Indigenous Women’s Advisory Council to address violence in communities

TORONTO — The Ontario government announced members of a new Indigenous Women’s Advisory Council on June 21. The Council includes First Nations, Métis, Inuit, and LGBTQ2S leaders on violence prevention who will provide input on issues impacting their communities such as human trafficking and child, youth and family well-being.

“For culturally relevant and effective changes to occur in Ontario, Indigenous women must lead the development of our policies so we can truly support their communities,” said Jill Dunlop, Associate Minister of Children and Women’s Issues. “The Council will be key to ensuring Indigenous women’s voices guide Ontario’s priorities on a range of critical issues.”

The Council will be co-chaired by Cora-lee McGuire-Cyrette, Executive Director of the Ontario Native Women’s Association. The other co-chair will be selected at the Council’s first meeting in early July 2020.

Members of the Indigenous Women’s Advisory Council include: Sylvia Maracle, Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centre; Sandra Montour, Six Nations of the Grand River; Lyndia Jones, Independent First Nations; Jennifer St. Germain, Métis Nation of Ontario; Teresa Sutherland, Nishnawbe Aski Nation; Amanda Kilabuk, Tungasuvvingat Inuit; Marina Plain, Union of Ontario Indians/Anishinabek Nation and Tracy Antone, Chiefs of Ontario

“I’m honoured to accept this position and work with our Indigenous partners and the Ontario government. It will take everyone working together to address issues of gender-based violence and systemic racism,” said Cora-lee McGuire-Cyrette, Council Co- Chair and Executive Director of the Ontario Native Women’s Association. “I want to thank Associate Minister Jill Dunlop for this opportunity and her leadership in making this space possible. The Indigenous Women’s Advisory Council is building on the foundational work the province has been leading and the work of the Council is critical to ensuring the issues Indigenous Women face daily will be a priority.”

“I’m pleased Cora-lee McGuire-Cyrette has agreed to provide her leadership and expertise and I look forward to hearing the voices of these incredible individuals on how we can work together to prevent violence in all its forms,” said Minister Dunlop.

“Indigenous women, communities and organizations have been working tirelessly to address violence against Indigenous women, and the knowledge and expertise of the Council will be instrumental in ensuring our province’s continued response is effective and collaborative,” said Greg Rickford, Minister of Indigenous Affairs.

According to statistics, Indigenous women in Canada between the ages of 15-24 are more than three times likely to experience violence than non-Indigenous women. Indigenous women in Canada are two-and-a-half times more likely to experience spousal violence.

Currently, there is no dedicated provincial forum for Indigenous women and LGBTQ2S leaders and experts to engage on violence prevention issues.

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