New report card gives mmiwg inquiry failing grade

Both communication and transparency are problem areas.

NWAC says MMIWG Inquiry needs improvement 

A national women’s group still supports extending the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) despite giving it a failing grade.

The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) released its third report card on the two-year inquiry Monday.

It issued five failures, three passes and seven incompletes in 15 areas.

“As we are coming down to the last eight months of this inquiry, at this point we should have seen more successes,” said NWAC president Francyne Joe.

Both communication and transparency are problem areas, Joe added.

“We should be coming to have an idea of how we’re going to rectify the situation,” she told APTN News.

Still, Joe said her organization backs the commissioners’ request for another two years and additional $50 million “as long as there are families and survivors who want to use this avenue” to testify.

Without an extension the inquiry is scheduled to wrap up in December 2018. It concluded community hearings in April and moves on to its next phase of hearings next week in Quebec.

Commissioner Qajaq Robinson said there has been no news on the extension from Carolyn Bennett, the minister for Crown-Indigenous Relations.

“I don’t have an ETA,” said an email from Bennett’s office Tuesday. “It’s being worked on.”

Joe said Bennett shouldn’t keep families and survivors in the dark when it comes to an extension.

“That announcement has taken too long,” she said.

Robinson said the wait was having a negative effect on the inquiry, as well.

“It really affects our planning,” she said in an interview.

Robinson thanked NWAC for its feedback, noting the “constructive criticisms” were “important” to their work.

NWAC failed the inquiry on its timelines, communication, community relations, building capacity and establishing advisory bodies.

It granted a passing grade for honouring and commemorating MMIWG, its interim report, and promoting and enhancing reconciliation.

But it said it “cannot assess” recommendations that are still missing at this time, and noted “action (is) required” to make the inquiry process more responsive and inclusive.


Investigative Reporter / Winnipeg

Award-winning reporter Kathleen Martens covers western and northern Canada for A veteran of the Brandon Sun, Sun Media and APTN Investigates, she is based in APTN’s head office, specializing in stories about property, women’s rights and community.