Today, the following statement was issued by David Zimmer, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, Tracy MacCharles, Minister Responsible for Women’s Issues, and Yasir Naqvi, Attorney General, on the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls:
“On behalf of the Ontario government, we welcome the federal government’s announcement today on the next stage in the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. Ontario has long supported calls by Indigenous organizations for a national public inquiry into this issue, and has also advocated directly for an inquiry through interaction with our federal, provincial and territorial counterparts.
Ending violence against Indigenous women and girls is a priority for our government.
We must address root causes and stop the cycle of violence against Indigenous women and girls. We must support families and communities who continue to experience these tragedies. We must listen to Indigenous partners and support the leadership they are showing.
Our commitment was reinforced when we released Walking Together: Ontario’s Long-Term Strategy to End Violence Against Indigenous Women. The strategy was developed in collaboration with Indigenous partners from the Joint Working Group on Violence Against Aboriginal Women. Walking Together is supported with a new investment of $100 million over three years and sets out six action areas where Ontario will work hand-in-hand with Indigenous partners to dramatically improve the quality of life for Indigenous women and their families across the province.
This work has already begun. In June, Ontario released its strategy to end human trafficking aimed at increasing awareness and coordination, enhancing justice-sector initiatives and improving survivors’ access to services. The province is investing up to $72 million into this strategy which includes Indigenous-led approaches to support culturally relevant services and responses – designed, developed, and delivered jointly with Indigenous partners.
Earlier this year, Ontario participated in the second National Roundtable on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls in Winnipeg. Outcomes and priorities for action were agreed upon, including the development of an Ontario-led, Canada-wide prevention and public awareness campaign. This campaign will focus on changing public perception and attitudes to help end violence against Indigenous women and girls.
The National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls will be another crucial step on our path to healing and reconciliation. We are committed to working with the federal government to implement positive changes and continue to renew our partnership with Indigenous peoples.
All Ontarians deserve to feel safe in their homes, communities, workplaces and schools and to be free from the threat of violence. We are committed to working collaboratively to make this a reality.”