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Press Release

NWAC To Tell MPS Covid-19 Increases Risk Of Violence Against Indigenous Women, Urges Government To Release Plan To Meet Calls For Justice Of Year-Old Inquiry

OTTAWA - Lorraine Whitman, President of the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC), will appear Friday before the Commons Standing Committee on Indigenous and Northern Affairs, via teleconference, to discuss the government’s response to COVID-19 and the effect of the disease on Indigenous women in Canada.

She has also been asked to participate, later in the day, in a National Online Discussion organized by the office of Carolyn Bennett, the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, to discuss violence against Indigenous women and girls and the government’s response to the National Inquiry whose Calls For Justice were released nearly a year ago.

NWAC believes the two issues are intrinsically linked, and that the global pandemic is creating conditions that put Indigenous women at even greater risk as they wait for the government to take action to reduce the violence.

The Minister promised late last year that a National Action Plan responding to the Inquiry’s report would be released in June 2020.

NWAC welcomes the opportunity to speak to the Commons committee. Ms. Whitman will outline some of the findings of a needs assessment NWAC conducted with its provincial and territorial member associations to assess the impact of the disease on Indigenous women. It paints a frightening picture.

NWAC also welcomes opportunity to attend a Zoom meeting with Indigenous stakeholders to learn what progress the government is making toward the creation of a National Action Plan.
At the same time, it is disappointed to learn that the plan will not be released on June 3, the first anniversary of the release of the Inquiry report, and is frustrated that so little had been done over the past 12 months.

To assist the government in moving forward, NWAC has offered a few important recommendations that could be taken as first steps toward addressing the violence - steps that will allow Indigenous women to take a leadership role in saving the lives of their sisters - and holds out hope that Minister Bennett will keep her promise to release the plan before the end of June.

The committee meeting begins at 2 pm and can be watched via videoconference. Ms. Whitman’s speaking notes will be made available to reporters upon request.

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For more information please contact Joan Weinman: 613-294-5679 joanweinman@rogers.com

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About The Native Women’s Association of Canada

The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) is a national Indigenous organization representing political voices of Indigenous women, girls, Two-Spirit, transgender, and gender-diverse people in Canada. NWAC is inclusive of First Nations—on- and off-reserve, status, non-status, and disenfranchised—Inuit, and Métis. An aggregate of Indigenous women’s organizations from across the country, NWAC was founded on a collective goal to enhance, promote, and foster social, economic, cultural, and political well-being of Indigenous women, girls, Two-Spirit, transgender, and gender-diverse people within their respective communities and Canadian societies.

À propos de l'Association des femmes autochtones du Canada

L'Association des femmes autochtones du Canada (AFAC) est une organisation autochtone nationale qui représente la voix politique des femmes, des filles, des transgenres, des bispirituels et des personnes de sexe différent au Canada, y compris les membres des Premières nations vivant dans les réserves et hors réserve, les Indiens inscrits et non inscrits, les personnes privées de leurs droits, les Métis et les Inuits. Regroupant des organisations de femmes autochtones de tout le pays, l'AFAC a été fondée dans le but collectif d'améliorer, de promouvoir et de favoriser le bien-être social, économique, culturel et politique des femmes autochtones au sein de leurs communautés respectives et des sociétés canadiennes.