Backgrounder - Government of Canada Launches Commemoration Fund for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls


National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls

The Government of Canada is working to end the ongoing tragedy of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.

On December 8, 2015, the Government of Canada announced the launch of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (National Inquiry). The Government of Canada dedicated $53.8 million to the independent National Inquiry, and provided terms of reference and a timeline of two years to complete its important work, which began on September 1, 2016. An Interim Report with recommendations was released in November 2017. 

In response to recommendations in the Inquiry’s Interim report released in November 2017, Canada announced investments in healing and health supports for survivors, family members and others affected by the issue of murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls; helping victims’ families access information about their loved ones; commemoration of the lives and legacies of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls and members of LGBTQ2S communities; and supporting the establishment of a national investigative oversight body at the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. These initiatives ensure action in key areas does not wait for the conclusion of the National Inquiry. It is anticipated that the initiatives will better position the Government to respond to the Inquiry’s final report.

The Path Forward

The Government of Canada announced on June 5, 2018, that the National Inquiry would be granted an extension and that it would have until April 30, 2019 to submit its final report, instead of the initial date of November 1, 2018. The extension to submit the report meant that the Commissioners chose to extend the time, up to December 2018, to hear from additional families and survivors, further examine institutional practices and policies, and undertake the research necessary to inform their recommendations on the systemic causes of all forms of violence against Indigenous women and girls in Canada. The National Inquiry has until June 30, 2019, to wind down its work. 

This approach acknowledged that there were more survivors and family members who wanted to share their experiences, while underscoring the urgency that this Government places on seeing the National Inquiry deliver concrete recommendations to address systemic and institutional issues to help keep Indigenous women and girls safe. It also provided an opportunity for the National Inquiry’s final recommendations to be informed by further expert or institutional hearings and research. Public hearings and submissions from parties with standing were completed in December 2018. 

Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Commemoration Fund

One of the recommendations of the National Inquiry’s interim report was the establishment of a commemoration fund. The Department for Women and Gender Equality has established this fund which provides $10 million over two years to help honour the lives and legacies of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls and LGBTQ2S individuals.

Through a Call for Proposals from the Department’s Women’s Program, the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Commemoration Fund will support Indigenous governments and organizations, including Indigenous women’s organizations and Two-Spirit organizations, to work with families and communities to develop and implement commemorative initiatives. Families and communities targeted are First Nations, Métis and Inuit.

Organizations who are eligible to apply are:

  • Indigenous governments, including band councils, tribal councils, self-government entities and their agencies, and hamlets; and,
  • Indigenous organizations. including Indigenous women’s organizations and Two-Spirit organizations
    • An Indigenous organization is an incorporated organization that represents First Nations, Inuit and/or Métis interests and is controlled by members of the population it serves.

Commemorative initiatives eligible for funding may include, but are not limited to:

  • Events that contribute to healing by acknowledging those who were murdered or disappeared and by bringing people together to share and support one another.
  • For example: banquets, pow-wows, talking circles, potlatches, closing ceremonies, healing circles, welcome home ceremonies, lecture series, and art or music workshops.
  • Commemoration items that leave a legacy or that educate people about missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, including LGBTQ2S people.
  • For example: community monuments, plaques, cairns, totem poles, murals, and not-for-profit films or books and education curricula.
  • Regional or national coordination and support of commemoration events and initiatives.
  • Development and implementation of region-wide or nation-wide commemoration initiatives.
  • For example: gatherings for remembrance and healing.

As the National Inquiry noted in its interim report, public commemoration is a powerful way to help honour truths, support healing, create awareness, and to advance reconciliation.

Organizations and governments can submit an application to the Call for Proposals by visiting The deadline to submit is March 28, 2019 at 11:59 a.m. (noon) Pacific Standard Time.

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