The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) is deeply concerned for the safety of Indigenous women, girls and gender-diverse people following the announcement that Greyhound is cancelling service to Western Canada. With the cancellation of the bus service, there are little to no alternatives for safe, affordable and reliable transportation in and out of northern communities.
Indigenous women and communities have previously expressed access concerns through surveys and public engagement with NWAC. Significant concerns already exist with a lack of reliable and affordable transportation. There are fears that the Greyhound service cancellations will further negatively affect Indigenous communities’ access to economic, political, health, and social services in a profound way.
This is especially true for Indigenous women, girls, and gender-diverse people with disabilities, functional, and activity limitations as Greyhound is one of the few transportation methods servicing northern communities, which has accessible travel options. NWAC published a report in April 2018 titled “Accessibility and Disability for Indigenous Women, Girls and Gender Diverse People.” This report details barriers that impede the ability to move freely in northern and urban communities.
NWAC is deeply concerned that the cancellation of busservice will significantly affect the safety of Indigenous women, girls, and gender-diverse people in remote and rural communities. The lack of safe transportation in and out of communities creates more vulnerability for Indigenous women, girls, and gender-diverse people by encouraging travellers to resort to less safe means of transportation such as hitch hiking or walking unsafe highways. By virtue of this significant access barrier, it will exacerbate the epidemic of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.
NWAC is calling on the federal government to intervene and ensure that safe, affordable and reliable transportation needs are available, improved upon, and not removed. The lives and safety of Indigenous women, girls and gender diverse people rely on this essential service.