Greg Rickford, Minister of Indigenous Affairs, and Jill Dunlop, Associate Minister of Children and Women’s Issues, issued the following statement yesterday:
“As we mark the one-year anniversary of the Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, Ontario continues to address the root causes of violence against First Nation, Métis, and Inuit women, girls, and LGBTQ2S people.
To help with Ontario’s response to the Final Report, our government established an Indigenous Women’s Advisory Council. Its members will provide much-needed advice to address human trafficking as well as child, youth and family well-being for Indigenous people.
In partnership with the Ontario Native Women’s Association, Ontario also held engagement sessions on the National Inquiry’s Calls for Justice with Indigenous communities, organizations, leaders, and experts in violence prevention. This will ensure our approach is informed by a wide variety of Indigenous voices.
As part of our government’s overall response to the report’s Calls for Justice, in March we launched a new, comprehensive strategy to combat the problem of human trafficking. Indigenous-specific initiatives are integrated throughout the strategy to help protect vulnerable women, children and youth and address the needs of First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities, organizations, and frontline workers.
We know the COVID-19 pandemic has increased the risk of violence for some Indigenous women and children and made access to support more challenging. That’s why our government is investing $10 million in emergency funding to support organizations delivering social services to vulnerable First Nations individuals and families. Further funding to support victims of gender-based violence and human trafficking during the pandemic will ensure a range of critical supports remain available to those who need them most.
The National Inquiry and its final report have brought the issues of violence against First Nation, Métis, and Inuit women, girls, and LGBTQ2S people to the forefront, and together we must continue the momentum for change. Our government will continue to respond to the report’s Calls for Justice by working in partnership with Indigenous leaders, justice partners, community groups, service providers and others to enhance violence prevention and access to services. By working together, we can support Indigenous women and girls’ empowerment and help secure a future free from violence.”