The following statements were issued by Gerri Sharpe, President of Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada, after the Government of Canada tabled its 2022-23 budget yesterday.
“Inuit women face stark social and economic inequities compared to other women in Canada. For example, the rate of violence experienced by Inuit women is 14 times the national average. Most Inuit women do not have access to culturally informed mental health or midwifery services in their communities.
“Pauktuutit is pleased to see the federal budget recognizes these unacceptable realities by investing in co-development of health strategies with Inuit that are culturally appropriate. We are also encouraged to see new funding for a National Action Plan to End Gender-Based Violence.”
“Budget 2022-23 must be backed by timely action to improve the safety and well-being of Inuit women. Pauktuutit is ready to do the hard work to achieve concrete progress on new Inuit specific shelters and transition housing, on increasing access to Inuit midwifery services across Inuit Nunangat, as well as on empowering the voices and leadership of Inuit women and gender-diverse people at the community, regional and national levels to help end gender-based violence.”
Shelters and Transition Housing & Progress on MMIWG:
“More than 70 per cent of women and children fleeing domestic violence across Inuit Nunangat do not have access to emergency shelters in their communities. Increased investments in infrastructure for Inuit communities must include new funding for shelters and transition housing. With a recent federal commitment for five new Inuit-specific shelters in 2021, we are seeing some concrete progress, but there is still a long way to go.”
“While this year’s budget did not specifically reference measures addressing the Calls for Justice in the final report of the National Inquiry on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, Pauktuutit is focused on working with Inuit partners to implement the Inuit Action Plan, based on the federal government commitment of $2.2 billion over five years in last year’s budget, to end this tragedy, including for Inuit. However, there needs to be more concrete
action to achieve progress on the goal shared by the federal government and Pauktuutit to address the 46 Inuit-specific Calls for Justice in the National Inquiry’s Final Report.”
Community Mental Health Services:
“Pauktuutit is pleased to see proposed investments of $227.6 million over two years for a distinctions-based approach to mental health ‘that is developed and delivered by Indigenous peoples.’ For Inuit women and gender-diverse people, there is an urgent need for healing and counselling services that are culturally informed by our values, traditions, and language, and delivered in our communities by Inuit such as our Elders. Moving ahead, we will continue our focus on supporting immediate progress in this area.”
Access to Inuit Midwifery Services:
“Increasing Inuit midwifery education and services as Pauktuutit has recommended is a crucial way to reduce anti-Indigenous racism encountered by Inuit women forced to leave their communities to give birth in central Inuit Nunangat communities or the south. We will continue our work in this area to advance co-development of new distinctions-based Indigenous health legislation and to improve access to high-quality, culturally informed midwifery services for expectant mothers and their newborn babies.”
Empowering Inuit Women’s Leadership:
“Pauktuutit will continue to work to ensure that both a GBA+ (gender-based analysis plus) lens and evaluation metrics are applied to all areas of implementation of the federal government’s UNDRIP legislation, including justice and policing reforms, food sovereignty initiatives, and the impacts of climate change.”