OTTAWA – The Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs, Carolyn Bennett, issued the following statement today:
“With the launch of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, the Government of Canada underscored its commitment to work to end the unacceptable rates of violence against Indigenous women and girls and help ensure that current and future generations of Indigenous women, children and families are safe.
The Government of Canada has reviewed the request it received on March 6, 2018, from the Commissioners for the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.
As a result of a thorough review of this request, and based on what we heard from survivors, family members and Indigenous organizations, and discussions with provinces and territories, the Commission will be receiving more time to submit its final report. The Commission will have until April 30, 2019, from the initial date of November 1, 2018, to deliver the report.
The extension to submit the report means the Commissioners can choose to extend the time, up to December 2018, to hear from additional families and survivors, further examine institutional practices and policies, and undertake the research necessary to inform their recommendations on the systemic causes of all forms of violence against Indigenous women and girls in Canada. Following the receipt of the report, the Commission will have another two months, until June 30, 2019, to wind down its operations.
This approach acknowledges that more survivors and family members want to share their experiences while underscoring the urgency this Government places on seeing the Commission deliver concrete recommendations that will address systemic and institutional issues to help keep Indigenous women and girls safe.
The Government of Canada is also taking action to address the interim recommendations of the National Inquiry by increasing health supports and victim services, establishing a commemoration fund, funding organizations with expertise in law enforcement and policing to lead a review of police policies and practices concerning their relations with the Indigenous peoples they serve, as well as supporting a Royal Canadian Mounted Police National Investigative Standards and Practices Unit with additional funding.
Furthermore, we continue to make important investments in housing and shelters, education, and reforming child and family services. We are also investing in programs to prevent and address violence against Indigenous women and girls through the implementation of It’s Time: Canada’s Strategy to Prevent and Address Gender-Based Violence.
Together with Indigenous peoples and partners across the country, we continue our collective efforts to help prevent and eliminate violence against women and girls, and protect future generations.”
To reach out for immediate assistance, the National Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Inquiry Crisis Line is available 24/7 at 1-844-413-6649.