The National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls is dealing with more resignations.
APTN News has learned two key members of the inquiry’s communications team are the latest to depart, meaning nearly 30 staffers have left the federally-funded probe.
Shaylen Smith and Nadine Gros-Louis are the latest to go, confirmed Catherine Kloczkowski, special advisor – project management.
Gros-Louis took a provincial job with the Quebec government, Kloczkowski said in an email.
And Smith is pursuing “new opportunities.”
The inquiry is looking to fill two positions until it hands in its final report in spring 2019 on the root causes of violence against Indigenous women and girls.
“As you can appreciate,” Kloczkowski added, “with the announcement in June of a six month extension instead of the anticipated two year extension requested, staff are understandably beginning to think about their next steps and career opportunities beyond the National Inquiry.”
Smith and Gros-Louis aren’t household names but were go-to personnel for media outlets seeking information and arranging interviews with inquiry commissioners and employees.
Jennifer Cox, the commission’s co-lead legal counsel, is also gone, APTN has learned.
She followed Breen Ouellette out the door to become the seventh lawyer to exit the inquiry.
Cox was named Project Lead of the Enhanced Child Family Initiative at the Mi’kmaq Rights Initiative in October that will see the Mi’kmaq of Nova Scotia assume control over child welfare matters.
Some former staff members have spoken out in the past – saying the inquiry is hobbled by poor management and infighting.
But Chief Commissioner Marion Buller has declined to comment publicly on the turnover, citing privacy around personnel issues.
And the lawyers sign contracts that forbid them from sharing any inquiry information.
They swear in witnesses and handle sensitive testimony that will form the final report.
The inquiry has two final hearings remaining – Nov. 26-30 in Calgary and Dec. 10-14 in Ottawa.
The two-year inquiry was established by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in September 2016.
His government rejected a request to double the time period – and $50 million in funding – of its mandate.