Red Dress Alert pilot project developed by Canada and Manitoba

A new pilot program will be implemented in Manitoba that will notify the public about missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, two-spirit people and gender diverse people.

It’s called the Red Dress Alert system and it’s a partnership between Ottawa and the province.

Last year, Winnipeg Center NDP MP Leah Gazan proposed a motion in the House of Commons declaring the deaths and disappearances of Indigenous women and girls a Canada-wide emergency. The motion called for immediate funding for a new alert system similar to the Amber Alert program, which is an emergency notification that people receive by phone, television and radio when a child in their region has been abducted or is believed to be in danger. and Silver Alerts which are used to locate vulnerable seniors.

The motion was supported unanimously.

In March, according to an NDP statement, a study on the Red Dress Alert system began in the Committee on the Status of Women. He listened to family members, survivors and grassroots leaders to provide recommendations on the best ways to implement the alert.

Meanwhile, similar warning systems have already been implemented south of the border.

Washington state created the first alert system for missing indigenous peoples in the United States in 2022. Known as MIPA, it coexists with Amber Alerts and Silver Alerts.

California’s statewide Feather Alert Program also became law in 2022. It is available to law enforcement investigating the suspicious or unexplained disappearance of a woman or Indigenous person. The alert provides immediate information to the public to assist in rapid recovery.

Statistics Canada concluded in a report last year that the homicide rate for Indigenous women and girls was six times that of their non-Indigenous counterparts.

A national investigation concluded five years ago that they are 12 times more likely to disappear or be murdered.

With files from the Canadian Press.