On August 3, 2016, the Governor General in Council released the names of the five commissioners and the terms of reference for Canada’s Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Commission.

The Honourable Judge Marion Buller was appointed as Chief Commissioner and Michele Audette, Qajaq Robinson, Marilyn Poitras and Brian Eyolfson were appointed as commissioners. The Commission has authority under Part 1 of the Inquiries Act to summon any witness to give evidence and can require the production of documents relevant to its investigation. Its authority applies to all jurisdictions – federal, provincial and territorial.

If during the course of the Inquiry the Commission obtains information that it has reasonable grounds to believe relates to misconduct or that may be used in the investigation or prosecution of an offence under the Criminal Code, the Commission can remit this information to the appropriate authorities. It will not, however, have the power to make any conclusion or recommendation regarding the civil or criminal liability of any person or organization.

Pursuant to the terms of reference, the Commission will inquire into and report on the following:

  1. systemic causes of all forms of violence — including sexual violence — against Indigenous women and girls in Canada, including underlying social, economic, cultural, institutional and historical causes contributing to the ongoing violence and particular vulnerabilities of Indigenous women and girls in Canada; and
  2. institutional policies and practices implemented in response to violence experienced by Indigenous women and girls in Canada, including the identification and examination of practices that have been effective in reducing violence and increasing safety.

The Commission will also make recommendations on the following:

  1. concrete and effective action that can be taken to remove systemic causes of violence and to increase the safety of Indigenous women and girls in Canada; and
  2. ways to honour and commemorate the missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls in Canada.

The Commission is directed to provide its recommendations to the Government of Canada through an interim report to be submitted before November 1, 2017 and a final report to be submitted before November 1, 2018. The Commission will receive $53.86 million from the federal government to complete its mandate by the end of 2018.