(Coast Salish Territory/Vancouver, B.C.- October 27, 2015) A Coalition on Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls is extremely upset that the BC Information and Privacy Commissioner has found that Ministry of Transportation staff willfully deleted emails related to the Highway of Tears, a remote stretch of Highway 16 between Prince Rupert and Prince George, where many Indigenous women and girls have been murdered or disappeared.

The provincial government has failed to take meaningful action to provide adequate and safe transportation along the Highway despite numerous clear recommendations to do so from agencies including the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of the Organization of American States, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, the Missing Women’s Commission of Inquiry, and the Highway of Tears Symposium. BC’s failure to act in response to these recommendations puts the safety of Indigenous women and girls at risk and is in neglect of its duty to take every reasonable effort to ensure the safety of all women and girls.

The Coalition is extremely troubled that, instead of working to improve safety for Indigenous women and girls along the Highway of Tears, Ministry of Transportation staff contravened their duties under the Freedom of Information and Privacy Protection Act by reading information requests narrowly and deleting emails related to the government’s action on the issue in order to avoid disclosing them in response to an access to information request concerning the Ministry’s meetings regarding the Highway of Tears.