Carolyn Bennett, the federal minister of Indigenous Affairs, will be in Yellowknife this week to speak to the families of missing and murdered indigenous women about what they want to see in the upcoming national inquiry.

The Liberals have committed to spending $40 million over two years on the examination of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls in a much-awaited national public inquiry.

Bennett will be in Yellowknife on Friday and Whitehorse on Monday to have private conversations with people affected.

"The meetings are being held with families and loved ones and survivors of missing and murdered indigenous woman and girls to ask them what they'd like to see happen with the inquiry," says Margaret Buist, director general of the pre-inquiry process.

Buist says the department is travelling to regions across the country, to ask people: "'what would you like to see happen with this inquiry?'"

"How long should it be? Who should be leading it? What topics should it cover? Should it look at anything related to police investigations? Should it look at prevention? Those sorts of things," she explains.

Submissions will help shape inquiry

Indigenous Affairs sent invitations directly to family members and loved ones, as well as frontline organizations that work with survivors and families.

"Out of these regional meetings, online submissions, mail-in submissions, phone calls on our 1-800 number, we're taking input and submissions from people across the country as to what they'd like to see about the inquiry," Buist says.

"It's hoped that the inquiry itself will start up in the summer of this year, having taken into account everything heard from people during this process we're undergoing."

The meetings will continue throughout January and February.

Anyone who wishes to participate can contact the department through its website.


  • An earlier version of this story said that Carolyn Bennett will be in Yellowknife on Wednesday. In fact, she will be in the city on Friday.
    Jan 04, 2016 9:43 AM CT