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Ombudsman’s statement on the publication of the MMIWG report

With the release of Reclaiming Power and Place: The Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls yesterday, I want to thank the Commissioners for their work in gathering evidence, and to acknowledge the contributions of everyone involved. I am grateful to the 1,484 family members who shared their truths during public hearings. It is never easy to discuss the pain of missing loved ones or beloved mothers, sisters, wives, or daughters whose lives ended through acts of violence.

I think it important to note that the Commissioners have characterized this violence committed against Indigenous women and girls as genocide. They have delivered 231 Calls for Justice directed at governments, institutions, social service providers, industries and all Canadians to help address endemic levels of violence. Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people experience some of the highest rates of poverty, homelessness, food insecurity, unemployment, and barriers to education and employment. These conditions are a direct result of colonial governments, institutions, systems, and policies, and make it difficult to meet one’s basic needs, and this marginalization is especially significant in terms of the violence that stems from it.

Key among the Justice recommendations are the calls to:  

  • Review and reform the law about sexualized violence and intimate partner violence, utilizing the perspectives of feminist and Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people.
  • Ensure protection orders are available, accessible, promptly issued, and effectively serviced and resourced to protect the safety of Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people.
  • Develop an enhanced, holistic, comprehensive approach for the provision of support to Indigenous victims of crime and families and friends of Indigenous murdered or missing persons. 
  • Increase accessibility to meaningful and culturally appropriate justice practices by expanding restorative justice programs and Indigenous peoples' courts.
  • Expand and adequately resource legal aid programs in order to ensure that Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people have access to justice and meaningful participation in the justice system.

In the coming days the OFOVC will be reviewing the report in detail to determine how the Office can be an ally in implementing the recommendations pertaining to victims and survivors of crime. We look forward to partnering with survivors, Indigenous groups, and with the government to help break down the barriers First Nations, Inuit, and Métis women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people face as the targets of violence.

I encourage all Canadians to become change makers by reading the report, embracing the recommendations, and joining the movement for empowerment, justice, and decolonization for Indigenous women and girls!

If you require immediate emotional assistance, call 1-844-413-6649, which is a national, toll-free 24/7 crisis call line providing support for anyone who requires emotional assistance related to missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. You can also access long-term health support services such as mental health counselling and community-based cultural services through Indigenous Services Canada.