The Yukon, like all of Canada’s territories, has higher rates of gender-based violence (GBV) compared to our southern counterparts.
The pandemic has had a profound impact on Yukon women and 2SLGBTQQIA+ folks. Because care-work is very gendered, many pre-existing gender inequities were accelerated due to COVID – to the extent that some think women have been set back decades in terms of gender equality.
In the Yukon, daycares and schools closed during lockdown, and women were expected to provide unpaid care for their children and families, preventing them from earning money for themselves. People in situations of intimate partner violence (IPV) were forced to lockdown with abusive partners. The closure of Many Rivers Society in late 2019 – Yukon’s only public counselling provider- meant that the Yukon was stripped of essential mental health care services.
The Yukon’s housing and opioid crises are gendered. The data shows that Yukon women, but especially Indigenous women, are being hurt and killed by Yukon’s lack of affordable housing and Yukon’s tainted drug supply more than anyone else. We do not have data specific to the 2SLGTBQQIA+ community, but we know from research that they are disproportionately impacted by these crises as well. Meanwhile, there is a marked absence of reliable data used to inform adequate GBV responses. Many of Yukon’s communities lack basic GBV response infrastructure, such as women’s shelters. Meanwhile existing organizations are strapped with increased demand and no core funding to offer competitive salaries and meet the increasing community demand.
On November 9, 2022 the Federal Government announcement the launch of the National Action Plan to End Gender Based Violence, with a promise to transfer millions of dollars to the provinces and territories. This plan is informed by over 10 years of work from Women’s Groups across Canada and calls to action. It is time now to implement. It is time to share power with the community organizations who have been leading this charge for decades. It is time to create community solutions, in partnership and to properly fund gender-based violence organizations to do this work.
We deserve better. Our communities cannot thrive until they are safe for all. Gender based violence is complex, but not unsolvable. The solutions are in reach. Each of us together can create the change we want to see.
We call on our community and the Yukon Government to implement these 16 Calls to Action to create safer communities for all. Together we can break the systemic barriers that contribute to gender-based violence.
Call to Action 1
Ensure that equity seeking organizations have consistent core funding and are meaningfully included to bring gender-based analysis to policy and program development.
Call to Action 2
Get better data about Gender Based Violence in the Yukon so we can implement strategies that work for our unique needs in the Territory.
Call to Action 3
Implement the Yukon Strategy on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and Two-Spirit + People (MMIWG2S+).
Call to Action 4
Jointly develop a Yukon strategy to implement the National Action Plan to end Gender Based Violence in equal partnership with Yukon’s equity seeking organizations.
Call to Action 5
Create a Sexual Health Education Strategy for the Yukon and support a whole-of-community approach to raising the next generation with skills for healthy relationships.
Call to Action 6
Address the housing crisis, and end chronic homelessness in the territory by implementing the 10 community calls to action from Safe at Home Society and participate fully in the Coordinated Housing Access Team (CHAT) process.
Call to Action 7
Keep folks facing violence housed – by ensuring Yukon Housing policies and other housing supports prevent unnecessary evictions of folks experiencing violence.
Call to Action 8
Ensure financial independence to those fleeing violence by immediately increasing social assistance rates and implementing a Basic Minimum Income pilot in partnership with Yukon Anti-Poverty Coalition and other equity seeking organizations.
Call to Action 9
Implement the Government of Yukon’s LGBTQ2S+ Inclusion Action Plan to ensure that Queer & Trans people have access to public services free of discrimination, harassment or violence, particularly in the area of healthcare and social services.
Call to Action 10
Combat transmisogyny and fill the gaps in services so that trans women are supported when facing gender-based violence.
Call to Action 11
Overhaul and update all Family Law legislation in the Yukon to ensure that those experiencing violence and their children can escape their abusers.
Call to Action 12
Ensure everyone has access to the lawyers they need so they have due process in family and criminal cases.
Call to Action 13
Update the Coroner's Act to ensure that deaths by femicide are labeled that way and that data about femicide is shared to inform effective change.
Call to Action 14
Implement Keira's Law - a law to teach judges and other front line justice staff about coercive control and ensure that gender based violence is considered in custody cases.
Call to Action 15
Implement a safe supply of drugs to prevent more deaths in Yukon immediately.
Call to Action 16
Implement more supports for perpetrators of violence including restorative justice options for families, and long-term healing and counseling supports.