Canada

2014
Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women in British Columbia, Canada. Inter-American Commission on Human Rights; 2014. Publisher's VersionAbstract

http://www.oas.org/en/iachr/docs/annual/2014/TOC.asp

Located under "Annexes."

This report addresses the situation of missing and murdered indigenous women in British Columbia, Canada. It analyzes the context in which indigenous women have gone missing and been murdered over the past several years and the response to this human rights issue by the Canadian State. The report offers recommendations geared towards assisting the State in strengthening its efforts to protect and guarantee indigenous women’s rights.

Indigenous women and girls in Canada have been murdered or have gone missing at a rate four times higher than the rate of representation of indigenous women in the Canadian population which is 4.3%. The most comprehensive numbers available were collected by the non-profit organization Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) through an initiative financed by the governmental entity Status of Women Canada. As of March 31, 2010, NWAC has gathered information regarding 582 cases of missing or murdered indigenous women and girls across the country from the past 30 years. Civil society organizations have long claimed that the number could be much higher, and new research indicates that over 1000 indigenous women could be missing or dead across Canada. Although high numbers of missing and murdered indigenous women in Canada have been identified at both the national and international levels, there are no trustworthy statistics that could assist in reaching a fuller understanding of this problem. The Government itself recognizes that Canada’s official statistics do not provide accurate information regarding the true numbers of missing and murdered indigenous women. In addition, there is no reliable source of disaggregated data on violence against indigenous women and girls because police across Canada do not consistently report or record whether or not the victims of violent crime are indigenous.

As the report explains, the numbers of missing and murdered indigenous women are particularly concerning when considered in light of the fact that indigenous people represent a small percentage of the total population of Canada. Although the information received by the Commission indicates that this could be a nationwide phenomenon, this report is focused on the situation in British Columbia, because the number of missing and murdered indigenous women is higher there in absolute terms than any other province or territory in Canada. 

 

Canada: Violence Against Indigenous Women. Human Rights Watch; 2014. Publisher's VersionAbstract

http://www.hrw.org/news/2014/01/31/canada-violence-against-indigenous-women

The Canadian government should set up an independent national inquiry into the violence experienced by indigenous women and girls and create a system for greater accountability for police misconduct, Human Rights Watch said today. Representatives from Human Rights Watch testified on January 30, 2014, before the Special Committee on Violence Against Indigenous Women in the Canadian House of Commons. They also urged officials to hold police responsible for misconduct.

2013
Those Who Take Us Away - Abusive Policing and Failures in Protection of Indigenous Women and Girls in Northern British Columbia, Canada. Human Rights Watch; 2013. Publisher's VersionAbstract

https://www.hrw.org/report/2013/02/13/those-who-take-us-away/abusive-pol...

The province of British Columbia has been particularly badly affected by violence against indigenous women and girls and by the failure of Canadian law enforcement authorities to deal with the phenomenon. Cutting through the small communities policed by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) in northern BC is the Highway of Tears, a 724-kilometer stretch of road which has become infamous for the dozens of women and girls who have gone missing or been murdered in its vicinity. 

The high rates of violence against indigenous women and girls have drawn widespread expressions of concern from national and international human rights authorities, which have repeatedly called for Canada to address the problem. But these calls for action have not produced sufficient change and indigenous women and girls continue to go missing or be murdered in unacceptably large numbers.

McInturff K. The Gap in the Gender Gap: Violence Against Women in Canada. Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives; 2013. Publisher's VersionAbstract

https://www.policyalternatives.ca/publications/reports/gap-gender-gap

This study finds that progress on ending violence against women in Canada is stalled by the absence of a coherent national policy and consistent information about the levels of that violence. The study estimates the combined cost of adult sexual assault and intimate partner violence in Canada, and also makes several recommendations on how to improve the situation. 

Sinha M ed. Measuring violence against women: Statistical trends. Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics; 2013. Publisher's VersionAbstract

http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/85-002-x/2013001/article/11766-eng.htm

For the past three decades, Federal-Provincial-Territorial (FPT) Ministers responsible for the Status of Women have shared a common vision to end violence against women in all its forms. Violence against women inCanada is a serious, pervasive problem that crosses every social boundary and affects communities across the country. It remains a significant barrier to women's equality and has devastating impacts on the lives of women, children, families and Canadian society as a whole.

This report marks the third time that the FPT Status of Women Forum has worked with Statistics Canada to add to the body of evidence on gender-based violence. Assessing Violence Against Women: A Statistical Profile was released in 2002 and was followed by Measuring Violence Against Women: Statistical Trends 2006. The 2006 report expanded the analysis into new areas, presenting information on Aboriginal women and women living in Canada's territories. The current report maintains this important focus and also includes information on dating violence, violence against girls and violence that occurs outside of the intimate partner/family context. It also shows trends over time and provides data at national, provincial/territorial, and census metropolitan area levels. A study on the economic impacts of one form of violence against women, spousal violence, is also presented.

2012
CEDAW. Case of Kell v. Canada. Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW); 2012. Publisher's VersionAbstract

http://www2.ohchr.org/english/law/jurisprudence.htm

CEDAW/C/51/D/19/2008

In 2012, the Committee on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women considered Kell v. Canada (CEDAW/C/51/D/19/2008). In 1990, William Senych applied for housing without the knowledge of his common law partner, Cecilia Kell, an Aboriginal woman from the Rae-Edzo community in the Northwest Territories (NWT) of Canada. Senych’s application was denied because he was not a member of the Rae-Edzo community for which the housing was earmarked. On the advice of a Tenant Relations officer at the Rae-Edzo Housing Authority, Kell then applied for housing, listing Senych as her spouse. In 1991, the NWT Housing Corporation issued an Agreement for Purchase and Sale to Kell and Senych as co-owners of the property. Senych subjected Kell to domestic violence, including economic abuse, over the subsequent three-year period. In 1993, following a request from Senych and without Kell’s knowledge, the NWT Housing Corporation (on instruction from the Rae-Edzo Housing Authority) removed Kell’s name from the Assignment of Lease, the document that certified co-ownership. The removal had the effect of making Senych the sole owner of the property. Senych was a board member of the Housing Authority at the time of his request

In 1995, Senych changed the locks and denied Kell access to the property. He subsequently sought to evict her while she sought protection in a shelter Kell filed proceedings against Senych in the NWT Supreme Court seeking compensation for assault, battery, sexual assault, intimidation, trespass to chattels, loss of use of her home and consequential payment of rent and attendant expenses. She also filed a declaration that Senych had obtained the property fraudulently, aided and abetted by the NWT Government. Kell was assigned a legal aid lawyer, who advised her to comply with the letter of eviction and did not challenge the letter’s validity. Shortly thereafter, Senych was diagnosed with cancer at which time Kell’s lawyer advised her to delay proceedings. Senych later died, following which Kell’s lawyer initiated proceedings against his estate, the NWT Housing Corporation and another. A replacement legal aid lawyer added a claim for damages for assault and intimidation. In 1999, Senych’s estate and the Housing Corporation offered Kell a monetary settlement. During negotiations, Kell’s case was twice reassigned to new lawyers. Both insisted that Kell settle. She refused, however, as her key concern was regaining the property. Following her refusal, Kell’s lawyer ceased acting on her behalf. Kell’s case was only re-assigned to a new lawyer after she appealed to the Legal Services Board. The Supreme Court dismissed both proceedings for “want of prosecution”. Costs were imposed against Kell and subsequent appeals were unsuccessful. In 2004, Kell filed a third action related to her interest in and right to the leasehold title and possession of the property. The property had then been sold and the Court dismissed the matter.

Kell subsequently submitted a communication to the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women in which she claimed that Canada had violated articles 1, 2(d), 2(e), 14(2)(h), 15(1)-15(4), 16(1)(h) of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. Kell claimed that Canada had allowed its agents – the NWT Housing Corporation and the Rae-Edzo Housing Authority – to discriminate against her on the grounds of sex, marital status and cultural heritage and had failed to ensure that its agents provide equal treatment to female housing applicants. Kell noted, in particular, Canada’s failure to prevent and remedy the fraudulent removal of her name from the Assignment of Lease and the failure to ensure that its agents afford women and men equal rights in respect of ownership, acquisition, management, administration and enjoyment of property.DV, sexual abuse

Istvanffy S. Case of M. P. M. v. Canada. Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW); 2012. Publisher's VersionAbstract

http://www2.ohchr.org/english/law/jurisprudence.htm

CEDAW/C/51/D/25/2010

M.P.M., a Mexican national, sought asylum in Canada in 2006.  M.P.M. claimed that she was entitled to asylum because she is a victim/survivor of domestic violence and was seeking to escape her abusive ex-husband, a Mexican police officer.

Canadian authorities dismissed M.P.M.’s claim on the basis that she had failed to establish that she was a refugee, within the meaning of the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees.  Authorities concluded that M.P.M. had falsely claimed to be a victim/survivor of domestic violence in order to obtain asylum in Canada and failed to provide credible and consistent evidence to support a claim of asylum.  An application for judicial review and a separate application for a pre-removal risk assessment were also dismissed. M.P.M. did not file an application to prevent her deportation on humanitarian and compassionate grounds because of the low success and cost of such applications.  In addition, she believed that Canadian authorities would dismiss such an application, since it would be based on the same arguments included in her previous unsuccessful applications. M.P.M. subsequently submitted a communication to the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (Committee) in which she claimed, inter alia, that there were substantial grounds for believing that her life and safety were at real risk if deported to Mexico.  M.P.M. submitted that Canada had violated articles 2(c), 2(d) and 3 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) by discriminating against her in her asylum claim and failing to ensure equal protection of her rights.  In addition, she submitted that the failure of Canadian authorities to take her vulnerable situation fully into account constituted a violation of article 15 concerning equality in legal and civil matters.  M.P.M. also claimed that Canada had violated article 16 of equality in marriage and family relations, but she failed to identify the basis of that claim.

The Committee concluded that the communication was ill-founded and not sufficiently substantiated and, thus, declared it inadmissible under article 4(2)(c) of the Optional Protocol.  In doing so, it noted the voluntary return of M.P.M. to Mexico, her failure to explain her return to the Committee or follow-up her communication, the absence of any reports of violence since her return to Mexico, and her failure to provide new evidence to the Committee to substantiate her claim.  Having declared the communication inadmissible on this basis, the Committee declined to consider Canada’s other objections to the admissibility of the communication.

2011
CEDAW. Case of Rivera v. Canada. Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW); 2011. Publisher's VersionAbstract

http://www2.ohchr.org/english/law/jurisprudence.htm

CEDAW/C/50/D/26/2010

In 2011, the Committee on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women considered Rivera v. Canada (CEDAW/C/50/D/26/2010). In 2006, Guadalupe Herrera Rivera (GHR), a Mexican national, claimed asylum in Canada, along with her then husband and their two minor children.  Canadian authorities denied the claim on the basis that it lacked credibility.

In October 2008, ‘Assistance aux femmes’, acting on behalf of GHR, filed applications with Immigration Canada for a pre-removal risk assessment (PRRA) and on humanitarian and compassionate (H&C) grounds.  The H&C grounds application included information about GHR’s experiences of domestic violence, the inadequate protection in Mexico against such violence, and the risk of GHR experiencing further violence if deported to Mexico.

In September 2010, GHR submitted a communication to the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW Committee) claiming that, if Canada deported her to Mexico, it would violate her rights under articles 1, 2(a)-2(d), 5(a) and 24 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).  GHR requested interim measures to prevent Canada from deporting her to Mexico while her communication was pending before the CEDAW Committee.

2010
Women, Peace and Security: Canada Moves Forward to Increase Women's Engagement. Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights; 2010. Publisher's VersionAbstract

http://www.parl.gc.ca/Content/SEN/Committee/403/huma/rep/rep05nov10-e.htm

From September 2009 to April 2010, the Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights conducted a study of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolution 1325 on women, peace and security, which was adopted unanimously by the Council in October 2000. The Committee focused its study on the implementation of the resolution by the UN and, in particular, Canada. Resolution 1325 was the first adopted by the Security Council to explicitly address the impact of armed conflict on women. It introduced a set of international standards for all UN member states, conflict belligerents, the UN system and its peacekeeping forces, and other stakeholders. Under the resolution, these actors must take varying steps to ensure that efforts to prevent resolve and rebuild from armed conflict incorporate the perspectives of women. They must facilitate women‘s full involvement in relevant decision-making. The resolution also calls for full implementation of international law relevant to armed conflict, condemning any violations of the rights and security of women.

This landmark resolution has since been strengthened by three additional Security Council resolutions. Resolution 1820 on sexual violence in armed conflict (2008) has as its sole objective the improvement of efforts to protect women and girls in conflict situations and to prosecute cases of human rights abuses against women therein – particularly sexual violence. Resolution 1888 (2009) institutes more robust implementing commitments. Resolution 1889 (2009) targets post-conflict peacebuilding.

2009
No More Stolen Sisters: The need for a comprehensive response to discrimination and violence against Indigenous women in Canada. Amnesty International; 2009. Publisher's VersionAbstract

http://www.amnesty.ca/research/reports/no-more-stolen-sisters-the-need-f...

Indigenous women in Canada face much higher rates of violence than other women. In a 2004 Canadian government survey, Indigenous women reported rates of violence, including domestic violence and sexual assault, 3.5 times higher than non-Indigenous women. Studies suggest that assaults against Indigenous women are not only more frequent, they are also often particularly brutal. According to another government survey, young First Nations women are five times more likely than other women to die as a result of violence.

No More Stolen Sisters: The need for a comprehensive response to discrimination and violence against Indigenous women in Canada. Amnesty International; 2009. Publisher's VersionAbstract

http://www.amnesty.ca/research/reports/no-more-stolen-sisters-the-need-f...

‘Families like mine all over Canada are wondering how many more sisters and daughters we have to lose before real government action is taken.’ Darlene Osborne whose relatives, Felicia Solomon and Helen Betty Osborne, were murdered.

Indigenous women in Canada face much higher rates of violence than other women. In a 2004 Canadian government survey, Indigenous women reported rates of violence, including domestic violence and sexual assault, 3.5 times higher than non-Indigenous women. Studies suggest that assaults against Indigenous women are not only more frequent, they are also often particularly brutal. According to another government survey, young First Nations women are five times more likely than other women to die as a result of violence.

In October 2004, Amnesty International released  a report, Stolen Sisters: A Human Rights Response to Discrimination and Violence against Indigenous Women in Canada which documented some of the underlying causes of violence against Indigenous women carried out by both Indigenous and non-Indigenous men. As the report showed, widespread and entrenched racism, poverty and marginalization are critical factors exposing Indigenous women to a heightened risk of violence while denying them adequate protection by police and government services.