VANCOUVER - Ninety-eight children of B.C.'s missing and murdered women are eligible to share $4.9 million from the Province, the Government of Canada and the City of Vancouver, pursuant to a key recommendation of the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry (MWCI).
The $50,000-per-child compensation offer is intended to provide the children of the women identified in the MWCI report with an opportunity to enhance their education, housing or other circumstances as they progress with their lives. Today's announcement follows consultation among the funding partners, legal counsel for claimants and representatives for some of the 98 children.
In offering the compensation, the three funding partners are hopeful they will reach a settlement with the 13 litigants involved in an ongoing civil action related to the loss of their mothers.
In Forsaken: The Report of the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry, Commissioner Wally Oppal wrote, "Given the compelling evidence that I heard concerning the intergenerational impact of these crimes and the need to break the hold of violence on families, I recommend that the Provincial Government establish a compensation fund for the children of the victims."
The compensation fund is one more part of government's response to the MWCI recommendations, which also includes policing reforms like the recent introduction of legislation to better support police in locating vulnerable and at-risk missing persons.
Attorney General and Minister of Justice Suzanne Anton -
"Commissioner Oppal detailed our shared responsibility for the exceptional and troubling circumstances that contributed to the disappearance and death of dozens of B.C. women. In turn, he called on us to compensate their children - and we are doing so."
"I hope their families will find some solace in our broader, ongoing response to the MWCI recommendations, which is advancing the safety of vulnerable women and will ensure that 'missing' never again means 'forsaken' in British Columbia."
The Hon. Steven Blaney, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Canada -
"The Government of Canada recognizes the deep suffering and turmoil the horrific criminal actions of Robert Pickton have caused. Each of the 98 living children of the B.C. missing and murdered women associated with the criminal actions of Robert Pickton, and identified in the final report of the BC Missing Women Commission of Inquiry, will be entitled to a $50,000 payment."
Mayor Gregor Robertson, City of Vancouver -
"We recognize the long and difficult road for the children of B.C.'s missing and murdered women, and the collective failure of all levels of government to prevent these horrific acts. This compensation fund is one small but significant step, and while the Inquiry may be complete, our work at the City is not. Significant work remains to improve safety for vulnerable girls and women, and to ensure that tragedies like these can never happen again."
- The new fund makes compensation available to all known, living, biological children of the women identified in the MWCI report as missing or murdered.
- In addition to continuing negotiations with the 13 litigants, government will contact the rest of the eligible individuals in the weeks ahead.
- The provincial share of the fund will come from the budget of the Crown Proceedings Act, which government maintains to cover the judgments, settlements and costs of civil actions against it.
- Last Thursday, the Province announced 12 grants worth a total of $845,000 to key organizations to address other MWCI recommendations.
Those who are or believe they may be eligible to share in the compensation fund can learn more details here: www.pssg.gov.bc.ca/compensationfund/index.htm
For additional information and enquiries, please phone 1 844 660-3870 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Government's November 2013 status report on its response to the MWCI recommendations: www.ag.gov.bc.ca/public_inquiries/docs/BCGovStatusReport.pdf
Missing Women Commission of Inquiry website, including access to the commissioner's report: www.missingwomeninquiry.ca/
Government Communications and Public Engagement
Ministry of Justice