June 03, 2021

Saskatchewan Response to the National Inquiry Into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls

The Government of Saskatchewan is proud to participate in today's release of the National Action Plan in response to the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG).

The release of the National Action Plan coincides with the second anniversary of the Inquiry's Final Report.  The National Action Plan includes information on work of provinces and territories to address the Calls to Justice from the National Inquiry.  In addition to the National Action Plan, government has also released a Saskatchewan Response paper that provides more in-depth information on the province's response to MMIWG.

"The National Inquiry provided an important voice to Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls," Justice Minister and Attorney General Gordon Wyant said. "Saskatchewan will continue to work with our federal, provincial and Indigenous partners to take action against gendered violence, foster healing for victims and survivors, and bring safety and justice to our communities."

As highlighted in the National Action Plan and the Saskatchewan Response paper, Saskatchewan invests significant resources in preventative, responsive and restorative initiatives in the areas of culture, health and wellness, human security and justice.

The province has renewed its efforts to create spaces that are inclusive of Indigenous cultures, such as the redeveloped Prince Albert Victoria Hospital, and continues to invest in cultural awareness training for public servants.  In January 2021, the Government of Saskatchewan also increased the available funding for its First Nations and Métis Community Partnership Program to $400,000.  This program centres on community needs and supports locally-developed projects and events.  In 2020-21, the program focused on initiatives related to issues raised by the National Inquiry into MMIWG.

"The Government of Saskatchewan is committed to pursuing meaningful, lasting reconciliation within the province," Minister Responsible for First Nations, Métis and Northern Affairs Don McMorris said.  "The grants made available through the Ministry of Government Relations' First Nations and Métis Community Partnership program supported Indigenous community organizations to educate and raise awareness on the issue of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls and the causes of interpersonal violence in our province."

The province provides a number of services to support victims of interpersonal violence and abuse.  These include housing and shelter assistance, culturally-informed child protection services, and education and awareness activities.  As a recent example, the Face the Issue campaign - a multi-year public awareness effort translated into French, Cree, and Dene - challenges the attitudes and behaviours that contribute to interpersonal violence and abuse.

"Violence against Indigenous women and girls is unacceptable," Minister Responsible for the Status of Women Office Laura Ross said. "The Status of Women Office continues to work closely with internal and external stakeholders to address gender-based violence and is committed to addressing the Calls for Justice outlined in the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Final Report."

Saskatchewan has taken a number of steps to bring justice to Indigenous communities.  The province works with Indigenous organizations to support a variety of restorative and community justice programs that work to reduce overrepresentation of Indigenous people in the criminal justice system.

Saskatchewan also participates in the Saskatchewan Missing Persons Partnership and facilitates the work of the Family Information Liaison Unit within the Ministry of Justice and Attorney General.

Since January 2018, the province has appointed five judges who have self-declared as Indigenous, three of them women.

The province's cultural, social, and justice initiatives extend to the health sector.  The Saskatchewan Health Authority works with knowledge keepers and traditional healers to deliver culturally-affirming health services.  For instance, the province established a traditional medicine team in Regina and plans to expand its work to the rest of the province, so that Indigenous people in Saskatchewan will be able to include traditional healing as part of their healthcare.

These policies and programs were developed to create meaningful and lasting change.

The National Action Plan can be found at www.MMIWG2Splus-nationalactionplan.ca and the Saskatchewan Response Paper can be found at https://publications.saskatchewan.ca/#/products/112884.