- OFOVC Newsletter – Summer 2020
#OFOVCCommunity Newsletter - Summer 2020
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Welcome back, #OFOVCCommunity. We hope you are all staying safe and healthy as our circumstances continue to evolve into the Fall. We’ve had a busy summer working to support victims of crime: we’ve held virtual meetings with our stakeholders and partners, written a number of new recommendation letters, and we’re moving forward with our projects – and as always, we remain open and available to serve you.
Events and Engagements with Stakeholders
In June, the Ombudsman presented to the Université de Montreal’s course on International Justice and Victims’ Rights, discussing victim-centred, trauma-informed approaches to justice. Our Executive Director attended three online sessions on violence against Indigenous women and girls, and delivered a workshop on reconciliation (more on this below). We also held our second live webinar, “Gender-Based Violence and COVID-19: Strengthening our Pandemic Response”, in collaboration with the Victim Justice Network. Thank you to all who attended the session!
Throughout the summer, the Ombudsman and Executive Director met with federal ministers and decision-makers to discuss our recent recommendations, which seek fairness and meaningful change for victims of crime. They met with Special Advisor Ralph Goodale regarding Canada’s response to the families of the Ukraine International Airlines Flight PS752; with Minister Bennett on issues surrounding the Federal Indian Day School Settlement (Minister Bennett also joined our last Indigenous Advisory Circle meeting!); with Parliamentary Secretary Virani on online hate; and with Minister Blair to discuss parole hearings and conditions of release for offenders, the RCMP, and human trafficking. They were also invited to present to the Prime Minister’s Youth Council, where our online campaign to prevent victimization was discussed as part of our effort to gain youth perspectives.
Spotlight on the Reconciliation Working Group
When we introduced the #OFOVCCommunity to our Executive Director, Dr. Nadia Ferrara, last year, we highlighted her 20+ years of experience working with Indigenous communities and on Indigenous realities, first as a practicing clinician and later with the federal government. In August, Dr. Ferrara facilitated a workshop for colleagues at Indigenous Services Canada and Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada in the Yukon Region. The workshop was an opportunity for participants to re-connect with our values, with one another, and with our purpose as public servants to raise awareness and support for reconciliation and anti-racism. During the session, Dr. Ferrara drew on her background and experiences to create a safe place where participants could self-reflect, and discuss how to best influence change in preparation for the re-launch of the Reconciliation Working group.
As you know, the OFOVC has been busy working to build bridges across sectors, and our advisory circles are areas that certainly demonstrate our progress. After meeting with the Ombudsman and Executive Director and expressing interest in our work, Minister Bennett joined one of our Indigenous Advisory Circle (IAC) sessions to discuss and receive input on the National Action Plan on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG). IAC members were able to share their views and recommendations with the Minister, and emphasize the importance of Indigenous-led processes. The discussion was very engaged and the OFOVC is looking forward to hosting Minister Bennett in subsequent sessions, as we move forward with the IAC on reconciliACTION. The OFOVC also met with our Academic Advisory Circle recently to discuss the research papers members are producing on victimization, criminal justice, and best practices. These papers will be shared through our research corner – if you haven’t already, be sure to check it out!
Bubble: What We Heard Report
In case you missed it: Our What We Heard Report from our Community Forums in Yellowknife was released this summer. The report documents the realities faced by victims, service providers and frontline workers shared with us during our visit in March.
CVBR Progress Report
The OFOVC is developing a Progress Report on the Canadian Victims Bill of Rights (CVBR). A few weeks ago, we sent out an anonymous survey to help us gather your views and experiences with the Bill. Thank you to all who participated – your input helps strengthen our Progress Report, and more specifically our recommendations. We plan to launch the report this fall, and hold virtual town halls for feedback and discussion – more information to come.
Virtual Community Forums
Travel and large gatherings continue to be risky activities based on our current health guidelines. To keep us all safe, while continuing to deliver on our priority to hold community forums across Canada, we are planning to develop a series of virtual forums so that victims, service providers, and criminal justice personnel can engage with the Ombudsman. Look out for updates!