MMIWG Inquiry Terms and Commissioners Announced

On August 3, the Government of Canada officially launched the inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, naming a five-member commission led by the Honourable Marion Buller, BC’s first female First Nations judge.

Other commissioners include:

  • Michèle Audette, Former President of Femmes autochtones du Québec (Québec Native Women's Association)
  • Qajaq Robinson, Associate, Borden Ladner Gervais LLP
  • Marilyn Poitras, Assistant Professor, College of Law, University of Saskatchewan
  • Brian Eyolfson, Acting Deputy Director, Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs, Legal Services

The federal government has stated that the five commissioners appointed to lead the independent inquiry represent the background, characteristics and experience that they heard would be necessary during pre-inquiry design phase. The powers of the inquiry come from Part 1 of the Inquiries Act and the relevant legislation of participating provinces and territories. The commission will have the authority to determine how best to accomplish its mandate and make recommendations. Of particular note, the act gives the commission powers to:

  • call before the commission any witness to give evidence
  • require the production of documents relevant to their investigation

The Government of Canada utilized feedback provided by survivors, families and loved ones, grassroots women's organizations, National Indigenous Organizations, as well as provinces and territories during the pre-inquiry design process to develop the commission's mandate. This process included 18 pre-inquiry design meetings with over 2100 participants and over 4100 online survey submissions. UBCM’s submission on pre-inquiry design was provided to BC Attorney General and Minister of Justice Suzanne Anton to inform the Province’s feedback, as well as directly to the pre-inquiry design secretariat.

The Government of Canada worked with the provinces and territories to finalize terms of reference that would provide commissioners with a mandate to examine and report on the systemic causes behind the violence that Indigenous women and girls experience and their greater vulnerability to that violence by looking for patterns and underlying factors that explain why higher levels of violence occur. The underlying factors could be historical, social, economic, institutional or cultural – it will be up to the commission to decide what underlying factors it will decide to examine and report on. The commission is also directed to examine and report on the impacts of policies and practices of government institutions. These include institutions such as policing, child welfare, coroners, and other government policies/practices or social/economic conditions.

The inquiry is set to begin its work on September 1st, and has a two-year mandate. UBCM continues to monitor the inquiry’s work to identify further opportunities for local government engagement and support. For further information on UBCM’s engagement in the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, please contact Angela Turner, Policy Analyst, (604) 270-8226 ext. 113. For further information on the Commissioners, visit the Indigenous and Northern Affairs website.

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