Quebec Native Women Association faces closure after $175K in cuts

An organization that has been helping native women in Quebec for the past 40 years says it may have to shut down after its federal funding was cut.

Group working with native women for 40 years told it doesn't qualify for federal funding

Aboriginal Affairs Minister Bernard Valcourt pictured on May 6, 2015. The Quebec Native Women's Association says its funding was cut after its dossier was transferred from Heritage Canada to Aboriginal Affairs. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

An organization that has been helping native women in Quebec for the past 40 years says it may have to shut down after its federal funding was cut.

The Quebec Native Women's Association had been receiving about $175,000 a year from Heritage Canada for years, for its work on helping aboriginal women deal with abuse, education, equality rights and more.

But after funding was transferred from Heritage Canada to the federal Aboriginal Affairs office, the group was told it was not an "aboriginal-representative organization," said Mary Hannaburg, who has worked with the group for the past 30 years.

Hannaburg, who is currently the organization's Mohawk Nation director, questions the timing of the cuts as pressure mounts against the government for an inquiry into missing and murdered aboriginal women.

"There is a problem. There are women that are disappearing, being murdered, violence has increased. We need to understand what is going on. We need to work in solidarity. We need our brothers and sisters and first nations organization to pay attention to this," she said.

Quebec Native Women says it was astonished to learn it would no longer be receiving its core funding from Heritage Canada, putting its future in jeopardy. Spokesperson Mary Jane Hannaburg says QNW is crucial to native women in Quebec. 11:04

Applying for status

The federal government told the organization it could apply to be recognized as an aboriginal representative organization, but Hannaburg said it's not that easy.

"We don't know where to apply or how to get this process undertaken and [what] the process is. We don't know and no one is giving us this information," she said.

Aboriginal Affairs told CBC News in an email that the government is taking steps to ensure that funding for organizations goes to essential services and programs for Aboriginal Peoples.


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