FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 4, 2014 (Ottawa, ON) On September 15, 2014, the Honourable Kelly Leitch, Minister Responsible for the Status of Women, announced the federal government’s plan to address the issue of violence against Aboriginal women in Canada. Since that time, Pauktuutit has been reviewing the elements of the action plan and seeking additional information on what new resources may be made available.
Pauktuutit remains concerned that the September 2014 announcement confirmed the renewal of existing funding and programs, although it appears there will be an extension of project funds to engage men and boys in reducing violence to be made available through Status of Women Canada.
In reviewing the $7 million in family violence prevention and protection funding that is available through Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC) in 2014/15, Inuit women across Canada are at this time in receipt of $75,000, or approximately one per cent of the total. Of this $7 million, $4 million is allocated to fund shelters on reserve, and Inuit communities continue to be excluded from this funding. In reviewing the $20 million in AANDC project funds that were available to representative Aboriginal organizations in 2014/15 it is understood that as of November 2014, not all of the funding has yet been approved. Of the funding that has been approved to date, Pauktuutit has received an additional $80,000 to continue its work on resource extraction and economic development opportunities for Inuit women. Some funding has been made available to other Inuit organizations but the details are not yet publicly available.
“Of the $27 million dollars in annual funding that is available to Aboriginal organizations across Canada Inuit women, through Pauktuutit, are accessing only $155,000. That is one half of one per cent of the total available funding. We are one of three constitutionally recognized indigenous peoples in Canada, and this amount of funding to address very serious issues is discriminatory and offensive to say the least. This is not acceptable, nor is it a meaningful federal response to violence against Inuit women and children, All Inuit, in fact all Canadians need to be aware of this,” remarked Rebecca Kudloo, President of Pauktuutit.
Since the announcement of the federal action plan in September, Pauktuutit has been an active member in the planning and implementation of the fourth National Aboriginal Women’s Summit (NAWS IV) that was held October 20-22 in Membertou, Nova Scotia. While in Membertou, Kudloo attended a two-hour private meeting with representatives of the provinces and territories.
“I appreciated the support from all the provinces and territories that were present for the urgent need to address violence against First Nations, Inuit and Métis women across Canada. We welcome the opportunity to work with many partners, and hope the federal government will join us at our roundtable with the provinces and territories in February next year,” Kudloo added.
There are many issues that fall within the spectrum of missing and murdered indigenous women, including those along the prevention-intervention-postvention continuum. As part its work to address violence against women, Pauktuutit appeared before the House of Commons Committee on Justice and Human Rights on November 4 to speak to the new Victims Bill of Rights. “We highlight the issue of violence against Inuit women at every opportunity. This week, in discussing the needs and rights of victims, we again raised the underlying issues that contribute to violence in our communities with representatives of three federal political parties. We advised the Committee that at the present time Pauktuutit does not have a working relationship with Justice Canada or Public Safety Canada even though these issues are within their mandates and responsibility,” Kudloo concluded.
Pauktuutit wants to hear Inuit views on priorities for discussion at the national roundtable in February, 2015. Please send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For further information or to arrange for an interview please contact: