Order in Council
On the recommendation of the undersigned, the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, by and with the advice and concurrence of the Executive Council of Ontario, orders that:
Whereas the high number of deaths and disappearances of Indigenous women and girls in Canada is an ongoing national tragedy that must be brought to an end;
Whereas the Government of Canada has committed to launching a national commission of inquiry in order to identify and examine the systemic causes of violence against Indigenous women and girls in Canada and make recommendations for effective action (the "National Inquiry");
Whereas the Government of Canada issued terms of reference for the National Inquiry on August 2, 2016 (the "Terms of Reference");
Whereas the National Inquiry will investigate matters and institutions within exclusive constitutional jurisdiction of the government of Ontario;
Whereas the Government of Ontario is committed to working with Indigenous communities to end the threat of violence against women and families and to ensure the safety of future generations of Indigenous women;
Whereas the Government of Ontario is committed to take action to support reconciliation, working in collaboration with Indigenous Peoples based on principles of mutual respect and shared benefits;
Whereas the Government of Ontario has agreed to take part in the National Inquiry;
Whereas it is considered desirable and in the public interest for the Government of Ontario to jointly establish the National Inquiry with the Government of Canada and the governments of each of the other provinces and territories in order to support the mandate of the commissioners within the province of Ontario;
Whereas sections 3 and 4 of the Public Inquiries Act, 2009, S.O. 2009, c. 33, Sched. 6 (the "Public Inquiries Act") authorizes the Lieutenant Governor in Council to jointly establish a commission with the governments of one or more other jurisdictions to undertake an inquiry into any matter of public interest;
Therefore it is ordered as follows:
- A commission is established (the "Commission") and the Honourable Marion R. Buller, Michèle Taïna Audette, E. Qajaq Robinson, Marilyn Poitras and Brian Eyolfson are appointed as commissioners under section 3 of the Public Inquiries Act (the "Commissioners"), effective as of September 1, 2016.
- In accordance with the provisions of the Terms of Reference, the Commission shall:
- inquire into and report on:
- 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
- institutional policies and practices implemented in response to violence experienced by Indigenous women and girls in Canada, including identification and examination of practices that have been effective in reducing violence and increasing safety,
- make recommendations on:
- concrete and effective action that can be taken to remove systemic causes of violence and increase the safety of Indigenous women and girls in Canada; and
- ways to honour and commemorate the missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls in Canada.
- inquire into and report on:
- The Commission shall perform its duties without expressing any conclusion or recommendations regarding the civil or criminal liability of any person or organization. The Commission shall further ensure that the conduct of the inquiry does not jeopardize any ongoing investigation or proceeding.
- The Commission shall obtain all information and records that it considers necessary to discharge its mandate and, for that purpose, may:
- compel the attendance of any person to provide testimony under oath or affirmation or in any other manner that the Commission considers appropriate; and
- require the production of information that would otherwise be confidential or inadmissible under any statute or regulation.
- The Commission shall not receive or admit any information or evidence that is subject to solicitor client or any other legal privilege unless it is voluntarily provided by the person to whom the privilege belongs.
- The Commission may also receive and rely upon individual statements and testimonies from Indigenous Peoples and other interested participants that it considers relevant and appropriate, whether or not such evidence would be admissible in court. The Commission may, for the purpose of gathering such evidence, adopt informal procedures and methods, including public meetings and other forms of community engagement.
- Where it considers it necessary, the Commission shall impose conditions on the production of information to protect the confidentiality and privacy interests of affected families and others.
- All ministries and all boards, agencies, and commissions of the Government of Ontario shall, subject to any privilege or other legal restriction, assist the Commission to the fullest extent possible, including producing documents in a timely manner, so that the Commission may carry out its duties.
- The Commission may hold such public or other hearings as it considers necessary to fulfill its mandate and may exercise the powers provided for in section 13 of the Public Inquiries Act, 2009.
- The Government of Canada has undertaken to pay any and all expenses associated with the operation of the Commission and the National Inquiry.
- The Government of Canada has also undertaken to pay all of the costs associated with the participation of Indigenous organizations in advisory councils, witnesses before the Commission, the process of gathering the experiences of family members and others, as well as any ceremony that the Commission includes in its operations, including honoraria for Elders and others.
- The Government of Ontario shall bear the cost of its own participation and attendance in the National Inquiry, as well as any costs associated with the production of its records to the Commission.
Final and Interim Reports
- The Commission shall simultaneously deliver to the Governments of Canada and Ontario:
- an interim report containing its preliminary findings, conclusions and recommendations (the "Interim Report") before November 1, 2017; and
- a final report containing its findings, conclusions and recommendations (the "Final Report") before November 1, 2018.
- The Commission shall ensure, in so far as practicable, that the Interim Report and Final Report are delivered in a form appropriate for public release, consistent with the requirements of Ontario's Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and other applicable federal and provincial legislation.
- The Commission shall be responsible for translation and printing and shall ensure that the Interim Report and Final Report are delivered in English and French at the same time, in electronic and printed versions.
Archives and Record Keeping
- The Commission is authorized and required in the public interest to ensure that all records created or received in the course of the National Inquiry are preserved and archived in accordance with the requirements of Ontario's Archives and Recordkeeping Act, 2006 and other applicable federal and provincial legislation.
- To the extent feasible, and subject to applicable legal requirements and any recommendations made by the Commission concerning confidentiality, all records created or received by the Commission should be accessible to the public following the completion of the National Inquiry.