Press Release

Statement by Lorraine Whitman, President of the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) on the decision by Statistics Canada and Canadian police chiefs to enhance collection of race-based crime statistics

(Ottawa, ON) - The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) is pleased to learn that Statistics Canada and the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police (CACP) have agreed to work together to enable police to report race-based information about victims and accused persons.

For too many years, the scarcity of this information has created gaping holes in our collective knowledge about the crimes being perpetrated against members of racial and ethnic groups, especially Indigenous women.

As a result, we at NWAC have often had to rely on old or incomplete numbers to make our case to governments for the enhanced measures that are necessary to support the Indigenous women we represent.

The National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and Gender-Diverse People found the crimes committed against our women was genocide. One of the Inquiry’s 231 Calls For Justice was for the federal government to amend its data collection and intake screening process to gather “distinctions-based” data.

We believe that race-based information will also help to highlight the inequities in our justice system, and the overrepresentation of First Nations, Métis and Inuit people – and especially Indigenous women – in Canada’s prisons.

We at NWAC look forward to meeting with Statistics Canada and the CACP to discuss ways to improve the collection of race-based data about crime victims and perpetrators, and especially about Indigenous women who become involved with the justice system.

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