working group
Joint Working Group on Violence Against Aboriginal Women representatives
during the October 21 meeting in Toronto. (Left to right) front row: MNO Chair
France Picotte, Minister Teresa Piruzza, Minister David Zimmer, Sheila
McMahon (Ontario Federation of Indian Friendship Centres), and Dr. Dawn
Harvard (Ontario Native Women’s Association). Back row: Tobias
McQuabbie (Shwanaga First Nation), Grand Chief Harvey Yesno (Nishnawbe
Aski Nation), Deputy Grand Chief Denise Stonefish (Association of Iroquois
and Allied Indians), and Lynda Lynch (Animbiigoo Zaagi’igan Anishinaabek
First Nation).

On October 21, Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) Chair France Picotte represented President Gary Lipinski on behalf of the MNO at a meeting of the members of the Joint Working Group (JWG) on Violence Against Aboriginal Women (VAAW). The Honourable Teresa Piruzza, Minister Responsible for Women’s Issues and the Honourable David Zimmer, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs were both in attendance.

The MNO has been a key player in advancing the agenda to end VAAW. It has participated in five summits on ending VAAW, is a full signatory to the Framework to End Violence Against Aboriginal Women and an active member of the JWG on VAAW since its inception in 2010. The MNO has also been integrating awareness about VAAW within the MNO and in particular the Women’s Secretariat of the MNO has been heavily involved in this critical issue. Also representing the MNO were MNO Chief Operating Officer Doug Wilson and MNO Director of Healing and Wellness Wenda Watteyne.

The meeting was the second opportunity for the JWG, which consists of ten provincial ministries, the MNO, the Ontario Federation of Indian Friendship Centres, the Ontario Native Women’s Association, the Chiefs of Ontario and Independent First Nations to report on its progress. The MNO commended the Government of Ontario for supporting efforts to reduce the very high rates of violence affecting Metis, First Nations and Inuit women in Ontario and called upon the two lead Ministers to report back to their cabinet colleagues on progress and ongoing challenges articulated in the meeting. It is expected that the JWG will continue to convene on an annual basis.