There are no reliable, or for that matter unreliable statistics on the practice of FGM in Canada. There are most likely hundreds of thousands of women in Canada who have been mutilated - often as a small child, often with unclean tools, often without anesthetic, and often with significant physical and emotional damage. We just don't know the number.
We know that there are little girls taken overseas to be butchered. They may number in the dozens, or in the tens of thousands. We just don't know the number.
This practice, along with the practice of 'child brides', does occur to Canadian girls. It must stop! There are no indications that anyone has ever been charged with putting their little girls through these barbaric practices.
How long can we bury our heads in the sand and pretend that it is not a problem. It's to our great shame that we have really done nothing, other than passing a law that is never enforced, to address the pain and suffering of the tens of thousands of girls and women subject to such brutal, medieval traditions.
FGM in Canada - Ontario Human Rights Commission
For some time now, Canada has experienced immigrant and refugee movements from countries in which FGM is commonly practised. In Toronto, community groups have estimated that there are 70,000 immigrants and refugees from Somalia and 10,000 from Nigeria, countries in which FGM is commonly practised. As already noted, because of the nature of FGM, reliable statistics on the incidence of its practice are not available. However, based on discussions with members of the communities that are at risk, there is some evidence to indicate that FGM is practised in Ontario and across Canada. There is also evidence that suggests that in some cases, families from those communities send their daughters out of Canada to have the operation performed.
There is a growing recognition of FGM as a violation of human rights. Immigrant and refugee movements, governments and advocacy organizations in Canada have acknowledged the need to deal with FGM as an internationally recognized health and human rights concern.
Have Canadians experienced FGM, too? Plan Canada
FGM is illegal here in Canada, but that doesn’t mean Canadian women and girls haven’t experienced it. In 2011, some 29,000 women from Africa and the Middle East became residents of Canada. Though there is no reliable evidence to suggest FGM is being practiced here in Canada, young girls in some communities are at risk as they may be taken to their countries of origin to have procedures carried out on them, often against their will.
Female Genital Mutilation Is a Canadian Issue Too Huffington Post
In 2011, almost 29,000 women from Africa and the Middle East became permanent residents of Canada. Dr. Davis, who has worked with hundreds of immigrant women, says a high percentage of these will have undergone FGM.
In places like Kenya, where FGM is part of the culture, we have invariably found open discussion and debate -- mothers talking to mothers, doctors to parents, or women's groups to school classes. That conversation, more than any law, is helping decrease FGM.
Dr. Davis recalls examining a pregnant immigrant who had undergone FGM in Somalia. In order to have the baby, the woman had to be "defibulated" -- her vagina fully reopened. Dr. Davis saw the woman again when she became pregnant a second time. Performing FGM is illegal in Canada, so Dr. Davis was shocked to discover the woman had been reinfibulated -- sewn up again. The woman admitted she had gone back to Somalia to have it done because, to her, it was normal. Women who undergo this form of FGM often get reinfibulated after intercourse and giving birth.
According to Davis some immigrants even take their pubescent daughters back to their original countries to have FGM performed, often against the will of the girls who have become North Americanized and no longer see the practice as normal.
Effects found in study The Canadian Women's Health Network
The Federal Interdepartmental Working Group on FGM commissioned key informant*
research across Canada in the late 1990s, to examine the health care issues of affected women
and to identify some prevention strategies. With respect to health care issues, community
providers and health care providers identified the following:
• Affected women may not realize their symptoms are FGM-related or preventable.
• Affected women tend to seek health care only when it is urgent.
• Even when affected women do want health care, they are reluctant to seek it due to a
number of social factors.
• When affected women do seek health care they may find it difficult and traumatic due to
cultural and language barriers.
• Health care providers may not be sensitized to certain critical FGM related issues.
• The high Cesarean section rate is the number one health care concern of affected women.
• Key informants were concerned that FGM may be happening in Canada.
• Health care providers rarely have the opportunity to identify girls at risk.
• Schools could play an important role in identifying girls at risk.
Some views of people from African communities Royal College of Nursing
“I cannot trust her if she is not circumcised”
“Female circumcision in our country has many beneficial aims like to keep the honour of the girl. But generally circumcision is not
good because there is a different between circumcised women and uncircumcised women”
“Yes I am happy to marry uncircumcised woman”
“The right time to open my circumcision is at night-time of marriage”
“The type of circumcision I am going to circumcise my daughter is how the Islamic religion allows that is the sunnah”
“Allah doesn’t accept to harm one organ of human being body, and is unlawful to cut human reproductive organs”
Quotes taken from interviews conducted by Comfort Momoh
Female Genital Mutilation in a Canadian Context
By: Honourable Senator Mobina S.B. Jaffer, Q.C.
Canada is a country that prides itself on multiculturalism and is home to individuals from various religions, races and creeds. It is also a country which relies on immigration in order to sustain its economy. A Canadian Advisory Council on the Status of Women claims that between 1986 and 1991, approximately 40,000 women who had arrived in Canada had been subjected to some form of female genital cutting. This is not including the thousands of women who arrived in Canada from Somalia after 1991 statistics indicate that many of these women were also victims of female genital mutilation.
College’s Position College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia
The College endorses the position of the World Health Organization (WHO), and many other medical organizations, regarding female genital mutilation, as having no health benefits, and both immediate and long-term negative health consequences.
A physician must decline to perform female genital mutilation and must not make a referral for the purpose of female genital mutilation.
An adult parent or guardian cannot consent to the excision, infibulations or mutilation of the labia majora, labia minora or clitoris on behalf of a child, except in the circumstances described
under section 268(3) of the Criminal Code.
Urgent action must be taken if a physician considers that a child may be at risk of female genital mutilation.