Nunavik welcomes Quebec legislation recognizing Inuit adoption
“We see it as a regional accomplishment to finally have this important issue recognized”
Nunavik organizations are welcoming long-awaited changes to Quebec legislation that will better recognize Inuit customary adoption.
The lengthy-titled “Act to amend the Civil Code and other legislative provisions as regard adoption and the disclosure of information” would require that a unique birth certificate be issued to reflect an adopted child’s new lineage.
Bill 113 was passed June 16, roughly a decade after the Nunavik region first began lobbying for changes to the act.
“Nunavik Inuit have consistently called for Quebec’s laws to legally reflect the effects of our customary adoption regime,” said Makivik Corp. president Jobie Tukkiapik in a June 26 release.
Although the Constitution Act and the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement recognize the region’s traditional adoption practices, Tukkiapik said it was important the Quebec government formally acknowledge the kinship of adopted Inuit children in its own legislation.
The Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services, or NRBHSS, estimates that one out of every three to four Inuit newborns is adopted as part of Inuit tradition.
In any given year, an average of 50 Inuit children are customarily adopted in Nunavik.
“A lot of team efforts were put into this file and we see it as a regional accomplishment to finally have this important issue recognized,” said Minnie Grey, executive director of the NRBHSS.
Both Makivik and the NRBHSS said they plan to collaborate with the province to help implement the bill’s new provisions.
Bill 113 has been in the works for about nine years, through three different governments, before it was finally passed earlier this month, just before the assembly recessed for the summer.
A major piece of the bill will allow adopted children in Quebec to trace their origins, even in the case where their biological parents have passed away.