RCMP delays missing persons database

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After the Harper government’s announcement on March 1 that the RCMP’s national missing persons database was to be delayed until 2013, the Families of Sisters in Spirit (FSIS), a grassroots, volunteer, non-profit organization based in the Algonquin territory of Ottawa, have taken it upon themselves to establish their own database of missing Aboriginal women.

In 2010, the Conservative government allocated $10 million in order to address the issue of the 582 missing and murdered Aboriginal women in Canada, $6 million of those funds being transferred to the RCMP for the national missing persons database to be ready in 2012.

“This [database] is supposed to be for the missing and murdered Aboriginal women. The $6 million is going for RCMP national missing persons database. So it’s not specifically for Aboriginal women,” said Bridget Tolley, co-founder of FSIS.

It will now be ready in 2015 because it will take two years to have the data and online resources ready for public consultation, making it a total of five years since Ottawa has compiled the numbers of missing and murdered Native women.

The FSIS have started their own database in reaction to the government’s delays. “The families can’t wait that long. When the Aboriginal girls go missing, no one cares, there’s no media [attention] and it’s hard for us to let anyone know that they are missing. So Families of Sisters in Spirit hopes to keep helping these families,” added Tolley.

Tolley regularly posts missing women’s reports on the FSIS’s Facebook page. The Ottawa office of the FSIS can be reached at 613-237-1000 or at familiesofsistersinspirit@gmail.com

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