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Press Release

NWAC Appalled By Federal Government’s National ‘lack-of-action Plan’ To Address Violence Against Indigenous Women, Girls And Gender-diverse People

OTTAWA – The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) is appalled to learn that the federal government has no timeline for the release of a National Action Plan to address the ongoing violence against Indigenous women.

On June 3, it will be a full year since the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and Gender-Diverse People released its final report and 231 Calls For Justice.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised at that time that: “The work of the commissioners, the stories they have collected, and the Calls For Justice they have put forward, will not be placed on a shelf to collect dust.” And in December of last year, Carolyn Bennett, the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, said of a plan: “We believe we have to have something in the window by June.”

But, after a year of almost no consultation with the people who matter – the Indigenous women of Canada – the Minister chose to announce through the news media that no action plan would be tabled in June and there is no timeline for creating such a document. Minister Bennett blamed the ongoing global pandemic for the delay.

Lorraine Whitman, President of NWAC, said the pandemic cannot be used as an excuse for failing to protect the vulnerable Indigenous women of Canada who face increased risk of violence as a result of the disease and required social isolation.

“Rather than a national action plan, Indigenous women have been given a lack-of- action plan,” said Ms. Whitman. “Indigenous women are still dying and disappearing in Canada, families are still being left in the dark about the loss of their loved ones,” she said. “The time to act is now, not years or even months from now.”

NWAC wants – and has offered - to assist the government in developing the National Action Plan and will do whatever is needed to move it forward. It has provided Minister Bennett’s department with a list of eight immediate and tangible steps that could be taken - steps that would have a real impact on reducing the loss of life and start the healing process for those who are suffering. They could form the basis of the first version of the action plan which the Minister herself has said would be a “living document’ that is meant to be expanded and updated.

“This is a government that came to power saying no relationship is more important to Canada than the relationship with Indigenous Peoples,” said Ms. Whitman. “We hope that principle has not been abandoned. We hope the Indigenous women and girls of Canada have not been abandoned.“

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About The Native Women’s Association of Canada

The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) is a national Indigenous organization representing political voices of Indigenous women, girls, Two-Spirit, transgender, and gender-diverse people in Canada. NWAC is inclusive of First Nations—on- and off-reserve, status, non-status, and disenfranchised—Inuit, and Métis. An aggregate of Indigenous women’s organizations from across the country, NWAC was founded on a collective goal to enhance, promote, and foster social, economic, cultural, and political well-being of Indigenous women, girls, Two-Spirit, transgender, and gender-diverse people within their respective communities and Canadian societies.

À propos de l'Association des femmes autochtones du Canada

L'Association des femmes autochtones du Canada (AFAC) est une organisation autochtone nationale qui représente la voix politique des femmes, des filles, des transgenres, des bispirituels et des personnes de sexe différent au Canada, y compris les membres des Premières nations vivant dans les réserves et hors réserve, les Indiens inscrits et non inscrits, les personnes privées de leurs droits, les Métis et les Inuits. Regroupant des organisations de femmes autochtones de tout le pays, l'AFAC a été fondée dans le but collectif d'améliorer, de promouvoir et de favoriser le bien-être social, économique, culturel et politique des femmes autochtones au sein de leurs communautés respectives et des sociétés canadiennes.