Over a year into a national action plan to end violence against Indigenous women, progress is being made to implement two of the calls for justice from the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.
Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Marc Miller announced Tuesday that Jennifer Moore Rattray has been appointed as a ministerial special representative to provide advice and recommendations to create an Indigenous and human rights ombudsperson.
The announcement was made following a national roundtable with federal, provincial, territorial and Indigenous representatives on missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQ people.
"We've heard from many Indigenous partners, including the National Family and Survivors Circle that was present today that acceleration for Call for Justice 1.7 is critical," Miller told reporters at a virtual news conference on Tuesday.
Rattray, a member of the Peepeekisis First Nation in Saskatchewan, is currently the chief operating officer at Manitoba's Southern Chiefs' Organization and sits on the board of directors of CBC/Radio-Canada.
"I am honoured to be appointed as ministerial special representative to be undertaking this important work," said Moore Rattray in a statement.
Moore Rattray is also the former executive director of the national inquiry, which concluded that violence against Indigenous women and girls amounts to genocide and delivered its final report and 231 calls for justice to the prime minister in June 2019.
'Her experience and knowledge is critically important to this work," said Miller.
"Through the engagement with families, survivors and partners, Moore Rattray will provide guidance and advise on how to best address this critical Call for Justice in a way that is both meaningful and relevant."
Oversight body critical: survivors circle
Call for Justice 1.7 called for federal, provincial, and territorial governments, in partnership with Indigenous Peoples, to establish a national Indigenous and human rights ombudsperson with authority in all jurisdictions to receive complaints from Indigenous people and communities and to conduct independent evaluations of government services for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis.
It also called for the establishment for a national Indigenous and human rights tribunal. Both the ombudsperson and the tribunal must be given sufficient resources to fulfil their mandates and must be permanent, according to the report.
The National Family and Survivors Circle (NFSC), which made significant contributions to the development of the national action plan, was critical in June of the lack of progress made on the calls for justice that relate to setting up accountability mechanisms and better tracking of data.
An oversight body, in the form of the ombudsperson, was one of the critical recommendations it said needed to be established before June 3, 2022.
Miller also announced that Innovation 7, a First Nations organization based out of Pikwakanagan, Ont., has been chosen to develop recommendations for an oversight mechanism to enhance accountability and progress in ending violence toward Indigenous women, girls and gender-diverse people.
It's in response to Call for Justice 1.10: to create an independent mechanism to report on the implementation of the national inquiry's calls for justice to Parliament, annually. It was also one of the short-term priorities of the National Action Plan announced in 2021.
The Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Crisis Line is available to provide emotional support and crisis referral services to individuals impacted by the issue of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ individuals. Call the toll-free crisis line at 1-844-413-6649. This service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.