Canada unveils Action Plan to address calls to justice for MMIWG

OTTAWA – A national Action Plan has been released to address the 231 calls for justice on missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.

The plan, which includes sweeping commitments from the federal government, comes two years after the final report from the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls identified systemic barriers.

Hilda Anderson-Pyrz, co-chair of the National Family and Survivors Circle, says trauma-informed training for those who work with Indigenous people and a public education campaign are among the immediate steps.

“We cannot wait any longer. Immediate action is imperative and all governments must act now,” she said.

Longer term, the report calls for measures like more shelters for Indigenous women, a guaranteed livable income, more healing programs, better housing and infrastructure for Indigenous communities, a national emergency number, and a national task force to review and re-investigate unresolved files.

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The federal government has released its own pathway, with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau saying it focuses on four themes: culture, health and wellness, security and safety, and justice.

“The truth must be told and all Canadians must stand with Indigenous peoples against injustice,” Trudeau said.

“Today, with the launch of the plan, we’re taking this step forward together to make the transformative change necessary to end this national tragedy.”

The government is also committing to reforms within the RCMP, as well as a focus on Indigenous-led policing and health services.

An implementation document will be presented before July, and should come with more detailed timelines and spending.

The federal government has already set aside $2.2 billion over the next five years.

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The unveiling of the Action Plan comes a week after it was announced 215 Indigenous children’s remains were found at a former residential school site in Kamloops.

“Some have used words like unbelievable or unreal to describe the news that hundreds of children were found buried at the former Kamloops residential school. But for survivors, families, and communities, I know that this tragedy is all too believable, that the pain is all too real,” Trudeau said Thursday.

There have been growing calls for the government to take accountability for Canada’s history and the residential school system. On Wednesday, the federal government announced it would be informing First Nations communities how to access funding so that they could conduct searches of other sites across the country.

A national Indian Residential School Crisis Line is available for anyone affected by residential schools. You can call 1-866-925-4419 24 hours a day to access emotional support and services.

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