Policy Sectors

Press Release

Justice Department Shuts NWAC Out of FPT Meeting with Indigenous Leaders; Ignores Expertise on Critical Gender-based Issues


October 5, 2022

OTTAWA – The federal Justice department has closed the door on Canada’s largest national Indigenous women’s organization when it meets with provincial and territorial ministers next week, effectively opting not to address Indigenous gender-based issues in any meaningful way.

Though Canada recognizes five National Indigenous Organizations (NIOs), including the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC), only some groups will have a seat at the table. Excluding NWAC from national discussions on justice issues is a significant rebuff to the organization that is the recognized expert on matters related to Indigenous women, girls, gender-diverse, two-spirit, and transgender people in Canada.

The people represented by NWAC face high rates of incarceration, violence, and abuse – all issues that should be central to any discussion of justice. Just yesterday, NWAC honoured the thousands of Indigenous mothers, grandmothers, aunties, and girls who have gone missing or been murdered at its annual Sisters and Spirit vigil. NWAC is committed to holding Canada accountable to ending the genocide by answering the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls 231 Calls to Justice.

NWAC anticipates those with seats at the table will discuss matters that directly impact the people it represents, such as implementing the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act, Indigenous policing, mandatory minimum sentences, overincarceration and the MMIWG genocide. Indigenous women and gender-diverse people are valued leaders, decision-makers and knowledge keepers in their families, communities, and governments. Without their perspective, government discussions are unlikely to consider gender-specific solutions to undoing systemic discrimination.

If NWAC does not hold a seat at the table, Canada’s promises of reconciliation and gender-based equality remain empty.


Media Contact:

For information, or to arrange an interview, contact:

Annette Goerner
+1 (613) 818-6941

Pour obtenir plus d’information ou prendre des dispositions pour une interview, contacter:

Annette Goerner
+1 (613) 818-6941

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