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Quebec tables bill to give families of missing Indigenous children access to records

Minister responsible for Indigenous affairs, Ian Lafrenière spoke to reporters in Quebec City, Friday, November 27, 2020. Global News

The Quebec government introduced legislation on Wednesday that would allow relatives of Indigenous children who disappeared or died after being admitted to health-care facilities to obtain information about their loved ones.

Indigenous Affairs Minister Ian Lafrenière tabled the bill, saying he hoped it would help families get answers.

Several dozen children died or were placed in foster care after being admitted to health or social-services facilities between the 1950s and 1989.

In some cases, the parents never learned what happened to the children.

Click to play video: 'Families of missing Indigenous children want Quebec to take requests for help seriously' Families of missing Indigenous children want Quebec to take requests for help seriously
Families of missing Indigenous children want Quebec to take requests for help seriously – Feb 14, 2020

The new law would require health-care facilities, social services, organizations and religious congregations to transmit personal information about the missing or deceased children to their families.

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It also gives the government the power to launch an investigation into organizations that don’t comply.

Resources will be put in place to ensure families understand the medical data and are supported in their search, including helping them to locate living family members who were sent to foster care.

Read more: Quebec First Nations want legislation to help families find missing children

Lafrenière said some parents have reached the age of 89 or 90 and still don’t know what happened to their child.

“In some cases, we’re talking about children who were given for adoption,” he said.

“In other cases, there are children who died, but there’s no confirmation. We don’t know where they’re buried, we don’t have details.”

Lafrenière promised that the families would be given a telephone number to call, as well as a file number.

Read more: Quebec government announces $18.6M over five years to improve Indigenous policing

 

He said funding would be put in place to hire a team to support the families and help them in their research.

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