Jodie Millward, a former health manager with the MMIWG Inquiry, says the internal dysfunction is impacting hearings. (Courtesy of Jodie Millward) Jorge Barrera is a Caracas-born, award-winning journalist who has worked across the country and internationally. He is currently working for the CBC Indigenous unit based out of Ottawa.
Over a year into its mandate, the National Inquiry into Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls has still not developed an aftercare protocol for participating families or created positions to deal with the human resources issues plaguing its work, according to a health manager fired last month.
Jodie Millward, the inquiry’s former manager of health responsible for Alberta, British Columbia and Yukon, was fired Oct. 15 after only 14 weeks on the job. She is the third former staff member to speak publicly this week, alleging the inquiry’s high-pressure internal work environment is dysfunctional and lacking clear direction.
"My coming forward is not to take focus off the families and survivors but to help make the inquiry accountable for their actions," said Millward. "I believe that decisions are being made that are affecting the quality of care that families and survivors are receiving and impacting the outcome of the hearings." Morene Gabriel was hired with the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls national inquiry in June and fired on Nov. 14. (Jeff Stapleton/CBC) Millward joins Morene Gabriel, a former inquiry community relations manager, and Melissa Carlick, a former inquiry health coordinator, in speaking out about the inquiry’s internal problems. Gabriel and Carlick were fired this month.
Gabriel told CBC News this week the inquiry had a " sick internal culture ." Carlick said in a CBC News interview that senior management would dismiss "anyone who doesn’t make them look good."
Inquiry lawyer Karen Snowshoe also tendered her resignation this month, which was set to take effect at the end of December.
The inquiry has lost at least 20 people — including former commissioner Marilyn Poitras, an executive director and several directors — to resignations and firings since it began its operations in September 2016.
The inquiry has refused to comment on the latest round of resignations and firings. No aftercare plan, policies
Millward said when she began working for the inquiry it had no set process for dealing with the aftercare for participating families and survivors. She said senior managers were only beginning the work and she was tasked with drafting an aftercare process and model.
"It was based on best practices, based on work we were already doing, work we already knew and it also had some blank spaces where we needed policies were there were none," she said, in an interview with CBC News. "I never received any feedback on it."
Millward said the inquiry also had no staff directly responsible for human resources and problems were expected to be reported to immediate supervisors. If there was a conflict with an immediate supervisor, staff were forced to figure a way to get their complaints to their supervisor’s superior, she said. Melissa Carlick, who lives in Whitehorse, was the community liaison and health co-ordinator for the MMIWG inquiry in Yukon, Alberta, N.W.T. and parts of British Columbia. She says she was fired after the Edmonton hearings. (Wayne Vallevand/CBC) Millward said she kept her director informed of staff issues, but she was never sure what happened to her reports.
"I don’t know where she was bringing the (human resource) issues that we were bringing forward to her," she said. "I don’t know what she was doing with them or what she was doing about them."
At the time, Millward said she thought these issues would work themselves out.
"I had […]
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