Cross Country Checkup

Is the MMIWG Inquiry doomed?

Marilyn Poitras's resignation as a commissioner of the MMIWG Inquiry is just the latest in a series of high-profile departures and controversies that has cast doubt over the process.
Missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. (CBC)

Sunday on Cross Country Checkup: The future of the inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. 

Marilyn Poitras's resignation as a commissioner of the MMIWG Inquiry is just the latest in a series of high-profile departures and controversies that has cast doubt over the process. Still, Indigenous and Northern Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett has vowed to forge ahead. Many families are saying they've lost trust in in the inquiry  - while others say they've waited too long for it to be dismantled.

"My main concern is that this commission is going down a tried road. And if it worked, we would all be so fixed and healthy by now. It doesn't work," Poitras told Duncan McCue, explaining why she resigned as a commissioner from the MMIWG inquiry this week.

Her resignation is yet another blow to an inquiry dogged with problems since day one. 

This inquiry was one of Justin Trudeau's first commitments upon becoming Prime Minister. It was a promise to examine "the uncomfortable truths" behind a national tragedy - the high rates of violence suffered by Indigenous women in Canada and the disturbing numbers of disappearance and death.

But the $53-million-dollar Inquiry came under fire early on - criticized by some for having no teeth and being unable to open cold cases or properly investigate complaints of police discrimination. 

Five commissioners were appointed last August. It wasn't long before family members of the missing and murdered began expressing frustrations about lack of consultation, poor communication, repeated delays, and feelings of disrespect.

The inquiry held its first hearing this spring, but turmoil persists - fuelled by the departure of several key staff members and now, the resignation of Commissioner Poitras.

What do you think about the inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls?

Some say they've waited too long for it to be dismantled now. Is it on the right track, as the federal Minister of Indigenous Affairs insists? Should the inquiry get more money and an extension, which the Chief Commissioner says it needs? Or as more and more Indigenous groups argue, is it time for a reset? 

Our question this week: Is the MMIWG Inquiry doomed?


Marilyn Poitras
Resigned former commissioner of MMIWG Inquiry

Maggie Cywink
Sister of a murdered Indigenous woman 

Ernie Crey
Chief of the Cheam First Nation in B.C. 

Dawn Harvard
President of the Ontario Native Women's Association

Lori Turnbull
Associate professor of political science at Dalhousie University 

Our live chat:

What we're reading 

Letter of resignation from Marilyn Poitras

INTERACTIVE | Missing & Murdered: The Unsolved Cases of Indigenous Women and Girls

'It's too late in the game': Indigenous leader says MMIW inquiry must continue despite criticism

Listen | 'There's a lot of disrespect': Families want all MMIWG inquiry commissioners to resign

Manitoba families want national MMIWG inquiry commissioners replaced, regional inquiry created

Virtual Reality | Highway of Tears: Canada's Missing and Murdered

'It's not a good feeling': not all families agree how MMIW inquiry should proceed

'What is going on?': Family members want to know what's happening to MMIWG inquiry

Listen | MMIW Inquiry losing support

Missing and murdered inquiry to forge ahead despite resignation of key commissioner

Missing and murdered inquiry's executive director resigns

The Current | Canada's Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women

The Globe and Mail

Leader of missing and murdered Indigenous women inquiry rebuffs calls to start over

Indigenous women's group pulls support from missing and murdered inquiry as commissioner resigns

Opinion: The MMIW inquiry is not doomed to failure

Toronto Star

The Inquiry Insider: A behind-the-scenes look at the MMIW hearings

Help CBC's MMIWG investigation 

Do you have information on an unsolved case involving missing or murdered indigenous women or girls?

Contact us by email at or contact us anonymously via SecureDrop. CBC News continues to investigate missing and murdered indigenous women and girls in Canada, looking at the unsolved cases and telling the stories of the families and communities.