Canada’s Minister of Status of Women, Patty Hajdu, was in Yellowknife on Thursday for a round table discussion focused on gender-based violence.

Hajdu, who took over as minister last fall, has been tasked with the development of the federal government’s strategy against gender-based violence. The report will be Canada’s first-ever national strategy against gender-based violence and is expected to be released by early 2017.

“There are a lot of areas that need to be recognized, we need to deal with the root causes, we certainly need to put more investment to the programs at work,” said Northwest Territories MP Michael McLeod, who was in attendance.

Thursday’s round table was a part of a summer-long tour of Canada for Hajdu, who’s talking to survivors, non-profits who work with them, academics, community leaders, business owners, and the legal community.

The names of attendees, however, are not released as confidentiality is part of the round table’s approach.

People from Labrador, Nunavut, Yukon and Northwest Territories were in attendance, to discuss how to prevent gender-based violence and what could be included in the federal strategy.

“We talked about our region, key and emerging issues related to gender-based violence in our areas, what’s working, what gaps are out there and we kind of wrapped it up with a discussion on what the federal government’s role is,” said McLeod.

The round table included indigenous people, but the discussion on gender-based violence is separate from the inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women, which was officially unveiled earlier this month.

STATS SAY WOMEN MORE AFFECTED 

The United Nations defines violence against women as “any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life.”

Both men and women experience violence, but stats show that women experience higher rates. In fact, according to the General Social Survey on Victimization, women’s risk of violent victimization was about 20 per cent higher than men’s in 2014.

“For too many years we’ve had discussions on violence against women, I think the government is taking the lead and we should have a good document to work with,” said McLeod.

Hajdu’s visit comes after the Liberals announced that an advisory council would be formed as a “a forum to exchange views, promising practices and research on issues related to gender-based violence.”

Members of the council come from various backgrounds and areas of expertise, including:

  • LGBTQQI2S issues
  • engaging men and boys
  • cyber violence
  • sexual violence
  • violence against people with disabilities
  • violence against Indigenous women and girls
  • the criminal justice system