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FEWO Committee News Release

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Standing Committee on the Status of Women
House of Commons / Chambre des communes
Comité permanent de la condition féminine

For immediate release


NEWS RELEASE


Status of Women Committee Presents its Report Entitled A Call to Action: Reconciliation with Indigenous Women in the Federal Justice and Correctional Systems

Ottawa, June 19, 2018 -

The House of Commons Standing Committee on the Status of Women (“the Committee”) presented its report entitled A Call to Action: Reconciliation with Indigenous Women in the Federal Justice and Correctional Systems in the House of Commons today.

The Committee undertook this study because, despite Indigenous women being pillars of their communities, acting as leaders, decision-makers and role models, some of them have been harmed by their experiences within the federal justice and correctional systems. Indigenous women are overrepresented in the federal justice and correctional systems in Canada. Although they represent approximately 5% of Canada’s total female population, Indigenous women make up 38% of the federally incarcerated female population.

The report is based on the briefs submitted and testimony heard during nine meetings the Committee held from 28 November 2017 to 13 February 2018. In addition, the Committee considered testimony from the House of Commons Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security’s study on Indigenous People in the Correctional System (fall 2017). The Standing Committee on the Status of Women’s report provides:

  1. an overview of Indigenous women’s experiences in the federal justice and correctional systems;
  2. suggestions of policy changes to prevent Indigenous women’s interactions with the criminal justice system and incarceration;
  3. an examination of Indigenous women’s access to and treatment in the federal justice system; and
  4. an examination of Indigenous women’s treatment in the federal correctional system.

In its report, the Committee makes 96 recommendations to the Government of Canada on how it can help improve Indigenous women’s access to and treatment in the justice system and their treatment in the correctional system. Many recommendations are aimed at helping to address factors contributing to Indigenous women’s interactions with the criminal justice system, such as violence, substance abuse, mental health problems and illnesses, and the foster care crisis. The report also emphasizes the importance of improving Indigenous women’s access to and treatment in the justice system, in particular through training for all key players in the system, access to legal aid, the use of Gladue reports, the restoration of judicial discretion in sentencing, and the implementation of alternative and restorative justice options.

In addition, a number of recommendations are intended to improve Indigenous women’s treatment in the federal correctional system, including with regards to segregation and solitary confinement; access to culturally sensitive programming, training and education; the Corrections and Conditional Release Act, access to health services; and parole and reintegration of female Indigenous offenders into their communities.

The report can be viewed on the Committee’s webpage on the Parliament of Canada website.

The Standing Committee on the Status of Women is composed of 11 Members of Parliament. It is chaired by Karen Vecchio (Elgin–Middlesex–London), and its vice-chairs are Pam Damoff (Oakville North–Burlington) and Sheila Malcolmson (Nanaimo–Ladysmith). The other Committee members are Terry Duguid (Winnipeg South)*, Sean Fraser (Central Nova), Rachael Harder (Lethbridge), Bernadette Jordan (South Shore–St. Margarets), Stephanie Kusie (Calgary Midnapore), Emmanuella Lambropoulos (Saint-Laurent), Eva Nassif (Vimy) and Marc Serré (Nickel Belt).

* Non-voting member, pursuant to Standing Order 104(5).

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For more information, please contact:
Kenza Gamassi, Clerk of the Standing Committee on the Status of Women
Tel: 613-943-5376
E-mail: FEWO@parl.gc.ca