Released on June 5, 2023
The Government of Saskatchewan continues to work with Indigenous partners, including in response to the 2019 federal Calls for Justice and subsequent National Action Plan on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) and 2SLGTBQQIA+ people.
“This year, the Government of Saskatchewan is investing $27.5 million in programs and services, many of which are community-based and Indigenous-led, that address the issues of missing persons and interpersonal violence and abuse," Justice Minister and Attorney General Bronwyn Eyre said. "Our foremost goal is to help promote safety, prevention and root causes."
The $27.5 million includes:
- $8.9 million to support 12 provincially-funded transition houses and three enhanced residential programs that provide immediate shelter needs for those fleeing domestic violence.
- $876,000 in new operational funding over three years for second stage housing for counselling and intervention supports, including to Sapohtewan House, which is owned and operated by the La Ronge Native Women’s Council Inc.
- $150,000 to Hope Restored Canada to deliver services to victims of human trafficking for secure housing, counseling, treatment and life skills programs. 67 per cent of residents at Hope Restored in Saskatoon are Indigenous women.
- $1.97 million in 14 communities for 16 family violence intervention programs, including in La Ronge, Meadow Lake, North Battleford, Melfort, Hudson Bay, Humboldt, Saskatoon, Kindersley, Yorkton, Fort Qu’Appelle, Regina, Moose Jaw, Swift Current and Estevan.
- $662,000 for the Family Intervention Rapid Support Team (FIRST) to support families at a higher risk for violence and to mitigate potential crisis situations.
- $170,000 to support transportation initiatives through the Northern Transportation and Support Initiative and Transportation Reimbursement Fund for individuals and their families leaving interpersonal violence and abuse, or who are in immediate need of a sexual assault forensic examination.
- $96,000 to expand the Victim Advocate Case Review (VACR) program from Saskatoon and Regina to Moose Jaw and Prince Albert, to help improve sexual assault investigation methods and increase the likelihood that offenders will be held accountable for their actions.
The Government of Saskatchewan has also provided the Saskatoon Tribal Council with $1.2 million in funding in 2023-24 for the īkwēskīcik iskwēwak (ah-gwee-ski-chick isk-way-wuk, Cree for “Women Turning Their Lives Around,”) pilot program to provide up to 18 months of intensive supports and programming for women who frequently return to custody for minor offences.
In addition, the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls+ Community Response Fund provides $400,000 to Indigenous community-based programs that promote and enhance prevention and safety.
“Saskatchewan will continue to collaborate with our Indigenous partners and federal and provincial counterparts to take action against gender-based violence; foster healing for victims and survivors and promote safety in all our communities,” Minister Responsible for First Nations, Métis, and Northern Affairs Don McMorris said. “The development of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls+ Community Response Fund has been guided by the voices and experiences of Indigenous women. Last year, twelve community-led projects received support through this fund to address the issues raised in the Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls."
In November of 2022, Saskatchewan also endorsed the National Action Plan to End Gender Based Violence.
“The impacts of gender-based violence have lasting effects on the survivors, their families, and our communities,” Minister Responsible for the Status of Women Laura Ross said. “That’s why the province offers programs that provide direct support and funding as well as awareness campaigns like Face the Issue to help people understand the challenges and find solutions. We are working on multiple levels to support, inform, and prevent violence in Saskatchewan and across Canada.”
The Government of Saskatchewan also continues to support the Dene Teacher Education Program, Indigenous language scholarships, and the Mitacs Indigenous Pathways internship program, and is working closely with over 20 First Nations and Métis education authorities, Elders, and Knowledge Keepers to develop a provincial education plan for 2030.
In addition, the Family Information Liaison Unit (FILU) helps families of MMIWG navigate government processes to ensure that they are able to access support and information about their loved ones. Currently, FILU supports over 170 families of MMIWG across the province. In 2020, an independent evaluation indicated that over 90 per cent of families served by the FILU reported that they received information and assistance in a way that respected their beliefs and culture.
To recognize Red Dress Day on May 5, 2023, several families of MMIWG attended the Saskatchewan Legislature for the opening of the 'Heart Spirits' exhibit, which honours missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. The week of May 1, the Saskatchewan Missing Persons Partnership, chaired by the Government of Saskatchewan, brought together families of missing people to mark the 10th Anniversary of Missing Persons Week with a walk to honour the missing.
Finally, the 2023-24 provincial budget includes the following funding:
- $214,000 for three Missing Persons liaison program positions in Prince Albert (1), Regina (1), and Saskatoon (1) to support families of missing persons and offer training and consultation to other police-based Victim Services volunteers across the province.
- $458,000 for four Missing Person Task Force police positions in Regina (2), Saskatoon (1), and Prince Albert (1).
- $105,000 for additional missing persons support in Saskatchewan, including counselling, sharing circles, and educational sessions for professionals and family members.
For more information, contact:Ariane Whiting
Justice and Attorney General