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FEWO Committee Report

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LIST OF RECOMMENDATIONS

 

Recommendation 1

That the Government of Canada ensure that the Federal Strategy on Gender-based Violence include violence against young women and girls in Canada and that the strategy be survivor-centric, prevention-based, trauma-informed, and tailored to the unique needs of marginalized groups.

Recommendation 2

That the Government of Canada ensure that the Federal Strategy on Gender-based Violence adopts an intersectional approach, addressing the higher rates of violence faced by some groups of women, including Indigenous women; immigrant and refugee women; visible minority women; women identifying as lesbian, bisexual and transgender; female sex workers; women living with disabilities; women with mental health issues; low-income women; women in Northern, rural and remote communities; and other marginalized sectors of the female population.

Recommendation 3

That the Government of Canada ensure that the Federal Strategy on Gender-based Violence is revised to include the results, once available, of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, and address the specific needs of Indigenous women.

Recommendation 4

That the Government of Canada request that the Minister for the Status of Women, starting at the next meeting of Canada’s Federal-Provincial-Territorial Status of Women Forum, urge coordination of federal, provincial, and territorial government responses to help end violence against women and girls.

Recommendation 5

That the Government of Canada examine E-safety models or increased controls to prevent violent and degrading sexually explicit material from being accessed by youth under the age of majority and examine how violent and degrading sexually explicit material distorts young people’s ideas of consent, gender equality and healthy relationships.

Recommendation 6

That the Government of Canada fund initiatives, including research, that address street harassment and sexual harassment in public spaces and its effects on women, and that the Government of Canada take action to create secure, confidential and anonymous reporting systems that have appropriate sensitivity and support mechanisms.

Recommendation 7

That the Government of Canada request that the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, starting at the next meeting of Canada’s federal, provincial and territorial Ministers Responsible for Justice and Public Safety, take leadership and urge all jurisdictions to discuss mechanisms, including legislation, by which Canadian post-secondary institutions could be required to implement stand-alone sexual assault policies. These policies would be informed by evidence-based research, include anonymous, confidential and secure reporting mechanisms for survivors of sexual violence on campuses, and provide sexual violence intervention and sensitivity training for all employees of post-secondary administrations, campus police, students, faculty and other staff during orientation times. Furthermore, all university and college administrations should proactively disclose to the public, on a yearly basis, all statistics on sexual violence on their campuses.

Recommendation 8

That the Government of Canada request that the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, at the next meeting of Canada’s federal, provincial and territorial Ministers Responsible for Justice and Public Safety, urge all jurisdictions to discuss mechanisms by which the provinces and territories could require all university and college administrations to establish sexual assault centres on campus, which would offer free and accessible counselling services for students and other members of the university community.

Recommendation 9

That the Government of Canada request that the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, at the next meeting of Canada’s federal, provincial and territorial Ministers Responsible for Justice and Public Safety, urge all jurisdictions to discuss mechanisms by which the provinces and territories could require all universities and colleges to make the Mental Health Commission of Canada’s mental health first aid course mandatory for faculty members, employees of university and college administrations, and campus police.

Recommendation 10

That the Government of Canada, through Status of Women Canada, examine best practices for reporting, investigating and adjudicating cases of sexual violence on post-secondary campuses.

Recommendation 11

That the Government of Canada, through Status of Women Canada, implement an awareness campaign or education program, developed in consultation with young people, and that the initiative be both age-appropriate and culturally sensitive, that it include information on consent and respect in sexual relationships, that it provide information on legal resources for survivors of gender-based violence, and that it raise awareness of support services for survivors of gender-based violence.

Recommendation 12

That the Government of Canada consult with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and other federally regulated police services to determine what additional reporting mechanisms and tools, that are both simple and effective, are required for combating sexual violence, including in cases that involve the non-consensual distribution of sexual recordings and images, and that officers of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and other federally-regulated police services have extensive digital and sensitivity training with a survivor-centric approach.

Recommendation 13

That the Government of Canada, through Public Safety Canada, partner with Canadian not-for-profit organizations for digital and media literacy to conduct research examining the potentially harmful effects of algorithms on young Canadians, and how to mitigate those potentially harmful effects including how algorithms might be employed to mitigate harmful content and ideas.

Recommendation 14

That the Government of Canada, through the Department of Justice, examine the legal definition and threshold for criminal harassment in Section 264 of the Criminal Code in order to explicitly include cyberviolence and harassment that occurs in online spaces, without violating the right to free expression as defined in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Recommendation 15

That the Government of Canada, through the Minister of Justice urge all jurisdictions to create a National Cybercrime Coordination Centre, which would provide a coordinated Canadian law enforcement response to address cybercrime and cyberviolence.

Recommendation 16

That the Government of Canada consider establishing an e-Safety Commissioner reporting to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness and modelled after the e-Safety Commissioner in Australia, whereby the office of the Commissioner provides online safety education for children and young people and receives complaints from individuals related to cyberviolence.

Recommendation 17

That the Government of Canada, in collaboration with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and other federally regulated law enforcement, develop national training in digital literacy and standardized responses to acts of cyberviolence for law enforcement professionals and share best practices with other jurisdictions.

Recommendation 18

That the Government of Canada introduce legislation to restore Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act which permitted rights complaints to the federal Canadian Human Rights Commission for the communication of hate messages by telephone or on the Internet.

Recommendation 19

That the Government of Canada work with community-based service providers in Indigenous and northern communities to develop and deliver community-oriented and culturally-appropriate educational programs that teach the concepts of consent and respect in sexual relationships and that engage men and boys in ending violence against women.

Recommendation 20

That the Government of Canada provide funding to community-based organizations that assist new immigrants and refugees who have experienced or are experiencing gender-based violence.

Recommendation 21

That the Government of Canada request that the Minister of Justice, at the next meeting of Canada’s federal, provincial and territorial Ministers Responsible for Justice and Public Safety, urge all jurisdictions to discuss with the provinces and territories the accessibility to all Canadians, regardless of immigration status, of existing services and supports for survivors of sexual or gender-based violence.

Recommendation 22

That the Government of Canada address the current gap in sexual violence awareness and services for women and girls living with disabilities by taking appropriate measures to prevent and address sexual violence against women and girls living with disabilities in Canada.

Recommendation 23

That the Government of Canada provide greater access to shelters (including funding, number of spaces, and accessibility) and legal resources for young women and girls who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless and who are survivors of gender-based violence.

Recommendation 24

That the Government of Canada support digital literacy organizations whose work aims to educate young people and their families on the dangers of cyberviolence, the potential risks of sexting, and healthy forms of sexual expression and informed consent in the online realm.

Recommendation 25

That the Government of Canada make investments in community-based organizations that promote public awareness and education for men and boys on the concepts of digital literacy, consent in sexual relationships, and hypersexualization.

Recommendation 26

That the Government of Canada, through Status of Women Canada, develop and invest in a nation-wide public awareness campaign, as part of the Federal Strategy on Gender-based Violence, to educate the public about consent, healthy sexuality, bystander intervention and the role of men and boys in ending gender-based violence and rape culture, and that community groups, men’s ally networks and youth be consulted during the development of the awareness campaign.

Recommendation 27

That the Government of Canada, through the Department of Justice, ensure that the Legal Aid Program increase funding to survivor-centric legal resources that are readily available to survivors of gender-based violence in both civil and criminal law context.

Recommendation 28

That the Government of Canada, through the Department of Justice, and in collaboration with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, implement a mandatory educational curriculum on gender-based violence and sexual violence for all Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and other federally-regulated law enforcement officers, that is survivor-centric, respectful and trauma-informed.

Recommendation 29

That the Government of Canada provide funding to the National Judicial Institute for the express purpose of developing comprehensive training on gender-based violence and sexual assault for the judiciary and those seeking to become part of the judiciary, and that the Government of Canada encourage all judges to participate in this training.

Recommendation 30

That the Government of Canada make resources available to implement an educational curriculum on digital and media literacy and gender-based violence for crown prosecutors, staff and the judiciary.

Recommendation 31

That the Government of Canada, through the Department of Justice, in collaboration with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, establish sexual assault advocates within law enforcement and legal bodies, and that the role of the advocate be to: ensure that the complainant is cognisant of the full range of existing laws, services and options available to survivors of sexual assault as they move through the legal system, including options outside of the existing criminal justice system; and to ensure that there is a trauma-informed and survivor-centric approach throughout the legal process.

Recommendation 32

That the Government of Canada, through the Department of Justice, examine options for alternative, restorative or traditional (Indigenous) justice mechanisms as optional alternatives to the criminal court system in cases of sexual violence, and examine the impact of criminal standards of proof in cases of sexual assault.

Recommendation 33

That the Government of Canada strengthen the criminal harassment offence provisions in the Criminal Code by defining (in Section 264) when a person has cause to “reasonably” fear for their safety, including when a person fears for his or her “psychological safety and integrity.”.

Recommendation 34

That the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness and the Minister of Justice work in partnership with the provinces, the territories and First Nations communities to develop strategies to deal with sexual assault cases and to ensure police and prosecutors use a common set of practices in dealing with survivors of sexual violence.

Recommendation 35

That the Government of Canada examine ways in which it can attract more women and persons of other marginalized identities to law enforcement and elsewhere in the criminal justice system in order to diversify perspectives in policing and in the criminal justice system.

Recommendation 36

That the Government of Canada, through the Department of Justice, make additional investments beyond the $12 million already committed into the Victims Fund for projects supporting adult survivors of sexual assault and seek ways in which the benefits of this program could be extended to young women and girls who have experienced gender-based violence, including sexual assault.

Recommendation 37

That the Government of Canada, through the Department of Justice, lead national coordination of a review of the justice system to ensure equal access to protection and justice across the country for survivors of violence against women and girls.

Recommendation 38

That the Government of Canada request that the Minister for the Status of Women share the report, entitled Taking Action to End Violence Against Young Women and Girls in Canada, tabled by the House of Commons Standing Committee on the Status of Women, with her provincial and territorial counterparts.

Recommendation 39

That the Government of Canada conduct a thorough meta-analysis of existing research on violence against young women and girls, with particular focus on hypersexualization, street harassment, cyberviolence, violence on post-secondary campuses, sex trafficking, engaging men and boys to combat gender-based violence, and groups at higher risk of experiencing violence, with the goal of eliminating the duplication of work and determining where additional research and data collection is required.

Recommendation 40

That the Government of Canada, through Statistics Canada, allocate additional funding to research and data collection that focuses on intersectional violence against young women and girls in Canada, particularly in the areas of hypersexualization, violent and degrading sexually explicit material, sex trafficking, street harassment, cyberviolence, violence on post-secondary campuses, and men and boys’ views of gender-based violence.

Recommendation 41

That the Government of Canada request that Statistics Canada reinstate its data collection through the Uniform Crime Reporting Survey of the national unfounded rate for sexual offences and provide appropriate training for the standardization and consistency of data collection from police services.

Recommendation 42

That the Government of Canada prioritize funds for local sexual violence prevention services and sexual violence support services in order that these organizations may strengthen their supports, including mental health services, for survivors of gender-based violence.

Recommendation 43

That the Government of Canada work with front-line services and community organizations to help them ensure that their services and programs are accessible to all Canadians, and this includes: delivery of services and programs in languages other than English and French, including Indigenous languages, where needed; incorporating individuals living with disabilities, individuals with mental illness, individuals identifying as lesbian, bisexual and transgender, and individuals who are sex workers; and ensuring these services and programs are advertised extensively to the general public.

Recommendation 44

That the Government of Canada instruct its departments and agencies to conduct evidence-based evaluations to ensure that its funding programs are working to identify and effectively serve the needs of front-line services, community organizations, and their employees in order to address violence against young women and girls.

Recommendation 45

That the Government of Canada instruct its departments and agencies to re-evaluate their methods of program advertising to ensure that existing violence against young women and girls Government of Canada programs, and those funded by the Government of Canada, are sufficiently and clearly publicized in order to ensure accessibility to all individuals and organizations in need of services.