Canada announces new shelters for Indigenous Peoples facing gender-based violence

From: Indigenous Services Canada

The Government of Canada is committed to securing the safety of Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people who are escaping gender-based violence.

Today, the Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development and Minister Responsible for the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC); the Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Indigenous Services; the Honourable Daniel Vandal, Minister of Northern Affairs; with Rebecca Kudloo, President of Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada; and Aluki Kotierk, President of Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated (NTI), highlighted a $724.1 million federal investment to expand culturally relevant supports for Indigenous Peoples facing gender-based violence and support new emergency shelters and transitional (second-stage) housing across the country, including in the North and in urban centres.

This includes $420 million over five years through CMHC to fund the construction of at least 38 Indigenous-led emergency shelters and at least 50 Indigenous-led transition homes across Canada. This is in addition to a $304.1 million investment over five years and a further $96.6 million annually through Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) to support the operation of these shelters and transition homes, as well as the expansion of funding for culturally relevant violence prevention projects.

A Call for Proposals for the construction and ongoing operation of Indigenous-led shelters and transition homes will be launched in early fall 2021, which will be open to all Indigenous Peoples.

The Government of Canada recognizes that the COVID-19 pandemic has added pressures to the challenges that Inuit women and children face when seeking refuge from gender-based violence. As part of the more than $75 million of flexible funding ISC has provided to NTI through the Indigenous Community Support Fund, NTI has distributed approximately $1 million to shelters serving Nunavut Inuit to prevent, prepare for and respond to COVID-19. These funds helped the shelters adapt to health protocols, support physical distancing, and purchase personal protective equipment for shelter staff and clients. Additionally, NTI has allocated over $11 million of this flexible funding for the building, renovation and purchase of four shelters in four Nunavut communities (Pangnirtung, Pond Inlet, Gjoa Haven and Baker Lake).

In January 2021, the Government of Canada alongside Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada, announced its commitment to fund the construction and operation of new shelters for Inuit women, children, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people across Inuit Nunangat and urban centres. Funding for these shelters was announced in the 2020 Fall Economic Statement. The Government of Canada has been working closely with Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada to develop an Inuit-specific Call for Proposals, which will be launched this summer.

The Government of Canada is committed to addressing the ongoing national tragedy of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people. The construction and operation of emergency shelters and transition homes that are Indigenous-led and designed is just one step toward the Government of Canada’s contribution to the Federal Pathway to Address Violence Against Indigenous Women, Girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ People, as well as some of the Inuit-specific calls for shelters in the National Inuit Action Plan on Missing and Murdered Inuit Women, Girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ People. The construction and operation of Indigenous-led emergency shelters and transition homes respond directly to a number of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls’ Calls for Justice, which include ensuring safe, accessible, culturally appropriate and low-barrier shelters for Indigenous women and children off reserve and in urban centres, as well as for 2SLGBTQQIA+ people facing gender-based violence.

Quotes

“Indigenous-led emergency shelters and transition homes play a critical role to support Indigenous women, children and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people escaping violence. Today’s announcement is a critical step in creating dedicated, culturally relevant and trauma-informed, safe spaces for the most vulnerable peoples in our society on and off reserve, in the North, and in urban centres.”

The Honourable Marc Miller

Minister of Indigenous Services

“Pauktuutit is thrilled by today’s announcement. After 36 years of advocacy for Inuit women’s shelters, we see this as a concrete action toward meaningful reconciliation with Inuit women. Today, we are showing Canada that Inuit women are valued, respected and deserving of safety. We are celebrating the lives that will be saved, and also honouring the lives we have lost while waiting for shelters across Inuit Nunangat. This announcement begins to address the Inuit-specific calls for shelters in the National Inuit Action Plan on Missing and Murdered Inuit Women, Girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ People. We look forward to continuing our work with partners and government to build more shelters and transitional housing for Inuit women. This is just the beginning.”

Rebecca Kudloo

President, Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada

“With these important investments, our government is responding to the unique needs of First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities across the country, including in urban and northern areas. Recognizing that a simple one-size-fits-all approach isn’t enough, we are working with Indigenous partners to develop solutions that will provide vital housing support for Indigenous women, children and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people. There’s much more work to be done, and today’s announcement is an important step to help heal communities and build a more inclusive housing system for all.”

The Honourable Ahmed Hussen

Minister of Families, Children and Social Development and Minister Responsible for the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation

“Today’s commitment to construct and operate new shelters and transitional homes in the North and across Canada is an important step in ensuring that those experiencing violence and abuse at home have a safe place to turn to. I’m proud that we are moving forward in partnership with Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada, the Government of Nunavut and our Inuit partners to make these new shelters and transitional homes for Inuit women, children and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people a reality.”

The Honourable Daniel Vandal

Minister of Northern Affairs

“Access to safe, culturally relevant shelters across Inuit Nunangat is vital for women, children and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people escaping violence, as well as a key step toward ending the ongoing national tragedy of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people. Our government is committed to continuing our work with Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada and other Inuit partners to ensure the security and well-being of Inuit women, their children and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people by supporting and expanding a network of family violence prevention shelters and transition homes across the country to help best address their specific needs.”

The Honourable Carolyn Bennett

Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations

“Nunavut Inuit deserve a safe place to sleep at night and the dignity that comes with safety. The COVID-19 pandemic has shone a spotlight on this urgent need. Where we have been able to, Inuit organizations have been investing in shelters and transition homes. We are ready to continue this critical work.”

Aluki Kotierk

President of Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated

Quick facts

  • Inuit women experience violence, particularly intimate partner violence, at a higher rate than any other group of women in Canada. Women in Nunavut are the victims of violent crime at a rate more than 13 times higher than that for women in Canada as a whole. The risk of a woman being sexually assaulted in Nunavut is 12 times greater than the provincial/territorial average.

  • In Nunavut, women and girls represented nearly two-thirds of police-reported crime and 95% of sexual offence victims in 2016.

  • While emergency shelters provide critical short-term support, transitional (second-stage) housing provides longer-term housing and stability, along with vital services and support to improve outcomes and reduce the risk of danger after leaving an emergency shelter.

  • The 2020 Fall Economic Statement included enhanced funding for violence prevention projects. Organizations interested in accessing this funding will be able to apply to a Call for Proposals, which will be launched later this year through Indigenous Services Canada’s Family Violence Prevention Program.

  • Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation and Indigenous Services Canada will seek input from Indigenous partners and organizations to ensure that the approach for accessing funding is appropriate and inclusive.

  • The Indigenous Community Support Fund provides Indigenous leadership and organizations with the flexibility needed to design and implement community-based solutions to ensure the health, safety and well-being of Indigenous Peoples.

  • To date, over $1.8 billion in support has been announced through the Indigenous Community Support Fund. Of this amount, approximately $76.9 million has been distributed to Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated

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