QUÉBEC CITY, June 3, 2021 /CNW Telbec/ – Bill 79, An Act to authorize the communication of personal information to the families of Indigenous children who went missing or died after being admitted to an institution, was passed today by the National Assembly. The Bill, introduced by the Minister Responsible for Indigenous Affairs, Ian Lafrenière, will help Indigenous families obtain information from a health and social services institution, an organization or a religious congregation about the circumstances surrounding the disappearance or death of children following their admission to a health and social services institution prior to December 31, 1992.
The Act, once it comes into force, will give families important tools to help them find answers in their search, in a humane and respectful way. It will facilitate access to personal information, while providing support tailored to the needs of each family. The communication of personal information will, in certain cases, be made possible through exemptions to the current rules preventing disclosure. The Minister Responsible for Indigenous Affairs will have the power to launch an investigation if one or more elements tend to indicate that information that could shed light on the circumstances surrounding the disappearance or death of an Indigenous child exists, but cannot be communicated because of existing rules.
Throughout the legislative process leading to the passage of Bill 79, the Indigenous families concerned and other key stakeholders were consulted. This highlighted a shared objective: to meet families’ needs in a way that ensures respect for their culture and language, and also their suffering. Their contribution to the drafting of the Bill’s provisions played a central role and was given priority by the Minister. This collaboration marks a turning point in the relationship between Indigenous nations and the Québec government, which hopes to support families in their quest for truth and also in the healing process.
“It is with great pride and emotion that I was present, today, for the passage of Bill 79, which offers a meaningful response to the demands made by grieving Indigenous families. I would like to offer the families my heartfelt thanks for taking the time to participate in our work, and we would not have achieved the same result without their contribution. I also thank the Member for Mirabel for her work, which launched the process we are completing today. Without her leadership and determination to move forward with the issue in the interest of Indigenous families, the Bill would not have been passed. I also commend the close cooperation shown by the opposition parties during detailed examination of the Bill. I hope that its passage will mark the first step in a historic shift in the relations between the Québec government and the Indigenous communities, and will help lighten the burden of the families involved while establishing a foundation for a closer relationship. It is an honour to have taken part in this important project and to be involved in its implementation alongside the families concerned.”
Ian Lafrenière, Minister Responsible for Indigenous Affairs
SOURCE Cabinet du ministre responsable des Affaires autochtones