What we are doing
Since 2015, the Government of Canada has worked across departments towards a Canada free of violence against Indigenous women, girls, LGBTQ and Two-Spirit people.
Together with provincial, territorial and Indigenous partners, we are responding to the issues identified in the Calls for Justice, as part of the whole-of-Canada response to the Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.
We want to honour missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, LGBTQ and Two-Spirit people and foster the healing of families, survivors and First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities. Actions from across the country are needed to truly address violence against Indigenous women, girls, LGBTQ and Two-Spirit people and end this national tragedy.
Learn more about federal initiatives, as well as our work with our partners.
We will be adding new actions taken to this webpage throughout the year.
- The Indigenous Languages Act received Royal Assent on June 21, 2019. It was developed with Indigenous peoples and supports the reclamation, revitalization, maintenance and strengthening of Indigenous languages in Canada. The act recognizes that the rights of Indigenous peoples include Indigenous language rights.
- Budget 2019 provided $333.7 million over 5 years beginning in 2019-20 and $115.7 million ongoing, to support Indigenous language revitalization efforts and the creation of the Office of the Commissioner of Indigenous Languages.
- In 2017, Library and Archives Canada (LAC) received $14.9 million to support Indigenous communities to preserve culture and language recordings and to increase access to Indigenous-related content in LAC's collection. With these goals in mind, LAC unveiled 2 Indigenous Documentary Heritage Initiatives: We Are Here: Sharing Stories and Listen, Hear Our Voices.
- The Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Commemoration Fund invested $13 million to support Indigenous governments and organizations to work with families, survivors and communities to develop and implement commemoration initiatives to honour the lives and legacies of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, LGBTQ and Two-Spirit people.
- The LGBTQ2 Community Capacity Fund provides funding to build stronger capacity and networks of LGBTQ and Two-Spirit community organizations and advance LGBTQ and Two-Spirit equality across Canada.
- In 2019, Women and Gender Equality (WAGE) funded the 2 Spirits in Motion Foundation for up to $200,000 to expand and grow its capacity for services and advocacy by promoting collaborative knowledge generation and dissemination among Two-Spirit and Indigenous LGBTQ peoples and organizations. A national Two-Spirit gathering was held in January 2020 to determine priorities and expected outcomes for future policy and planning in view of creating a safe and supportive environment for Two-Spirit peoples in Canada. This contribution is also helping develop a strategic plan to advance its internal structure as well as the disbursement of microgrants to strengthen local and regional Two-Spirit organizations in Canada.
- In April 2019, Indigenous Services Canada launched a new policy and funding approach for First Nations kindergarten to grade 12 education developed with the Assembly of First Nations to better meet the needs of First Nations students on reserve and improve education outcomes. This new approach supports First Nations control of First Nations education and ensures more predictable and sufficient funding. It will ensure base funding is comparable to provincial systems across the country while working towards additional funding agreements based on need to better account for factors such as remoteness, school size, language, and socio-economic conditions. It also provides provide First Nations schools with $1,500 per student, per year, to support language and culture programming.
- Since 2015, 114 school facility improvement projects have been completed improving First Nations education infrastructure on reserve through Indigenous Services Canada.
- Between 2017 and 2019, Indigenous Services Canada renewed and expanded the Post-Secondary Student Support Program, established new Inuit and Métis Nation post-secondary education strategies and engaged with First Nations to develop regional post-secondary strategies.
- Canada's Anti-Racism Strategy is a $45 million investment announced in Budget 2019 in order to take immediate steps to combat racism and discrimination. The strategy, Building a Foundation for Change: Canada's Anti-Racism Strategy 2019-2022, outlines the government's commitments toward building a more inclusive and equitable country for all Canadians.
- The Anti-Racism Action Program at Canadian Heritage is intended to help address barriers to employment, justice and social participation among Indigenous peoples, racialized communities and religious minorities
- The Multiculturalism Program at Canadian Heritage funds 56 community-based projects that include a focus on Indigenous peoples, including initiatives to improve:
- communities' capacities to promote diversity and inclusion
- community development, anti-racism and engagement
- and to build on Canada's strength as a diverse and inclusive society
- The Emergency Support Fund for Cultural, Heritage and Sport Organizations is providing additional temporary relief to support cultural, heritage and sport organizations, including Indigenous organizations, and help them plan for the future as a result of COVID-19. As of May 8, 2020, Canadian Heritage began working closely with its partners on next steps and distributing up to $500 million as quickly as possible using existing channels.
- In 2019 to 2020, the Canada Cultural Spaces Fund invested $875,000 towards the development of the $4 million Chesterfield Inlet Community Cultural Interpretative Centre, in Rankin Inlet, Nunavut. The centre, which is being constructed by the Kivalliq Inuit Association, will house several workshop areas for cultural activities, and will serve as a gathering place for Inuit to express, preserve, celebrate and share their culture across generations and with visitors.
- The Canada Arts Training Fund approved $100,000 for 2020-21 to support the Qaggiq School of Performing Arts (Qaggiavuut Nunavut Performing Arts Centre), an Inuit professional arts training school. The Canada Arts Training Fund also co-developed a multi-year initiative for 2019 to 2021 with 3 Indigenous training institutions to better attract and retain Indigenous professional arts students.
Health and wellness
- The Government of Canada has co-developed, with Indigenous peoples, provinces and territories, new legislation to reduce the number of Indigenous children in care which came into effect on January 1, 2020. This work has been completed as part of an ongoing commitment to reform the Indigenous child and family services system, with goals that are in line with many of the Calls for Justice outlined in the Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.
- Through the First Nations Child and Family Services Program, Indigenous Services Canada has also more than doubled funding to child and family services agencies, based on their actual needs and with an emphasis on prevention, from $681 million in 2015 to2016 to $1.7 billion in 2019 to 2020.
- During the coronavirus outbreak (from March 9, 2020 to at least September 30, 2020), Indigenous Services Canada will ensure First Nations youth who reach age of majority during the outbreak, continue to receive the supports they need.
- The Government of Canada is investing $1.2 billion over 3 years to support the implementation of Jordan's Principle. From July 2016 to April 30, 2020, more than 594,000 products, services and supports were approved for First Nations children under Jordan's Principle. These include speech therapy, educational supports, medical equipment and mental health services.
- In March 2020, the Government of Canada created the Indigenous Community Support Fund to address immediate needs related to COVID-19 in First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities Initial funding was $305 million, but was increased to $380 million in May 2020 with $90 million focused on needs in urban Indigenous communities.
- The Hope for Wellness Help Line is available online and by telephone for all Indigenous peoples 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It offers counselling and crisis intervention. On request, these services are also available in Cree, Ojibway and Inuktitut.
- The Government of Canada is investing $425 million annually for community-based services to address the mental wellness needs of First Nations and Inuit. This funding supports a continuum of culturally appropriate, community-based programs, services and strategies, including mental health promotion, counselling, crisis intervention and addictions prevention and treatment. This includes the creation of 52 new mental wellness teams, for a total of 63 teams serving 344 communities.
- Health support services for survivors, family members and those affected by the issue of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls to access mental health counselling, emotional support, community-based cultural support services and some assistance with transportation costs from 2017 to 2021.
- The Urban Programming for Indigenous Peoples received $118.5 million over 5 years in Budget 2017 to fund organizations and projects that support urban Indigenous peoples, including projects that support women such as transitioning out of shelters, as well as community wellness projects.
Human security and safety
The Government of Canada is expanding the network of shelters and transition houses for those fleeing domestic violence:
- To help protect and support Indigenous women and girls experiencing and fleeing violence, we are providing $44.8 million over 5 years to build 10 shelters in First Nations communities on reserve across the country, and 2 in the territories. The government will also provide $40.8 million to support operational costs for these new shelters over the first 5 years, and $10.2 million annually ongoing, which will bring the total to 58 shelters funded through Indigenous Services Canada's Family Violence Prevention Program.
- The Government of Canada is also investing $1 million a year ongoing, starting this year, to support engagement with Métis leaders and service providers on shelter provision and community-led violence prevention projects for Métis women, girls, LGBTQ and Two-Spirit people.
- As part of the COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, the Government of Canada is investing up to $50 million to support shelters and sexual assault centres. This includes $10 million provided to Indigenous Services Canada to support its existing network of 46 First Nations emergency shelters on reserve and in Yukon, and up to $40 million provided to Women and Gender Equality Canada (WAGE). To date, WAGE has addressed the immediate needs of nearly 700 shelters and sexual assault centres, including over 40 organizations serving Indigenous women and children off-reserve.
- Through Budget 2016, the Family Violence Prevention Program has collaborated with the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation to build and operate 5 new on-reserve shelters across Canada.
- The National Aboriginal Circle Against Family Violence received core funding, in 2019, for 3 years, through Indigenous Services Canada's Family Violence Prevention Program to act as a national coordinator and support First Nations shelters and their staff through training forums, prevention activities, research and collaboration with key partners.
- Public Safety Canada's Aboriginal Community Safety Planning Initiative supports Indigenous communities in the development of customized community safety plans.
- A range of housing options that serve women and children are also supported through the National Housing Strategy (NHS). This strategy is a $55 billion, 10-year plan that will give more Canadians a place to call home. It focuses on the most vulnerable Canadians, including Indigenous peoples and women and children fleeing domestic violence. It covers the entire housing continuum, from shelters and transitional housing, to community and affordable housing, to market rentals and homeownership. The NHS has a target of 33% of investments to support projects that serve the unique needs of women and girls, particularly women fleeing violence.
- Launched in 2018 as part of the NHS, the $13.2 billion National Housing Co-investment Fund supports new construction, repair and renewal of affordable housing, shelters and transitional housing. It promotes mixed-income and mixed-use housing that is well-located and creates safe and inclusive communities. It prioritizes housing for vulnerable populations, including Indigenous peoples and women fleeing domestic violence. The fund will help to build and maintain at least 4,000 shelter spaces across the country for survivors of domestic violence.
- The Government of Canada continues to work with First Nation, Inuit and Métis Nation partners to co-develop and implement distinct strategies that will support their vision of self-determination and lead to better social and economic outcomes for their communities. On behalf of the Government of Canada, Indigenous Services Canada and Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada continue to lead this work and Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) remains an active supporting partner
- The First Nations National Housing and Related Infrastructure Strategy was co-developed by Indigenous and federal partners, and endorsed by Chiefs-in-Assembly in December 2018. The strategy sets a plan forward to increase the care, control and management of housing and related infrastructure programs and services to First Nations. Budget 2018 also provided $600 million over 3 years in new funding to support new construction, renovations, lot servicing and capacity building projects in First Nation communities.
- The Inuit Nunangat Housing Strategy was released in April 2019. It is helping guide Government of Canada's direct investments in Inuit housing of $400 million over 10 years, announced in Budget 2018, for the 3 Inuit regions of the Inuvialuit Settlement Region (Northwest Territories), Nunavik (Québec) and Nunatsiavut (Northwest Territories). Direct investments are supporting housing development based on Inuit, self-determined needs. The effectiveness of Budget 2018 investments will be assessed with Inuit partners at the three-year mark (expected 2021) to help guide remaining investments.
- The Métis Nation Housing Sub-Accord was signed in July 2018, by the Government of Canada and the Governing Members of the Métis National Council. The Métis Nation Housing Sub-Accord is funded from Budget 2018, with $500 million over 10 years for Métis Nation. The parties will assess progress at the three-year mark (2021) to determine future allocations on the basis of a co-developed needs assessment.
- The Canada Child Benefit is a tax-free monthly payment introduced in 2016 and indexed every year targeting low and middle-class families to help them with the cost of raising children under 18 years of age.
- Budget 2018 provided $327.6 million over 5 years, starting in fiscal year 2018 to 2019, for a multi-pronged approach to tackle gun and gang activity in Canada. Just over $214 million over 5 years is being provided to provinces and territories to support priority areas and fund tailored initiatives in communities to bolster prevention, gang exit, outreach and awareness programming, and enhance intelligence sharing, and law enforcement capacity to combat gun and gang violence. The remaining funding is provided to the RCMP and Canada Border Services Agency to support investigations and gather intelligence on the criminal use of firearms and to help stem the flow of illegal firearms from entering Canada at vulnerable points of entry.
- In September 2019, the Government of Canada announced an investment of $57.22 million over five years, starting in 2019-20, and $10.28 million ongoing, in new federal funding to combat human trafficking under a National Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking. This builds on the investment of $14.51 million over 5 years and $2.89 million per year ongoing announced in Budget 2018 to establish the Canadian Human Trafficking Hotline which was launched in May 2019 by the Canadian Centre to End Human Trafficking. This non-government organization provides a multi-lingual and confidential service that is operational 24/7, 365 days a year.
- The Government of Canada is committed to ending long-term drinking water advisories on public systems on reserves and has made substantial progress in providing safe drinking water to First Nations communities.
- Family Information Liaison Units were created after the pre-inquiry and are available in every province and territory. They are delivered in collaboration with provinces and territories through victim services and Indigenous community organizations, to help families access available information about their missing and murdered loved ones from multiple government sources. As well, funding has been provided for culturally-responsive and trauma-informed community-based services for families of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. These initiatives are funded to March 31, 2023.
- The Government of Canada has committed to introducing legislation to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which is included among the Calls for Justice. Consultations and engagement with Indigenous partners are ongoing.
- The family violence prevention booklet, Abuse is Wrong in Any Culture: for First Nations and Metis people, is now available in several Indigenous languages including Denesuline, Michif, Montagnais, Ojibway and Plains Cree, and Abuse is Wrong in Any Culture: Inuit, in Inuktitut, Inuinnaqtun and Labradorimiut..
- The Indigenous Justice Program supports Indigenous community-based justice programs that, where appropriate, offer alternatives to mainstream justice processes that help prevent and address root causes of violence, as well as reduce vulnerabilities to violence.
- The Government of Canada continues to make efforts to reduce the overrepresentation of Indigenous people as offenders and victims in the criminal justice system through a number of initiatives such as its Indigenous Justice Program funded projects, support for restorative justice initiatives, criminal law reforms, the Federal Victims Strategy and the Pan-Canadian Strategy. We are working with Indigenous communities and organizations, and with provinces and territories, to address overrepresentation and support efforts toward Indigenous-led justice.
- Following Budget 2019, the Government of Canada launched a fund of $10 million over 5 years to support projects that contribute to the revitalization of Indigenous legal traditions and laws.
- The Government of Canada introduced several pieces of legislation that include measures to address violence against women, including Indigenous women and girls:
- An Act to amend the Criminal Code, the Youth Criminal Justice Act and other Acts and to make consequential amendments to other Acts (formerly Bill C-75) came into force in December 2019 and implemented several measures to strengthen the criminal justice system's response to protect victims of intimate partner violence and human trafficking, including a number of provisions specifically aimed at protecting Indigenous women.
- An Act to amend the Divorce Act, the Family Orders and Agreements Enforcement Assistance Act and the Garnishment, Attachment and Pension Diversion Act and to make consequential amendments to another Act (Bill C-78), which received Royal Assent on June 21, 2019, made amendments to the Divorce Act that will require courts to consider family violence during divorce proceedings. The amendments also include a list of factors for judges to consider when deciding what is in a child's best interests, the most important being a child's physical, emotional and psychological safety, security and well-being.
- In December 2018, the government strengthened sexual assault laws in the Criminal Code, including clarifying:
- the circumstances where consent cannot be obtained and where the defence of mistaken belief in consent will not available to an accused
- the rules for the admissibility of certain types of evidence
- that the complainant is entitled to be represented by legal counsel at proceedings in relation to the admissibility of certain types of evidence
- The LGBTQ2 Secretariat works to promote LGBTQ and Two-Spirit equality, protecting LGBTQ and Two-Spirit rights and addressing discrimination against LGBTQ and Two-Spirit communities. It engages with Two-Spirit and Indigenous LGBTQ people in all parts of the country and works across the federal public service to support the integration of LGBTQ and Two-Spirit people, and their considerations, into the everyday work of the Government of Canada.
- The RCMP continues to actively investigate unresolved cases of missing and murdered Indigenous women within its jurisdiction, across the country.
- The RCMP's National Office of Investigative Standards and Practices provides national expertise and oversight on major case investigations. It has dedicated resources to support work related to missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. The office has taken a lead role in creating and updating national training initiatives, and continues to examine the best way to collect information and specifically address cases where the victims are Indigenous women or girls.
- The RCMP has taken steps to attract Indigenous applicants, deliver new training, strengthen investigations, and collaborate and consult with Indigenous leaders and Elders. This includes a pilot Drive-in Model for policing in northern Manitoba that provides a full-time RCMP presence in remote communities, and the establishment of a national consultative group of Indigenous academics and advocates.
- Before the launch of the inquiry and since its conclusion, the RCMP has made several changes to its policies, procedures and training. This includes strengthening procedures for missing person and sudden death investigations to improve quality, oversight and communication with families.
- The RCMP has also updated the Canadian Police College's Human Trafficking course to include Indigenous awareness and human trafficking prevention elements, and strengthened cultural awareness training for all employees, including cadets at the RCMP Academy in Regina.
- As part of It's Time: Canada's Strategy to Prevent and Address Gender-Based Violence, the RCMP developed 2 courses for RCMP employees on how to use a trauma-informed approach when conducting investigations, and helping employees better understand the impacts of culture and personal identity on actions, perceptions, interactions and experiences. The training was developed in consultation with external experts in the fields of trauma and gender-based violence, an advisory council of Indigenous elders and government stakeholders.
- RCMP Indigenous policing and reconciliation efforts are ongoing, and the RCMP is actively working to address the issue of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.
- The government has invested up to $291.2 million over 5 years, starting in fiscal year 2018 to 2019, for professional, dedicated and culturally responsive policing services in First Nation and Inuit communities under the First Nations Policing Program.
Indigenous women's empowerment
- The Indigenous Women's Circle was established on May 24, 2018 to engage with First Nations, Inuit and Métis women leaders and experts in the public and private sectors on the challenges they face and their priorities for the Government of Canada related to advancing gender equality.
- Through the Canada-Native Women's Association of Canada Accord, Canada and the Native Women's Association of Canada are working together to identify joint priorities and co-develop policy, programs and legislation to include the distinct perspectives of Indigenous women, girls and gender-diverse people. To support the implementation of this accord, Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada contributed $7.3 million over 3 years with $3.1 million in 2018 to 2019 and $2.1 million in 2019 to 2010 and 2020 to 2021. Each year of funding identified $1.2 million to be allocated to NWAC's provincial and territorial affiliate members to support increasing the capacity of grassroots organizations.
- In June 2017, the Government of Canada and Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada signed the Canada–Pauktuutit Memorandum of Understanding establishing a deeper, whole-of-government relationship to address the issues of common concern that directly affect the well-being and safety of Inuit women and children across Canada. With this ongoing $1 million commitment, an interdepartmental working group was created, supported by 4 sub-groups focusing on: violence and abuse prevention/administration of justice, health and well-being, poverty reduction and gender-based analysis.
- The Government of Canada is working with Les Femmes Michif Otipemisiwak (LFMO) to empower Métis women. Since 2018, enhanced funding is being provided to support increased organizational capacity and ensure that LFMO participates in the development of programs, policies and legislation so that:
- Métis women's voices are heard
- Métis women's social and economic conditions are improving
- Métis women are included in policy development
- With this funding, LFMO has been able to engage Métis women in an annual policy forum that has led to the development of a Métis Gender Base Analysis + toolkit and a 5 year Strategic Plan, and supported the representation of Métis women perspectives nationally and internationally.
- The Government of Canada is engaging with Indigenous organizations through It's Time: Canada's Strategy to Prevent and Address Gender-Based Violence to put forward actions to help address violence against Indigenous women and girls and LGBTQ and Two-Spirit people:
- The Gender-Based Violence Knowledge Centre helps individuals:
- find a crisis line in their area
- find additional supports related to gender-based violence
- consult a database of data and evidence on gender-based violence.
- The Gender-Based Violence Knowledge Centre helps individuals:
- The Gender-Based Violence Program supports survivors and their families by funding GBV sector organizations to develop and implement promising practices to address gaps in supports for Indigenous and underserved groups of survivors in Canada.
- Gender-Based Analysis Plus is an analytical process used to assess how diverse groups of women, men and non-binary people may experience policies, programs and initiatives.
- The Gender Results Framework is a whole-of government tool designed to:
- track how Canada is currently performing
- define what is needed to achieve greater equality
- determine how progress will be measured going forward
- Women and Gender Equality Canada (WAGE) provides funding to more than 500 projects in every province and territory to prevent and address gender-based violence, as well as advance social, economic and political equality of women, girls, LGBTQ and Two-Spirit people in Canada.
- WAGE is moving forward to develop a national action plan on gender-based violence, including against Indigenous women, girls, LGBTQ and Two-Spirit people. WAGE's plan will align with this plan to end violence against Indigenous women, girls, LGBTQ and Two-Spirit people.
Engaging with our partners
Engaging Indigenous women, girls, LGBTQ and Two-Spirit people
National Indigenous organizations, Indigenous women's organizations and Indigenous LGBTQ and Two-Spirit organizations have been leading engagement activities with their members, including family members and survivors, to set the path forward. The Government of Canada is providing support to these organizations to ensure that the national action plan will address their regional needs and the unique needs, experiences and cultural contexts their communities.
Some examples of this work include:
- The Native Women's Association of Canada's MMIWG Violence and Prevention webpage.
- Pauktuutit's report in brief:MMIWG Calls for Justice – What Does Co-Development Mean to Inuit Women
- Les Femmes Michif Otipemisiwak – Women of the Métis Nation interim report - MMIWG Implementation Framework.
- 2 Spirits in Motion is continuing to coordinate, implement and report on the 2 Spirit Engagement and Consultation on the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls+ (MMIWG+) Final Report and Calls for Justice.
- The Newfoundland Aboriginal Women's Network conducted 4 community engagement sessions with their members, report to follow.
- The National Aboriginal Circle Against Family Violence conducted engagement activities with their members, report to follow.
- The Assembly of First Nations Women's Council, les Femmes Autochtones du Québec, the Institute for the Advancement of Aboriginal Women, the National Association of Friendship Centres, the Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres and the Ontario Native Women's Association also continue to engage their members to help inform the development of the national action plan.
Engaging First Nation, Inuit and Métis peoples
We continue to engage Indigenous peoples on a nation-to-nation, Inuit-Crown, government-to-government relationship, on how they wish to contribute and collaborate on the development of the national action plan. We will build on the dialogue, collaboration and ongoing work undertaken by, but not limited to, national Indigenous organizations, self-government and modern treaty holders, regional organizations, and Indigenous communities. Many are spearheading Indigenous-led solutions via community initiatives and leveraging comprehensive community plans. Collectively, we will ensure that the voices of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples are reflected in the development of the national action plan.
Engaging provinces and territories
Provinces and territories have been working with Indigenous partners, families and survivors and others such as municipalities and service providers, and discussing their own reviews of the Calls for Justice, priorities and initiatives related to ending violence against Indigenous women, girls, LGBTQ and Two-Spirit people. The outcome of these reviews will continue to shape our collective whole-of-country response.
Provinces and territories also continue to collaborate with the federal government and their provincial and territorial partners through the Federal-Provincial-Territorial Deputy Minister Committee and Working Group, co-chaired by British Columbia.
Jointly with the federal government and Indigenous partners, provinces and territories are hosting virtual sessions to share information, highlight initiatives and bring together partners. The Government of Canada, with the Government of Yukon, recently co-hosted a virtual session and it looks forward to participating in others in the coming weeks and months.
Engaging the federal government
Federal departments are engaging their respective sectors to advance the Calls for Justice. For example, in February 2020, Public Safety Canada hosted an engagement session with Indigenous communities related to missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, LGBTQ and Two-Spirit people.
Federal departments regularly liaise to review and discuss federal government policies and programs aimed at preventing and eliminating violence against Indigenous women, girls, LGBTQ and Two-Spirit people, as well as to identify any gaps and short, medium and long term federal priorities.