Gender Equality under the Indian Act

Thursday October 5, 2017

The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau

Office of the Prime Minister
80 Wellington Street
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A2

Dear Prime Minister Trudeau:

Advancement of Women Halton(AWH) was established in 2008. We are a non-partisan, issue oriented collaborative of community groups. Our mission is to promote advancement of women by developing and supporting social, political, cultural and economic strategies to achieve gender equality municipally, regionally, nationally and internationally. Our key issues are democracy, poverty, childcare, violence perpetrated against women, affordable housing, pay equity, diverse and marginalized women, distribution of income and reproductive rights to name a few.

AWH acknowledges the government’s continuing efforts to focus on women’s equality locally and internationally which was clearly demonstrated in your address to the General Assembly of the United Nations on the plight of the Indigenous People in Canada.

Unfortunately, earlier, on June 21, 2017 which is National Aboriginal Day, we were saddened to learn that the government did not include full gender equality rights in Bill S-3 because it would be too costly. The cost of eliminating sex-based inequalities in sex registration under the Indian Act is not a valid reason recognized in international human rights law.

Indigenous women and their children have been waiting for over 40 years for comprehensive amendments to the Indian Act. By not acting on this opportunity, Canada we believe, is in contravention of the United Declaration for the Rights of Indigenous People and contrary to the findings of Canadian courts and the international human rights bodies that have urged Canada to act beyond what the government is currently doing.

Ensuring gender equality under the Indian Act will help to ease the human rights crisis faced by Indigenous Women in Canada and will complete some of the work Canada needs to do to end the legacy of colonialism.

AWH members and supporters would like to know when the Liberal Government will ensure full gender equality rights in the Indian Act and Bill S-3? Or repeal the Indian Act altogether?

We look forward to your response.

Sincerely,

Ancilla Ho-Young

Chair, Advancement of Women Halton

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