FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(March 9, 2020, OTTAWA) Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada is calling on the federal government to urgently provide $20 million towards the building of shelters and second‐stage transitional housing in Inuit Nunagat and in Ottawa for Inuit women and children fleeing violence.
At its AGM last week, Pauktuutit Board members and delegates unanimously passed a supportive motion, stating that the measure was essential for the safety and security of Inuit women and children.
“Announcing an investment in safe spaces for Inuit women and children in Budget 2020 would show tangible action by the government on the June 2019 MMIWG report, and would demonstrate concrete progress on the path toward reconciliation with Inuit,” said Rebecca Kudloo, Pauktuutit’s President.
More than 70% of Inuit communities currently lack safe shelters, and there are approximately 15 shelters at any given time serving 51 communities across Inuit Nunangat. Often as a result, Inuit women and children fleeing violence must not only leave their homes and schools, but they must also leave their communities and family support systems.
Ironically, Inuit communities are not eligible to access federal funding for shelters through Indigenous Services Canada’s Family Violence Prevention Program.
“Tragically, there have been too many cases in the Arctic when the lack of access to safe alternatives has led to the loss of lives,” said Kudloo. “And for those who can manage to make the journey, the transition from their home communities to urban centres is fraught with social and economic challenges, including securing housing and employment – not to mention becoming vulnerable to other forms of violence and abuse.”
At its AGM, Pauktuutit discussed this critical need with a number of key cabinet members, including the Hon. Dan Vandal, Minister of Northern Affairs; the Hon. Marc Miller, Minister of Indigenous Services; the Hon. Catherine McKenna, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities; and M.P. Gudie Hutchings, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Women and Gender Equality – all whom showed openness to the request.
“As Inuit women continue to be 14 times more likely to become the victims of violence as compared to other women in Canada, we are hopeful that the federal government will recognize the urgent need for this infrastructure and respond favorably to our ask. It is actually a matter of life and death,” said Kudloo.
Antoinette Brind’Amour, Director of Communications
613‐238‐3977 x267 Cell.: 613‐316‐8943
520 – 1 Nicholas Street, Ottawa ON K1N 7B7 Tel: 613 238 3977 [email protected]