In 2022, 184 women were violently killed across Canada. Compared to 2019, that number shows a rise of 24%.
According to a recent report by the web-based research and information centre Canadian Observatory for Justice and Accountability (CFOJA), these stats have shown a mostly upward trend.
In 2020, 160 women and girls lost their lives; in 2021, there were 173.
Canadian women and girls killed by violence up 24% compared to 2019: report #CallItFemicidehttps://t.co/4azZ5fuzQv
— Canadian Femicide Observatory (@CAN_Femicide) April 1, 2023
“This number brings the total number of women and girls killed since the establishment of the CFOJA to 850 during the five-year period 2018-2022,” reads the report. “This is a minimum estimate.”
Why is femicide in Canada on the rise?
The report suggests that the increase is likely due to the pandemic, which exacerbated “an already-bleak situation.”
“In addition to violence, these impacts include an increased burden of care related to children, the elderly and the sick, as well as occupational and economic losses leading to greater numbers living in poverty, and an increased reliance on men and patriarchal institutions,” states the report.
In times of crisis, women & girls face unique vulnerabilities, including increased gender-based violence, sexual exploitation and abuse.
Gender equality must be central to all efforts to protect & assist people affected by emergencies. pic.twitter.com/tpyaZ9g40U
— António Guterres (@antonioguterres) March 31, 2023
The gender pay gap also puts women in a vulnerable situation.
A report by Statistics Canada states that in 2021, female employees earned 11.1% less per hour compared to male employees, showing that little had changed since 2020.
In 2021, women in Canada earned 16.7% less than men, according to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
So, who’s at risk?
Women between the ages of 25 to 34 years made up 21% of the victims; the average age of women and girls killed was 42 years old. Between 2018 and 2022, the youngest victim was younger than one year old, while the oldest was 97 years old.
In all, 19% of victims were Indigenous women or girls.
The average age of men accused is 38 years old — 62% are current and former partners, while 24% are family members.
And compared to other parts of Canada, regions like Nunavut, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba had higher rates of femicide. Women and girls who lived in non-urban areas were at a higher risk.
The CFOJA says the government needs to recognize femicide as a distinct crime.
“Recognizing femicide as a distinct crime will contribute to the de-normalization of male violence against women and girls, including their killings, too often framed as a private issue rather than public violence that has widespread, negative consequences and is a matter of global public health concern,” states the report.