QUÉBEC CITY, Sept. 30, 2020 /CNW Telbec/ - The Gouvernement du Québec today observed the first anniversary of the tabling of the report by Commissioner Jacques Viens, which constituted the end result of more than two years of consultations on relations between Indigenous Peoples and certain public services in Québec. While regretting that certain delays have occurred on account of the social and health context related to COVID-19, the Minister Responsible for Indigenous Affairs, Sylvie D'Amours, emphasized the quality of the discussions that have taken place in recent months between government officials and Indigenous representatives, aiming to work in collaboration to establish the priorities for implementation of initiatives that reflect the will of the community.

The government is pleased to announce that out of 142 calls for action, 51 of direct concern to it are already under discussion, completed or on the way to completion, for example:

  • Call for action 1: Make a public apology;
  • Call for action 2: Adopt a motion to recognize and implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples;
  • Call for action 56: Train all Québec probation officers to prepare Indigenous pre-sentencing reports and teach them the reassuring cultural approach for collecting information;
  • Call for action 130: Ensure that families and significant people who are not represented by an association and who foster Indigenous children receive financial compensation equivalent to family-type resources.

The Gouvernement du Québec acted quickly to follow up within a few days on the first two calls for action set out in the Viens report, and since then has been working tirelessly in collaboration with its Indigenous partners to act along these lines. The implementation of such a complete and voluminous report is an organic process that takes place gradually. In order enable itself to take action, to implement the calls for action and calls for justice of the two commissions of inquiry (the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls and the Public Inquiry Commission on relations between Indigenous Peoples and certain public services [the Viens Commission]), the government allocated $200 million in new funding over five years, in the 2020 budget.

Quotation: "Of course, we would have liked to act more rapidly on the other calls for action, and we were off to a good start, with the meetings in October 2019 and January 2020, but the pandemic has disrupted our plans as well. The important thing is that we continue to make progress while consistently fulfilling our commitment to move forward hand in hand with the First Nations and the Inuit. The implementation of the calls for action and for justice remain my priority, and I look forward to being able to announce good news to you in this regard in the near future."

Sylvie D'Amours, Minister Responsible for Indigenous Affairs

The Viens Commission
The Viens Commission was set up to shed light on public services delivered to Indigenous peoples over the past fifteen years. Hearings were held in Val-d'Or, Québec City and at other locations across the province. This independent inquiry, which had been launched in 2016 by the Gouvernement du Québec, aimed to prevent or eliminate all forms of violence, discriminatory practices and differential treatment in the delivery of public services to Indigenous people. The inquiry examined social, policing, correctional, justice and health services as well as youth protection.

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Last update: September 30, 2020