Indigenous

231 'imperative' changes: The MMIWG inquiry's calls for justice

There are 231 steps that need to be taken by governments and Canadians in order to end the genocide against Indigenous women and girls, according to the final report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.

National inquiry challenges governments, justice system and others to make substantive changes

Commissioner Michèle Audette hugs families from Unamen Shipu, Que., after their testimony to the inquiry in 2017. (CBC)

There are 231 steps that need to be taken by governments and Canadians in order to end the genocide against Indigenous women and girls according to the final report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.

The report says these are "Calls for Justice."

"It must be understood that these recommendations, which we frame as 'Calls for Justice,' are legal imperatives – they are not optional," the report reads.

"These Calls for Justice represent important ways to end the genocide and to transform systemic and societal values that have worked to maintain colonial violence."

They're directed at federal, provincial and Indigenous governments to address areas of human and Indigenous rights, culture, health and wellness, security and justice. Other recommendations are directed at industries, institutions, services such as media, health-care providers, educators, police, Correctional Service Canada and those who work in child welfare.

Finally, the report calls on all Canadians to be part of the change. 

"Each person has a role to play in order to combat violence against Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA [two-spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex and asexual] people. Beyond those calls aimed at governments or at specific industries or service providers, we encourage every Canadian to consider how they can give life to these Calls for Justice."

The following points have been condensed from the original report.

  1. Human and Indigenous Rights and Governmental Obligations
  2. Culture
  3. Health and Wellness
  4. Human Security
  5. Justice
  6. Calls for Media and Social Influencers
  7. Calls for Health and Wellness Service Providers
  8. Calls for Transportation Service Providers and the Hospitality Industry
  9. Calls for Police Services
  10. Calls for Attorneys and Law Societies
  11. Calls for Educators
  12. Calls for Social Workers and Those Implicated in Child Welfare
  13. Calls for Extractive and Development Industries
  14. Calls for Correctional Service Canada
  15. Calls for Justice for All Canadians
  16. Calls for Justice for Inuit
  17. Métis-Specific Calls for Justice
  18. 2SLGBTQQIA-Specific Calls for Justice

For immediate emotional assistance, call 1-844-413-6649. This 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.


Calls directed at governments:

Human and Indigenous Rights and Governmental Obligations

1.1 Develop and implement a National Action Plan to address violence against Indigenous women and girls.

1.2 Implement and fully comply with all relevant rights instruments (like UNDRIP and the 3rd Protocol to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child).

1.3 Pursue the measures required to eliminate the social, economic, cultural, and political marginalization of Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people when developing budgets and determining priorities.

1.4 Ensure that Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people are represented in governance.

1.5 Take all necessary measures to prevent, investigate, punish, and compensate for violence against Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people.

1.6 Eliminate jurisdictional gaps that result in the denial of services, or improperly regulated and delivered services, that address the marginalization of, and violence against, Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people.

1.7 Establish a National Indigenous and Human Rights Ombudsperson and establish a National Indigenous and Human Rights Tribunal.

1.8 Specific and long-term funding to create and deliver prevention programs, education, and awareness campaigns designed for Indigenous communities and families related to violence prevention and combating lateral violence.

1.9 Develop laws, policies, and public education campaigns to challenge the acceptance and normalization of violence.

1.10 Create an independent mechanism to report on the implementation of the national inquiry's Calls for Justice to Parliament, annually.

1.11 Maintain and make easily accessible the national inquiry's public record and website.

Culture

2.1 Acknowledge, recognize, and protect the rights of Indigenous Peoples to their cultures and languages as constitutionally protected inherent rights.

2.2 Recognize Indigenous languages as official languages, with the same status, recognition, and protection provided to French and English.

2.3 Ensure that all Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people are provided with access to their cultures and languages in order to restore, reclaim and revitalize their cultures and identities. 

2.4 Provide the resources required to preserve knowledge by digitizing interviews with Knowledge Keepers and language speakers. Support community-led Indigenous language and cultural programs through permanent, no-barrier funding and resources.  

2.5 Create a permanent fund supporting Indigenous-led initiatives for Indigenous individuals, families, and communities to access cultural knowledge.

Manitobans walked on Mother's Day 2019 to raise awareness of the needs of Indigenous women and girls. (Walther Bernal/CBC)

2.6 Develop and implement an Anti-Racism and Anti-Sexism National Action Plan to end racist and sexualized stereotypes of Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people.

2.7 Fund Indigenous-led initiatives to improve the representation of Indigenous Peoples in media and pop culture.

Health and Wellness

3.1 Ensure the rights to health and wellness of Indigenous Peoples, and specifically of Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people, are recognized and protected on an equitable basis.

3.2 Provide adequate, stable, equitable, and ongoing funding for Indigenous-centred and community-based health and wellness services that are accessible and culturally appropriate, and meet the health and wellness needs of Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people.

3.3 Support First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities to call on Elders, Grandmothers and other Knowledge Keepers to establish community-based trauma-informed programs for survivors of trauma and violence.

3.4 Ensure all Indigenous communities receive resources for the establishment of sustainable, permanent, no-barrier, preventative, accessible, holistic, wraparound services, including mobile trauma and addictions recovery teams to be paired with other essential services such as mental health services and sexual exploitation and trafficking services.

Two women hold hands for a round dance at the 2018 MMIWG community hearings in Richmond, B.C. (Chantelle Bellrichard/CBC)

3.5 Establish culturally competent and responsive crisis response teams in all communities and regions, to meet the immediate needs of an Indigenous person, family and/or community after a traumatic event, alongside ongoing support.

3.6 Ensure equality in the funding of services for Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people, as well as equality for Indigenous-run health services.

3.7 Provide continual and accessible healing programs and support for all children of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people and their family members. Specifically, we call for the permanent establishment of a fund akin to the Aboriginal Healing Foundation and related funding.

Human Security

4.1 Uphold the social and economic rights of Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people by ensuring that Indigenous peoples have services and infrastructure that meet their social and economic needs. All governments must immediately ensure that Indigenous peoples have access to safe housing, clean drinking water and adequate food.

4.2 Recognize Indigenous peoples' right to self-determination in the pursuit of economic social development. Support and resource economic and social progress and development on an equitable basis, as these measures are required to uphold the human dignity, life, liberty and security of Indigenous women, girl, and 2SLGBTQQIA people.

4.3 Support programs and services for Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people in the sex industry to promote their safety and security.

4.4 Provide supports and resources for educational, training and employment opportunities for all Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people.

4.5 Establish a guaranteed annual livable income for all Canadians, including Indigenous peoples, to meet all their social and economic needs.

4.6 Commence construction of new housing and the provision of repairs for existing housing to meet the housing needs of Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people.

4.7 Support the establishment and long-term sustainable funding of Indigenous-led low-barrier shelters, safe spaces, transition homes, second- stage housing and services for Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people. Ensure that shelters, transitional housing, second-stage housing and services are appropriate to cultural needs, and available wherever Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people reside.

4.8 Ensure that adequate plans and funding are put into place for safe and affordable transit and transportation services and infrastructure for Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people living in remote or rural communities.

Justice

5.1 Implement the recommendations in relation to the Canadian justice system in previous reports.

5.2 Review and amend the Criminal Code to eliminate definitions of offences that minimize the culpability of the offender.

5.3 Review and reform the law about sexualized violence and intimate partner violence, utilizing the perspectives of feminist and Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people.

5.4 Transform Indigenous policing from its current state as a mere delegation to an exercise in self-governance and self-determination over policing. 

5.5 Fund the provision of policing services within Indigenous communities in northern and remote areas in a manner that ensures that those services meet the safety and justice needs of the communities and that the quality of policing services is equitable to that provided to non-Indigenous Canadians.

At least 18 women have disappeared along a 720-kilometre stretch of Highway 16 in Northern B.C. dubbed the Highway of Tears. Transportation improvements have since been put in place, but the MMIWG national inquiry's final report calls for even more improvements, nationwide. (Simon Charland/CBC)

5.6 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. 

5.7 Establish robust and well-funded Indigenous civilian police oversight bodies in all jurisdictions, which must include representation of Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people, inclusive of diverse Indigenous cultural backgrounds

5.9 Ensure protection orders are available, accessible, promptly issued and effectively serviced and resourced to protect the safety of Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people.

5.10 Recruit and retain more Indigenous justices of the peace, and expand their jurisdictions to match that of the Nunavut Justice of the Peace.

5.11 Increase accessibility to meaningful and culturally appropriate justice practices by expanding restorative justice programs and Indigenous peoples' courts.

5.12 Increase Indigenous representation in all Canadian courts, including within the Supreme Court of Canada.

5.13 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.

5.14 Evaluate the impact of mandatory minimum sentences as it relates to the sentencing and over-incarceration of Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people and take appropriate action to address their over-incarceration.

5.15 Consider Gladue reports as a right and resource them appropriately, and create national standards for Gladue reports, including strength-based reporting.

5.16 Provide community-based and Indigenous-specific options for sentencing.

A quilt adorns an inquiry hearing room in Iqualit in 2018, filled with messages of support and traditional imagery. It includes a symbol for the territory of Nunavut, and traditional Inuit tools like an ulu and drum. (Garrett Hinchey/CBC)

5.17 Evaluate the impacts of Gladue principles and section 718.2(e) of the Criminal Code on sentencing equity as it relates to violence against Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people.

5.18 Consider violence against Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people as an aggravating factor at sentencing, and amend the Criminal Code accordingly, with the passage and enactment of Bill S-215.

5.19 Include cases where there is a pattern of intimate partner violence and abuse as murder in the first degree under section 222 of the Criminal Code. 

5.20 Implement the Indigenous-specific provisions of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act (SC 1992, c.20), sections 79 to 84.1.

5.21 Implement the recommendations in the reports of the Office of the Correctional Investigator, the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada and others in order to reduce the gross overrepresentation of Indigenous women and girls in the criminal justice system.

5.22 Return women's corrections to the key principles set out in Creating Choices (1990).

5.23 Create a Deputy Commissioner for Indigenous Corrections to ensure attention to, and accountability regarding, Indigenous issues.

5.24 Amend data collection and intake-screening processes to gather distinctions-based and intersectional data about Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people.

5.25 Resource research on men who commit violence against Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people.

Calls directed at industries, institutions, services and partnerships

Calls for Media and Social Influencers

6.1 Ensure authentic and appropriate representation of Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people. Support Indigenous people sharing their stories, from their perspectives, free of bias, discrimination and false assumptions, and in a trauma-informed and culturally sensitive way. Increase the number of Indigenous people in the industry. Take proactive steps to break down the stereotypes that hypersexualize and demean Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people

Calls for Health and Wellness Service Providers

7.1 Recognize that Indigenous Peoples are the experts in caring for and healing themselves, and that health and wellness services are most effective when they are designed and delivered by the Indigenous Peoples they are supposed to serve.

7.2 Ensure that health and wellness services for Indigenous Peoples include supports for healing from all forms of unresolved trauma.

7.3 Support Indigenous-led prevention initiatives in the areas of health and community awareness.

7.4 Provide necessary resources to support the revitalization of Indigenous health, wellness and child and Elder care practices.

7.5 Provide resources for specialized intervention, healing and treatment programs, and services and initiatives offered in Indigenous languages.

A ceremonial fire is lit at the beginning of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls hearings in Richmond, B.C., in April 2018. (Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press)

7.6 Ensure all persons involved in the provision of health services to Indigenous Peoples receive ongoing training, education and awareness in areas including the history of colonialism, anti-bias and anti-racism, local language and culture, and local health and healing practices.

7.7 Encourage, support and equitably fund Indigenous people to train and work in the area of health and wellness.

7.8 Create opportunities and provide socio-economic incentives to encourage Indigenous people to work within the health and wellness field and within their communities.

7.9 Develop and implement awareness and education programs for Indigenous children and youth on the issue of grooming for exploitation and sexual exploitation.

Calls for Transportation Service Providers and the Hospitality Industry

8.1 Undertake training to identify and respond to sexual exploitation and human trafficking, as well as the development and implementation of reporting policies and practices.

Calls for Police Services

9.1 Acknowledge that the historical and current relationship between Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people and the justice system has been largely defined by colonialism, racism, bias, discrimination and fundamental cultural and societal differences. Acknowledge that, going forward, this relationship must be based on respect and understanding, and must be led by, and in partnerships with, Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people.

9.2 Build respectful working relationships with Indigenous Peoples by knowing, understanding, and respecting the people they are serving.

9.3 Recruit Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people, inclusive of diverse Indigenous cultural backgrounds. Screen all recruits for racial, gender, gender identity and sexual orientation bias. Include anti-racism and anti-bias training and culture and language training. End the practice of limited-duration posts in all police services, and instead implement a policy regarding remote and rural communities focused on building and sustaining a relationship with the local community and cultures.

9.4 Ensure non-Indigenous police services have the capacity and resources to serve and protect Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people. Establish specialized Indigenous policing units within their services located in cities and regions with Indigenous populations.

9.5 Standardization of protocols for policies and practices that ensure that all cases of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people are thoroughly investigated.

9.6 Establish an independent, special investigation unit for the investigation of incidents of failures to investigate, police misconduct, and all forms of discriminatory practices and mistreatment of Indigenous peoples within their police service.

Sacred objects are laid out on the ground during the hearings of the national inquiry in Quebec City, in September 2018. (Julia Page/CBC)

9.7 Partner with front-line organizations that work in service delivery, safety, and harm reduction for Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people to expand and strengthen police services delivery.

9.8 Establish and engage with a civilian Indigenous advisory committee for each police service or police division

9.9 Establish a national task force to review and, if required, to reinvestigate each case of all unresolved files of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people from across Canada.

9.10 Produce all unresolved cases of missing or murdered Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people to the national task force.

9.11 Develop and implement guidelines for the policing of the sex industry in consultation with women engaged in the sex industry, and create a specific complaints mechanism about police for those in the sex industry.

Calls for Attorneys and Law Societies

10.1 Mandatory intensive and periodic training of Crown attorneys, defence lawyers, court staff, and all who participate in the criminal justice system, in the area of Indigenous cultures and histories. All courts must have a staff position for an Indigenous courtroom liaison worker to ensure Indigenous people in the court system know their rights and are connected to appropriate services.

Calls for Educators

11.1 Educate and provide awareness to the public about missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people, and about the issues and root causes of violence they experience.

11.2 Develop and implement awareness and education programs for Indigenous children and youth on the issue of grooming for exploitation and sexual exploitation.

Calls for Social Workers and Those Implicated in Child Welfare

12.1 Recognize Indigenous self-determination and inherent jurisdiction over child welfare.

12.2 Transform current child welfare systems fundamentally so that Indigenous communities have control over the design and delivery of services for their families and children.

12.3 Develop and apply a definition of "best interests of the child" based on distinct Indigenous perspectives, world views, needs and priorities, including the perspective of Indigenous children and youth.

12.4 Prohibit the apprehension of children on the basis of poverty and cultural bias.

12.5 Financial supports and resources to be provided so that family or community members of children of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people are capable of caring for the children left behind. Ensure the availability and accessibility of specialized care, such as grief, loss, trauma and other required services, for children left behind who are in care due to the murder or disappearance of their caregiver.

Testimony is given at the national inquiry in Calgary in 2018. (CBC)

12.6 Ensure that, in cases where apprehension is not avoidable, child welfare services prioritize and ensure that a family member or members, or a close community member, assumes care of Indigenous children. The caregivers should be eligible for financial supports equal to an amount that might otherwise be paid to a foster family, and will not have other government financial support or benefits removed or reduced by virtue of receiving additional financial supports for the purpose of caring for the child.

12.7 Ensure the availability and accessibility of distinctions-based and culturally safe culture and language programs for Indigenous children in the care of child welfare.

12.8 End the practice of targeting and apprehending infants from Indigenous mothers right after they give birth.

12.9 Establish a Child and Youth Advocate in each jurisdiction with a specialized unit with the mandate of Indigenous children and youth within a period of one year of this report. Establish a National Child and Youth Commissioner who would also serve as a special measure to strengthen the framework of accountability for the rights of Indigenous children in Canada.

12.10 Adopt the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal 2017 CHRT 14 standards regarding the implementation of Jordan's Principle in relation to all First Nations (status and non-status), Métis, and Inuit children.

12.11 Reform laws and obligations with respect to youth "aging out" of the system, including ensuring a complete network of support from childhood into adulthood, which includes opportunities for education, housing and related supports. This includes the provision of free post-secondary education for all children in care in Canada.

12.12 Engage in recruitment efforts to hire and promote Indigenous staff, as well as to promote the intensive and ongoing training of social workers and child welfare staff in the history of the child welfare system in the oppression and genocide of Indigenous peoples, anti-racism and anti-bias training, local culture and language training, sexual exploitation and trafficking training to recognize signs and develop specialized responses.

12.13 Fully implement the Spirit Bear Plan.

12.14 Establish more rigorous requirements for safety, harm-prevention, and needs-based services within group or care homes, as well as within foster situations, to prevent the recruitment of children in care into the sex industry. Provide appropriate care and services, over the long term, for children who have been exploited or trafficked while in care.

12.15 Fully investigate deaths of Indigenous youth in care.

Calls for Extractive and Development Industries

13.1 Consider the safety and security of Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people, as well as their equitable benefit from development, at all stages of project planning, assessment, implementation, management and monitoring.

13.2 Complete gender-based socio-economic impact assessments on all proposed projects as part of the decision making and ongoing monitoring of projects. Project proposals must include provisions and plans to mitigate risks and impacts identified in the impact assessments prior to being approved.

13.3 Impact-benefit agreements to include provisions that address the impacts of projects on the safety and security of Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people. Provisions must also be included to ensure that Indigenous women and 2SLGBTQQIA people equitably benefit from the projects.

13.4 Governments to fund studies to better understand the relationship between resource extraction and other development projects and violence against Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people. At a minimum, we support the call of Indigenous women and leaders for a public inquiry into the sexual violence and racism at hydroelectric projects in northern Manitoba.

13.5 Anticipate and recognize increased demand on social infrastructure because of development projects and resource extraction, and for mitigation measures to be identified as part of the planning and approval process.

Calls for Correctional Service Canada

14.1 Establish facilities described under sections 81 and 84 of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act to ensure that Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people have options for decarceration.

14.2 Ensure that facilities established under sections 81 and 84 of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act receive funding parity with Correctional Service Canada-operated facilities. The agreements made under these sections must transfer authority, capacity, resources and support to the contracting community organization.

14.3 Rescind the maximum security classification that disproportionately limits federally sentenced Indigenous women classified at that level from accessing services, supports and programs required to facilitate their safe and timely reintegration.

14.4 Evaluate, update and develop security classification scales and tools that are sensitive to the nuances of Indigenous backgrounds and realities.

14.5 Apply Gladue factors in all decision making concerning Indigenous women and 2SLGBTQQIA people and in a manner that meets their needs and rehabilitation.

14.6 Provide intensive and comprehensive mental health, addictions and trauma services for incarcerated Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people.

14.7 Prohibit transfer of federally incarcerated women in need of mental health care to all-male treatment centres.

14.8 Ensure correctional facilities and programs recognize the distinct needs of Indigenous offenders when designing and implementing programming for First Nations, Inuit and Métis women. Correctional Service Canada must use culturally safe, distinctions-based and trauma-informed models of care, adapted to the needs of Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people.

Many of those who have testified at the inquiry say they are struggling after reliving their trauma, and some have yet to receive the aftercare funding that was promised to them. (CBC Indigenous)

14.9 Increase opportunities for meaningful vocational training, secondary school graduation and post-secondary education.

14.10 Increase and enhance the role and participation of Elders in decision making for all aspects of planning for Indigenous women and 2SLGBTQQIA people.

14.11 Expand mother-and-child programming and establish placement options described in sections 81 and 84 of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act to ensure that mothers and their children are not separated.

14.12 Provide programming for men and boys that confronts and ends violence against Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people.

14.13 Eliminate the practice of strip-searches.

Calls for Justice for All Canadians

15.1 Denounce and speak out against violence against Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people.

15.2 Decolonize by learning the true history of Canada and Indigenous history in your local area. Learn about and celebrate Indigenous peoples' history, cultures, pride and diversity, acknowledging the land you live on and its importance to local Indigenous communities, both historically and today.

15.3 Develop knowledge and read the Final Report. Listen to the truths shared, and acknowledge the burden of these human and Indigenous rights violations, and how they impact Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people today.

15.4 Using what you have learned and some of the resources suggested, become a strong ally. Being a strong ally involves more than just tolerance; it means actively working to break down barriers and to support others in every relationship and encounter in which you participate.

15.5 Confront and speak out against racism, sexism, ignorance, homophobia and transphobia, and teach or encourage others to do the same, wherever it occurs: in your home, in your workplace, or in social settings.

15.6 Protect, support and promote the safety of women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people by acknowledging and respecting the value of every person and every community, as well as the right of Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people to generate their own, self-determined solutions.

Ahead of the closing ceremonies, we look back at the MMIWG inquiry. 3:54

15.7 Create time and space for relationships based on respect as human beings, supporting and embracing differences with kindness, love and respect. Learn about Indigenous principles of relationship specific to those Nations or communities in your local area and work, and put them into practice in all of your relationships with Indigenous peoples.

15.8 Help hold all governments accountable to act on the Calls for Justice, and to implement them according to the important principles we set out.

Calls for Justice for Inuit

16.1 Honour all socio-economic commitments as defined in land claims agreements and self-government agreements between Inuit and the Crown. 

16.2 Create laws and services to ensure the protection and revitalization of Inuit culture and language. All Inuit, including those living outside Inuit Nunangat, must have equitable access to culture and language programs. It is essential that Elders are included in the development and delivery of these programs.

16.3 We call upon all governments with jurisdiction in Inuit Nunangat to recognize Inuktut as the founding language, and it must be given official language status through language laws. Inuktut must be afforded the same recognition and protection and promotion as English and French within Inuit Nunangat, and all governments and agencies providing services to Inuit must ensure access to services in Inuktut, and invest in the capacity to be able to do so. 

16.4 Given that the intergenerational transfer of Inuit knowledge, values, and language is a right that must be upheld, we call upon all governments to fund and support the recording of Inuit knowledge about culture, laws, values, spirituality and history prior to and since the start of colonization.

16.5 Given that reliable high-speed internet services and telecommunications are necessary for Inuit to access government services and to engage in the Canadian economic, cultural and political life, we call upon all governments with jurisdiction in Inuit Nunangat to invest the infrastructure to ensure all Inuit have access to high-speed internet.

16.6 Ensure that population numbers for Inuit outside of the Inuit homeland are captured in a disaggregated manner, and that their rights as Inuit are upheld. These numbers are urgently needed to identify the growing, social, economic, political and cultural needs of urban Inuit.

16.7 Ensure the availability of effective, culturally appropriate and accessible health and wellness services within each Inuit community. That includes Inuit midwives and community wellness, health and mental health services in each Inuit community.

16.8 Invest in the recruitment and capacity building of Inuit within the medical, health and wellness service fields. 

16.9 Establish and resource an Inuit Healing and Wellness Fund to support grassroots and community-led programs. This fund must be permanently resourced, must be administered by Inuit, and independent from government.

16.10 Develop policies and programs to include healing and health programs within educational systems. 

16.11 Given that healing occurs through the expression of art and culture, we call upon all governments within Inuit Nunangat to invest in Inuit artistic expression in all its forms through the establishment of infrastructure and by ensuring sustainable funds are available and accessible for Inuit artists.

16.12 Ensure that Inuit men and boys are provided services that are gender- and Inuit-specific to address historic and ongoing trauma they are experiencing. 

16.13 Implement the National Inuit Suicide Prevention Strategy with Inuit nationally and regionally, through Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK).

16.14 Review and amend laws in relation to child and family services to ensure they uphold the rights of Inuit children and families and conform to Inuit laws and values. Inuit parents and guardians must be provided access to Inuit-specific parenting and care-giving teachings and services.

16.15 In light of the multi-jurisdictional nature of child and family services as they currently operate for Inuit in Canada, we call upon the federal government, in partnership with Inuit, to establish and fund an Inuit Child and Youth Advocate with jurisdiction over all Inuit children in care. 

16.16 Enumerate and report on the number of Inuit children in care. This data must be disaggregated and the reports must be shared with Inuit organizations and Inuit child and youth advocates.

16.17 Prioritize supporting Inuit families and communities to meet the needs of Inuit children, recognizing that apprehension must occur only when absolutely required to protect a child. Placement of Inuit children with extended family and in Inuit homes must be prioritized and resourced. Placement outside of their communities and outside their homelands must be restricted.

16.18 Respect the rights of Inuit children and people in care, including those who are placed in care outside of their Inuit homelands. Immediately invest in safe, affordable and culturally appropriate housing within Inuit communities and for Inuit outside of their homelands, given the links between the housing crisis and violence, poor health (including tuberculosis) and suicide. Immediate and directed measures are required to end the crisis.

16.19 Develop and fund safe houses, shelters, transition houses and second-stage housing for Inuit women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people fleeing violence. These houses and shelters are required in all Inuit communities and in urban centres with large Inuit populations. Shelters must not require full occupancy to remain open and to receive funding. 

A field of more than 1,000 hearts, each representing a missing or murdered Indigenous woman or girl, in La Ronge, Sask., on Feb. 14, 2019. (Submitted by Karen Sanderon)

16.20 All governments with jurisdiction in Inuit Nunangat must immediately increase minimum wage rates and increase social assistance rates to meet the needs of Inuit and to match the higher cost of living in Inuit communities. A guaranteed annual livable income model, recognizing the right to income security, must be developed and implemented.

16.21 Ensure equitable access to high-quality educational opportunities and outcomes from early childhood education to post-secondary education within Inuit communities.

16.22 Fund programs for Inuit children and youth to learn about developing interpersonal relationships. Furthermore, Inuit children and youth must be taught how to identify violence through the provision of age-appropriate educational programs like the Good Touch/Bad Touch program offered in Nunavik.

16.23 Work with Inuit to provide public awareness and education to combat the normalization of domestic violence and sexualized violence against Inuit women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people; to educate men and boys about the unacceptability of violence against Inuit women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people; and to raise awareness and education about the human rights and Indigenous rights of Inuit.

16.24 Support programs for Inuit children and youth to teach them how to respond to threats and identify exploitation. 

16.25 We call upon all educators to ensure that the education system, from early childhood to post-secondary, reflects Inuit culture, language and history. The impacts and history of colonialism and its legacy and effects must also be taught. 

16.26 We call on all governments to invest in the establishment of an accredited university within Inuit Nunangat.

16.27 Ensure that in all areas of service delivery – including but not limited to policing, the criminal justice system, education, health and social services – there be ongoing and comprehensive Inuit-specific cultural competency training for public servants. 

The qulliq, a traditional Inuit oil lamp, burns at 2018 MMIWG hearings in Rankin Inlet, Nunavut. (Randi Beers/CBC)

16.28 Given that the failure to invest in resources required for treatment and rehabilitation has resulted in the failure of section 718(e) of the Criminal Code and the Gladue principles to meet their intended objectives, we call upon all governments to invest in Inuit-specific treatment and rehabilitation services to address the root causes of violent behaviour. This must include but is not limited to culturally appropriate and accessible mental health services, trauma and addictions services, and access to culture and language for Inuit. 

16.29 Design and provide wraparound, accessible and culturally appropriate victim services. 

16.30 We call upon Correctional Service Canada and provincial and territorial corrections services to recognize and adopt an Inuit Nunangat model of policy, program, and service development and delivery. 

16.31 We call upon Correctional Service Canada and provincial and territorial correctional services to amend their intake and data-collection policies and practices to ensure that distinctions-based information about Inuit women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people is accurately captured and monitored. All correctional services must report annually to Inuit representative organizations on the number of Inuit women within correctional services' care and custody.

16.32 Ensure there is Inuit representation among sworn officers and civilian staff within Inuit communities, especially among RCMP. Inuit are entitled to receive police services in Inuktut and in a culturally competent and appropriate manner. 

16.33 Achieve proportional representation of Inuit throughout public service in Inuit homelands.

16.34 Fully implement the principles and objectives of Article 23 of the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement. 

16.35 Ensure Inuit participation and control in police services in Nunavik and on the Kativik Regional Police Force.

16.36 Ensure there are police services in all Inuit communities.

16.37 Amend laws, policies, and practices within Inuit Nunangat to reflect and recognize Inuit definitions of "family," "kinship" and "customs" to respect Inuit family structures.

16.38 Facilitate multi-agency interventions, particularly in cases of domestic violence, sexualized violence and poverty. Further, in response to domestic violence, early intervention and prevention programs and services must be prioritized.

16.39 Support and fund the establishment of culturally appropriate and effective child advocacy centres like the Umingmak Centre, the first child advocacy centre in Nunavut, throughout the Inuit homeland.

16.40 Develop responses to adverse childhood experiences that are culturally appropriate and evidence-based. 

16.41 Inuit women, Elders, youth, children and 2SLGBTQQIA people must be given space within governance systems in accordance with their civil and political rights.

16.42 We call upon the federal government to ensure the long-term, sustainable and equitable funding of Inuit women's, youths' and 2SLGBTQQIA people's groups.

16.43 Robust oversight mechanisms must be established to ensure services are delivered in a manner that is compliant with the human rights and Indigenous rights of Inuit. These mechanisms must be accessible and provide for meaningful recourse.

16.44 We call upon all governments to ensure the collection of disaggregated data in relation to Inuit to monitor and report on progress and the effectiveness of laws, policies and services designed to uphold the social, economic, political and cultural rights and well-being of Inuit women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people.

16.45 We call upon the federal government to acknowledge the findings of the Qikiqtani Truth Commission and to work to implement the recommendations therein.

16.46 Many people continue to look for information and the final resting place of their lost loved one. We call upon the federal government to support the work of the Nanilavut project on a long-term basis, with sustained funding so that it can continue to serve Inuit families as they look for answers to the questions of what happened to their loved ones. We further insist that it must provide for the option of repatriation of the remains of lost loved ones once they are located.

Métis-Specific Calls for Justice:

17.1 We call upon the federal government to uphold its constitutional responsibility to Métis people and to non-status people in the provision of all programs and services that fall under its responsibility.

17.2 We call upon the federal government to pursue the collection and dissemination of disaggregated data concerning violence against Métis women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people, including barriers they face in accessing their rights to safety, informed by Métis knowledge and experiences. We also call upon the federal government to support and fund research that highlights distinctive Métis experiences, including the gathering of more stories specific to Métis perspectives on violence.

17.3 We call upon all governments to ensure equitable representation of Métis voices in policy development, funding, and service delivery, and to include Métis voices and perspectives in decision-making, including Métis 2SLGBTQQIA people and youth, and to implement self-determined and culturally specific solutions for Métis people.

A seat at the sharing circle of the MMIWG inquiry hearing in Mani-Utenam, Que., is left empty for the victims of violence. (Julia Page/CBC)

17.4 We call upon all governments to fund and support Métis-specific programs and services that meet the needs of Métis people in an equitable manner, and dedicated Métis advocacy bodies and institutions, including but not limited to Métis health authorities and Métis child welfare agencies.

17.5 We call upon all governments to eliminate barriers to accessing programming and services for Métis, including but not limited to barriers facing Métis who do not reside in their home province.

17.6 We call upon all governments to pursue the implementation of a distinctions-based approach that takes into account the unique history of Métis communities and people, including the way that many issues have been largely ignored by levels of government and now present barriers to safety.

17.7 We call upon all governments to fund and to support culturally appropriate programs and services for Métis people living in urban centres, including those that respect the internal diversity of Métis communities with regards to spirituality, gender identity and cultural identity.

17.8 Design mandatory, ongoing cultural competency training for public servants (including staff working in policing, justice, education, health care, social work and government) in areas such as trauma-informed care, cultural safety training, anti-racism training and understanding of Métis culture and history.

17.9 Provide safe transportation options, particularly in rural, remote, and northern communities, including "safe rides" programs, and monitor high recruitment areas where Métis women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA individuals may be more likely to be targeted.

17.10 Respect Métis rights and individuals' self-identification as Métis.

17.11 Support and fund dialogue and relationships between Métis and First Nations communities.

17.12 We call upon police services to build partnerships with Métis communities, organizations and people to ensure culturally safe access to police services.

17.13 Educate police about the unique history and needs of Métis communities.

17.14 Police must establish better communication with Métis communities and populations through representative advisory boards.

17.15 Fund the expansion of community-based security models that include Métis perspectives and people, such as local peacekeeper officers or programs such as the Bear Clan Patrol.

17.16 Support self-determined and culturally specific needs-based child welfare services for Métis families that are focused on prevention of harm and maintenance of family unity. These services will also focus on: avoiding the need for foster care; restoring family unity and providing support for parents trying to reunite with children; healing for parents; and developing survivor-led programs to improve family safety. 

17.17 Funding and support for Métis child welfare agencies and for child placements in Métis homes.

17.18 Provide cultural programming for Métis children in foster care, especially when they are placed in non-Indigenous or non-Métis families.

17.19 Address Métis unemployment and poverty as a way to prevent child apprehension.

The Metis symbol. The report has 29 Metis-specific calls for justice. (Dan McGarvey/CBC)

17.20 Fund programs for Métis women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people, including more access to traditional healing programs, treatment centres for youth, family support and violence prevention funding and initiatives for Métis, and the creation of no-barrier safe spaces, including spaces for Métis mothers and families in need.

17.21 Provide equitable health services to Métis and non-status First Nations Peoples in an equitable manner consistent with substantive human rights standards under services such as FNIHB.

17.22 Fully implement Jordan's Principle with reference to the Métis.

17.23 Provide Métis-specific programs and services that address emotional, mental, physical and spiritual dimensions of well-being, including coordinated or co-located services to offer holistic wraparound care.

17.24 Address a lack of knowledge about the Métis people and culture within Canadian society, including education and advocacy that highlights the positive history and achievements of Métis people and increases the visibility, understanding, and appreciation of Métis people.

17.25 Foster a positive sense of cultural identity among Métis communities. 

17.26 Revitalize the practise of Métis culture, including integrating Métis history and Métis languages into elementary and secondary school curricula, and programs and initiatives to help Métis people explore their family heritage and identity and reconnect with the land.

17.27 Pursue restorative justice and rehabilitation programs, including within correctional facilities, specific to Métis needs and cultural realities, to help address root causes of violence and reduce recidivism, and to support healing.

17.28 Increase victim support services specific to Métis needs to help Métis victims and families navigate the legal system.

17.29 We call upon all actors within the justice system to engage in education and training regarding the history and contemporary realities of Métis experiences.

2SLGBTQQIA-Specific Calls for Justice:

18.1 Fund and support greater awareness of 2SLGBTQQIA issues, and implement programs, services, and practical supports for 2SLGBTQQIA people that include distinctions-based approaches that take into account the unique challenges to safety for 2SLGBTQQIA individuals and groups.

18.2 Be inclusive of all perspectives in decision making, including those of 2SLGBTQQIA people and youth.

18.3 Change the way data is collected about 2SLGBTQQIA people to better reflect the presence of individuals and communities, and to improve the inclusion of 2SLGBTQQIA people in research.

18.4 Eliminate "either-or" gender options and include gender-inclusive, gender-neutral, or non-binary options — for example, an "X-option" — on reporting gender in all contexts, such as application and intake forms, surveys, status cards, census data and other data collection. Increase precision in reporting options. 

18.5 Ensure programs and spaces are co-designed to meet the needs of 2SLGBTQQIA clients in their communities.

18.6 Fund youth programs, including mentorship, leadership and support services that are broadly accessible and reach out to 2SLGBTQQIA individuals.

18.7 Increase support for existing successful grassroots initiatives, including consistent core funding.

18.8 Support networking and community building for 2SLGBTQQIA people who may be living in different urban centres (and rural and remote areas), and to increase opportunities for 2SLGBTQQIA networking, collaboration, and peer support through a national organization, regional organizations, advocacy body and/or a task force.

18.9 We call upon First Nations, Métis, and Inuit leadership and advocacy bodies to equitably include 2SLGBTQQIA people, and for national Indigenous organizations to have a 2SLGBTQQIA council or similar initiative.

18.10 Provide safe and dedicated ceremony and cultural places and spaces for 2SLGBTQQIA youth and adults, and advocate for 2SLGBTQQIA inclusion in all cultural spaces and ceremonies. 

18.11 Accommodate non-binary gender identities in program and service design, and offer gender-neutral washrooms and change rooms in facilities.

18.12 Better investigate crimes against 2SLGBTQQIA people, and ensure accountability for investigations and handling of cases involving 2SLGBTQQIA people.

18.13 Educate police regarding 2SLGBTQQIA people and experiences to address discrimination, especially homophobia and transphobia, in policing.

18.14 Ensure the safety of 2SLGBTQQIA people in the sex industry.

18.15 Conduct research and knowledge gathering on pre-colonial knowledge and teachings about the place, roles and responsibilities of 2SLGBTQQIA people within their respective communities, to support belonging, safety and well-being.

18.16 Support specific Knowledge Keeper gatherings on the topic of reclaiming and re-establishing space and community for 2SLGBTQQIA people.

A powwow is held at the 22nd annual International Two-Spirit Gathering in Manitoba in 2010. Elder Wilfred Abigosis holds the Two-Spirit Eagle Staff. (Albert McLeod)

18.17 Re-educate communities and individuals who have learned to reject 2SLGBTQQIA people, or who deny their important history and contemporary place within communities and in ceremony, and to address transphobia and homophobia in communities.

18.18 Educate service providers on the realities of 2SLGBTQQIA people and their distinctive needs, and provide mandatory cultural competency training for all social service providers.

18.19 Educate the public on the history of non-gender binary people in Indigenous societies, and use media, including social media, as a way to build awareness and understanding of 2SLGBTQQIA issues.

18.20 Educate students about gender and sexual identity, including 2SLGBTQQIA identities, in schools.

18.21 Make people aware of the dangers of misgendering in correctional systems and facilities and ensure that the rights of trans people are protected.

18.22 Correctional services must provide dedicated 2SLGBTQQIA support services and cultural supports.

18.23 We call upon coroners and others involved in the investigation of missing and murdered Indigenous trans-identified individuals and individuals with non-binary gender identities to use gender-neutral or non-binary options, such as an X-marker, for coroners' reports and for reporting information related to the crimes, as appropriate.

18.24 Address homelessness, poverty and other socio-economic barriers to equitable and substantive rights for 2SLGBTQQIA people.

18.25 Build safe spaces for people who need help and who are homeless, or at risk of becoming homeless, which includes access to safe, dedicated 2SLGBTQQIA shelters and housing, dedicated beds in shelters for trans and non-binary individuals, and 2SLGBTQQIA-specific support services for 2SLGBTQQIA individuals in housing and shelter spaces.

18.26 Educate health service providers about the realities and needs of 2SLGBTQQIA people, and recognize substantive human rights dimensions to health services for 2SLGBTQQIA people.

18.27 Provide mental health supports for 2SLGBTQQIA people, including wraparound services that take into account particular barriers to safety for 2SLGBTQQIA people.

18.28 Expand and dedicate health services for 2SLGBTQQIA individuals including health centres, substance use treatment programs and mental health services and resources.

18.29 Create roles for Indigenous care workers who would hold the same authority as community mental health nurses and social workers in terms of advocating for 2SLGBTQQIA clients and testifying in court as recognized professionals.

18.30 Reduce wait times for sex-reassignment surgery.

18.31 Educate youth about 2SLGBTQQIA health.

18.32 We call upon child welfare agencies to engage in education regarding the realities and perspectives of 2SLGBTQQIA youth; to provide 2SLGBTQQIA competency training to parents and caregivers, especially to parents of trans children and in communities outside of urban centres; and to engage in and provide education for parents, foster families, and other youth service providers regarding the particular barriers to safety for 2SLGBTQQIA youth.

Cheryl McDonald testified at the MMIWG inquiry hearing in Montreal and says it was “freeing” for her. On June 3, she intends to attend the inquiry’s closing ceremony. 2:28

For immediate emotional assistance, call 1-844-413-6649. This 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.