GATINEAU, Que. (GNB) –  The provincial government has received the final report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.

The commission that led the inquiry released its report today at a special closing ceremony in Gatineau, Que. Aboriginal Affairs Minister Jake Stewart attended the ceremony on behalf of the provincial government.

“We are all deeply indebted to all of those who shared their stories, and we should honour and acknowledge the personal pain they endured to bring about change,” said Stewart. “The release of this report is the first step toward building a safer future for all women and girls and to advance truth and reconciliation.”

The provincial government will review the report to determine how to best support the needs of the family members and Indigenous communities.

The federal government launched the inquiry in September 2016 to gather evidence and examine the systemic causes of violence against Indigenous women and girls.

The commission was mandated by the provincial government under the New Brunswick Inquiries Act to carry out the review and to ensure the families of the missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls in New Brunswick were taken into consideration.

The final report captures the testimony of 1,484 participants and 83 experts from across the country, including family members, government agencies and organizations from New Brunswick.

“It is with deep gratitude we thank all of the families of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls in New Brunswick and across the country, who participated in this inquiry, for their courage,” said Service New Brunswick Minister Sherry Wilson, who is also the minister responsible for women’s equality. “This important report will be instrumental in guiding work to remove systemic causes of violence and increase the safety of Indigenous women and girls in Canada.”

The provincial government is committed to addressing the issue and is implementing the New Brunswick Plan to Prevent and Respond to Violence Against Aboriginal Women and Girls. Recommendations made in the national report will be taken into account as the provincial plan is implemented.