“The essential work of our members has been recognized by the commission and they've asked to hear from them directly” — Stephanie Smith, BCGEU President
Vancouver (2 Aug. 2017) — The B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU/NUPGE) has been granted standing in the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) allowing it to make formal written and oral submissions to the public inquiry.
The letter from the MMIWG states:
“On behalf of the Commissioners, the Application for Standing submitted by BC Government and Service Employees' Union has been granted, for greater certainty, the Commissioners have granted standing in Part I, for the Region of British Columbia, for the issues as applied, with full rights.”
“I am very pleased to hear our application was accepted. The essential work of our members has been recognized by the commission and they've asked to hear from them directly,” said Stephanie Smith, BCGEU President. “Several of our members around the province have worked with now missing and murdered women and girls, and feel strongly that their stories and experiences be shared with the commission.”
BCGEU report looks at work done by members to protect vulnerable women and girls
“I am so proud of the work our members do with Indigenous peoples and communities. We now have some of our most important work ahead of us as we prepare for our submission to the Inquiry. Recently, we released our report on Women's Services in B.C. – Collective Wisdom: Challenges and Opportunities in BC Women's Services. It speaks to the vital work our members do to protect and support vulnerable women and girls and their children, including many Indigenous women and girls. We intend to share this collective voice and experience directly with the inquiry.”
“We have already shared these findings with the Federal Minister of Status of Women, Honourable Maryam Monsef, as well as the former Provincial Minister of Social Development and Social Innovation, Honourable Michelle Stilwell. I hope to meet with Minister Monsef in September to further discuss our members' work, how we can better protect and support Indigenous women and girls, and how we can help provide healing and justice for their communities.”
The BCGEU will issue further updates as our involvement with the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls progresses.
NUPGE and Components pushed for the inquiry
NUPGE and its Components supported efforts to get the federal government to call an inquiry into the tragically high number of missing and murdered indigenous women. This has included supporting the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) and its Sisters in Spirit Initiative to increase awareness and address the issue of the appalling high number of Indigenous women and girls who are missing or have been murdered.
While an Inquiry has been called, it is clear that it needs to be restructured. To meet the hopes and expectations people have for the Inquiry, a process is needed that honours the lives of Indigenous women and girls and leads to measures to end the violence. Organizations like the Native Women's Association of Canada have made concrete suggestions for how the Inquiry can be restructured and it is hoped those suggestions will be listened to.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 370,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. ~ NUPGE