The BC Auditor General has released her second report in as many days, this one focusing on the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry (MWCI) in 2012.
Looking at a 21 of the original 63 recommendations, and two urgent measures, Auditor General Carol Bellringer’s only suggestion to the province is to again publicly report its progress.
“A return to regular public reporting would set the foundation for meaningful engagement and collaboration between government and stakeholders.”
Bellringer wouldn’t speculate why this information stopped being publicized but did say “there was an indication that they felt the progress was significant enough not to have that kind of a report.” Bellringer and the auditors suggested otherwise.
The report found that the provincial government has successfully established a compensation fund for the children of missing women and enacted the new Missing Persons Act.
Some initiatives are works in progress. The most noteworthy being transportation improvements along Highway 16 and creating new provincial standards for bias-free policing.
Shortly after the report was released, BC Justice Minister Suzanne Anton promised to implement this recommendation.
“We’ve heard the Auditor General and she is expressing an interest in the community that we do a more comprehensive reporting so we will be doing that.”
Anton vague while explaining why the BC government stopped publicising the information.
“There are things you can put a check mark beside and say ‘yes that’s done.’ There are things that will be completed and things that will always be part of our work as government in our concern for vulnerable people in our community.”
There were areas that needed serious improvement. Bellringer found the government has failed to create ongoing social support for families of missing women. The government also hasn’t developed a provincial protocol to help women involved in sex work, who have an outstanding warrant, or help abused women feel safe while reporting violence.
Public Safety Minister Mike Morris says he and the Province are working to tackle these issues.
“(Violence against women) affects entire families, it affects entire communities as well and it’s an important factor as we consider how we’re going to move forward every day.”
Anton expects the next report to come out in Fall 2017.