Canada announced Tuesday it would allow a six-month extension for a national inquiry looking into as many as 4,000 murdered and missing indigenous women and girls.
The inquiry, which began in September 2016, was to have wrapped up by Nov. 1, 2018, but the deadline is now April 30, 2019. Inquiry officials had asked for a two-year extension.
The inquiry, made up of four commissioners, told the government it needed more time to hear testimony from the thousands of families and friends of the missing and murdered victims. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police said there were about 1,200 victims between 1980 and 2012, but indigenous women’s groups put the total at more than 4,000.
The government provided $53.8 million for the inquiry budget, and the commissioners asked for an additional $50 million in funding to cover expenses as they visit communities to hear testimony.
But government officials said the request would have to be studied to determine if the extra allocation was justified.
To date, the inquiry has held 15 hearings in various communities and heard from 1,273 family members and survivors, but 1,859 have registered to tell their stories.
“We have a big, big agenda,” inquiry commissioner Michele Audette said in April.
The inquiry was formed by the federal government to find out why there has been such a high number of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls compared to the general population.
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