Premier Kathleen Wynne and the provincial government have committed $100 million over three years to carry out Walking Together, a long-term plan to end violence against indigenous women.
In a press conference at Queen’s Park on Feb. 23, Wynne unveiled the plan, saying Indigenous women are three times more likely to experience violence and three times more likely to be murdered than other women.
“Behind these grim statistics, lie decade after decade of governments across Canada shamefully neglecting the deep wounds inflicted upon indigenous communities and an entire society that look the other way or worse shrugged our shoulders as too many First Nations, Métis and Inuit women continue to experience violence,” Wynne said, “
We will put an end to this tragedy.
—Premier Kathleen Wynne
Wynne said she and the government of Ontario are honoured to be supporting Indigenous women on this journey.
“Behind the strategy we’re releasing today are indigenous women whose resilience and leadership is going to put an end to this violence,” she said. “We will put an end to this tragedy.”
Walking Together is a six-part plan and the steps are as follows:
1. Support for children, youth and families
Wynne wants to implement a new family well-being program that will provide “culturally appropriate, on-the-ground support” for families in crisis and to help communities deal with intergenerational violence.
2. Community safety and healing
Wynne plans to create and expand programs that will identify and ultimately prevent human trafficking in Ontario. She also plans to expand I Am a Kind Man, a program the encourages indigenous men and boys to speak up about and report violence. “Violent attacks against indigenous women are unacceptable, “Wynne said, “They are not only attacks against women, they are attacks against the values of fairness, equality and opportunity that we share as a community.”
3. Policing and justice
Wynne says the police training method regarding violence against indigenous women will be reformed. She also says the provincial government will make their software available to First Nations police services so they are able to manage larger cases.
4. Collaboration and alignment
Wynne says she wishes to collaborate with the federal government and align with their efforts and inquiries into missing and murdered indigenous women. “Ontario will work shoulder to shoulder with […] the federal government […] to build on existing initiatives and drive co-ordinated action,” Wynne said.
5. Improved data and research
Wynne will continue to evaluate and re-evaluate the strategies’ successes going forward to ensure they are working, to “guide us and our partners in developing new programs and policies that fit the needs of indigenous communities.”
6. Prevention and awareness
Finally, Wynne says she will continue to support and expand public awareness campaigns to “change norms and discriminatory attitudes that perpetuate violence.”