June 3, 2021
The Federal Pathway to Address Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ People is the Government of Canada’s contribution to the National Action Plan, called for by the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. It outlines the Government of Canada’s approach to ending violence against Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people.
Colonialism, racism, sexism and ableism and economic inequality have created systemic inequities for Indigenous Peoples, threaten to extinguish Indigenous languages, cultures and traditional practices, and have directly impacted the rightful power and place of Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people. The Federal Pathway acknowledges that this violence is a systemic problem that requires substantial, immediate and transformative change.
Since 2015, the Government of Canada has remained committed to advancing reconciliation, and to forging a new relationship with Indigenous Peoples based on the recognition, affirmation and implementation of rights, respect, co-operation and partnership. Ending violence against Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people is a top priority and is critical to advancing reconciliation and achieving equity for all Indigenous Peoples.
The Federal Pathway responds to this ongoing national tragedy in a way that is intersectional, holistic, accountable and enduring. It also represents the distinct and diverse regional perspectives and needs of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis communities and people across Canada, no matter where they live, to support community-level changes and healing to end gender-based violence.
The Federal Pathway’s Place in The National Action Plan
The Federal Pathway is one component of the much broader National Action Plan to end the tragedy of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people. The Government of Canada has brought together over 100 Indigenous women and 2SLGBTQQIA+ partners, as well as a range of government (Indigenous, federal, provincial, territorial and municipal) and non-government representatives to contribute to the broader National Action Plan. The development process includes a National Family and Survivors Circle, Core Working Group (CWG), and eight sub-working groups (First Nations, Inuit, Métis, 2SLGBTQQIA+, urban, data, federal and provincial-territorial). The National Action Plan is intended to form the umbrella under which federal, provincial, and territorial and Indigenous partners, governments, and organizations will contribute their respective components.
Partners, organizations, and contributors include but are not limited to:
- Families of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people
- Survivors of gender-based violence
- Indigenous women
- 2SLGBTQQIA+ people
- Community activists
- Indigenous Elders, Knowledge Keepers, and spiritual leaders
- Indigenous youth
- Indigenous women’s organizations
- Urban service providers and organizations
- Indigenous rights holders
- Indigenous governments
- Government of Canada
- Provincial and territorial governments
- Non-governmental organizations
For more information, please see: Creating the MMIWG and 2SLGBTQQIA+ national action plan
Federal Pathway Breakdown
The Federal Pathway is designed to be inclusive, holistic and continually updated.
It is anchored in principles that build on the National Inquiry’s Principles for Change and that were developed in cooperation with the working groups and Indigenous partners. These principles will guide commitments to concrete and preventative action throughout the implementation of the Federal Pathway and include:
- Respect for the human rights of Indigenous Peoples;
- Leadership of Indigenous families, survivors, women and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people;
- A holistic approach;
- Self-determined, Indigenous-led, grassroots solutions and services;
- Cultural safety and humility;
- A trauma-informed approach; and,
- A focus on dignity and supporting power and place – this includes rights to culture, health, safety and justice.
A plan to implement the Federal Pathway will be co-developed with Indigenous partners, with the goal of ending violence against Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people. The work will address the four interconnected thematic areas: culture, health and wellness, human safety and security, and justice.
Government actions, inactions, policies and laws have prevented the ability to practice and to pass on cultural knowledge and languages, and created conditions in which the significant roles and identities of Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people are less valued. These conditions contribute to racism, sexism, ableism, homophobia, transphobia, discrimination, and violence faced by Indigenous Peoples. To address this, the Government of Canada has committed to the following objectives and concrete actions to support, honour and respect Indigenous languages, cultural knowledge and diverse forms of cultural expression:
- Support the efforts of Indigenous Peoples in the retention, preservation, revitalization, maintenance and strengthening of Indigenous languages, cultures and cultural spaces;
- Strengthen opportunities for Indigenous cultural expression, participation, promotion, and representation in the arts, cultural industries and media; and,
- Address systemic racism experienced by Indigenous Peoples in the public and policy spheres.
Theme: Health & Wellness
Indigenous worldviews and ways of knowing, seeing, doing, and being are based in a holistic understanding of health and well-being, recognizing elements of spiritual, social, physical, and mental health and wellness within Indigenous individuals, families and communities. Health and safety are very much intertwined, as health is linked to the prevention of danger and harm to others, to the health of children and families, and to all aspects of physical and mental wellness. Indigenous Peoples in Canada experience a disproportionate burden of ill health, which is rooted in Canada’s colonial legacy and existing health services that fail to adequately meet the needs of Indigenous Peoples. These extreme health inequities contribute to the violence experienced by Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people.
To address this, the Government of Canada has committed to the following objectives and concrete actions that will contribute to health systems free of racism and discrimination and better health outcomes for Indigenous Peoples:
- Transform health service delivery to an Indigenous-led model;
- Support Indigenous-led healing and mental wellness services, and strengthen protective pathways against violence; and,
- Address anti-Indigenous racism in the health care system.
Theme: Human Safety & Security
Throughout Canada, Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people experience high rates of violence that point to the systemic failure to ensure their safety and security. Root causes of the violence include poverty, lack of affordable, adequate, and safe housing, environmental threats, political repression, social unrest, denial of cultural practices, disease, food insecurity and human rights abuses.
The Government of Canada commits to the following objectives and concrete actions that will promote the safety and security of Indigenous women, girls, and 2LSGBTQQIA+ people, no matter where they live:
- Supporting safe and healthy communities;
- Addressing socio-economic barriers to education, training and employment;
- Supporting safe communities during resource extraction projects;
- Fostering a cultural shift and supporting allies;
- Addressing human trafficking and exploitation; and,
- Supporting inclusive governance.
Indigenous Peoples face substantial barriers in accessing justice. The violence experienced by First Nations, Inuit, Métis women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people has been identified by the Inquiry as a violation of Indigenous and human rights.
The Government of Canada has committed to taking concrete action to support self-determination and bringing about transformational change to the policing and justice systems to promote the safety and security and eliminate systemic barriers to justice for Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people.
To accomplish this work, the Government of Canada has committed to the following objectives and concrete actions:
- Recognize and uphold the rights of Indigenous Peoples;
- Dismantle legislative barriers and improve access to justice;
- Enhance prevention and community safety;
- Co-develop First Nations policing legislation;
- Enhance relationships between police services and Indigenous communities;
- Address systemic racism in the criminal justice system; and,
- Enhance culturally safe supports for victims and families.
Please see the Backgrounder on Key Initiatives and Investments to Support the Federal Pathway to Address Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ People for more details.