03/19/2013 10:18 EDT | Updated 05/19/2013 05:12 EDT

Quebec extends corruption inquiry mandate

The Quebec government announced today it will extend the mandate of the province's corruption commission.

Last week, the chair of Quebec's corruption inquiry, France Charbonneau, asked for the additional time to investigate alleged corruption in Quebec's construction industry and make recommendations.

Pauline Marois' administration has approved Charbonneau's request for an 18-month extension, but with the condition that a progress report be submitted by January 31, 2014.

In that report, Justice Minister Bertrand St-Arnaud said Charbonneau has been asked to include any potential recommendations for the government.

He refused to comment on why he thinks the inquiry is taking longer than expected.

"The commissioner is using her powers as the commissioner wants, and she decides how she will work," he said.

"It is very important for the government to respect this independence of the commission."

Premier Pauline Marois said last week that it goes without saying that the commission's mandate should be extended if necessary, given the importance of its work.