inuit Nunangat and in Ottawa. On May 29, 2020 the federal government announced $85 million in federal funding for the construction and operation of 12 new shelters for Indigenous women and girls. However, the new funding does not include any Inuit-specific shelters for women and children fleeing violence. The Pauktuutit are asking for $20M for 5 shelters in the four Inuit regions of Canada: Nunavut, Inuvialuit, Nunatsiavut, Nunavik as well as Ottawa which has the highest urban Inuit population in Canada.
Inuit women face violence at a rate 14 times greater than other women in Canada. Of the 51 communities in Inuit Nunangat, 37 of them (73%) do not have safe places for Inuit women and girls fleeing violence.
Ceremony in Transitions: Culture-Based Approaches to Violence Prevention
March 1, 2021 – The Ontario Federation of Indian Friendship Centres has released a comprehensive report demonstrating the connections between youth engagement in cultural rights-of-passage ceremonies and eliminating gender-based violence. Both on- and off-reserve, urban and rural, Indigenous communities are facing an epidemic of violence. By exploring the contemporary landscape of ceremonies, life-stage transitions, and other cultural practices with Indigenous youth in Ontario, findings revealed these practices as a key link in the reduction of violence against Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people.
Stemming from the root of colonial violence, Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people are a more vulnerable population and are disproportionately more likely to experience violence in their lifetime. Indigenous women are six times more likely to be a victim of homicide than non-Indigenous women. Two-Spirit and trans people experience violence nearly five times more often than their peers.
The report, Ceremony and Transitions: Culture-based Approaches to Violence Prevention, is the result of a year-long study led by OFIFC researchers alongside four partner organizations engaged in research to further emphasize cultural practices.
Youth were identified as the key audience to engage with and the researchers explored:
- Reviving language, land-based activities and regalia-making at Ininew Friendship Centre in Cochrane
- Indigenous curriculum and diverse leadership at St. David Catholic Elementary School in Sudbury
- Ohero:kon (Under the Husk) youth mentorship program at Six Nations of the Grand River
- Reviewing the insufficiencies of the colonial justice system, and renewing Indigenous justice traditions and legal principles at N’Amerind Friendship Centre in London
Each community partner highlighted their own traditional Indigenous value systems and ways of living. In such environments, gender-based violence is unacceptable. Participants learned healthy ways of relating to one another and how to make healthy choices as foundational practices for dealing with colonial violence. Restoring a sense of identity and self-worth fostered community respect and belonging.
Known as “Everyday Good Living,” Indigenous cultural practices make it possible to live well on the land, achieve social cohesion within community, and engage in reciprocal and respectful relationships with all. Through ceremony at times of transition, youth are invited into these practices, becoming personally and collectively responsible for upholding them.
In order to support this work to end gender-based violence, four over-arching recommendations were identified:
- Restoration of Indigenous relationships
- Implementation of Indigenous teachings and cultural practices
- Long-term community-driven research
- Strengthening existing programs and initiatives to encourage integration and long-term impact
OFIFC shares these insights in the hope that they can benefit other Indigenous communities and non-Indigenous partners working toward ending gender-based violence.
Bill S-3 An Act to amend the Indian Act (elimination of sex-based inequities in registration)
Oct. 25, 2016 – Bill S-3: “An Act to amend the Indian Act (elimination of sex-based inequities in registration)“.
Government wants to equalize treatment for women but only from 1951 when the registry was created. First Nations must have the ability to maintain and protect the legal/legislative status and existence of its present and future citizens Senate is insisting that the Liberal government remove all traces of sexist language that affects who qualifies to be legally regarded as status Indian
Nov. 2, 2017 – Advocates have joined forces with two Aboriginal senators – Lillian Dyck and Sandra Lovelace -Nicholas – in an awareness campaign that kicked off this week urging the Liberal government to change the bill known as S-3. Part of the outreach, supported by the Canadian Feminist Alliance for International Action, includes the distribution of a letter to women’s organizations, academics and human rights groups to canvass support on the “full and final removal” of sex discrimination in the Indian Act.
The discrimination has existed since the Indian Act was first introduced in 1876, the letter adds. In June, the Senate unanimously passed a change to Bill S-3 dubbed the “6(1)(a) all the way” amendment, a change designed to ensure Indian women and their descendants have full Indian status like Indian men and not just to 1951 which is which is date the federal government prefers.
Dec. 12, 2017 – Bill S-3 receives Royal Assent
The Act comes into force in two stages: Phase 1 addresses the initial discrimination relating to an Indian woman losing her status if she marries a non-indigenous man (after 1951); Phase 2 deals with restoring status to this impacted before 1951 (the 1951 cut-off) and other discrimination inequities.
June 12, 2018 – Ms. Claudette Dumont-Smith has been appointed as the Minister’s Special Representative (MSR) to lead the consultations. The collaborative process will involve comprehensive consultation and joint work with First Nations, Indigenous groups, experts and impacted individuals on Indian registration, band membership, and First Nation citizenship reform to ensure that the dialogues account for and reflect the diversity of viewpoints of the participating individuals and communities.
Jan. 14, 2019 – The United Nations Human Rights Committee ruled that Canada continues to discriminate against First Nations women and their descendants by denying them the same entitlement to full s. 6(1)(a) status under the Indian Act as First Nations men and their descendants. This long-standing discrimination affects First Nations women’s entitlement to status, their right to transmit status, and their equality with First Nations men.
Jan. 14, 2019 – Native Women’s Association of Canada calls on the federal government to take immediate action. A more expansive approach is required to account for all discriminatory provisions, including the second-generation cut-off rule and the burden of proof to establish “Indian parentage”. This ruling is historic for many First Nations women and their descendants. Indigenous women deserve nothing less than full equality. Canada must act now. Canada must stop discriminating.
Jan. 22, 2019 – Open Letter from Union of BC Indian Chiefs to Carolyn Bennet (Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada (CIRNA): “Recall the Collaborative Process survey and honour the UN ruling on the Indian Act’s discrimination against women”.
The CIRNA’s survey is fundamentally flawed and unrepresentative of the true collaboration that needs to take place between Indigenous Peoples and the Government of Canada. Designed by the government as a nominal and placatory symbol of “reconciliation” and “renewed relationships,” the survey is anything but collaborative. Now that the UN Committee has ruled that Canada must dismantle the discriminatory, sex-based hierarchy in the status registration provisions of the Indian Act, the survey is unnecessary and insulting to the Indigenous women who continue to have their right to equality breached.
June 21, 2019 – Passage and implementation of Bill S-3 will finally eliminate 143 years of gender-based discrimination in the Indian Act.
Aug. 15, 2019 – All provisions under Bill S-3 brought fully into force. The Bill removed the 1951 cut-off from the Indian Act registration provisions, ensuring that women and entitled descendants could register for status. Eligible individuals include descendants born prior to April 17, 1985 (or of a marriage before that date), of women who lost status or were removed from band lists because of their marriage to non-status men going back to 1869.
Official Federal Government Response: Sept. 5, 2019
The Commission of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls delivered its final report entitled Reclaiming Power and Place, on June 3, 2019.
Building on the recommendations of the Commission’s Interim Report, presented in November 2017, the report provides over 230 recommendations to governments, police services and the Canadian public to help address levels of violence directed at Indigenous women and girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people.