Status of Women Ministers Endorse Declaration for a Canada
Free of Gender-Based Violence
January 22, 2021 – Regina (Saskatchewan) / Ottawa (Ontario)
Federal-Provincial-Territorial (FPT) Ministers responsible for the Status of Women met virtually on January 21-22 for their 38th annual meeting and endorsed the . This declaration reiterates the longstanding commitment of the federal, provincial and territorial governments in the fight against gender-based violence (GBV) and the advancement of gender equality for people across Canada. It builds on the strong history of federal, provincial and territorial collaboration in preventing and addressing gender-based violence.
This joint declaration affirms a common vision, principles and goals for responding to gender-based violence. This federal, provincial and territorial collaboration represents an important step in developing a National Action Plan to End Gender-Based Violence in Canada. The National Action Plan to End Gender-Based Violence is separate from but complementary to the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls National Action Plan.
These past few days were also marked by important discussions where Ministers shared perspectives and experiences from their jurisdictions. They also expressed their priorities and most pressing concerns about gender-based violence, including:
human trafficking, another significant danger to the health and safety of women and girls today,
the importance of taking into consideration gendered and intersectional economic impacts.
During this meeting, the Ministers reiterated the importance of their collective work on gender equality, and the use of Gender-Based Analysis Plus (GBA+) to guide initiatives through the pandemic, taking into account the perspectives of National Indigenous leaders and representatives and the 2SLGBTQQIA communities.
Since the last FPT meeting in December 2019, the COVID-19 pandemic has magnified historic and systemic gender inequalities that continue to have disproportionate impacts on women.
Throughout the pandemic, federal, provincial and territorial governments have had multiple engagements on the challenges of addressing gender-based violence during the pandemic and with the stay-at-home guidelines. All federal, provincial and territorial jurisdictions have put measures in place to provide emergency supports and have taken concrete steps to help those experiencing violence.
Through strong collaboration with provincial and territorial governments, the Government of Canada coordinated the delivery of emergency funding to organizations supporting women and children experiencing violence. More than 1,000 organizations across Canada received emergency funding to address immediate needs from the $100 million investment announced in May and October 2020.
Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people are at an increased risk of gender-based violence and of being targeted for human trafficking, as the Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) clearly found. It is imperative that all orders of government work in partnership with Indigenous communities, leaders, survivors and their families to address this violence.
Ministers also met with National Indigenous Leaders and Representatives (NILRs) on January 15, 2021 to hear about their vision and priorities to prevent and address gender-based violence and discuss ways to work together. They were joined by the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, who detailed the work currently underway with partners from coast-to-coast-to-coast on the National Action Plan on MMIWG. The Government of Canada is grateful for the dedicated participation of over 100 Indigenous women and the efforts of the provinces and territories in this ongoing work. The Government remains committed to ensuring that the National Action Plan on MMIWG will be distinctions-based, regionally specific, evergreen and accountable, keeping Families and Survivors at the centre. The Federal, Provincial and Territorial Ministers and representatives from the NILRs discussed the linkages between that work and the ongoing work on the National Action Plan to End Gender-Based Violence, recognizing that both national plans must align and reinforce each other.
To note, Government of Newfoundland and Labrador is operating in a caretaker period due to a provincial election and is unable to participate.
Quebec supports the general principles of the joint declaration and will continue to be active in the fight against gender-based violence by prioritizing its own actions and measures. It also intends to continue to share information and best practices with other governments on this issue.
“Today, we formalize our agreement to build a coordinated national action plan to end all forms of violence against women and gender-based violence for every Canadian. This is a significant milestone for survivors of gender-based violence and all feminists. The agreement puts in place a set of actions that will strengthen prevention measures, support survivors and their families, and improve responses in the justice system. Since 2015, the Government of Canada has increased funding to community organizations five fold. We are supporting over 1,500 frontline organizations that are caring for over six million victims and survivors of gender-based violence during the pandemic. Our collaboration will continue throughout, and beyond the pandemic, until no one in Canada has to say ‘Me Too’”
The Honourable Maryam Monsef, P.C., M.P.
Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development
Government of Canada
“I am honored to contribute to the work being done at this table. We are addressing important topics such as economic participation and prosperity, and gender-based violence.” Minister Responsible for the Status of Women Office, Laura Ross said. “I am proud of the collective commitment to support a Federal-Provincial-Territorial joint declaration for a Canada free of Gender-Based Violence. This is the time for change.”
Minister Laura Ross
Minister of Parks, Culture and Sport and Minister Responsible for the Status of Women Office
Government of Saskatchewan
Data collected through Statistics Canada in March and April 2020 suggested that 1 in 10 women in Canada were very or extremely concerned about the possibility of violence in the home early in the COVID-19 pandemic.
Understanding experiences of gender-based violence across the country is critical for eliminating gender-based violence and better supporting those who have experienced violence. In 2019 and 2020, the Government of Canada released data from two new national surveys on Gender-based violence in Canada and experiences of gender-based violence by post-secondary students.
Meetings between the federal, provincial and territorial governments offer an important opportunity for leadership from coast to coast to coast to discuss shared priorities, strengthen collaboration, and work together to make life better for all Canadians.
This week’s meeting of Federal, Provincial and Territorial Ministers Responsible for the Status of Women was co-chaired by the Honourable Maryam Monsef, federal Minister for Women and Gender Equality, and the Honourable Laura Ross, Saskatchewan Minister of Parks, Culture and Sport and Minister Responsible for the Status of Women Office.
Federal, Provincial and Territorial Ministers Responsible for the Status of Women meet annually to share information, exchange best practices and explore issues and opportunities to advance gender equality. They also discuss options for mutually-beneficial collaboration to support improved social and economic prosperity for women and girls and to prevent and address gender-based violence.
The next annual meeting of the Federal, Provincial and Territorial Ministers Responsible for the Status of Women will be hosted by Saskatchewan in Fall 2021.
Office of the Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development
Acting Director of Marketing with Parks, Culture and Sport
Government of Saskatchewan
Women and Gender Equality Canada
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