Saturday , 16 October 2021
Arthur C. Green/Lakeland Connect

Feds launch National Action Plan to end violence against Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people

Indigenous women, girls, and Two Spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex and asexual plus (2SLGBTQQIA+) people have the right to be safe in their communities, wherever they live.

The Government of Canada is working with Indigenous Peoples and provincial and territorial partners across Canada to bring about substantial, immediate, and transformational change to end systemic racism and gender-based violence.

Today, on the second anniversary of the release of Reclaiming Power and Place, the final report by the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, on this historic day, contributing partners from across Canada come together to release the National Action Plan to end this ongoing tragedy.

“We honour the strength, resilience of the families and survivors and their decades of advocacy for justice, healing and prevention,” Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations said in a news release. “We are here today releasing the National Action Plan and the Federal Pathway because of their dedication to this important and challenging work. The Federal Pathway is a key contribution to the National Action Plan that will lead to real, lasting and widespread change. By working with over 100 Indigenous women, 2SLGBTQQIA+ people and Indigenous, provincial, and territorial partners, we will put in place the concrete measures and the accountability framework that will truly end this ongoing national tragedy.”

During a virtual launch event for the National Action Plan, the Government of Canada released its component of the Plan, the Federal Pathway to Address Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, Two Spirit and LGBTQQIA+ People. The product of extensive engagement and collaboration, the Government of Canada’s contribution to the broader National Action Plan aims to end violence against Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLBGTQQIA+ people by addressing the complexity and interrelated nature of the causes of violence.

Colonialism, racism, sexism and ableism have created systemic inequities for Indigenous Peoples and threatened to extinguish Indigenous languages, cultures and traditional practices, and have directly impacted the rightful power and place of Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people. The Federal Pathway takes a holistic and comprehensive approach to address the root causes of violence by committing to take concrete action in four key areas, as identified by the National Inquiry: culture, health and wellness, human safety and security and justice.

“First Nations, Inuit and Métis women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people deserve to live safely and enjoy good mental and physical health. As Minister of Indigenous Services, I take this seriously and am humbled to say that we are taking the necessary steps to meet those objectives. Our investments in health and child safety supports will help provide Indigenous women and their children the opportunity to rebuild better lives for themselves and their families,” Marc Miller, Minister of Indigenous Services said.

According to Statistics Canada, despite only making up four per cent of the Canadian population, Indigenous women and girls represented 28 per cent of homicides perpetrated against women in 2019 and are 12 times more likely to be murdered or missing than non-Indigenous women in Canada.

Budget 2021 includes historic investments that will support the implementation of the initiatives in the Federal Pathway and contribute to ending this national tragedy. To help build a safer, stronger, and more inclusive society, Budget 2021 proposes to invest an additional $2.2 billion over five years, and $160.9 million ongoing. This investment would support:

  • the preservation, restoration, and promotion of Indigenous cultures and languages;
  • fostering health systems free from racism and discrimination where Indigenous Peoples are respected and safe;
  • supporting culturally responsive policing and community safety services in Indigenous communities;
  • improving access to justice for Indigenous Peoples and support the development of an Indigenous Justice Strategy to address systemic discrimination and the overrepresentation of Indigenous Peoples in the justice system;
  • enhancing support for Indigenous women’s and 2SLGBTQQIA+ organizations; and,
  • working with Indigenous partners to ensure that appropriate monitoring mechanisms are in place to measure progress and to keep the government accountable, now and in the future.

Budget 2021 proposes more than $18 billion in investments to further narrow gaps between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people, support healthy, safe, and prosperous Indigenous communities, and advance meaningful reconciliation with First Nations, Inuit, and the Métis Nation. The work to develop the National Action Plan and the Federal Pathway have informed these investments. They also include additional supports that will help deliver on the Government of Canada’s commitments.

To continue work on the Federal Pathway, the Government of Canada will collaborate with Indigenous partners on an Implementation Plan. This will ensure current and future measures are implemented in a way that meets the needs of the communities they are meant to serve.

The work to end violence against Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people is far from done the government stated. The Government of Canada, along with Indigenous, provincial and territorial partners will continue to work together on the various components of the National Action Plan being released today and those still to come.

The Government of Canada will also monitor and provide a public report annually on the implementation of initiatives included in its Federal Pathway. This ongoing process will help identify where there is a need to re-focus and adjust efforts in the Federal Pathway to keep it accountable for results.

Support line for those impacted by missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people

For immediate emotional assistance, call 1-844-413-6649. You can also access long-term health support services such as mental health counselling, community-based emotional support and cultural services and some travel costs to see Elders and traditional healers.

About Arthur C. Green

Arthur C. Green is from Whitbourne Newfoundland and graduated from the CNA Journalism Program. Arthur also studied Business Marketing and Political Science at Memorial University in Essex England and St. John's Newfoundland. Green has worked for such organizations as CBC, CBC Radio, NTV, Saltwire, Great West Media, CKLB Radio, Vista Radio, and Postmedia. He also loves Jiggs Dinner!