Canada’s National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls

Commissioners leading the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (left to right): Chief Commissioner, the Honourable Marion Buller, Provincial Court Judge, British Columbia; Commissioner Michèle Audette, Former President of Québec Native Women’s Association, Mani Utenam, Québec; Commissioner Qajaq Robinson, Associate, Borden Ladner Gervais LLP, Iqaluit, Nunavut; Commissioner Marilyn Poitras, Assistant Professor, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan; and Commissioner Brian Eyolfson, Acting Deputy Director, Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs, Legal Services, Couchiching First Nation, Ontario

As a result of national protest calling for an inquiry into missing and murdered aboriginal women stretching back over many years, the Canadian Parliament has named five commissioners to lead a national inquiry. The commissioners will function independent of the federal government.

“The national inquiry is an important step in our journey to reconciliation with indigenous people in Canada,” said Carolyn Bennett, Canadian Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs. “For over a decade, the families of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls have been demanding action.” The inquiry began September 1 and will run until December 31, 2018. The Canadian government has committed $53.86 million over two years to fund the inquiry. “They left no doubt in our minds about the urgent need to examine the underlying and deep, systemic challenges of this violence, including racism, sexism, and the sustained impact of colonialism,” Bennett said.

“The government of Canada is committed to doing better. We will take action together to reach the goal to eliminate, as much as we can, violence against indigenous women and girls,” said Jody Wilson-Raybould, Canada’s justice minister and attorney general. “We need to identify the causes of these disparities and take action now to end them,” she said.

The Commission will be led by Marion Buller, British Columbia’s first female First Nations judge. The commissioners will study the roots of the violence against women and girls and patterns that could explain higher rates of violence including historical, social, institutional, and other factors. “The spirits of the missing and murdered indigenous women and girls will be close in our hearts and in our minds as we do our work,” Buller said. “The families’ and the survivors’ losses, pain, strength, and courage will inspire our work.”


Follow @NWAC_CA and #MMIWG for updates.



“Families made it very clear that they wanted answers, that many cases they felt were closed prematurely, that they don’t accept the conclusion. They wanted those reopened. We cannot ignore the fact that many family members and survivors of violence do not feel like they were treated respectfully or fairly by the justice system.”

-Dawn Lavell-Harvard, President, Native Women’s Association of Canada