About the independent inquiry
Learn about the mandate, approach, and budget of the independent inquiry.
To learn more about the inquiry, or find out how to participate in or work for the inquiry, please visit the inquiry's website.
On this page
Extension of the inquiry
On June 5, 2018, the Government of Canada announced an extension of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. The inquiry now has until April 30, 2019 to complete its final report and until June 30, 2019 to wind down its operations.
The extension to submit the report means the commissioners have more time, until the end of December 2018, if they choose, to:
- hear from additional families and survivors
- further examine institutional practices and policies
- undertake the research necessary to inform their recommendations on the systemic causes of all forms of violence against Indigenous women and girls in Canada
This approach acknowledges that there are more survivors and family members that want to share their experiences, while underscoring the urgency that the Government of Canada places on seeing the inquiry deliver concrete recommendations to address systemic and institutional issues, to help keep Indigenous women and girls safe.
The federal Term of Reference will be amended to reflect the new timeline for the inquiry to deliver its final report. The appointments of the commissioners leading the inquiry will also be extended.
The Government of Canada will continue supporting the inquiry through the administrative working group led by the Privy Council Office to ensure that the inquiry receives the help it needs with any administrative issues.
Powers of the commissioners for the independent inquiry
The National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls is a public inquiry established under Part I of the federal Inquiries Act. The inquiry has also been established under respective provincial and territorial inquiries' legislation through Orders-in-Council. This gives the inquiry the ability to look into federal, provincial and territorial jurisdictions as a part of the inquiry.
The inquiry has the authority to determine how best to accomplish its mandate and make recommendations.
The Inquiries Act gives the commissioners powers to conduct the inquiry independently. The commissioners will have the power to:
- call any witnesses
- require witnesses to give evidence
- require the production of any document or item that they need relevant to their investigation
The commissioners are required to examine and report on the systemic causes behind the violence that Indigenous women and girls experience, and their greater vulnerability to violence, by looking for patterns and underlying factors that explain why higher levels of violence occur. The commissioners have been mandated to examine the underlying historical, social, economic, institutional and cultural factors that contribute to the violence.
The inquiry will examine practices, policies and institutions such as policing, child welfare, coroners and other government policies/ practices or social/economic conditions.
The commissioners, as part of their mandate, will examine and report on institutional policies and practices that have been put in place as a response to violence, including those that have been effective in reducing violence and increasing the safety of Indigenous women and girls.
Building on existing knowledge
The commissioners are directed to review and consider existing reports on violence against Indigenous women and girls, including:
- pre-inquiry submissions and data
- the Report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples
- the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's Final Report
- Reports of the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry (Oppal) (.pdf)
- the entire report can be found on British Columbia's website
- What their stories tell us: research findings from the Sisters in Spirit initiative (.pdf)
- Report of the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women
- Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women: A National Operational Overview, Royal Canadian Mounted Police (2014)
- the Report of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women in British Columbia
- Report of the House of Commons Special Committee on Violence Against Indigenous Women (2014)
The inquiry is directed to:
- recommend concrete actions to remove systemic causes of violence and increase the safety of Indigenous women and girls in Canada
- recommend ways to honour and commemorate missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls
- provide its recommendations to the Government of Canada through an interim report by November 1, 2017 and a final report by April 30, 2019
The inquiry is mandated to set up an inquiry process that, to the extent possible:
- is informal and trauma-informed, respecting the individuals, families and communities concerned
- respects the diverse cultural, linguistic and spiritual traditions of Indigenous peoples
- promotes and advances reconciliation
- contributes to public awareness about the causes and solutions for ending violence
- provides opportunities for individuals, families and community members to share their experiences and views, including their views on recommendations for increasing safety and preventing or eliminating violence
Experiences of families, loved ones and survivors
The experiences of families, loved ones and survivors can play a critical role in informing the commissioners about the conditions that contribute to violence against Indigenous women and girls and institutional responses. When the families of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls contact the inquiry for information and assistance with respect to matters such as ongoing or past investigations, prosecutions or inquests, the commissioners will refer family members to the responsible provincial or territorial authority, including victim services.
In 2016, the Department of Justice Canada provided $16.17 million for initiatives that support families of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls: Family Information Liaison Units and funding for community-based organizations that provide culturally grounded grief and trauma supports. Family Information Liaison Units are a new service for families whether or not they participate in the Inquiry. The units work for and with families to access available information about their missing or murdered loved one from multiple government sources. On June 5, 2018, the Government of Canada announced additional funding to extend the timeline for the units. They will now be available until March 31, 2020.
To learn more, consult supporting families of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.
Regional and issue advisory committees
Recognizing that a one-size-fits-all approach will not work for the diverse Indigenous population across Canada, the inquiry has the authority to establish regional advisory bodies, composed of families, loved ones and survivors to advise on issues specific to various regions, within the scope of the independent inquiry. The inquiry may also establish issue-specific advisory bodies composed of Elders, youth, family members of victims, local organizations, representatives of national Indigenous organizations, etc., within the scope of the independent inquiry.
Timeline and budget
On March 6, 2018, the inquiry requested a two-year extension beyond its original deadline of December 31, 2018, and an additional $50 million. On June 5, 2018, the Government of Canada announced that the inquiry has until April 30, 2019 to complete its final report and until June 30, 2019 to wind down its operations.
The Government of Canada dedicated $53.8 million to the inquiry, and provided terms of reference and a timeline of two years (September 1, 2016 to December 31, 2018) to complete its important work. The Government of Canada recognizes that funding, including operational and salary costs, may be required to enable the inquiry to continue beyond the original December 31, 2018, conclusion date. The government will work with the inquiry to determine its budgetary requirements.