Joint Declaration for a Canada free of Gender-based violence
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Announced on January 22, 2021, the Joint Declaration for a Canada free of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) was endorsed by the Federal, Provincial, and Territorial Ministers responsible for the Status of Women during their 38th Conference.
This declaration is a historic milestone in the response to GBV and the advancement of gender equality for people across Canada. This federal, provincial and territorial collaboration represents an important step in developing a National Action Plan to End Gender-Based Violence in Canada.
Joint Declaration for a Canada free of Gender-based violence
We, the Federal, ProvincialFootnote*, and Territorial Ministers responsible for the Status of Women, share a fundamental commitment to work toward a Canada free of gender-based violence. Together, we announce our common vision, principles, goals and pillars for a National Action Plan to End Gender-based Violence, which will be an evolving approach to guide our actions in preventing and addressing gender-based violence.
Building on our ongoing work, we recognize that:
- Everyone has the right to live free from violence;
- Many people in Canada have violence committed against them and continue to experience violence every day because of their gender, gender identity, gender expression, or how their gender is perceived by others;
- This form of violence constitutes gender-based violence, and it is one of the most pervasive, deadly and deeply rooted human rights violations. Gender-based violence is a major barrier to the expression of individual freedom and societal and collective development;
- The negative effects of gender-based violence reach far beyond the individuals who have this violence committed against them. Violence can have long-lasting and negative health, social and economic effects that span generations, often leading to cycles of violence and abuse within families, and sometimes whole communities;
- While violence affects people of all genders, ages, religions, cultures, ethnicities, geographic locations, and socio-economic backgrounds, some populations are more at risk of experiencing violence because of historical and ongoing oppressions, such as sexism, homophobia, transphobia, colonialism, ageism, classism, racism, ableism;
- To this day, women and girls continue to be the primary victims and survivors of gender-based violence;
- Indigenous women; Black and racialized women; non-binary, gender diverse and LGBTQ and Two-Spirit people; those living in northern, rural, and remote communities; those with disabilities; non-status and temporary status migrants, immigrants and refugees; children and youth; and seniors experience high rates of gender-based violence. The intersection of any two or more identity factors compounds a person’s risk and vulnerability to violence;
- Gender-based violence is a complex and multifaceted issue that requires action by all governments according to their respective responsibilities, as well as cross-sector collaboration;
- With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent guidelines to stay at home, there has been an increase in the frequency and severity of some forms of gender-based violence. The pandemic has highlighted the lack of necessary resources to meet the needs of those experiencing gender-based violence.
We, the Federal, Provincial and Territorial Ministers responsible for the Status of Women acknowledge the urgency to address the multiple, complex and deeply rooted factors that contribute to gender-based violence. We commit to continue to work together and with other departments, agencies and ministries, partners, stakeholders, experts, survivors, families and people with lived experience to create a Canada free of gender-based violence, where victims, survivors and their families are supported no matter where they live. More than ever, there is a strong need to prevent and address gender-based violence in our country.
To achieve this vision, we agree that concrete efforts are required at the federal, provincial and territorial levels. We further commit to ensuring that our efforts align with and complement our responses to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action and the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls’ Calls for Justice.
This joint declaration represents a significant milestone and is the first step to continue, accelerate and strengthen the concrete actions that we have been carrying out for decades to end gender-based violence. We commit to continuing to collaborate closely to work towards the development of a National Action Plan to End Gender-based Violence.
National Action Plan to End Gender-Based Violence: A High-Level Framework for Joint Action
Gender-based violence is one of the most pervasive, deadly and deeply-rooted human rights violations. It is a significant barrier to achieving gender equality, but it is preventable.
A Canada free of gender-based violence. A Canada that supports victims, survivors and their families, no matter where they live.
Preventing and addressing gender-based violence necessitates coordinated and collaborative actions from federal, provincial and territorial governments, each working within their respective jurisdictional authorities, in close partnership with survivors, Indigenous partners, civil society, front-line service providers, municipalities, the private sector and researchers. Joint efforts in support of this National Action Plan will align with and complement the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action and the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls’ Calls for Justice.
- Be flexible in response to regional and sectoral realities
- Respect jurisdictional authority of each order of government
- Promote interjurisdictional collaboration
- Support Indigenous-led solutions
- Ground in an intersectional approach
- Promote a multi-sectoral, cross-departmental/ministry approach
- Support community-based, community centered approaches
- Promote evidence-based, innovative and responsive policy and programs
- Incorporate a systems view of services and programs
- Be survivor-centric and inclusive of children and families
- Recognize the expertise of survivors and community agencies providing support
- Be trauma and violence informed
- Be culturally safe, relevant, accessible and appropriate
- Recognize that community organizations provide gender-based violence supports and services that are critical to advancing gender equality
- Recognize the role of men and boys in addressing gender-based violence
- Engage all people in Canada in changing the social norms, attitudes and behaviours that contribute to gender-based violence
- Address the social and economic determinants that contribute to and perpetuate gender-based violence
- Ensure anyone facing gender-based violence has reliable and timely access to culturally appropriate and accessible protection and services
- Improve the health, social, economic and justice outcomes of those impacted by gender-based violence
- Support for survivors and their families
- Promotion of responsive legal and justice systems
- Support for Indigenous-led approaches and informed responses
- Social infrastructure and enabling environment
Implementing and monitoring this Plan requires collaboration within and across governments and Indigenous partners; and engagement with victims, survivors and their families, direct service providers, experts, and researchers. Federal, provincial, territorial efforts are complemented by local/community approaches and responses. Knowledge mobilization of surveillance data, research findings, and frontline expertise will support evidence-based policy and program development.
- News Release – Status of Women Ministers Endorse Declaration for a Canada Free of Gender-Based Violence
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