Statement in Senate about 2017 EFry Conference

“Honourable Senators,

This past Friday, Senator St. Germaine and I had the honour of presenting at the conference, entitled, “The Need for Justice and Equality for Indigenous and All Women” cohosted by the Elixabeth fry society du Quebec, the association canadienne des societies Elizabeth fry et l’University de Montreal.

Held on unceded Mohawk territory, opened by Kanehsatake Elder John Cree, andEllen Gabriel, Cultural consultant for the Kanehsata:ke Language and Cultural Centre. The conference included a message from Senator Murray Sinclair and presentations by Dr. Cindy Blackstock, Executive Director of First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada, and  six courageous Indigenous women, 5 of whom have experienced marginalization and victimization, as well as criminalization and imprisonment.

Two attended residential schools – all experienced the inter-generational impact, and against all odds, are now building their lives, as they integrate into communities across this country.  The youngest was born in prison and is graduating high school this month and commencing her studies at the University of Saskatchewan this fall.

To each of them, to Joey, Yvonne, Odelia, Lisa, Kaila and to Haley, I say, Meegwetch. Thank you for your bravery, your resilience and your strength …. Thank you for surviving some of the most unimaginable horrors. Thank you for the privilege of allowing me to walk with, learn from and advocate on behalf of you.

We also heard about the extreme lack of funding allotted to First Nations communities for the education of children – 1/3rd less than any other Canadian child living off reserve. In fact, only one in six has grown up with clean drinking water – that would be as if only 17 of us in this Chamber would have had the opportunity to actually drink water from our taps…

It was Supreme Court of Canada Justice Rosalee Abella who once observed, “We have no business figuring out the cost of justice until we can figure out the cost of injustice,”…Honourable Senators.

It was Gord Downie who said that when it comes to the poverty, racism and discrimination suffered by the Aboriginal people of Canada – we have been trained to look away. I urge each and every one of us to not look away.

As stated by, Cindy Blackstock, we must act now to ensure that future generations of Indigenous children don’t have to recover from their childhood – and future generations non Indigenous children don’t have to say they’re sorry…

Thank you, Merci, Meegwetch”

— Senator Kim Pate

ANNONCE – Semaine nationale Elizabeth Fry : 8 au 14 Mai 2017

National Elizabeth Fry Week – May 8 – 14, 2017

CAEFS is now accepting applications for Executive Director

Click the links for more information:

CAEFS Executive Director Job Description – 2017

CAEFS Executive Director Job Posting – 2017

Sign the E-petition: A push to end segregation

Petition to the House of Commons

  • Ms. Terry Baker, born July 14, 1985, was pronounced dead on July 6, 2016, when doctors removed the life support that allowed them to retrieve the organs she wished to donate. Terry had significant, well-documented mental health issues and spent much of her 14 years in prison in segregation. She died in the same segregation unit where Ashley Smith died in 2007, more than 30 months after the jury in the Ashley Smith inquest condemned the use of segregation for women with mental health issues;
  • Indigenous women and those with disabling mental health issues are amongst the fastest growing prison populations in Canada, and at the greatest risk of being harmed by or dying in segregation;
  • The Honourable Louise Arbour recently called for an end to the use of segregation and a review and remediation of the cases of those whose sentences have been made harsher due to their conditions of confinement;
  • The United Nations, Ontario and Canadian Human Rights Commissions, Supreme Court of Canada, and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission have variously urged Canada to remedy the inequalities, isolation and over-incarceration of Indigenous Peoples, those with mental health issues, and women; and
  • The Prime Minister mandated the Ministers of Justice and Public Safety to implement the recommendations from the Ashley Smith Inquest and reduce incarceration.

We, the undersigned, Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies, call upon the Government of Canada to review and remedy the cases of all women prisoners placed in segregation in federal prisons for women over the past five years.

The Petition is open for signature until November 30, 2016, at 1:16 p.m. (EDT)

Report to the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women on the Occasion of the Committee’s Eighth and Ninth Periodic Review of Canada


Live stream Link: The A Word: Reclaiming Advocacy

For those who cannot attend CAEFS and Elizabeth Fry Society of Ottawa’s conference, The A Word: Reclaiming Advocacy, you can live stream the event June 3rd, from 8h00-17hr30

CAEFS / Elizabeth Fry Ottawa 2016 Conference Poster: The A Word: Reclaiming Advocacy

CAEFS conference poster 2016

CAEFS: EFRY Conference Poster 2016

Announcing Elizabeth Fry Week: May 2 to May 8, 2016

The Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies (CAEFS) celebrates National Elizabeth Fry Week annually. Elizabeth Fry Societies across the country organize public events in their communities throughout the week.

Our goal is to enhance public awareness and education regarding the circumstances of victimized and criminalized women involved in the criminal justice system.

We hope to gradually break down the negative stereotypes that exist about women who are imprisoned and institutionalized.

National Elizabeth Fry Week is always the week preceding Mother’s Day. The majority of women who are criminalized and imprisoned are mothers. Most of them were the sole supporters of their families at the time they were incarcerated.

When mothers are sentenced to prison, their children are sentenced to separation. We try to draw attention to this reality by ending Elizabeth Fry Week on Mother’s Day each year.

By focusing on “Meeting Women’s Needs in the Community and Alternatives to Institutionalization”, our 24 member societies encourage Canadians to examine some productive and responsible means of encouraging community responses to addressing criminal justice matters from coast to coast.

Our hope is that, particularly in this time of fiscal restraint, this sort of proactive focus will encourage the development of and support for community-based alternatives to costly incarceration.

CAEFS challenges Canadians to reach behind the walls and bring women into our communities, so that they may take responsibility and account for their actions in ways that make sense to them and to us.

National E Fry Week 2016 (Word)

National E Fry Week 2016 (PDF)

Sallows Fry Conference Schedule of Presentations (with Links)

Sallows Fry Conference

A Canadian Crisis:  Criminalization & Imprisonment of Indigenous Women & those with Disabling Mental Health Issues


Web site:


THURSDAY, MAY 21, 2015

Ceremonial Opening

Welcome Remarks (Video): Ariel F. Sallows Chair in Human Rights Kim Pate, Acting Dean Beth Bilson,Senator Lillian Dyck, Chief Commissioner David Arnot


  • Canada’s treatment of Immigration detainees with disabling mental health issues: Brainstorming effective advocacy strategies – Paloma van Groll
  • A Tort Remedy: Misfeasance in Public Office and Administrative Segregation – Aliya Chouinard, Margaret Hall
  • Project Access: Telephone and Visitor Access in Saskatchewan Correctional Centres – Sarah Buhler, Amanda Dodge
  • A torture-free U of S: not just a pipe dream – Dan LeBlanc
  • Buffalo Sage Wellness House (BSWH) Section 81 Healing Lodge Process Review – Amy Pilon
  • Listening to ‘Talk Story’: Lessons from the Hawai’i Girls Court for Women’s/Girls’ Corrections in Atlantic Canada –Josephine Savarese
  • Understanding Past Mistakes, Pursuing Social Equity, and Fostering Belonging: Responsible Citizenship for Restorative Outcomes – Chief Commissioner D. Arnot
  • PAWSitive Reflections: How the Work of a St. John Ambulance Therapy Dog Supports a Trauma-Informed Approach to Prisoner Health – Nancy Poole, Colleen Dell
  • Indigenous Girls and the Violence of Settler Colonial Policing – Jaskiran Dhillon


FRIDAY, MAY 22, 2015


  • Legal Strategies to Address Violence Against Indigenous Women and Girls – Kim Stanton, Mary Eberts, Pippa Feinstein, Christa Big Canoe
  • Shoplifting as a Mental Health Issue – Helen Smith-McIntyre, Doreen Burns, Delores Kenny
  • Colonization, the Indian Act, and the Criminal Code all have a direct impact on the negative attitudes currently faced by many Indigenous Women across Canada – Colleen Whitedeer
  • Innovative Programming for Aboriginal Prisoners – Diann Block, Allison Piché, Nancy Van Styvendale
  • Gender, Race and Custodial Space – Carmen Plaunt, Chantel Huel
  • An arrow through my heart: Survival from the Streets to the Height of Academia – Sharon Acoose and guests
  • Through the Eyes of Women: What a Co-operative Can Mean in Supporting Women through Confinement and Integration – Isobel Findlay
  • Risky Business: Democratising Success and the Case of Federally Sentenced Aboriginal Women – Nancy Poon
  • Claiming Digital Space: Violence Against Women and Indigenous Women’s Filmmaking/Short Film Screening and Discussion – Tasha Hubbard
  • Using a Macro Cultural Psychological Approach to Expose Realities and Transform the Conversation – Alyssa Benedict
  • The Situation of Aboriginal Women in Canada: The Journey Forward – Native Women’s Association of Canada –Teresa Edwards