Special Committee on Violence Against Indigenous Women Thursday, May 2, 2013 Chair

Special Committee on Violence Against Indigenous Women Thursday, May 2, 2013 Chair
Special Committee on Violence Against
Indigenous Women
Thursday, May 2, 2013
Mrs. Stella Ambler
Special Committee on Violence Against Indigenous Women
Thursday, May 2, 2013
● (1800)
The Chair (Mrs. Stella Ambler (Mississauga South, CPC)):
Good evening, everyone. Welcome to the fourth meeting of the
Special Committee on Violence Against Indigenous Women.
Thanks to all of you on our large panel for being here this evening.
We really appreciate it. We'll be very interested in what you have to
We're going to get started right off the top with the Department of
Indian Affairs and Northern Development.
Françoise Ducros, welcome. You have 10 minutes.
Ms. Françoise Ducros (Assistant Deputy Minister, Education
and Social Development Programs and Partnerships, Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development): Thank you
for having me here.
Madam Chair and honourable members, I want to thank you for
inviting the Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development department to appear before the committee. It's a privilege for us. Sheilagh
Murphy and Jo-Ann Greene are also with me and can answer
questions specific to social programs and matrimonial property.
Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, of course,
continues to be deeply concerned about this issue and appreciates
the opportunity to assist the special committee.
In the June 2011 Speech from the Throne, the Government of
Canada committed to address the problem of violence against
women and girls. The federal role is only one part of the overall
Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada supports
aboriginal women, girls and families through funding for programs
and services that directly address violence, such as the family
violence prevention program. They also address violence indirectly
through support for child and family services, on-reserve housing,
economic security and prosperity, education and urban living.
Since 2006 the Government of Canada has invested approximately $205 million in the family violence prevention program.
Economic action plan 2013 announced further funding of $24
million over two years for the program, allowing the department to
continue to offer its programming at a funding level of approximately $30 million in 2013-14 and 2014-15. The investment
contributes to the enhanced safety and security of on-reserve
residents, particularly women and children.
The family violence prevention program provides funding to
assist first nations in providing access to 41 family violence shelters
and prevention activities to women, children, and families who are
ordinarily resident on reserve. There are two components to the
program: core shelter operating funding and proposal-based
prevention projects in aboriginal communities.
Prevention projects may include public outreach and awareness,
education campaigns, conferences, seminars, workshops, counselling, support groups, and community needs assessments. Since 2006
the family violence prevention program has funded 1,886 prevention
projects that address family violence in aboriginal communities, 302
of which were supported in 2011 and 2012. They include the
following projects.
The Alberta First Nations Regional Board for Family Violence
Prevention is an example of prevention and partnerships. It manages
the prevention project funding from Aboriginal Affairs and Northern
Development Canada for three treaty areas and has formed
partnerships with other organizations in hosting a series of youth
The Lac La Ronge Indian Child and Family Services Agency in
Saskatchewan delivers a comprehensive program in four schools that
offer high school education. The program includes students,
teachers, parents, and communities in reducing violence and risk
Also, the Naskapi Nation of Kawawachikamach in Quebec
currently delivers a multi-approach prevention project. It offers
family violence education awareness workshops and radio talk
shows in the community, parenting courses, training on bullying for
teachers and school staff, workshops for children of alcoholic
parents, and group sessions for alcoholics.
The project has also led to the development of a crisis intervention
protocol for all partners involved in responding to family violence
crises, such as the police and social, youth protection and native
health workers.
The family violence prevention program also provides core
funding of approximately $370,000 to the National Aboriginal Circle
Against Family Violence, a national organization that supports
aboriginal women's shelters and their staff through training fora,
gatherings, development and distribution of resources, and research
and collaboration with key partners.
The Government of Canada has also introduced legislation, the
Family Homes on Reserves and Matrimonial Interests or Rights Act,
Bill S-2, which protects vulnerable men and women on reserve.
Bill S-2 seeks to provide basic rights and protections to
individuals on reserve regarding the family home and other
matrimonial interests or rights. The bill would also help to address
incidents of family violence against aboriginal women and their
children on reserves by providing for emergency protection orders
that grant temporary exclusive occupation of the home. Through this
legislation, the government is addressing a long-standing legislative
gap and ensuring that women, children, and families on reserve can
live in safe and stable home environments.
● (1805)
The health and safety of first nations children is also a primary
concern for this government.
The first nations child and family services program provides
funding to assist in ensuring the safety and well-being of first nations
children on reserve by supporting culturally appropriate prevention
and protection services. These services are provided in accordance
with the legislation and standards of the province or territory of
residence and in a manner that is reasonably comparable to those
available to other provincial and territorial residents in similar
circumstances within the department's programming authorities.
In 2007 the first nations child and family services began shifting
to an enhanced prevention-focused approach. This is consistent with
provincial practices, which have largely refocused their child and
family services programs by placing greater emphasis on prevention
The implementation of the enhanced prevention-focused approach
is expected to improve services, cohesion of the family, and life
outcomes for first nations children and families on reserve.
Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada has increased
funding for first nations child and family services dramatically over
the past 16 years, from $193 million in 1996-97 to approximately
$618 million in funding in 2012-13.
The enhanced prevention-focused approach is now being
implemented in six provinces and is reaching approximately 68%
of first nations children who live on reserve in Canada. Under the six
current tripartite frameworks, more than $100 million per year in
additional ongoing funding is now dedicated to implementing the
new approach.
AANDC continues to share lessons learned and remains willing to
work with other jurisdictions as they shift their own practices to
May 2, 2013
enhance prevention. The government is also working to ensure that
first nations students have access to education that encourages them
to stay in school, graduate, and get the skills they need to enter the
labour market. While the government invests significantly every year
in first nations elementary and secondary education, we recognize
that more remains to be done to make progress in improving
In the economic action plan 2012, the Government of Canada
committed $275 million for first nations education over three years
for improving school infrastructure and to provide early literacy
programming, as well as other supports and services to first nations
schools and students, and to strengthen their relationship with the
provincial school systems.
The Government of Canada is now consulting with first nations
and other stakeholders on a proposed first nations education act, to
be in place by September 2014. The purpose of the legislation is to
establish the structures and standards to support strong and
accountable education systems on reserve and to encourage students
to stay in school and achieve better outcomes.
The government is also exploring mechanisms to ensure stable,
predictable and sustainable funding for first nations elementary and
secondary education.
An overarching goal of the Government of Canada's education
programming remains to provide first nations students with quality
education that provides them with the opportunity to acquire the
skills needed to enter the labour market and to be full participants in
a strong Canadian economy.
Perhaps the last thing I'd like to mention is that Aboriginal Affairs
also provides support to national aboriginal women's organizations.
In 2012-13, the Native Women's Association received approximately
$1.5 million in project funding and annual core funding. This
amount supports basic organization costs and provides a minimum
level of capacity so that the organization can advise governments of
its members' needs and interests.
In 2012-13, the Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada received
approximately $1.4 million in basic organizational capacity funding
and project funding from our department. These are some of the
ways in which Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development
Canada is working to support and enhance the safety of aboriginal
We're certainly prepared to answer questions as best we can.
The Chair: Wonderful. Thank you very much for that.
Next we will hear from the Department of Public Safety.
Mr. Tupper.
May 2, 2013
Mr. Shawn Tupper (Assistant Deputy Minister, Community
Safety and Partnerships Branch, Department of Public Safety):
Thank you, Madam Chair.
I submitted a rather lengthy submission. With your indulgence, I'll
race through it. It'll take me a race to get through the 10 minutes,
● (1810)
The Chair: I saw that it was long, and if there are paragraphs that
you need to shorten or skip over, I understand. But we do appreciate
your reading that into the record.
application of research-based evidence to inform crime prevention
The northern and aboriginal crime prevention fund provides
funding to support culturally sensitive crime prevention initiatives to
reduce offending among youth at risk and high-risk offenders in
communities. It helps to disseminate knowledge and develop tools
and resources for aboriginal and northern populations. It builds
capacity for the development of culturally sensitive crime prevention
practices for aboriginal and northern populations.
Mr. Shawn Tupper: I'm happy to.
The Chair: I think it helps us to absorb it and ask better questions.
Mr. Shawn Tupper: I'm here with Kimberly Lavoie, who is our
director of aboriginal corrections within the Department of Public
As you undoubtedly heard in your initial meetings, and as you
will hear tonight, this is a very complex issue that is going to touch
on a variety of programs and initiatives that are supported through
the federal government across several departments.
Public Safety delivers programming that proactively strives to
ensure safer aboriginal communities as part of the government's plan
for safe streets and communities.
As part of this initiative, on March 4 the government committed
$612.4 million in funding over five years to renew agreements under
the first nations policing program. The FNPP ensures professional,
dedicated, and culturally responsive policing in first nations and
Inuit communities, which supplements the responsibilities of the
provinces and territories in the delivery of police services. Since
1991, the FNPP has supported the government's commitment to
reduce crime and has facilitated positive relations between communities and the police.
Public Safety has worked with first nations and Inuit communities
in provinces and territories to significantly improve public safety in
their communities. The FNPP has had a significant and measurable
positive impact on the safety and security of communities that
receive policing services funded under this program.
Through the national crime prevention strategy, departmental
funding is provided to support community-based projects that are
responsive to local crime prevention needs. The priorities of the
NCPC are to address early risk factors among vulnerable children
and youth at risk; to respond to priority crime issues, for example,
youth gangs, youth violence, and school-based bullying; to prevent
recidivism among high-risk groups; and to foster prevention in
aboriginal communities. The government invests $43.1 million
annually through four funding flows.
The crime prevention action fund, the first of those flows,
provides time-limited funding to assist communities and organizations in two areas: one, developing and implementing crime
prevention initiatives that address known risks and protective factors
associated with offending behaviour; and, two, developing and
implementing knowledge transfer initiatives that focus on the
The youth gang prevention fund provides funding to invest in
communities where youth gangs are an existing or emerging threat
and it supports initiatives that clearly target youth who are in gangs
or are at greatest risk of joining gangs.
We also have the smaller program called the security infrastructure
program, which provides funding for security enhancements for notfor-profit community centres, provincially recognized educational
institutions, and places of worship linked to communities with
histories of being victimized by hate-motivated crime.
Close to $15 million of the crime prevention funding envelope
goes towards preventing crime in northern and aboriginal communities.
Human trafficking is another stream of work that occurs within
our department. It impacts on Canada and is often considered a
modern form of slavery. In June of 2012 the Minister of Public
Safety launched the national action plan to combat human
trafficking. This action plan has a four-pillar approach that
consolidates efforts by focusing on the four Ps: the prevention of
trafficking, the protection of victims, the prosecution of offenders,
and the development of partnerships. The action plan applies to all
communities, including aboriginal communities.
I would like to provide some information about these four pillars.
In the first pillar we focus on the prevention of human trafficking
through enhanced training of our police, border agents, and other
front-line workers to recognize signs of human trafficking, raise
awareness among Canadians, and work with communities to identify
people and places most at risk.
The second pillar aims to enhance efforts to protect and provide
assistance to victims of human trafficking by increasing financial
supports for victims services and by identifying and protecting
domestic and foreign nationals in Canada who are vulnerable to
trafficking. This includes young females aged 15 to 21.
The third pillar increases our capacity to detect, investigate, and
prosecute offenders by strengthening the laws within our criminal
justice system, providing specialized training and education for
prosecutors and law enforcement, and improving intelligence
collection and collaboration. To help achieve this, the government
has created Canada's first integrated law enforcement team dedicated
to identifying, disrupting, and prosecuting human traffickers in our
Finally, the government will work in partnership with relevant
stakeholders to build on existing policies and tools to ensure a
comprehensive and coordinated approach and to promote strong
research and better information sharing to improve our methods of
collecting, tracking, and reporting on data related to human
● (1815)
To further ensure the success of the national action plan, the
government is directing more than $25 million over four years to
implement this plan.
In addition to the programs and initiatives I've already highlighted,
in 2010 the Government of Canada made an additional investment of
$25 million over five years, from 2010 to 2015, to address the
disturbingly high number of missing and murdered aboriginal
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police received $10 million over
five years to provide enhancements to the Canadian Police
Information Centre, CPIC, and to create the National Centre for
Missing Persons and Unidentified Remains.
On January 31, 2013, the RCMP launched a national public
website for missing persons and unidentified human remains. The
URL for the website is www.canadasmissing.ca.
Canadasmissing.ca provides law enforcement, medical examiners
and chief coroners with a powerful tool in resolving missing persons
and unidentified remains cases, and gives the public an easy-to-use
access point to ensure that relevant information is received by
I would encourage the committee to hear from the RCMP, who
can provide additional details about their activities.
In my department of Public Safety Canada, we received $5.7
million out of the total $25 million to support aboriginal
communities in the development of community safety plans to
improve the safety of aboriginal women. The rationale for Public
Safety's approach under this initiative is that by reducing the
likelihood of aboriginal women being marginalized, we will reduce
the number of aboriginal women who go missing or who are
The premise of this initiative is that many aboriginal women find
themselves in marginalized situations, without support networks, as
a result of difficult circumstances at home. In some communities,
violence has become normalized, creating a sense of hopelessness
that often seems inescapable.
Aboriginal women leave their communities for various reasons,
some to escape an abusive relationship, others seeking better
May 2, 2013
opportunities such as education or employment. None leave hoping
to be a sex trade worker or homeless.
To achieve positive and sustainable change, solutions have to
come from the community. Imposing solutions or quick fixes from
the outside will not have a lasting impact. Communities need to be
supported and sometimes assisted in moving toward their goal, but
the vision, plan, and desire to move forward has to come from the
community itself.
A moving and model example of what can happen is brought to
life by the experience of Alkali Lake, a first nation community in
British Columbia. In 1972 a seven-year-old girl told her mother, “I
don't want to live with you anymore.” The little girl refused to go
home until both her parents quit drinking. That single event was the
catalyst that led to 98% of the people of Alkali Lake completely
abstaining from the use of alcohol seven years later, in 1979.
This story demonstrates that only when people take ownership of
their community can positive change occur. Fostering this type of
positive change is the type of community-led initiative that inspired
the thinking behind the community safety plans.
The objective is to support communities themselves develop
safety plans that define risks that lead to crime and victimization,
build on their existing strengths, and identify gaps in responding to
those risks. The community safety plans would then serve as a
blueprint to systematically address the root causes of victimization
and respond to current community safety issues.
Public Safety Canada funds the community safety planning
process through contribution agreements. Generally the agreements
cover the cost of a coordinator in the community, plus some funds
for training or engagement activities. Most agreements are between
$45,000 and $50,000.
Public Safety staff—
The Chair: Sorry to interrupt, but I just want to remind you that
you have one minute left. You might want to pick and choose at this
Mr. Shawn Tupper: Great. Thank you very much.
Public Safety plays an active role in the communities in helping
them work forward on these plans.
Through the questions, we can get into the processes against
which we work with the communities and the kinds of things that we
support and help them to develop. We have an ongoing process for
receiving proposals and working with communities and identifying
those that are most at risk.
We also have developed a network of aboriginal facilitators.
Within the communities we're trying to build up the capacity across
aboriginal communities that allow them to facilitate for themselves
the kinds of processes they want to work through. We can deliver
these processes every six weeks in communities and do follow-up
work to ensure that we sustain that momentum.
May 2, 2013
To date, over 190 people have been trained as community
mobilization trainers or community champions. That's another aspect
of how we can sustain and ensure that the momentum we're building
is continued. We anticipate that five additional safety plans will be
completed this year. We will work with federal, provincial, and local
partners to help harmonize our responses to identify these needs.
● (1820)
Although not shown in the chart, many aboriginal female victims
of crime are relatively young and tend to be highly represented as
victims of violence. This is consistent with violent crime overall,
where young people are overrepresented as victims. In particular,
close to two-thirds, 63%, of aboriginal female victims were aged 15
to 34. This age group accounted for just under half, 47%, of the
overall female aboriginal population.
The Chair: And we'll be happy to hear about the rest in answer to
questions. Thank you so much, Mr. Tupper.
Now to Statistics Canada. Ms. Barr-Telford, thank you for being
here. You have 10 minutes.
Mrs. Lynn Barr-Telford (Director General, Health, Justice
and Special Surveys Branch, Statistics Canada): Thank you. I
invite the committee to follow along in the presentation deck that we
have provided.
Thank you for the opportunity to present to this committee. In the
presentation today we used data from both administrative and
population-based victimization surveys to show the representation of
aboriginal women as victims of violent crime, with the important
caveat that these data have limitations.
All data sources are clearly indicated on the slides, as are any
pertinent notes. My colleagues, Ms. Cathy Connors and Ms.
Rebecca Kong, are here to help answer any questions.
Please turn to the next slide in your deck. We've included slide 2
to provide a brief overview of the demographics of aboriginal
people. We know that the population of aboriginal people is growing
at a faster pace than the non-aboriginal population. In 2006 the
census indicated that about 1.2 million Canadians reported
aboriginal identity. This represented an increase of 20% from the
previous census in 2001 and was four times faster than the
population growth for the non-aboriginal population. Overall,
aboriginal people represented almost 4% of the Canadian population
in 2006.
As you can see, the aboriginal population is younger than the nonaboriginal population. This is important to note when looking at
victimization because young people are overrepresented as victims
of violent crimes.
Slide 3 shows aboriginal women's risk of violent victimization
relative to non-aboriginal women, based on findings from selfreported victimization data. Violent victimization is defined to
include sexual assault, robbery, and physical assault. In 2009 the rate
of self-reported victimization for aboriginal women was almost three
times higher than for non-aboriginal women in the preceding 12
months. Expressed another way, close to 67,000 aboriginal women,
or 13% of all aboriginal women living in the provinces, stated that
they had been violently victimized in the last 12 months.
The higher prevalence of violence against aboriginal women
compared to non-aboriginal women was found for both violence
between strangers or acquaintances and within spousal relationships.
This violence was not always an isolated event. More than one-third
of all aboriginal female victims were victimized two or more times.
There is no difference in this regard compared to non-aboriginal
Data for the territories is limited, but we do know that aboriginal
women living in the territories were also more likely than nonaboriginal women to report being victimized by a spouse in the last
five years, 18% versus 5%.
Slide 4 shows the impact of violence on aboriginal women
compared to non-aboriginal female victims. Aboriginal women
victimized by a spouse in the previous five years were significantly
more likely than their non-aboriginal female counterparts to report
being physically injured. They were also more likely to report
fearing for their lives. However, there was no difference between
aboriginal and non-aboriginal victims in terms of emotional
consequences or taking time off from everyday activities as a result
of violence.
It should be noted that the higher incidents of injury and fearing
for their lives reported by aboriginal women may be partly related to
the type of violence aboriginal women experience in spousal
relationships. Close to half reported the most severe forms of
violence, such as being sexually assaulted, beaten, choked, or
threatened with a gun or a knife.
When violence involves someone other than a spouse, aboriginal
female victims were more likely than non-aboriginal victims to
report an emotional impact, but there was no difference in the level
of physical injury.
Slide 5 shows that violent incidents, including those against
aboriginal women, are often not brought to the attention of the
police. Overall, many incidents of violence committed outside
spousal relationships were not reported to the police, and a similar
trend is seen for spousal violence.
● (1825)
The most common reasons cited by aboriginal women for not
reporting the spousal violence incident to the police included feeling
that the incident was a personal matter, not wanting to involve the
police, and dealing with the situation in another way. Non-aboriginal
female spousal violence victims cited similar reasons for not
reporting to police.
On slide 6 we present police-reported information collected
through the national uniform crime reporting survey. This slide
illustrates the difficulty in gathering information on the aboriginal
identity through police services. Of all the victims of police-reported
violent crime in 2011, 2% were reported by police services to be
aboriginal people, 30% were non-aboriginal people, and for 68% of
victims the information was reported as either “unknown”, “not
collected by police”, or “not provided by the victim”. Given the high
proportion of “unknowns”, Statistics Canada does not include these
data in published reports.
Slide 7 shows data from the homicide survey, which collects data
from police services across Canada on the characteristics of every
homicide incident, victim and accused. We see that aboriginal
females were also disproportionally represented as homicide victims.
In particular, aboriginal females represented at least 8% of all
homicide victims in Canada between 2004 and 2010, despite
accounting for 4% of the total female population in Canada. You can
see from the third set of bars that in almost 50% of homicides, we do
not know the aboriginal identity of the victim. This represents cases
where police services did not know the aboriginal identity of the
victim and have not collected or have not provided the information
to Statistics Canada.
On slide 8, aboriginal women's disproportionate representation as
homicide victims is particularly seen in cases of dating homicide and
homicides involving friends, acquaintances, and strangers. Over the
last decade, aboriginal women represented at least 11% of dating
homicide victims and 10% of homicides involving friends,
acquaintances, and strangers.
Aboriginal women 15 years and over represent 3% of the total
female population 15 years and over in Canada. The proportion of
women victims killed by a spouse where the aboriginal identity was
known, at 4%, was close to their representation in the total
population aged 15 and over. You will notice that we use the term “at
least” in all these findings because of the high level of “unknowns”.
It is likely that aboriginal women may represent an even higher
proportion of homicide victims than the percentages being shown
On slide 9, in addition to measuring the prevalence and nature of
crime and victimization, Statistics Canada also collects data on
services for victims of violence. Based on findings from the
transition home survey, a biennial administrative survey of shelters
for abused women, there were 593 shelters for abused women
operating in 2010. Of these, 7%, 39, were located on reserves and
25%, 146, served people living on reserves. Most shelters in Canada
reported that they offered some type of culturally sensitive
programming for aboriginal women, including traditional health
methods, involvement of spiritual elders, and access to materials in
aboriginal languages. In particular, 79% of shelters serving on-
May 2, 2013
reserve populations and 59% not serving on-reserve populations
provided culturally sensitive services for aboriginals.
Slide 10 outlines some important data limitations and challenges
in collecting and analyzing data on the victimization of aboriginal
women. For self-reported victimization data, the information is
collected using the general social survey, which collects information
on the general Canadian population. Because of this, there are limits
to the extent of analysis that can be done on subpopulations, such as
the aboriginal population, because sample sizes become small.
Police-reported data also have limitations. In working with
stakeholders, Statistics Canada has identified two main issues
driving the high rate of unknown aboriginal identity. First,
operationally, police face challenges in accurately determining
whether a victim is an aboriginal person. Second, there are conflicts
of interest with privacy legislation and policing policies in various
● (1830)
StatsCan collects information on all reported and confirmed
homicides that occur in Canada, but missing persons data are not
included as they are not in and of themselves a Criminal Code
Finally, we've provided a list of other references for the use of the
committee in which we have done further analysis on victimization
and aboriginal women.
Thank you.
The Chair: Wonderful. Thank you very much.
We'll now begin our rounds of questioning with Ms. Davies.
Ms. Libby Davies (Vancouver East, NDP): Thank you very
much, Chairperson.
First of all, thank you to all the presenters who have come here
today. I think certainly what we have just heard from StatsCan, of the
information that you are able to gather, is very disturbing and very
sobering in terms of the picture you present.
We're dealing with a very major, critical emergent issue here. I
almost feel like there are two worlds. There's the world that we see
here, and we hear what government departments are doing and we
hear all the acronyms and the programs, and then there is the world
out there, where reality is and where aboriginal women are facing a
lot of violence. There's systemic discrimination. There's the impact
of colonialism. I think one of the issues we're trying to get at here is,
what's the disconnect?
May 2, 2013
I would like to begin by asking the departments we've heard from
—which is basically two—if there are any external audits your
departments do to actually measure the effectiveness of the
programs. When you read the briefs, there are millions here and
millions there. Sometimes it's handed out in very small amounts:
$30,000, $50,000. What kind of independent assessment goes on to
tell you whether or not what you're doing is effective?
I think common sense tells us that there's still a huge issue, so
something with the picture is not right. What is it that's not right? Do
your departments know what it is? Or is it just people working in
silos and we don't yet have a grasp of what the underlying issues are
and how to tackle them?
There are many questions in there, but I think my main one is, do
you actually have outside audits that examine for you what it is that
you're doing? And is the community involved in that?
Ms. Sheilagh Murphy (Director General, Social Policy and
Programs, Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development): I can answer on behalf of AANDC. Last year we
completed an evaluation of our family violence prevention program,
and that is actually available on our website. It looks at the
effectiveness of our programming in the 41 shelters, as well as our
prevention programming, and it made a number of recommendations. Concurrent—
Ms. Libby Davies: Was that done in-house? Who was it done by?
Ms. Sheilagh Murphy: Normally we hire external firms to do the
evaluation for us. They put together surveys. They go out and survey
shelter directors and others in the community. It's an evaluation. It's
not done by staff of the department.
So that is available. It looks at how our program performed over
the last five years.
Concurrent to that, we hired another firm to look at a review of the
program that wasn't considered a formal evaluation. They did 10
case studies, I believe, of 10 shelters, and they looked at some of the
challenges the shelter directors were having offering services. That's
also available, and we could share both of those with the committee.
Ms. Libby Davies: And in terms of Public Safety?
Mr. Shawn Tupper: It will vary a little bit by program.
In the context of first nations policing, we undertook what we call
a comprehensive review of that program in 2009-10, and in that
context part of that comprehensive review involved a departmental
evaluation of the program. But it also involved external consultations
with our aboriginal partners and with our provincial and territorial
partners. We were able to gauge largely how our partners viewed the
program. The results were unequivocal in the sense of the support.
We had something like an 80% positive review from aboriginal
communities in terms of their support for the program. I think it was
because we really have focused this program to provide appropriate
and culturally sensitive policing in those communities.
We can certainly look at the data we're seeing with respect to those
communities, in terms of the impact these programs have had, the
way they are in those communities, in terms of the crime severity
index, where we see a clear differentiation between those
communities where the first nations policing program exists and
those communities where it doesn't exist. The reduction in the crime
severity index is quite significantly different. So we have fairly good
data that I think is independent of the department's assessment that
would indicate that this is a good investment and it's making
On the other side, within the context of the National Crime
Prevention Centre, we do extensive investments in evaluation and
audit of those programs, and those are done independently of the
program. They are part of the formation of each of the projects as we
move forward. We don't audit and evaluate 100% of the projects
externally because that would just simply be too expensive. But we
do a very good cross-sampling of our projects that we support.
Again, the whole ambition of this program, designed in 2008, is to
make sure that we are looking at community-based, on-the-ground,
community-needed crime prevention activities. So the evaluations
really pay attention to whether these investments are being effective
in the communities.
We're having very good results in that context, and I think we're
building an evidence base for Canada that would suggest the right
kind of prevention investments are being made.
● (1835)
Ms. Libby Davies: I'd love to follow up on that, but I want to
quickly switch to StatsCan, if I may, in whatever remaining time I
I think your graphs and information have presented, as I say, a
very disturbing picture. From the agency's point of view, what is it
that needs to be done to actually ensure that there is better reporting
from a statistical point of view?
You speak about the number of police services that don't even
collect or provide information to StatsCan or don't collect
information about aboriginal identity. Is this something you've
looked at in terms of what it is these departments and the
government itself need to be doing in terms of ensuring that we
do have a proper database and proper information on which to make
public policy decisions?
Mrs. Lynn Barr-Telford: It is certainly the case, as you've seen
in the data, that there is a significant amount of missing information
around police-reported data and aboriginal identity. This is a known
fact and is something that we have dialogued on with police services
as well as our multiple partners.
There are some significant challenges in gathering aboriginal
identity information through police services. There are operational
challenges that police services point to, such as difficulty in
assessing aboriginal identity, for example. In some cases, there are
conflicts between the different jurisdictions in terms of privacy
legislation. It does remain a challenge, and it is an acknowledged
We dialogue on a regular basis around what the information needs
are of the various players in the justice community in terms of
victimization data and how we can improve that. We talk about the
types of questions we ask, the sampling information, and so forth.
The Chair: Thank you for that answer.
For seven minutes, Mr. Rickford.
May 2, 2013
protection orders—as a pragmatist and somebody who's been there
and dealt with this—were probably the most important pieces of that
legislation for me in terms of family violence, keeping in mind that
this is an important piece of what ultimately goes to the vulnerability
of women and children on reserve and leads to some other things
that we'll be talking about over the course of time.
I see that we have increased investments in prevention of family
violence, particularly through your department. It makes sense that
although we have increased the number of shelters, the better
investment is on prevention. We still have a way to go, I would
submit, in dealing with the reality that more shelters could be in
some communities. We are focusing on outcomes.
Mr. Greg Rickford (Kenora, CPC): Thank you, Madam Chair.
Thank you to the witnesses, especially my friends at Aboriginal
Affairs who have spent a lot of time working and talking about a lot
of issues, including this.
Colleagues, I want to share very briefly some of my own
experience of—perhaps exposure to—violence against women and
segue into some questions that I think are quite important for the
departments today.
Over the course of an 18-year nursing career around North
America, I had a lot of great experiences. Most of that time I spent in
isolated and remote first nations communities and regions across
Canada, including the Arctic. I had a lot of great times, but I saw
some unfortunate things, and a couple things in my nursing career I
just cannot erase.
One was an experience in a level one surgical intensive care unit.
As a nurse on shift that night, I received a 27-year-old woman who
was shot in the head and who passed away over the course of my
shift. There was other domestic violence that I was exposed to in my
capacity as an extended role nurse in the north, but another in
particular was when I was on call in a northern reserve in
Saskatchewan. At about two o'clock in the morning in the middle
of winter, I opened the door to a first nations community member, a
woman and her three children. She had been beaten seriously, not
seriously enough that she couldn't walk to the nursing station, but
perhaps just as alarming were her three children, who were
screaming because of what they had just witnessed.
Over time, I was left with an inability to get those two—there are
others—out of my mind. In coming to this committee, I've thought,
as an ordinary, average Canadian guy with four beautiful sisters, not
just about the complexities of violence against women, and I have
tried to reconcile that, but specifically about my career in first
nations communities across northern Canada. Since becoming a
member of Parliament, I've tried to make sense of some of the things
we do right and some of the things we could obviously do better. I
share the concern expressed by my colleague just prior that there is
some kind of silo effect on the go. It precedes this government.
Frankly, I think it has been a structural challenge for a very long
I appreciate the MRP legislation that we're moving forward. In
particular, the exclusive occupation of a family home and emergency
But my concern—and this might draw a grin from Francie—has
been, as you know, in Min/DM meetings, when I talk about how
these big departments are doing things focused on the same social,
economic, or health challenge. And are they talking. It goes a little
bit beyond the silo concept. It says, is there a coordinated exercise,
or could there be, at the departmental levels that put together all of
these pieces? As a senior health policy analyst while Minister Rock
was the Minister of Health, we stayed largely within the health
building in Tunney's Pasture. We rarely went out and talked to
people on some of the files we were working on at the time.
I'm going to put that question out in the last three or four minutes
here for you to talk about, whether that goes on, and if not, to inform
our work as to whether we could make recommendations in time as
we gather more information on how and what kinds of activities
could go towards what I've expressed as a concern.
● (1840)
Thank you.
Ms. Françoise Ducros: My short answer would be yes, it goes
on, and it goes on more and more. We certainly understand the
interconnectedness, not only of bringing together the different
government departments. As we move toward income assistance, we
very much link it with both our department and HRSDC, and also
with Health Canada, to deal with all of the mental health and wellbeing issues.
One of the other things we're doing more and more, besides
connecting the different government departments through both
formal and informal mechanisms—and certainly we could formalize
that and restructure it better than we have—is to move in a very
integrated fashion with the provinces. They are the first line of
service providers with the expertise, and they have changed their
programs to be proactive and preventative.
May 2, 2013
For some of the issues being touched upon, including children and
family services, we've moved toward tripartite agreements. We're
working with the provinces and first nations on issues of cultural
sensitivity in service provision, and we're bringing in our colleagues
from Public Safety and Health Canada so that we're working in a
holistic way.
I read the deliberations of the last committee regarding the
ongoing complexity of these issues and the dangers of not being able
to attack this in a multi-pronged way. There was a lot of focus on the
justice side.
More and more, as we move toward the enhanced prevention
approach, these examples I talked about—bringing it into the
schools, moving with education reform, dealing with how we get to
the health, education, child and family services, and the family
supports, and frankly, getting rid of some of the barriers to things
like access to training and income assistance.... We have, through
good policy intent over the years, created barriers. In some instances
—for example, if someone wants to improve their ability to go off
and work, or to get the supports they might need for mental health
issues, or to gain access to training, or to move off reserve to get
some of that training—we have created some of those barriers
through other policies, like having housing and housing supplements
only on reserve, so there is an inability to move off reserve. We're
trying to address those through education and training, and through
moving with things like the—
● (1845)
Mr. Greg Rickford: But you are working with those other
Ms. Françoise Ducros: Absolutely, we are working with the
other departments. I can't underline enough that we are working with
the provinces as well.
The Chair: Thank you very much.
Now, for seven minutes, we have Ms. Bennett.
Hon. Carolyn Bennett (St. Paul's, Lib.): Thanks very much.
Madam Chair, just because of the timing of this committee, is
there a reason we're not televised this evening? I think that was the
preference of the committee members.
The Chair: Why don't we discuss that at the subcommittee
meeting next week?
Hon. Carolyn Bennett: Okay. I think the understanding was they
would all be televised.
The Chair: I know it was discussed, but I don't recall coming to a
Hon. Carolyn Bennett: Okay.
We have all this expertise here. We'll have a chance at the
ministers later, as to why we don't have enough money for shelters,
policing, whatever.
I'd like to know how you can help us design a study, and where we
should be looking. Some of you have cited in your briefs certain
places where things are working, that you funded them and they
seem to be getting results. I understand that in New Zealand there's a
good action plan on violence against women that includes, in a good
way, indigenous women, and I would like to know if you think those
are the kinds of things we should be looking for. Obviously, in New
Zealand there's much better police data on statistics. If a strategy or a
national action plan is to say what, by when, and how, we're going to
have to figure out how we do this and how we design a study that
will come up with some real recommendations and deliverables, that
actually is, as Greg said, working together across government
departments and across jurisdictions on how we get on and get this
We heard last week from Justice that there isn't a cabinet
committee dealing with this, that this has been dealt with mainly by
officials, in terms of trying to develop a strategy. How would you
suggest that the committee...? Are there people you want the
committee to listen to, the experts who you know? Certainly last
week, our witness was clearly encyclopedic about everything that
has ever been written on this topic.
Where would you advise the committee to go in trying to develop
at least the ingredients for a national action plan, let alone the recipe?
Ms. Sheilagh Murphy: Just off the top of my head, we fund the
National Aboriginal Circle Against Family Violence, which is a
network for the 41 shelter directors. I think they have a lot of
expertise and reflection on what works and what is not working in
those 41 shelters. I would suggest certainly that they be invited to
present on behalf of the shelters and even shelter directors. I think
there's good on-the-ground information about their realities that
would certainly be of interest to the committee.
I would also say that it would be important to look at the
interconnectedness of services. I think one of the challenges in
communities is capacity. A shelter may be there trying to provide
services, but if it's not connected to the child and family services
agency, which also can provide services, and it's not connected to
health services and education services, then you get some
disconnects within communities. That's a challenge capacity. Finding
ways to see whether there are good examples and best practices there
that can be translated into programs and services in other
communities is another area of interest that you might want to look
at. We can certainly look to see.
In that program review that I spoke to you about, there are some
case studies in there that might be helpful to the committee to then
look at lines of exploration based on that work. So we'll be providing
that, and you could look at those as “some suggestions”.
● (1850)
Hon. Carolyn Bennett: I'd love to hear from all of you, but
maybe Shawn, in terms of the strategy on trafficking, how would
that fit into a national action plan that would actually deal with and
stop this sort of...?
Mr. Shawn Tupper: I guess part of my advice is that I think the
committee wants to pay attention to the amount of work that's
already going on, as we look at the economics of policing and at the
work that's going on around victims and our efforts to find ways that
we can better support victims within the criminal justice system.
Specific investments are being made within the context of the
criminal justice system to reflect on the overrepresentation of
aboriginal people as offenders and as victims.
Frankly, I could spend all of the program dollars I have in
aboriginal communities to address just the challenges we have in
aboriginal communities, and of course I need to do that across the
country, but I think there's a huge amount of work going on. The
things we're seeing in all of that work are interconnected,
We're seeing the interconnectedness of all of our work. We and
Health Canada, PHAC, and INAC have partnered recently on a
couple of pilots. This is not necessarily focused on addressing issues;
it's focused on being more efficient and effective in how we do our
business. For instance, the ability to come together and to sign with
communities single agreements that reflect four different departments is an effective way to cut through red tape, but it's also an
effective way to make departments talk to one another about the
kinds of things they're doing. You learn so much about what we're
doing on the same kinds of issues.
I would stress to look not just at the problems but at the best
practices as well, because there's a whole lot of stuff going on.
Hon. Carolyn Bennett: Internationally, like Australia and...?
Ms. Françoise Ducros: I should tell you that Status of Women
Canada actually has a compendium of international best practices,
particularly as they relate to culturally sensitive best practices. There
are a lot of best practices that are being gathered, I think particularly
on the prevention side of things, by the various provinces. We can
certainly dig deep into that—
Hon. Carolyn Bennett: Fleeing foster care is something that
we've been hearing about. Cindy Blackstock.... Are there other—
The Chair: There's no time to answer that question. I'm sorry.
We'll have to move on to Ms. Glover for seven minutes.
Mrs. Shelly Glover (Saint Boniface, CPC): Thank you very
much, Chair.
Thanks to the witnesses.
I want to thank you, first of all, Mr. Tupper. I'm just thrilled to be
here. I spent an awful lot of time in the aboriginal community. I spent
19 years policing in the city of Winnipeg—I hope to go back at some
point—and I've investigated some of these cases of missing
aboriginal women.
You mentioned the canadasmissing.ca website, and God bless
you, because we're not here just to try to figure out ways to better
protect these women and to find them and to solve some of these
problems; we want to raise awareness as well. For those who might
be following this, I want to encourage them to visit that website. If
we can find just one of those missing girls.... Their families need
May 2, 2013
I'm going to repeat it: canadasmissing.ca. It's a wonderful website
that's been developed. I thank all of the officials and people who
worked on it. It's a tremendous tool. Again, if we can find even just
one of these missing girls for these families, it would be incredibly
I have to say that when Greg Rickford was talking about some of
the incidents that he's lived through, boy oh boy, I started to have
flashbacks myself of homicides of aboriginal women that I've been
involved in investigating, and the homicides of their children, and so
When I was working, particularly in Winnipeg's north end, many
of the women would tell me, when I saw them being exploited in the
sex trade and was stopping to discuss things with them, that they had
been kicked off reserve. Many of them were kicked off reserve and
had nowhere to go, so they came to the city. They didn't know what
to do, because they didn't know how to support themselves. They
would get into prostitution and be exploited, with vicious, vicious
beatings—absolutely vicious beatings—yet they had no voice in
their communities, so they would come out and do this. I still suspect
that many of those women are missing and murdered aboriginal
Actually, the stats provided by Stats Canada today seem to
support.... In their eighth slide, they say, “Aboriginal women's
disproportionate representation [is] greatest in non-spousal homicides.” It's dating, etc. We need to do something to give these women
their rights. I've been dreaming of Bill S-2 for many years, but when
it doesn't actually work in the communities, where women are not
You're coming up with these safety plans in conjunction with
these communities, but how come we only have 190 in your
dissertation? Is that the correct number? Out of the 600-plus
communities, why do we only have 190?
● (1855)
Ms. Kimberly Lavoie (Director, Aboriginal Corrections Policy
Division, Department of Public Safety): In actual fact, it's a smaller
number than that. We have one completed safety plan, and we have
five in the works. We have done community mobilization in 25
communities that are gearing up and getting themselves organized
and developing a community vision to move forward. We've trained
190 people to be either community facilitators or community
champions to work in their communities.
Mrs. Shelly Glover: So why don't we have more?
Ms. Kimberly Lavoie: Because we're new. This is an initiative
that just started in 2010. We need the buy-in of leadership before we
will go into a community, and sometimes that takes time.
Mrs. Shelly Glover: When you say “leadership”—I want to
understand this—is there pushback on the government side, or is
there pushback in the aboriginal communities? Which leadership do
you need buy-in from?
Ms. Kimberly Lavoie: We need buy-in from aboriginal leadership in aboriginal communities before we go in and work with those
May 2, 2013
When we started doing this work, they didn't know what we were
doing and they didn't know what it was about. We would send them
a letter and it would be filed. Now we've gained a little bit of
momentum and people are dusting off those letters and saying, “Can
we still engage with you?” We're getting folks who we have not dealt
with in the past, who are calling our office saying, “We understand
that you do this work.”
The beauty of this is that it's community driven. The communities
get to decide, which is not typical of government programs. The
communities get to decide their priorities, and they get to decide
what community safety means to them. We then work with them. We
support them and build on the existing strengths within the
Far too often we hear statistics that indicate that communities don't
have, or they're lacking...whereas this approach is asking what they
do have. There are inherent strengths there. There is a resilience.
Otherwise they wouldn't have been able to exist this long.
It's a small number now, but it's gaining momentum. I expect there
will be a lot more.
Mrs. Shelly Glover: But I hear from you—and I've heard this
before—that there are communities that don't want the help. We need
to somehow help them, but if they don't want the help, how are we
bridging that? There are women who, as we speak, are being beaten.
Unfortunately, they are not getting the help they need.
Government cannot be solely responsible for all of that. How do
we help them when they say, “We don't want help”?
Mr. Shawn Tupper: That gets back to the word you heard earlier.
It's about capacity within the community. Oftentimes when we get
that pushback it's because the communities just aren't prepared and
they don't have the capacity to deal with the issues.
I spent 10 years working with the survivors of Indian residential
schools. It is a slow process because of the nature of the very issues
you're describing. You can't force people to leap ahead in the healing
journey when they're not ready, when they're dealing with these
kinds of issues.
It really is about helping the communities create the capacity for
themselves. In the general policy context we call it place-based or
asset-based policy-making, where you really are looking at the
ability of the community to move forward. It is the sort of thing we
hear oftentimes about seven generations and what not. We are
dealing with issues that are going to take an awfully long time for
people to work their way through.
You'll also find that it's going to vary across the communities. In
my experience, Inuit communities are often much slower on the
uptake, slower to get involved in some of these issues than are a lot
of first nations communities in the south.
I would offer to the committee that you want to make sure you're
not looking at just one singular solution or plan, because it isn't
going to work. It has to be varied and reflect the needs and the
capacities in the communities.
● (1900)
The Chair: You have 15 seconds. I'm sorry.
Mrs. Shelly Glover: Thanks.
No one will disagree, but having heard all of this, I hope the
leadership of those communities will call us. We're offering a hand.
Please take it. Get 650 of them phoning us to get help, because their
women need it.
Thank you.
The Chair: Thank you.
We go over to Ms. Crowder for five minutes.
Ms. Jean Crowder (Nanaimo—Cowichan, NDP): Thank you,
Madam Chair.
I want to thank you very much for coming today.
Just to follow up on that last comment, if 550 communities called
you tomorrow, would you actually have the resources and the
capacity to deal with them?
Mr. Shawn Tupper: No.
Ms. Jean Crowder: No. That's what I thought.
I just want to clarify a couple of points.
Ms. Ducros, you indicated that the departments are looking at a
more integrated approach. Is that formalized?
Ms. Françoise Ducros: Why don't you talk about that?
Ms. Sheilagh Murphy: Certainly in the area of income assistance
reform, we are formalizing our relationship with Human Resources
and Skills Development, as well as with Health Canada, in a regional
and a national context to bring the three departments together to
work with first nations communities as well as with provinces to get
to better integrated programming from a client's or an individual's
perspective rather than from the program's perspective.
Ms. Jean Crowder: That's to do with the proposed changes to the
income assistance program, but when it comes to violence against
aboriginal women and children and men, there isn't a crossdepartment formal committee that meets?
Ms. Sheilagh Murphy: There is the family violence initiative that
involves a number of departments. PHAC has the lead for that, and
we're a member.
Ms. Jean Crowder: Sorry, who has the lead? “Un-acronym” it.
Ms. Sheilagh Murphy: I'm sorry. It's Public Health.
Ms. Jean Crowder: I know it's Public Health, but anybody
listening would not know it was Public Health.
Ms. Sheilagh Murphy: The Public Health Agency of Canada has
the lead, but Status of Women Canada, Justice Canada, Public
Safety, ourselves...it's a multiplicity of departments.
Ms. Jean Crowder: Are there formal reports that the committee
could have access to, that come out of that integrated committee?
Ms. Sheilagh Murphy: Certainly, we're building an action plan
right now for forward planning with a number of elements on it. We
are doing a scan, and Public Health could probably speak to this
better than I can in terms of taking stock of what programs are
available to assist families and women and victims of violence, and
looking at how we would, across departments, improve the way in
which those services are delivered.
So we are challenging ourselves and putting together a strategy
that would look at that, but it's in its early stages. It's reinvigorating
the initiative. The initiative has been there for a number of years. It
stalled in the last couple of years, and departments did their own
thing and got back into their own program areas.
Ms. Jean Crowder: Just out of curiosity, Ms. Murphy, because
I've only got five minutes, are the families or actual community
members involved, consulted formally, included in any way? I heard
Mr. Tupper say, quite rightly, that you cannot solve this problem
unless it's community driven. You cannot. Yet with the best of
intentions we develop programs and services at the government level
that really don't have communities and families integrated into the
Is that happening?
Ms. Françoise Ducros: If I may, when we talk about community,
there are community planning initiatives in Aboriginal Affairs
whereby we—
Ms. Jean Crowder: That's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking
about in this integrated committee that you've got —
Ms. Françoise Ducros: No, and I was going to say information is
coming from various places, but the communities are not in the
Ms. Jean Crowder: So with regard to the community process,
Mr. Tupper, you indicated the importance of community a number of
times throughout your presentation, and you've listed a number of
programs that Public Safety currently puts on: the northern and
aboriginal crime prevention fund, the youth gang prevention fund,
and so on. Has there been community involvement in developing
those programs?
Mr. Shawn Tupper: At the broadest level, in terms of framing the
generics of the program, no, but indeed, particularly through crime
prevention, all our work is done on the ground in communities.
Ms. Jean Crowder: That's the actual delivery. That's not the
development of the program itself.
Mr. Shawn Tupper: It's important I think to appreciate that we
fund a myriad of different kinds of projects and programs out of
NCPC, and each of those is individually designed to fit the needs of
the community. So we are taking internationally proven best
practices that have been proven within Canada and are now working
with aboriginal leaders and organizations like the AFN, but equally
with local leadership and community organizations, to find the best
ways that we can adapt those models into the communities.
So the communities are able to make their own choices about the
kinds of investments they want to make. They might include gang
diversion projects or youth at risk projects. They might be snap
projects that are run in the schools to help with family and child—
May 2, 2013
● (1905)
Ms. Jean Crowder: Right. They get a menu and they get to
choose how they're going to deliver it.
Mr. Shawn Tupper: Exactly.
Ms. Jean Crowder: With regard to the—
The Chair: I'm sorry. You have five seconds.
Ms. Jean Crowder: Does the missing persons database have
aboriginal-specific data?
The Chair: Just a yes or no, if you can.
Mr. Shawn Tupper: Aboriginal?
Ms. Jean Crowder: Does the $10 million missing persons
database you mentioned have a specific component identifying
missing aboriginal people?
Mr. Shawn Tupper: Where they know that information, it's input
into the database, but there will be gaps in that data.
The Chair: Thank you very much.
Over to Ms. McLeod for five minutes.
Mrs. Cathy McLeod (Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo,
CPC): Thank you, Chair.
I have a whole host of questions, but I'll start with Stats Canada.
You gave us a snapshot. We've heard about a myriad of programs,
and I know the policing program started many years ago. Can you
talk a little about trends? We've apparently spent significant dollars.
Are the trends having any positive impact on the statistics you've
shown us, compared to five and 10 years ago?
Ms. Rebecca Kong (Chief, Correctional Services Program,
Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, Statistics Canada): In
speaking about the police-reported information, as you can see from
the slides, there is a lot unknown about aboriginal identity. We do get
data from first nations police services. I don't have with me right
now any trends in those, but we would be happy to provide them to
the committee.
Mrs. Cathy McLeod: That would be really important. Again,
we're hearing about programs to see if there's an impact.
I think many people here have had significant and terrible
memories. I look back to a health care career also. At that time,
people's care card had some identification information. At that time,
I remember the first nations community decided they really didn't
want that to be part of their care card. Quite appropriately, that was
removed. Certainly from the health care perspective, it created new
challenges in terms of really understanding the incidence of different
emergencies or chronic diseases.
Could you talk a bit about what your challenges are, and what
New Zealand has done? It sounds like Dr. Bennett was indicating she
was aware that New Zealand was having fewer challenges.
Ms. Rebecca Kong: I can comment briefly.
May 2, 2013
I'm not completely aware of what's happening in New Zealand,
but I know that they are far more advanced than we are in the
collection of that data. Part of that is having the community buy-in
and having public relations and public education campaigns to
explain to the indigenous people there the advantages of providing
that information.
The issue of collecting information on aboriginal identity of
victims through police-reported data had been long-standing. From
2001 to 2010, Statistics Canada worked with partners in the policing
community and in the ministries across the country to try to improve
the information. We tried to put in place some recommendations. We
did some consultations with communities in Saskatchewan. In the
end, there were still issues regarding internal policing policies
around providing the data and concerns about the quality of the
information based on visual identification. There were also concerns
in terms of the actual collection of the information and whether that
question is always asked.
Mrs. Cathy McLeod: My next question is about some of the very
disturbing statistics you presented. Is there any delineation between
at least on and off reserve? You said you couldn't do micro areas,
● (1910)
Ms. Cathy Connors (Assistant Director, Canadian Centre for
Justice Statistics, Statistics Canada): For the self-reported data that
we have on victimization, we are not able to separate the information
for on and off reserve because the sample sizes get really small. We
have to remember that this is a survey of the general population.
Basically, we're surveying everybody in Canada, and we're trying to
produce estimates for everybody in Canada.
The aboriginal population, as you know, is about 4% of the
Canadian population, so you could expect approximately 4% of the
sample of that survey to be aboriginal people. The smaller the
numbers get of records that we have, the less able we are to produce
detailed information.
The Chair: Thank you, Ms. McLeod.
We'll move over to Ms. Ashton for five minutes.
Ms. Niki Ashton (Churchill, NDP): Thank you very much.
On a more general note, just a few days ago the UN Periodic
Review came out with a report. Part of what was made public were
submissions by 20 countries. These are countries that we look to as
common-minded countries: Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, and the
list goes on. All of those 20 countries expressed real concern about
what Canada is not doing when it comes to violence against
indigenous women. Ireland, in particular, raised the issue of listening
to the families and communities that are calling for a national
inquiry. This has reached the point where we've got Human Rights
Watch reports; CIDA has raised this issue, and now we have the UN
Periodic Review. It's like this room here is in another world. The
global community has joined so many people in our own country
asking what is going on in Canada.
How do you reconcile this? We've heard about the silos and the
need to work better together. We've heard all of these things. How do
you reconcile that disconnect, or can you reconcile the disconnect? It
sounds like they're talking about a different country, compared to the
presentations we're hearing tonight.
Ms. Murphy, maybe we can start with you.
Ms. Sheilagh Murphy: I'm not sure that we can reconcile.
We do have departments with programs that serve.... Our
department is focused on reserve. But aboriginal women are across
this country. There's a complexity of services and municipal,
provincial, and federal jurisdictions that deal with this population in
terms of providing safety and security for women and children.
I don't know how to correct the disconnect. We make the best
efforts we can with the programs we have. We reach out to partners
where we can. We try to work with communities. Certainly there are
capacity issues in communities. There's a complexity of issues in
families as well. Trying to make it all work is a real challenge, for
Ms. Niki Ashton: I know AANDC raised the issue around the
provinces. Obviously you'll know that two weeks ago governments
from each of the provinces, with the exception of British Columbia,
came together in calling for a national inquiry. I don't think it's fair to
pass the buck when we're talking about extreme levels of violence on
reserves that are under federal jurisdiction, or the underfunding,
whether of education or basic programming, that exists on reserve,
which is, again, under federal jurisdiction.
It's important to recognize that provinces are asking what Canada
is doing. Canada should be listening to the families and the
communities that are demanding urgent action.
I'll move on to another point. We're hearing about these important
programs in place. I just want to point to the case of a community I
represent, Garden Hill First Nation, which is under third-party
management. They are at the eleventh hour of their ability to fund
policing services in their community, an isolated community on the
east side of Lake Winnipeg, where there are extreme social
challenges. Their third-party manager simply told them they don't
have enough money to fund their policing program. As you might
know, the RCMP is on Stevenson Island, an island that, if the lake
isn't frozen, you can't get to very easily. The end result is that people
don't see the RCMP as much as they should, but more importantly,
there aren't first nations people in the community, understanding the
community, helping with the policing services.
There are many other communities where third-party managers
call these kinds of shots. We can all find excuses, but at the end of
the day it means communities, including women, are without
policing services because of severe underfunding.
Obviously we'd like to see that situation corrected with political
Mr. Tupper, I'm wondering if you could speak to the situation in
terms of underfunding or the need for funding of first nations
policing that still exists.
● (1915)
Mr. Shawn Tupper: Sure.
May 2, 2013
So we are able, in that context, to look at a range of issues that span
the criminal justice system and start tying them together. We are
doing a better job of that, and we are making our investments so that
we're trying to stretch those dollars and get a bigger bang for the
The Chair: I'm afraid you have five seconds left to answer that
Mr. Shawn Tupper: No, I can't.
The Chair: Give it your best shot.
Mr. Shawn Tupper: The thing I'd want to point out, in terms of
how you perceive the first nations policing program, is that it is a
program that's designed to augment the provincial investment in
policing. Policing is a provincial responsibility. The law is very clear
on that. The courts have ruled on this, that we have singular access to
policing, that it's done by the provinces and the territories. And the
first nations policing program is an augmentation to that.
The Chair: Well done. Thank you.
Mrs. Lynn Barr-Telford: In terms of integration and partnerships, the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics at Statistics Canada
is an operational arm of what is known as the national justice
statistics initiative. This is a federal, provincial, and territorial
partnership in which all the partners are at the table to discuss data
needs, to discuss operational plans, to determine priorities, and to
discuss data gaps and how we might, in a partnership, endeavour to
fill some of those data gaps.
For five minutes, Mr. Goguen.
Mr. Robert Goguen (Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe, CPC):
Thank you, Madam Chair. Thank you, all the witnesses, for
testifying this evening.
We also sit at multiple tables, including a table with police
services. We call it POLIS, our police information statistics groups.
We sit with heads of Corrections in another group, in which we
discuss data needs.
We'll now move to a skill-testing question.
Mr. Rickford started off the round. He shared some of his
experiences as parliamentary secretary for aboriginal affairs. He
asked some questions, but not everyone had occasion to answer. I'm
wondering if any one of you wanted to share anything further on the
topics he raised, if you remember them. There's no buzzer.
Do you want to refresh their memory, Greg, just to be fair?
Mr. Greg Rickford: We're talking about this “beyond the silo”
kind of discussion...sort of more integrated at the departmental level.
There seems to be all these different programs, notably Status of
Women, who I don't believe are here today as a department. But that
might be something worth pointing out. I guess I have done that. But
anyway, I'd like to hear from the other departments. I think Statistics
Canada is pulled into this piece as well.
Thanks, Bob, for that indulgence.
Mr. Shawn Tupper: I'll just give you a quick start. Within the
Public Safety portfolio, I think we are starting to really pull together.
One of the things I've been able to do, because I have the authority
over the various silos within my department, is ensuring that as we
look at the investments we make through first nations policing, they
correspond to the kinds of investments we're making through the
National Crime Prevention Centre.
I want to ensure that we're not going into a community twice, and
not really knowing what the left hand and the right hand are doing in
those communities. We are starting to pull together in a very clear
way those kinds of partnerships, so that certainly works in our
Our partnership with the RCMP certainly facilitates our ability,
again, to look at some of the challenges that would be particular in
the context of violence against aboriginal women and girls. We are
developing our partnerships there, and again can bring together a
portfolio perspective.
Even in the context of looking at Corrections and understanding
how we better manage aboriginal offenders, I have policy
responsibility for that within the department, and I have a very
close partnership with the Correctional Service and the parole board.
So there are multiple mechanisms that we have in place that help
us to govern and to make decisions on priorities for data.
Mr. Robert Goguen: Do I have any time left?
The Chair: A little bit, a minute.
Mr. Robert Goguen: Okay.
I noted that Statistics Canada does not collect information on
missing or disappeared persons. Fair enough, but obviously this is a
truly serious issue. I'm wondering if we do have any kind of hard
data on exactly how many aboriginal women are missing.
I note that the Native Women's Association estimates there are
approximately 600 aboriginal women who have gone missing or
have been murdered. Do any of your departments have any kind of a
ballpark, anything firm to confirm this data?
● (1920)
Mrs. Lynn Barr-Telford: As you very correctly observed, we do
not gather information on missing persons. The information that we
do gather, particularly in terms of our homicide surveys on
homicides that have been confirmed and reported to us, is through
police services.
We haven't actually looked at that data source or explored the
possibilities with that data source, to be quite honest. I'm not in a
position to provide you with any information around the numbers
you're requesting.
Mr. Robert Goguen: I guess it begs one further question, and that
is, why?
Mrs. Lynn Barr-Telford: It's an area that we haven't talked about
with our multiple various partners in terms of how we might even
look towards assessing feasibility of this information. It's an area that
exists in a different program, where they are collecting information.
It's certainly something that has not yet come to our table for
dialogue in terms of various areas to move forward.
The Chair: Thank you very much.
To Ms. Crowder for five minutes.
May 2, 2013
Hon. Carolyn Bennett: Doesn't he get at least one more “why”?
Ms. Jean Crowder: Thank you.
I have a question for Ms. Barr-Telford. Our very capable analyst
provided some background for us, and apparently your department
does a general social survey, the GSS.
I have a paper here called “Whitewashing Criminal Justice in
Canada: Preventing Research through Data Suppression”. It was in
the Canadian Journal of Law and Society in 2011. They indicate that
as of the year 1999, the GSS started incorporating analysis of
victimization by race or ethnicity. However, these variables are not
available in the public-use versions of the data that are routinely
available for university researchers.
They've indicated that this one is a tool for practical longitude
analysis of victimization. Can you comment on that? Is information
available to university researchers that would be useful for this
committee to look at?
Mrs. Lynn Barr-Telford: I'm not familiar with the specifics
around that particular paper, so I can't comment on it directly.
In terms of access to information at Statistics Canada, it depends
on where that information can be disseminated, so in circumstances,
for example, where the quality is appropriate and where there is no
divulgence of confidential information.
There are multiple mechanisms through which data can be
obtained. We have a network of research data centres across the
country that researchers can access information from. We have
custom tabulation services. As you may know, the information on
our website has recently been made free of charge, so our whole
large database at StatsCan can now be accessed free of charge in
many cases. There is a lot of information there.
There are multiple mechanisms at play at Statistics Canada,
whereby data users can clearly access information from us.
Ms. Jean Crowder: To take this to the next step, then, am I to
assume that we would have to find out which universities were using
that data in order to look at the longitudinal victimization?
Mrs. Lynn Barr-Telford: I'm not familiar with the paper, as I
said. The general social survey is not a longitudinal survey; it's a
cross-sectional survey that we conduct every five years. The theme
that we collect on changes over time.
Information on the victimization cycle, for example, is collected
on a different cycle. This particular survey we collect every five
years. So the last time we collected it we would have historical
information available, but it's not a longitudinal survey that follows
the same respondents over time.
Ms. Jean Crowder: I think they were indicating that the
universities could use it for a longitudinal analysis, because
information had been collected since 1999. That's what I'm
presuming they were saying, because they would have the historical
Mrs. Lynn Barr-Telford: It's not by design a longitudinal survey.
For longitudinal surveys you follow the same respondents over time
on multiple occasions. This is a cross-sectional survey, so we're not
following the same individuals over time.
I'm not familiar with the specificities around the types of analyses
they may or may not have been referring to.
● (1925)
Ms. Jean Crowder: Do I still have time?
The Chair: Yes, you have one and a half minutes.
Ms. Jean Crowder: Great.
I want to come back to the Department of Aboriginal Affairs. In
your remarks you were indicating the work that's being undertaken
with regard to child welfare and child protection services. It's
probably not a surprise that I'm going to ask this question. I wonder
if you could comment on why the department has continued to
pursue the case at the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal on the
underfunding of child and family services, child welfare services,
particularly since, given the increases that have happened over the
last number of years, there is a tacit acknowledgement that there was
underfunding for the services.
I wonder if you could comment on why that case continues to be
pursued at the Human Rights Tribunal.
Ms. Françoise Ducros: I actually can't comment on the case. I
can certainly say that the government believes we are funding child
and family services and that there's more funding to do. We're using
the enhanced prevention approach, and we're continuing to roll that
I can't really comment on the case.
Sheilagh is the expert on this particular issue.
Ms. Sheilagh Murphy: Since that case was launched in 2007,
there's been significant augmentation of resources for the child and
family services program. We're now at $630 million a year, which is
a significant increase, even from 2007. There's an additional $100
million a year going into child and family services over what there
was when the case was launched in 2007.
Ms. Jean Crowder: Have you done a comparability to—
The Chair: Thank you.
To end the round, we'll have five minutes with Ms. Truppe.
Mrs. Susan Truppe (London North Centre, CPC): Thank you,
Madam Chair.
Thank you for your briefings. I found them very informative. The
stats are very alarming. Clearly there's still more to be done.
Our government is very committed to helping women and girls.
The Minister for Status of Women has done a great job in trying to
bring more awareness to ending violence against women and girls. I
know she's funded over 600 projects.
I just want to ask you something, Françoise. I think one of the
members opposite asked a question, and you were talking about best
practices. You said Status of Women Canada has some of the best
practices. I was just wondering if you could elaborate on what you
meant by that.
Ms. Françoise Ducros: No. What I said was that Status of
Women Canada has amalgamated some of the best practices
internationally, which they have gathered. They've put together a
compendium on that.
Mrs. Susan Truppe: Thank you.
In your comments, you mentioned that since 2006 the Government of Canada has invested approximately $205.8 million in the
family violence prevention program. How does that help women and
Ms. Sheilagh Murphy: That's $205 million over those years, the
amount we spent cumulatively. Through our budget, which is about
$30 million a year, we spend about $18 million, a little more on the
41 shelters and their operations. We fund the national aboriginal
circle that supports that group of 41 shelters. We also provide about
$7 million in prevention programming. That goes across the country
at the community level and is designed by communities or groups of
communities. The final amount is for reimbursing provincial bills in
Alberta and Yukon for services they provide for women who seek
emergency shelters off reserve.
Mrs. Susan Truppe: You mentioned the 41 shelters. How many
first nations communities does that serve?
Ms. Sheilagh Murphy: The 41 shelters are available to all first
nations communities, but because of their locations, they can't serve
them all, so communities that aren't close to those shelters will
access provincial services or provincial shelters instead. There are
about 3,000...I don't have the figures in front of me, but about 2,300
women and about 2,500 children benefit from the services of those
41 shelters every year.
Mrs. Susan Truppe: What action has Aboriginal Affairs taken to
address the increasing numbers of first nations children in care?
Ms. Sheilagh Murphy: We've worked with jurisdictions as
they've moved their approaches to more prevention, early intervention programming. We've made those changes as well. Since 2007
we've rolled out that enhanced prevention-focused approach to six
jurisdictions, and we're working with the remaining jurisdictions to
help transition them as they make more investments and design their
programs to be more prevention focused.
In all jurisdictions, children and their families receive prevention
and protection services that are comparable to that provided by the
provinces for the population off reserve in similar circumstances.
The difference in the enhanced prevention approach is that more
emphasis is placed on family supports and keeping children
integrated with their families as much as possible, or providing
services so that children aren't taken into care.
● (1930)
May 2, 2013
well as to reimburse provinces for their services. Certainly when we
started a long time ago, we probably weren't providing sufficient
funding to cover the needs in communities. As we built capacity in
communities within those agencies and we worked with provinces
on a partnered approach, we gradually increased the investments so
we could provide the appropriate protection and prevention services
to all children on reserve.
The Chair: You have 10 seconds.
Mrs. Susan Truppe: I'll forgo my 10 seconds.
Thank you.
The Chair: Thank you.
We've got through one round and it's 7:35. We'll start again with
you, Ms. Davies, for seven minutes.
Ms. Libby Davies: Thank you very much.
I would like to follow up on a few questions.
We heard a little about the community capacity, and you spoke
about how communities have to be ready and have to want to take on
particular projects, whether it's a safety plan.... I don't know if you
were speaking more about on reserve, but I want to get an idea of the
capacity on the government side as well.
I know, for example, in the community that I represent, Vancouver
East, which includes the downtown eastside, many organizations
spend a huge amount of time chasing down various programs to try
to get any money to do anything at the community level. I wonder if
both Public Safety and Aboriginal Affairs can tell us, or if you have
information, about the level of application and how you are able to
meet that demand, particularly off reserve, because I think we have
huge problems in the urban environment.
There are organizations that have the capacity. They know what
needs to be done, but the sense I have is that they can't get the
resources to do it. It's a different picture from what we hear about,
that maybe the capacity isn't there. Maybe the capacity isn't there
more on this side to meet the demand. I wonder if you have that
information, and if you do, can you share it with us, in terms of the
number of applications you might get for any of the programs you
run and what percentage of those get funding?
You also mentioned in your brief that Aboriginal Affairs has
dramatically increased funding for first nations child and family
services over the past 16 years, from $193 million in 1996-97 to
approximately over $600 million for 2012-13. That was a substantial
increase. I'm wondering what that is used for.
Mr. Shawn Tupper: Certainly within the context of crime
prevention, we can provide the committee with data on the
distribution of our resources that would apply to aboriginal people,
both on reserve and off reserve. Part of the challenge there, of
course, is that when they move into communities, we oftentimes lose
that order of magnitude in being able to sufficiently fund projects
that capture enough people to make that investment a worthwhile
one, so aboriginal people oftentimes join other kinds of programs.
Ms. Sheilagh Murphy: Those funds go to cover the cost of the
105 agencies we now have—there's been a growth in the number of
first nations child and family service agencies across the country—as
That said, we certainly have good partnerships with the friendship
Mrs. Susan Truppe: Thank you.
May 2, 2013
Ms. Libby Davies: I don't understand your point there, because
the organizations I'm talking about are aboriginal organizations in
the urban environment. They're not spread out in any other area.
These are organizations that are very focused on aboriginal
communities in the urban environment.
Ms. Françoise Ducros: Just on the programmatic side, on all of
the programs that we've talked about, they are generally, as a matter
of policy, to provide the programming on reserve that isn't provided
on reserve by the provinces in their general program delivery.
On the urban aboriginal issue, which of course is growing and is
significant off reserve, we do have the urban aboriginal strategy,
which is designed to work with aboriginal leaders off reserve in the
urban centres. I actually can provide you with what we're doing to
that effect, the way in which it's approached, the projects and the
numbers of projects that are funded, and how they are funded—
● (1935)
Ms. Libby Davies: Not just the number funded, but—
see as the gaps that this committee needs to address in terms of either
program delivery or the way that programs are being designed.
We're trying to get at what's wrong with the picture. We can hear
about what you think is working well, but unless we know what isn't
being done.... Obviously, we'll have other witnesses who will help us
grapple with that, but I think from your perspective as well, these
must be things you also assess in terms of what you're not doing and
what should be done.
Ms. Françoise Ducros: We try to do that on a daily and weekly
basis, as to what the gaps are, and we do have some strong views on
that. I think the best way to approach it is for us to proactively get
you not only the evaluations that were done, but the management
action plans and some of the strategies that we're taking in all of
these areas.
Ms. Françoise Ducros: Yes, the numbers that apply—
Ms. Libby Davies: That's right. I think it would help us to see
what the disconnect is there in terms of the demand that's out there.
Ms. Françoise Ducros: I think what I can do, certainly, is provide
you with the urban aboriginal strategy approach and where we've
done it. The program services that are delivered as a matter of policy
on reserve in the areas that we've talked about do fall under
provincial jurisdiction off reserve, but clearly the problem and the
issues are growing, and there is a lot of transition on and off reserve.
There is that whole urban aboriginal strategy, which we can provide
you with, both on the application process and the way in which it's
designed and on the approach.
Ms. Libby Davies: In terms of interdepartmental work, one of
you spoke about the PHAC leading a committee you have. I think
we'd be interested to hear more about that, what that work is, and
how many departments are involved in it, but, as I understand it, at
the political level there's no committee that oversees this work. It's
basically at an officials level. I just wonder, how senior is that work?
Is it line managers? Is it directors? At what level is this collaboration
taking place?
Ms. Sheilagh Murphy: The family violence initiative committee
is usually at the director general or assistant deputy minister level,
and that group is supported by a working group, which is much more
a line managers group. That's the construct that's been operating for
that initiative.
Ms. Libby Davies: Okay. You're able to provide us with more
information on that?
Ms. Sheilagh Murphy: We can get Public Health to provide
some documentation, because they collect it on behalf of all the
departments. We can let them know that some follow-up is required
with this committee on the information around that initiative.
Ms. Libby Davies: Okay.
I have just one last question to the two departments that are here.
What gaps do you see? You've just said that you see the urban
situation as something that is growing in severity, and that is I think
now reaching crisis proportions as well, as it is on reserve. I think it
would be very helpful for us if you could identify for us what you
I can say from our perspective—and I wasn't trying to avoid it
earlier—that we are seeing the interconnectedness of things such as
education and lack of work, all of these multi-pronged issues,
feeding into much of this, so when we say that we're taking a holistic
approach, it really is to get to some of these other issues.
I think what I'd like to undertake to do is to give you the
evaluations on a whole range of our projects, or direct you to them,
and provide you with the action plans and how we're trying to
address them. If we can provide further gap analysis, I'll go back and
look at providing what we have.
The Chair: Thank you very much.
Back to you, Mr. Rickford, for seven.
Mr. Greg Rickford: Thank you.
I want to talk a little bit more about this whole idea of integration.
It's probably what most affects what's going on in the communities
right now.
Francie, you talked about the multi-pronged approach as a
concept, and seeing how the bigger structural macro kinds of things
could have a positive impact. I think for the purposes of our
discussion here today, uniquely with Public Safety and Aboriginal
Affairs side by side, it would be useful to talk a little bit more about
how we could start to think about some of the prevention programs
that are working on reserve.
I know in Kenora, through the Status of Women, there was
funding at the Women's Place there, and we had a violence deescalation program, which had tremendous impact. I was concerned
that there wasn't an evaluative tool after the fact, but people spoke
highly about it, and many of them came from first nations
communities in and around the city of Kenora. But again, that just
goes to how we're talking to each other as departments. When we are
funding prevention programs, Francie, on reserve, when Status of
Women is funding certain projects, especially in the last intake and
beyond in this calendar year, many of these kinds of programs will
focus on that.
Then there's the Public Safety piece. Of course, Shawn, we've
spoke before, but you spoke earlier about a variety of different
How do we pull this in together a little bit more effectively? I don't
know if that's what Libby was trying to get at, ultimately. But on the
ground, where I've spent a great deal of my time professionally, I still
see great efforts, but a lack of collective inertia, if you will, that helps
to give us data that we can use meaningfully, in terms of prevention
and more nuanced or focused programs.
I'll stop there. I see a certain eagerness to respond to that.
Go ahead, Shawn.
● (1940)
Mr. Shawn Tupper: Well, I think about some of the things that
Francie and I have been doing, just talking about social innovation,
just looking at the different kinds of models and things that we could
work on together to address our shared interest in communities.
Prevention is a perfect example. A lot of the money that I invest is
focused on young children and the basic principle: get to them early.
Get them on the right path first. You save a whole lot of money and
you ensure that they lead productive lives. So we're looking at ways
we can work together through the kinds of investments I do and the
kinds of investments Francie does, to figure out whether there are
better models.
Equally, on the correctional side, as we talk about the return to
communities of offenders, are there things that we can be doing to
take advantage of the skills and the employment training that
offenders get as they return to a community, and make sure that
they're actually deploying those skills in a way that actually benefits
the community? Part of the community safety planning effort is
exactly that: to figure out ways that we can create paths back into the
community that are safe for the offenders, safe for the people in the
community who were victims of that offender, and create plans that
allow the community to thrive.
Mr. Greg Rickford: Is there an awareness issue to this at the
community level, in your view? I feel there is. Maybe you can speak
to it.
Ms. Françoise Ducros: I think there is an increasing awareness of
it. As we move on the education policies and programs and the first
nations education acts and income assistance programs, the
communities themselves are telling us that we have to work
together. As Shawn said, you have to get in there early. They are
aware that their dropout occurs at grade 8, so you have programs
targeted at grade 8 students. There is an increasing awareness.
May 2, 2013
I would be remiss a little bit...Sheilagh reminded me to say that as
much as we talk about the integration in how we design the policy
approaches, a lot of this is very much integrated across departments,
on the ground, in our regional offices. Where we are sometimes
remiss, as one member pointed out, in doing the design in an
integrated fashion...sometimes the actual delivery is forcing upon us
new design frameworks, which is leading to policy approaches
around joint management frameworks, as we have as we move
Mr. Greg Rickford: In fairness, Francie, too, I don't have
statistics to support this, but my sense is, having represented
communities in transferred education and health authorities, there's
another clearing house there, where they can more effectively
integrate some of those resources. It means this filters down and gets
to people who can actually get out the information and do something
effective with it in the community.
Ms. Sheilagh Murphy: I'll just add another comment regarding a
new approach—I wouldn't say trend—that some communities are
trying. We are working, for instance, with Health Canada to try to get
to comprehensive community planning, so the communities would
put together their plans and the departments would look at them
jointly. That forces us to see how we could do better program
● (1945)
Mr. Greg Rickford: Pikangikum is doing one right now, for
example. We got that off the ground a couple of years ago.
Ms. Sheilagh Murphy: That's right.
The community is coming to us and saying, “We want one plan.
We want one report. You departments need to get together.” So I
think there's a growing trend for that, and we're being responsive.
Mr. Greg Rickford: That's great. Thanks.
The Chair: Thank you.
We now go over to Ms. Bennett for seven minutes.
Hon. Carolyn Bennett: Thanks very much.
Just following on Greg's approach on integration, I was talking to
the chair last evening about our tiny perfect committee on persons
with disabilities. This was in a Liberal government. I think we called
12 ministers, and a number of them didn't seem to know that their
department had anything to do with disabilities. We found the room
would fill every week, as officials of the minister who would be
appearing the following week would come. The transport minister
didn't seem to know that they had to deal with buying Via Rail cars
that weren't accessible.
May 2, 2013
So sometimes there is a bit of a disconnect. When it is about going
to cabinet to get money, it's hard if you don't really know what's
going on. Because there are so many things that are important, we
ended up with a cabinet committee on aboriginal issues that the
Prime Minister chaired. Each of us had to come in with our
homework done and then take our “stupid hats” off, because the
Prime Minister did not want us to read something sent by the
department. We actually were supposed to solve this thing as
I guess what I'm hearing today is that Minister Aglukkaq's
department has the lead on these community initiatives, and then
there are a number of people trying to fund them through a kind of
portal, a “one stop fits all”. And then you're working with HRSDC.
Last week we heard from the justice department and today we have
Minister Toews and Minister Paradis.
I somehow think, Madam Chair, that we can't really do this
without hearing from all the ministers who are actually being
represented well by the departments, including, obviously, the two
who have been selected, Minister Ambrose and Minister Toews. We
actually need all of them to be engaged in this if we're going to get
their help at the end of this. For all of these complex things, you have
to take little pockets of money wherever they come from in many
different departments, but we need this issue to be at the top of their
radar when they go to ask for money at cabinet, or in the next
budget, or to get their half a sentence in a Speech from the Throne.
You are saying the Public Health Agency of Canada has the lead.
Can you just tell us again what that was?
Ms. Françoise Ducros: The Public Health Agency of Canada has
the lead on an interdepartmental approach to strategies to combat
violence against women.
Hon. Carolyn Bennett: How many departments are in that
Ms. Sheilagh Murphy: I don't know the number. There are
A voice: There are 14.
Hon. Carolyn Bennett: How often would they meet?
Ms. Sheilagh Murphy: It did fall off the radar. The committee did
meet about a month or two months ago, and it's planning its next
meeting. In between, the working group has been meeting to try to
do this documentation of all of the programs and services we have as
departments with interest in the issue, and then to figure out the lay
of the land right now and where we could look for ways to work
better and smarter with what we have, and figure out where there are
opportunities within those programs to maybe alter how we address
the issue and change on the basis of what's now—
Hon. Carolyn Bennett: I know Francie has already offered to
provide what you have in terms of evaluations and those kinds of
things, but in this interdepartmental committee, can you list all the
departments and the pockets they're picking to try to develop a
strategy, and the budgets?
Ms. Sheilagh Murphy: I think the Public Health Agency of
Canada committed that we would follow up and have them provide
that information to the committee.
● (1950)
Hon. Carolyn Bennett: The Status of Women Canada stuff....
Are we planning to hear from the officials from those areas? Clearly
we need to hear from the officials from all 14 departments that think
they're doing this, right?
Ms. Françoise Ducros: On the Public Health Agency of Canada
and their approach, I certainly think they should be answering to
how they're leading this initiative. Certainly we can follow up and
have them provide the schedule of meetings and what they've
undertaken in their action plan, but they will respond to that.
The Chair: You have one minute and 30 seconds left.
Hon. Carolyn Bennett: Let's go back to the data gaps. How
would we fix that, and who should we call?
Mrs. Lynn Barr-Telford: We'll tag team this one.
We certainly acknowledge some data gaps, and certainly there are
Hon. Carolyn Bennett: Just to help me, did the First Nations
Statistical Institute help with that?
Mrs. Lynn Barr-Telford: They're not a part of what I am talking
about, in terms of where we receive our data.
Hon. Carolyn Bennett: But they're gone, anyway, right?
Mrs. Lynn Barr-Telford: We receive our data from police
services or from Canadians who self-report on their experiences with
There certainly are opportunities, perhaps, to explore the
feasibility of looking across other data sources to see if there are
opportunities to fill some of these gaps in other data sources that we
have not necessarily explored.
There are opportunities to look at the general social survey,
ensuring that the resources are there to look at whether or not there
are needed enhancements and those kinds of areas.
Rebecca can talk about some of the work with respect to police
services that have been undertaken, which we've dialogued on, in
terms of data gaps.
The Chair: Thank you very much.
Now, I would suggest—
Hon. Carolyn Bennett: Rebecca was just going to finish that, I
The Chair: I'm sorry, you're out of time.
I will say that it is now five minutes to eight. We could continue
with one more round, or I would also entertain a motion to adjourn.
Hon. Carolyn Bennett: Would you entertain a motion to let
Rebecca answer the question?
The Chair: Yes, Ms. Glover, you have a question?
Mrs. Shelly Glover: I would like to continue, if it's okay.
The Chair: Okay. It's the government's turn, so for five minutes,
Ms. Glover.
Mrs. Shelly Glover: Mr. Tupper, joint task forces have not been
addressed, and I know our government has spent some funds
providing the opportunity for the RCMP to work with local police
agencies. I know in Winnipeg, for example, there is a joint task
force, and there are joint task forces working on the missing and
murdered aboriginal cases themselves.
Can you tell us a little about the joint task forces and what they're
Mr. Shawn Tupper: I can't tell you a whole lot, in the sense that it
would be an RCMP responsibility.
It does pick up a little on the different lenses the committee might
want to consider, in terms of how you look at the issues. It isn't just
about the family violence initiative. It is about how policing services
work together. I mentioned earlier the economics of policing, how
we can look at better policing models that allow us to better gather
the data and do the kind of reporting that gets us some of the answers
to the questions you're trying to confront.
Certainly the joint task forces are a really effective means, and
have proven to be an effective means, for us to share our services,
which allow us to do more complete investigations. They allow us to
share our intelligence better, and we get better results as a result.
Clearly the federal government is able to support the responsibility
of provincial and territorial governments to police in their
jurisdictions, so those task forces become important as a signal
from the federal government of its priorities and how it invests in its
partnership with provincial and territorial authorities.
Mrs. Shelly Glover: I appreciate that, because I know they do
some tremendous work, and they really do take this to heart, trying
to help find some closure for these families and to find these girls.
We also haven't mentioned yet, and Madame Lavoie could
probably answer this the best.... I was very proud to take part in a
funding announcement for Eagle Women Lodge out of the Native
Women's Transition Centre in Winnipeg. I'm reading from their
website. Their goals are “to begin to heal the vicious cycle of intergenerational family dysfunction experienced by many Manitoban
Aboriginal families”. Those are their words.
Of course, these are women who are transitioning from prison,
and that's why I think Madame Lavoie could answer. The federal
government does provide many programs. Many of these women
unfortunately were kicked off reserve; they had no rights, they
became exploited in the sex trade, and they then got involved in
drugs and alcohol and unfortunately committed crimes that led them
to jail.
May 2, 2013
The federal government has put forward an awful lot of programs
that I'm very proud of. My mother worked in the jail for kids in
Manitoba for her career. She worked with aboriginal kids her entire
life. She lives in an aboriginal community and works in an aboriginal
resource centre.
I want you to tell us a little about some of the programs the federal
government has put forward to help those women, who unfortunately have fallen through the cracks, to transition back to a life that
helps them.
● (1955)
Ms. Kimberly Lavoie: You're talking specifically about aboriginal women. One of the best practices is the aboriginal healing
Okimaw Ohci in Saskatchewan is a healing lodge designated
specifically for aboriginal women who have had horrible experiences
and who really want to follow a healing path and reconnect with
their culture and go back to the community in a good way. In
addition, there is a section 81 agreement in Edmonton with Buffalo
Sage Healing Centre. There are 16 beds in that facility, which was
opened last year.
Those two facilities certainly play a huge role in allowing
aboriginal women to be able to reconnect and to get the
programming they need from elders and spiritual advisers, from
people who understand their experience coming from reserve and
moving to urban centres, and this has allowed them to transition
back quite well.
Mrs. Shelly Glover: That's very good. Thank you for mentioning
those facilities. I've been to the facility in Saskatchewan. It was
absolutely amazing. Again, the stories that came out of the women I
met there...very much the women who were kicked off reserve, who
have no rights, who can't take care of their children because their
children are taken away from them.
I'm sorry to harp on this, but Bill S-2, the matrimonial rights bill
for aboriginal women on reserve, is an absolute godsend, and I hope
to God that we prevent more women from falling into that cycle and
perhaps falling victim to the next perpetrator and becoming the next
missing or murdered aboriginal woman. I wanted to make sure we
got that on the record.
Thank you.
The Chair: Thank you, Ms. Glover. And thank you to all our
witnesses for being here. It was very illuminating testimony.
That brings to an end meeting 4 of this committee. Thank you all.
Good night.
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