Annex 1A to Canada's observations. January 15, PDF

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Annex 1A to Canada's observations January 15, 2014 Table of Contents Introduction... 3 Follow-up Information... 3 QUESTION 1: GENERAL POLICY MEASURES... 3 QUESTION 2: VIOLENCE IN ABORIGINAL COMMUNITIES...
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Annex 1A to Canada's observations January 15, 2014 Table of Contents Introduction... 3 Follow-up Information... 3 QUESTION 1: GENERAL POLICY MEASURES... 3 QUESTION 2: VIOLENCE IN ABORIGINAL COMMUNITIES QUESTION 3: SHELTERS QUESTION 4: REMOVAL OF CHILDREN FROM ABORIGINAL FAMILIES QUESTION 5: PROSTITUTION QUESTION 6: PRISON QUESTION 7: TRAFFICKING QUESTION 8: AWARENESS-RAISING ACTIVITIES QUESTION 9: REPRESENTATION OF ABORIGINAL PEOPLE IN PUBLIC INSTITUTIONS QUESTION 10: LAW ENFORCEMENT QUESTION 11: TRAINING OF JUDGES AND PROSECUTORS QUESTION 12: LEGAL AID QUESTION 13: IMPLEMENTATION OF EXISTING RECOMMENDATIONS QUESTION 14: BUDGET QUESTION 15: DATA QUESTION 16: HITCHHIKING Introduction 1. From September 9 th to 13 th, 2013, the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women visited Canada to further its inquiry into the issue of missing and murdered Aboriginal women, initiated under Article 8 of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (the Convention). 2. On October 28, 2013, the Committee requested that Canada provide additional information by December 15, 2013, with regard to several enquiries that were addressed in Canada s previous submissions to the Committee and during the Committee s visit to Canada (the Committee s follow-up questions ). Canada provides the following information in response. 3. In Canada s responses to the follow-up questions, the Committee is provided with information on some of the relevant general and specific measures currently being undertaken at the various levels of government in Canada, beginning with federal initiatives, where relevant, and followed by provincial and territorial initiatives, in geographical order from west to east. Follow-up Information QUESTION 1: GENERAL POLICY MEASURES The Government indicates in its submission of September 2013 that several provinces and territories have chosen to develop their own action plans for dealing with violence against Aboriginal women which are currently in the course of being implemented. a) Please indicate which provinces have developed their own action plan, provide the content of these action plans and provide information on the progress in their implementation. b) Please describe the measures taken to dialogue with representatives of the Aboriginal community prior to developing each of these actions plans and to which extent the recommendations and proposals of the Aboriginal community representatives have been taken into account in this regard? c) Please indicate the measures taken to encourage other provinces to do so and, to the extent possible, to ensure harmonization between the different action plans. Action Plans 4. In January 2012, Federal, Provincial, and Territorial (FPT) Ministers Responsible for Justice and Public Safety agreed to take a common approach to address violence against Aboriginal women and girls. Ministers directed senior justice officials (led by the province of British Columbia) to develop a justice framework to help guide individual and collective action on the issue. The framework will encourage jurisdictions to harmonize and coordinate their activities, where appropriate. It will also be flexible enough for each jurisdiction to work with their Aboriginal groups and other partners to develop responses that meet local needs. In November 2013, Ministers approved the draft justice framework for public release and directed officials to engage Aboriginal groups and other partners in dialogue over the next year. Officials will revise the draft framework, based on feedback from the dialogues, and report back to Ministers in one year on the 3 development and implementation of the FPT Justice Framework to Address Violence against Aboriginal Women and Girls While a national-level action plan may appear desirable to some and while there are clear benefits to coordination among agencies and service-providers, it is also evident that community-based, locally driven responses which reflect the circumstances, needs, and priorities of those most affected by violence against Aboriginal women are key instruments in resolving this issue. To this end, some provinces and territories have chosen to adopt their own action plans, which will be described below. British Columbia 6. A Status Report on Forsaken The Report of the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry (MWCI Report) was recently released (November 2013). The Status Report provides an overview of activities undertaken by the province since the release of the MWCI Report. The Status Report captures the recommendations in three broad categories: 1) safety and support for vulnerable women; 2) an effective and accessible justice system; and 3) legacy and healing. Advancements on issues in each of these areas have been made, with more to come In October 2012, the Provincial Office of Domestic Violence 3 released Taking Action on Domestic Violence in British Columbia, 4 in response to the March 2012 Report of the Representative for Children and Youth. The Office is also developing a comprehensive three-year plan, including an Aboriginal Strategy, to address domestic violence in British Columbia. Further information is provided on this action plan, under Question 2, below. Saskatchewan 8. Saskatchewan has not developed a comprehensive action plan to address violence against Aboriginal women as such, but has taken many steps to implement reforms and initiatives on this topic. For example, Saskatchewan has pursued an Aboriginal Justice Strategy for about two decades which has four pillars: crime prevention and reduction; building bridges to Aboriginal communities through community-based justice development; employment equity and workplace inclusion; and self-determination and self-government. 9. These pillars have been the foundation of provincial efforts to work with Aboriginal groups to develop a community-based justice approach, one where services are delivered by or in partnership with community-based groups and institutions. 10. In addition to working collaboratively with First Nations and Métis groups, Saskatchewan has consistently engaged with the federal government in collaborative relationships that respond to the needs of communities. The federal government is a valued partner in delivering programs under the federal Aboriginal Justice Strategy, the Aboriginal Courtwork Program and the First Nations 1 For more information, please see British Columbia News Release: Please see the federal News Release at: 2 See copy of Report: 3 For more information, please see: 4 For more information on the Action Plan, please see: 4 Policing Program. Saskatchewan continues to engage the federal government and actively pursue enhanced federal funding. 11. Further, recommendations from the 2004 First Nations and Métis Peoples Justice Reform Commission have provided a framework for developing a provincial response to violence against Aboriginal women. Manitoba 12. In September 2009, Manitoba partnered with Aboriginal organizations and front-line service agencies to form the Manitoba Action Group on Exploited and Vulnerable Women and Girls (MAG). MAG provides strategic advice to the province in developing new policies to address the crisis of abused and exploited women in Manitoba. 13. The Exploited Persons Pro-Active Team is an operational, non-enforcement team that will implement strategies throughout Manitoba to help minimize the risk of having potentially exploited persons go missing or become the victim of foul play. This team will work in partnership with various groups and agencies that are already providing support and services for potentially exploited persons. Ontario 14. Ontario formed a Joint Working Group on Violence against Aboriginal Women in 2010 that consists of representatives from 10 ministries and 5 Aboriginal organizations. The mandate of the Joint Working Group is to identify priorities and opportunities for support, development and implementation of policies, programs and services that prevent and reduce violence against Aboriginal women and their families. In doing so, the working group is guided by the province s Strategic Framework to End Violence against Aboriginal Women. The Strategic Framework was developed in 2007 by the Ontario Federation of Indian Friendship Centres (OFIFC) and the Ontario Native Women s Association (ONWA), following a provincial summit on issues and possible solutions to end violence against Aboriginal women. The Strategic Framework provides guiding principles and specific actions to end violence against Aboriginal women. 15. Government ministries have taken action in response to the Strategic Framework, including by: providing funding for public education, training and Aboriginal women s leadership development; providing funding of a pilot project for the Aboriginal Sexual Violence Community Response Initiative. The pilot is examining existing institutional responses and supports for Aboriginal women and girls who have experienced sexual violence in four Aboriginal communities; providing funding to Aboriginal organizations for Talk 4 Healing, a helpline for Aboriginal women. The helpline was launched in 2012 and provides culturallyappropriate crisis support and referral services for Aboriginal women affected by violence in remote and isolated communities; and establishing a fund for Aboriginal organizations to help Aboriginal victims of crime by increasing access to supports that are culturally-relevant and community-based. Aboriginal women who have experienced violence are a particular focus. 5 16. Two sub-committees of the Joint Working Group have been established. The sub-committee on Human Trafficking is examining research and best practices to develop options to prevent and respond to the human trafficking of Aboriginal women and girls. The sub-committee on Data Collection and Information Sharing is examining current data collected on violence against Aboriginal women and exploring issues and challenges in data collection practices. Copies of the Joint Working Group s progress reports over the last two years are attached to the present response as Annexes 1 5 and In January 2013, Ontario announced its plans to work with First Nations, Métis, Inuit and urban Aboriginal peoples to develop an Aboriginal Children and Youth Strategy to improve outcomes and opportunities for First Nation, Métis, Inuit and urban Aboriginal children and youth. 18. The focus of Ontario s Aboriginal Child and Youth Strategy is to enable Aboriginal-led solutions and build community-driven, culturally-appropriate and accessible supports for First Nations, Métis, Inuit and urban Aboriginal children and youth. 19. The Ministry of Children and Youth Services is working directly with First Nations, Métis, Inuit and urban Aboriginal partners through technical and community-based processes to develop a proposal for the Strategy. Preventing violence against Aboriginal mothers and girls has been identified as a priority area. 20. Once developed, the proposed Strategy will be presented to First Nations and Aboriginal leadership for their review, with a target date of December Quebec 21. In Quebec, the Government Action Plan on Domestic Violence contained 11 government commitments for the prevention and elimination of acts of domestic violence in Aboriginal communities and on psychosocial, legal and correctional interventions. 22. The main results relating to Aboriginal people include the following: awareness activities were carried out by and for Aboriginal communities; funded organizations are working with Aboriginal peoples; information brochures were distributed for schools; information was provided on victim resources; updated information on psychosocial services was offered to victims; a seminar was held for Aboriginal police. One workshop in this seminar related to police intervention in domestic violence cases; and research was funded on Aboriginal women and domestic violence in Quebec. 23. The Government Action Plan on Domestic Violence proposed a separate Aboriginal component containing 35 measures designed to meet the needs of victims, stakeholders and communities for awareness, prevention and training. These measures also aimed to have greater consultation between departments and agencies to foster better adapted and harmonized interventions. The concept of [translation] family has been added to the term [translation] 5 Annex 1: Progress Report of the Joint Working Group on Violence against Aboriginal Women, September Annex 2: Progress Report of the Joint Working Group on Violence against Aboriginal Women, October domestic given the links that exist between the problem of domestic violence and other forms of violence experienced in Aboriginal families. 24. The Government Action Plan on Sexual Assault includes an Aboriginal component, of which 13 measures specifically target Aboriginal women. Currently, work is under way on the final analysis of this action plan. New Brunswick 25. New Brunswick has an Action Plan on Violence Against Women which is targeted to all women living in New Brunswick, including Aboriginal women. Among the notable accomplishments of the plan are the following: an abuse information page has been included in all New Brunswick phone books; a Directory of Services was compiled and has been distributed to all family physicians, regional offices, transition houses, etc.; the Woman Abuse, Child Abuse, and Adult Victims of Abuse Protocols have been updated and training provided to front-line staff is ongoing; training of service providers, both government and community, has taken place around the province on the Woman Abuse Protocols; and in 2007, New Brunswick officially opened its first Domestic Violence Court. The court is an integrated and holistic approach with all specialized service providers working in collaboration, e.g., risk/need assessment, treatment for perpetrators, victim services treatment for children and victims, and probation services. 26. The 2008 Strategic Framework to End Violence against Wabanaki Women in New Brunswick was developed by the Advisory Committee on Violence against Aboriginal Women. While not an action plan per se, the Strategic Framework provides contextual information on the extent of the problems of violence against Aboriginal women, and outlines potential actions in the areas of capacity building, prevention and education, and service delivery. 27. The document is intended to be used as a tool for provincial and federal governments, First Nation leaders, and Aboriginal and non-aboriginal service providers and agencies to develop and implement actions in their respective and collaborative spheres. 7 The priorities of the Strategy Framework include building capacity within government to provide support and tripartite coordination to address violence against Aboriginal women, and address housing, mental health and addictions services, and policing and justice. Actions taken include the following: an Aboriginal Coordinator has been hired to oversee the implementation of the Strategic Framework; in 2009, a New Brunswick Aboriginal Women Leaders Dialogue Forum was held on violence against the province s Aboriginal women; a three-day Symposium on Violence against Aboriginal Women was held in 2010 for service providers that focused on capacity-building and expanding the knowledge base on 7 For more information, please see: DQF/pdf/en/wabanaki.pdf. 7 violence against Aboriginal women in order to impact on the services provided to Aboriginal women in New Brunswick. Issues and subjects included: Aboriginal history, culture and current reality and how it impacts the lives of Aboriginal women; culturallyappropriate approaches and best practices in services, exploring partnerships among service providers who offer services to Aboriginal women experiencing violence; and developing capacity and expertise in responding to and addressing violence against Aboriginal women among service providers; an Aboriginal Police/Justice working group was established in 2009 to review training and protocols regarding violence against Aboriginal women. Its members include representatives from the Aboriginal community and officials from the departments of Policing Services, Justice, Victim Services, and Corrections. Its work will be integrated in an upcoming review of the Woman Abuse Protocols; on a cost-sharing basis with the federal government, New Brunswick continues to fund Gignoo Transition House for Aboriginal women and their children who are leaving violent relationships. Gignoo provides culturally-appropriate programs and services to meet the needs of Aboriginal women and children in crisis, as well as addressing issues such as dating violence and parenting skills in the community and hosting symposiums for broader education of service providers. Aboriginal women have access to other transition houses throughout the province; New Brunswick s Aboriginal population is now specifically included in the Attitudinal Survey on Violence against Women. The survey measures the New Brunswick population s attitudes towards various forms of violence against women; a partnership was established with Women s Issues Branch, Partners for Youth and Burnt Church First Nation on a project related to the elimination of teen relationship violence. The goal of this project is the creation of a sustainable framework for youth-centered relationship violence prevention directed by a community action team and led by young women; and ensuring the issues relating to Aboriginal women are taken into account within the work of the New Brunswick Human Trafficking Working Group. Nova Scotia 28. In December 2010, Nova Scotia released its Domestic Violence Action Plan, a comprehensive set of actions intended to prioritize the safety of women and children, build service capacity to target the needs of those affected by domestic violence, including responding to inequities that affect the health and well-being of marginalized populations, strengthen the coordination and processing of programs and services to those impacted by domestic violence, and focus on building supportive environments to help prevent domestic violence from happening. 29. While the Domestic Violence Action Plan addresses all Nova Scotians, specific initiatives address Aboriginal women and girls. For example, actions underway include: continued funding to support the Mi kmaw Legal Support Network, which offers a range of legal and support services to Aboriginal people; the design of a public awareness campaign including a culturally-distinct campaign for Aboriginal communities; commitment to explore options to provide second-stage 8 Yukon housing for Aboriginal women; and establishing collaborative linkages of the actions identified in the plan with those recommendations arising from the Tripartite Research Report on Family Violence in Aboriginal Communities. 30. Yukon has recently completed the Yukon Sisters in Spirit project (YSIS), a collaborative project run by the Yukon Aboriginal Women s Council to address the issue of missing and murdered Aboriginal women in Yukon. The project was specifically developed to: 1) research the circumstances and events surrounding missing and murdered Aboriginal women from Yukon; 2) create resources for families and communities of missing and murdered Aboriginal women in Yukon; and 3) communicate with families of the women, and involve them in raising awareness of violence against Aboriginal women. 31. The YSIS project provided a voice for missing and murdered Aboriginal women, and their families. A major component of the initiative has been to remember, honour, and continue to value these sisters who are no longer with us, such that their memory will be kept alive. Since the project started, the project has built relationships with community members, organizations, and First
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