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 A commissioner, but still no Children's Charter of Rights

Jacques Boissinot The Canadian Press Minister Lionel Carmant tabled a bill on Thursday providing for the creation of the commissioner for well-being and rights children.

Régine Laurent made it her main recommendation; the government heard it. As promised, Quebec is moving forward with the creation of a Commissioner for the Welfare and Rights of Children, but the Charter he would be responsible for applying may never see the light of day.

< p>The Minister responsible for Social Services, Lionel Carmant, reached a new milestone in his important reform of the Youth Protection Directorate (DPJ), Thursday, by tabling Bill 37 “on the commissioner of well-being and children's rights.”

The elected official has been committed to this since the last mandate. In an interview with Le Devoir at the end of September, he confirmed that he was simply waiting for the green light from his government.

The bill presented Thursday by M . Carmant provides for the appointment of a commissioner with two-thirds of the votes of the National Assembly. Once adopted, it will also lead to the creation of an associate commissioner dedicated to indigenous children.

The commissioner, a sort of “ombudsman” for children's rights, will be responsible for monitoring respect for the rights of minors in Quebec, in addition to monitoring young adults under 26 who have already been taken into care. by the youth protection system. It will also ensure “monitoring of all deaths of children for which an investigation or inquiry has been carried out”.

“He will have investigative powers on the general issues that he will view,” summarized Minister Carmant when presenting his bill to the parliamentary press. “We don’t want him to deal with individual complaints, but when he receives an individual complaint, he will be able to direct it to the necessary resource. »

What rights?

Mr. Carmant likens the role of the Commissioner to that of the Public Protector and the Auditor General of Quebec. “I don't think the commissioner can interfere in homes, but a child who is a victim could call the commissioner and find out what their rights are,” said the elected official from the Coalition Avenir Québec.

< p>What are they, exactly? “We want children to have the right to be heard, the right to speak, the right to education, obviously,” said Mr. Carmant. Can he name any others? “Not like that directly, but I think there are several of these rights that are important for our young people. »

In her report made public two years ago, the president of the Special Commission on the Rights of Children and Youth Protection, Régine Laurent, recommended the creation of a Charter of Children's Rights, which would have set out “the fundamental rights” of young Quebecers. This should also provide for “the creation, role and mandate” of the Commissioner.

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But here it is: the adoption of such a document is less certain than ever. On Thursday, Lionel Carmant said he would see “if it’s necessary”. “We will see what [the Commissioner] will ask us,” the minister simply said. “He will analyze the needs and we will see. »

In an interview withLe Devoir in May when launching “phase two” of his reform of the DPJ, Mr. Carmant nevertheless affirmed that the work concerning the Charter would arrive “probably in phase three.”



Despite the recommendations to this effect from the Laurent Commission, the Commissioner for the Well-being and Rights of Children will also not inherit the powers in matters of youth protection from the Commission on Human Rights and Human Rights. youth.

“The commissioner is for all children. The CDPDJ is for children who are under the Youth Protection Act. That's the first thing. We wanted a much broader mandate,” explained Mr. Carmant.

The CAQ minister maintains that adding a structure will not create confusion. The DPJ, like the CDPDJ, will maintain all their powers. “We don’t want him [the commissioner] to carry out an individual investigation. We really want him to accompany the person to the right service, and, if the right service is the DPJ, he will accompany them to the DPJ,” he said.

Once the bill is adopted, Mr. Carmant hopes to see the commissioner appointed “within a year.”

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116