The Missing Women Commission of Inquiry closed its office on August 1, 2013

Notice

The Missing Women Commission of Inquiry closed its office on August 1, 2013.

This website is an archive and will not be updated.

For more information about the Commission, please contact the ServiceBC call centre.


November 22, 2012 – Media Statement from Commissioner Wally Oppal, Q.C.

I have submitted my report to government. It is a substantial report and it will take time for members of government to fully review it and my recommendations. It will also take some time to have the report printed. Once this is complete, it will be publicly released. When we are able to, we will announce the date for the public release.

It has been a long and difficult road, but I have put forward strong recommendations. I want to thank the many individuals, groups, associations and organizations that participated in this Commission of Inquiry. Their input was invaluable and their voices are reflected in this report and the recommendations. This is important work and I am honoured to be a part of it.

We have an opportunity to make real change in British Columbia; change that helps to better protect our most vulnerable citizens, and by doing so, leaves a positive and lasting legacy for the missing and murdered women.

June 29, 2012 – Missing Women Commission of Inquiry Releases Five New Reports

June 13, 2012 – Media Statement from Commissioner Wally Oppal

(Attributable to MWCI Commissioner Wally Oppal, Q.C)

The independent investigation in response to anonymous allegations published in the National Post is complete. The report concludes that there was no breach of the Human Rights Code by Commission managers or senior staff.

Mr. Boddie agreed to take a leave of absence during this investigation. He did this so there could be no possible perception of any management interference in the independent investigation as, in his role as executive director, he interacted daily with almost all staff and counsel. I want to express my appreciation to Mr. Boddie for putting the important work of the Commission ahead of his own needs. I know that this has been a difficult time for him and his family. I am also aware that Mr. Boddie’s leave of absence may have been misinterpreted in some circles. I want to make it clear that his leave of absence does not reflect negatively on his personal or professional integrity.

I have asked Mr. Boddie to return to an active role at the Commission and he has accepted.

These anonymous allegations were devastating to everyone at the Commission. It is to the credit of Commission staff and counsel that these allegations did not distract them from the important work being done here. Our focus is and has always been to produce an effective Report and Recommendations that will save the lives of our most vulnerable citizens.

I want to take a moment to acknowledge and to thank the people that work at this Commission. It is a demanding environment and our work is focused on an unimaginable tragedy – the worst mass murder to ever occur in Canadian history. The people that come to work here every day are focused on horrific events and this type of work is emotionally challenging, even for seasoned professionals.

Commission staff and counsel work long hours, on weekends and holidays, and they regularly sacrifice personal and family time in order to do their jobs. They are passionate about creating positive change through the work being done at this Commission. Like every office, we have our share of workplace challenges: budget issues, personality conflicts, deadlines and urgent demands both in the office and in the courtroom. It is not an easy place to work. And yet, each day, I am witness to their unwavering dedication and commitment to social change. I am honoured to work with professionals of their calibre.

With the independent investigation concluded, we can now put this issue behind us and focus on producing a valuable report with practical recommendations that can be implemented, measured and that will help to save lives in the future.

June 13, 2012 – Media Release

(Attributable to Mr. Peter Gall, Q.C.)

On April 4, 2012 an article was published in the National Post with respect to anonymous allegations of “harassment, intimidation and conflict” occurring within the working environment of the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry.

Upon being informed of this, Commissioner Wally Oppal immediately made arrangements for an independent investigation into the anonymous allegations. John Boddie, Executive Director of the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry, took a paid leave of absence during the investigation at the request of Commissioner Oppal.

Mr. Boddie co-operated fully in taking this leave of absence so that there could be no possible perception of any management interference in the independent investigation as, in his role as executive director, he interacts daily with almost all staff and counsel. He took this leave of absence because of his commitment to the important work being done through this commission of inquiry. He did not want any misperceptions to occur during the independent investigation.

Mr. Boddie’s leave of absence should in no way be interpreted as anything except a necessary precaution and it does not reflect on his personal or professional integrity.

Mr. Boddie has contributed greatly to the work of the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry. He has been – and is – an important member of the senior leadership team. Mr. Boddie’s experience, knowledge and professional dedication continue to be of value to the Commission.

The independent investigation into the anonymous allegations has now been completed and a report has been submitted to the Commissioner. The conclusion of this report is: There was no evidence presented during this investigation that constituted a breach of the Human Rights Code by Commission managers or senior staff, including Mr. Boddie. A copy of this report can be found on the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry Website.

Now that the independent investigation is complete, Mr. Boddie will return to the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry in his role as executive director.

The Commission staff is a highly dedicated group of individuals who have come together with professionalism and a commitment to ensure that practical and meaningful changes result from this inquiry. The work environment is stressful and demanding. The staff work long hours without external recognition. But as the focus now turns to the development of the Report and Recommendations, their commitment remains unwavering. It is clear that everyone involved in the process wants to help make sure that the horrific circumstances which confronted the Missing and Murdered Women and their families can never happen again.

June 13, 2012 – Independent Investigation Report

June 8, 2012 – Statement From Wally Oppal, Commissioner

I recently attended a public entertainment event at BC Place. During this event, I had the occasion to briefly speak with a person that, unbeknownst to me, is reportedly a member of the Hell’s Angels Motorcycle Club.

Not being aware of this person’s reported affiliations, I had a casual conversation with him. I am often stopped by members of the public for a brief conversation or asked to take photos with them. I accommodate these requests whenever possible. Had I known that this person was reportedly a member of the Hell’s Angels, I would not have had even this brief exchange with him.

While this exchange was of no substance, when I learned of the reported affiliation of this person, I felt it was necessary to communicate what happened to MWCI Participants.

Of course, this brief, chance exchange in a public venue does not have any impact or influence on the report and recommendations I will develop.

May 31, 2012 – Deadline extended for development of Inquiry report

Government has agreed to extend the reporting deadline of the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry (MWCI) in order to give commissioner Wally Oppal sufficient time to fully consider all the evidence and prepare a report with thorough, specific recommendations.

The report will now be delivered to government by Oct. 31, 2012 and released publicly as soon as possible after that, in accordance with the Public Inquiry Act.

This extension, as requested by Oppal, will allow for additional writing and research time, as the testimony has now finished and participant arguments will soon conclude. The commission must collate and analyze a large amount of materials from the past year, including evidence from over 80 witnesses, five days of public policy forums, 11 study commission reports, and four reports on regionalization and policy recommendations from the victims? families.

As the functions of the MWCI wind down, it is also expected the size of its staff will be reduced to manage the more directed workload required to prepare and finalize the report. This will help control the amount of taxpayer funds required for this phase of the inquiry.

Quotes:

Minister of Justice and Attorney General Shirley Bond –

“Commissioner Oppal’s final report will be a substantive and critical piece to bring closure to the families of the missing women and to guide future steps that will help ensure a situation like this never happens again.”

“It’s essential there is enough time to consider a significant volume of evidence and testimony, analyze it properly, and develop thoughtful and thorough recommendations. This extension will give the commissioner the time he needs to prepare the report so that it will be received with the credibility it deserves.”

Quick Facts:

  • Evidentiary hearings began on Oct. 11, 2011, and have now concluded. Final submissions are expected to be complete by the end of next week.
  • Government has previously already granted the MWCI one six-month extension that moved the reporting date to June 30, 2012.
  • To date, the MWI has heard testimony from more than 80 witnesses over 80 days of testimony.
  • The MWCI has consulted with the public and stakeholders through:
    • Community engagement forums in Prince George and Vancouver.
    • Community forums in seven northern B.C. communities, in order to hear from northern residents.
    • Public policy forums, which were held in Vancouver, to focus on how to improve the safety and security of vulnerable women.
  • To date, government has provided more than $6 million in funding for the MWCI.

 

Learn More:

Contact:

Dave Townsend
Government Communications and Public Engagement
Ministry of Justice
250 387-4962
250 889-5945 (cell)

Connect with the Province of B.C. at: www.gov.bc.ca/connect

April 26, 2012 – Innovative Approaches to Protecting Vulnerable and Marginalized Women keynote presentation added to Missing Women Commission of Inquiry Public Policy Forums

Doreen Binder, a leader in the development and implementation of innovative approaches to protecting vulnerable and marginalized women, will deliver a special keynote address on the topic at the lead-in event to the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry’s Public Policy Forums.

The Innovative Approaches to Protecting Vulnerable and Marginalized Women keynote presentation by Doreen Binder will be held on Monday, April 30 from 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. at the Vancouver Public Library, Peter Kaye Room. It is open to the public and will be streamed live on the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry’s website (www.missingwomeninquiry.ca).

Ms. Binder is a member of the Oregon Attorney General’s Sexual Assault Task Force and is Director of Transition Projects, a community organization that will house the city’s first community court dedicated to issues of homelessness, sex work and women’s safety. The Community Court is set to open on May 4, 2012.

Ms. Binder will speak about her experiences developing innovative approaches to protecting vulnerable and marginalized women. This will include topics such as community policing and developing relationships to keep women safe, the importance of holistic programming and cooperation between police and social services, and how to work with women to build trusting communication that helps to meet their needs. She will also talk about her role in developing the Community Court.

This special keynote presentation will lead into a series of six Public Policy Forums from May 1 to May 10, 2012. The forums are open to the public and participation is encouraged. For those unable to attend, the forums will be live streamed online on the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry website (www.missingwomeninquiry.ca).

The Public Policy Forums are an opportunity for interested members of the public to provide ideas and suggestions for practical reform and implementation strategies related to the phenomenon of missing and murdered women. The Public Policy Forums are a component of the Study Commission, which is of equal importance to the hearings in the overall mandate of the Commission. The Study Commission involves five main initiatives: consultations, research, written submissions, workshops and policy forums.

Additional information regarding the forums, including an overview of what the forums entail, FAQs, how to participate, guidelines for engagement and an outline of each forum topic, complete with reports and studies relevant to the topics, can be found on the website (www.missingwomeninquiry.ca).

The upcoming policy forums are:

Policy Forum 1: Ensuring the Safety of Vulnerable Women, Session A: Preventing Violence Against Sex Trade Workers
Date: Tuesday, May 1
Time: 9 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Location: Vancouver Public Library, Peter Kaye Room
350 West Georgia Street, Vancouver

Policy Forum 1: Ensuring the Safety of Vulnerable Women, Session B: Preventing Violence Against Aboriginal and Rural Women
Date: Tuesday, May 1
Time: 1:30 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Location: Vancouver Public Library, Peter Kaye Room
350 West Georgia Street,
Vancouver

Policy Forum 1: Ensuring the Safety of Vulnerable Women, Session C: Building Strong Police-Community Relationships
Date: Thursday, May 3
Time: 9 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Location: Vancouver Public Library, Peter Kaye Room
350 West Georgia Street,
Vancouver

Policy Forum 2: Vulnerable and Intimidated Witnesses in the Criminal Justice Process
Date: Thursday, May 3
Time: 1:30 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Location: Vancouver Public Library, Peter Kaye Room
350 West Georgia Street
Vancouver

Policy Forum 3: Improving Missing Person Practices, Session A: Accepting and Investigating Missing Person Reports
Date: Monday, May 7
Time: 9 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Location: Wosk Centre for Dialogue, Room 420
580 West Hastings Street, Vancouver

Policy Forum 3: Improving Missing Person Practices, Session B: Police Relationships with Victims’ Families, the Community, the Public and the Media
Date: Monday, May 7
Time: 1:30 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Location: Wosk Centre for Dialogue, Room 420
580 West Hastings Street, Vancouver

Policy Forum 4: Inter-jurisdictional Collaboration and Coordination Among Police
Date: Tuesday, May 8
Time: 9 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Location: Wosk Centre for Dialogue, Room 420
580 West Hastings Street, Vancouver

Policy Forum 5:
Enhancing Police Accountability
Date: Tuesday, May 8
Time: 1:30 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Location: Wosk Centre for Dialogue, Room 420
580 West Hastings Street, Vancouver

Policy Forum 6: From Report to Substantive Change – Healing, Reconciliation and Implementation
Date: Thursday, May 10
Time: 9 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Location: Wosk Centre For Dialogue, Room 320
580 West Hastings Street, Vancouver
 

-END-

April 23, 2012 – Missing Women Commission of Inquiry Announces Public Policy Forums

The Missing Women Commission of Inquiry will hold a series of six Public Policy Forums from May 1 to May 10, 2012. The forums are open to the public and participation is encouraged. For those unable to attend, the forums will be live streamed online on the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry website (www.missingwomeninquiry.ca).

The Public Policy Forums are an opportunity for interested members of the public to provide ideas and suggestions for practical reform and implementation strategies related to the phenomenon of missing and murdered women. The Public Policy Forums are a component of the Study Commission, which is of equal importance to the hearings in the overall mandate of the Commission. The Study Commission involves five main initiatives: consultations, research, written submissions, workshops and policy forums.

Additional information regarding the forums, including an overview of what the forums entail, FAQs, how to participate, guidelines for engagement and an outline of each forum topic complete with reports and studies relevant to the topics can be found on the website (www.missingwomeninquiry.ca).

The upcoming policy forums are:

Policy Forum 1: Ensuring the Safety of Vulnerable Women, Session A: Preventing Violence Against Sex Trade Workers
Date: Tuesday, May 1
Time: 9 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Location: Vancouver Public Library, Peter Kaye Room
350 West Georgia Street, Vancouver

Policy Forum 1: Ensuring the Safety of Vulnerable Women, Session B: Preventing Violence Against Aboriginal and Rural Women
Date: Tuesday, May 1
Time: 1:30 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Location: Vancouver Public Library, Peter Kaye Room
350 West Georgia Street,
Vancouver

Policy Forum 1: Ensuring the Safety of Vulnerable Women, Session C: Building Strong Police-Community Relationships
Date: Thursday, May 3
Time: 9 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Location: Vancouver Public Library, Peter Kaye Room
350 West Georgia Street,
Vancouver

Policy Forum 2: Vulnerable and Intimidated Witnesses in the Criminal Justice Process
Date: Thursday, May 3
Time: 1:30 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Location: Vancouver Public Library, Peter Kaye Room
350 West Georgia Street
Vancouver

Policy Forum 3: Improving Missing Person Practices, Session A: Accepting and Investigating Missing Person Reports
Date: Monday, May 7
Time: 9 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Location: Wosk Centre for Dialogue, Room 420
580 West Hastings Street, Vancouver

Policy Forum 3: Improving Missing Person Practices, Session B: Police Relationships with Victims’ Families, the Community, the Public and the Media
Date: Monday, May 7
Time: 1:30 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Location: Wosk Centre for Dialogue, Room 420
580 West Hastings Street, Vancouver

Policy Forum 4: Inter-jurisdictional Collaboration and Coordination Among Police
Date: Tuesday, May 8
Time: 9 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Location: Wosk Centre for Dialogue, Room 420
580 West Hastings Street, Vancouver

Policy Forum 5: Enhancing Police Accountability
Date: Tuesday, May 8
Time: 1:30 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Location: Wosk Centre for Dialogue, Room 420
580 West Hastings Street, Vancouver

Policy Forum 6: From Report to Substantive Change – Healing, Reconciliation and Implementation
Date: Thursday, May 10
Time: 9 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Location: Wosk Centre For Dialogue, Room 320
580 West Hastings Street, Vancouver

-END-