On behalf of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, I want to thank the National Inquiry Commissioners for their important work. I also thank the families of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, and survivors, who courageously spoke their truths.
In 2016, we established a team in Ottawa dedicated to supporting the Inquiry, assisted by divisional teams in every province and territory policed by the RCMP.
Over the course of the Inquiry’s mandate, we produced 119 investigative files and 226 policy and other relevant documents. Four senior members of the RCMP, including myself, provided testimony in public hearings.
We have asserted public interest privilege under section 37 of the Canada Evidence Act to withhold two investigative files. We look forward to the Federal Court’s decision, and will not be commenting further on that matter at this time.
During my appearance before the Inquiry in June 2018, I apologized to the families of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls on behalf of the RCMP, and promised that we will do better to investigate these cases and support families. We are committed to achieving reconciliation with Indigenous peoples through a renewed relationship built on the recognition of rights, respect, cooperation, and partnership.
We have already made many changes to our policies, procedures and training over the course of the Inquiry, including:
- establishing a national unit to provide expertise and oversight on major case investigations;
- updating policies and procedures for missing person and sudden death investigations to improve quality, oversight and communication with families;
- reviewing more than 30,000 sexual assault files across Canada, leading to significant work to improve the way in which sexual assault investigations are conducted;
- strengthening cultural awareness training for all employees, including at the RCMP Academy in Regina; and,
- expanding consultation and engagement with Indigenous leaders and Elders at the national, divisional and local levels.
We have investigators across the country dedicated to actively reviewing files of missing and murdered women, including Project DEVOTE in Manitoba, and E-PANA in British Columbia. We also have programs such as the KARE/Pro-Active Team in Alberta where police officers and operational support personnel work to minimize the risk of violence to vulnerable persons.
The RCMP will study the final report and its recommendations, and give careful consideration to changes that strengthen investigations, support survivors and their families, bring stakeholders and partners together, and reduce violence against Indigenous women, girls and the Two-Spirit-LGBTQ community.