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Quebec is slow to follow the recommendations of the Laurent report on child protection

Photo: Paul Chiasson Archives The Canadian Press This week marks the sad anniversary, five years ago, of the death of the little girl from Granby in tragic circumstances.

Katrine Desautels – The Canadian Press

Posted at 9:02 a.m.

  • Quebec

Slowness, inconsistency, lack of transparency: the monitoring committee of the Special Commission on the Rights of Children and Youth Protection (CSDEPJ) is concerned about the government's actions to better protect Quebec's children .

This week marks the sad anniversary, five years ago, of the death of the little girl from Granby in tragic circumstances. After this tragedy which shocked Quebec, a special commission chaired by Régine Laurent and composed of experts submitted a report containing around sixty recommendations aimed at avoiding this type of tragedy.

Three years after the submission of the Laurent report, the CSDEPJ monitoring committee notes that the government is slow to act. He estimates that at this rate it will take another 20 years to implement all of the report's recommendations.

Martine Desjardins, president of the CSDEPJ monitoring committee , indicates that we are far from the six-year objective of the minister responsible for Social Services, Lionel Carmant. “We’re halfway through,” she said. We do not doubt the good will of the minister, we do not doubt that the avenues put forward are surely adequate avenues, but we judge the application of the report and currently we are very worried. »

“We are far from the ten years even projected by Régine Laurent in her letter this morning,” argued Ms. Desjardins, referring to the former commissioner's open letter published Tuesday in the media.

According to the 2021-2023 government report on the progress of its plan to implement the recommendations, 11 of them have been completed. “We arrive at nine according to the data he made available in his report,” says Ms. Desjardins. There are two recommendations that we cannot find completed. »

In addition to the 65 recommendations, the Laurent report includes 251 sub-recommendations, which are avenues of action. According to government data, 42% of sub-recommendations are ongoing or completed. The committee does not reach the same conclusion; instead it calculates 30% based on inconsistencies.

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The committee identified several inconsistencies between the measures that the government says it has completed and the objective of the measure. After analysis, he comes to the conclusion that the ministry has completed only one recommendation in a coherent manner out of the 65 in the Laurent report. This is recommendation 3.4, which is to facilitate the exchange of information to better serve the interests of the child.

Ms. Desjardins specifies that the committee does not analyze whether the government's proposal is useful, but rather whether it is consistent with the courses of action in the Laurent report.

To give an example of inconsistency, she cites measure 2.8.4 where the commission requested that children who are placed under the Youth Protection Act be able to remain in their living environment, daycare or school, when it is in their interest. “The government says in its report that it disseminates ministerial guidelines to ensure a harmonious transition when changing schools. It can be a good measure, but it does not respond to recommendation 2.8.4 which called for keeping children in their living environment,” she explains.

“When we note all of these inconsistencies, we arrive at 30% of the recommendations which are in progress (to be completed). This is a percentage that worries us, says Ms. Desjardins. […] We must accelerate our pace at the moment if we want to ensure that we meet the deadlines proposed by Minister Carmant himself. »

The committee also noted that several measures considered urgent have not yet been implemented. Four of the report’s 15 chapters are “neglected,” according to its analysis. This is the chapter on First Nations, on family conflicts and domestic violence – which is a recurring issue, recalls Ms. Desjardins – the chapter on the English-speaking community as well as that on the growth and stability of investments in youth protection and innovation.

Among the neglected measures, Ms. Desjardins names the one on youth center facilities, while their dilapidation has made the headlines recently. “These are emergency measures that are still not being put forward […] it is clear to us that there should be priorities in this area,” she denounces.

Lack of transparency

The problems of access to information and public data have been brought to light in recent weeks. “It’s really problematic in Quebec,” says Ms. Desjardins. We are not the only ones to have denounced it. »

The CSDEPJ monitoring committee produced a comprehensive report, but its president says she notes “like many others that access to data is extremely difficult”. She wants better access to certain data and not only that from the Ministry of Health and Social Services, but from other ministries linked to the recommendations such as that of Education.

On the other hand, Ms. Desjardins shared the committee's concerns regarding Bill 37, which concerns the Act respecting the Commissioner for Welfare and Children's Rights.

For the moment, the study of this bill by parliamentarians is interrupted while the ministry can align everything with the First Nations peoples. “Why was this not done before tabling the bill ? It would have prevented us from pausing the adoption of the recommendations in the bill,” raises Ms. Desjardins.

She hopes that the study of the bill will resume quickly since it includes several key recommendations, notably the establishment of a commissioner for the well-being and rights of children, “which is a crucial issue of the urgent measures which must be implemented.”

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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