Communication shortfalls an issue for Nunavik youth protection services, Quebec commission hears

“Our community members don’t understand the system”

Lucy Grey, a member of the Quebec Bar’s committee on Nunavik’s justice system, spoke at a Nov. 28 hearing of the Laurent Commission on the Rights of the Child and Youth Protection in Montreal. (Screen shot)

By Jane George

Poor understanding of Quebec’s youth protection system is an enormous hurdle to overcome in Nunavik.

That was the message from Lucy Grey, a member of the Quebec Bar’s committee on Nunavik’s justice system, at a hearing of the Laurent Commission on the Rights of the Child and Youth Protection, held on Nov. 28 in Montreal.

“This whole system and all this legalese and all these youth protection acts are completely foreign,” Grey told the commission. “A parent does not know what their legal rights are…. Our community members don’t understand the system.”

Grey said Nunavik has repeatedly asked for better training to improve understanding about youth protection.

But a huge gap remains between Nunavik and Quebec, she said.

“For example, English is our second language. English is the working language, but our first language is Inuktitut,” she said.

Francophone justice and youth protection workers also work in a second language while in Nunavik, she said.

“There’s a big gap where we do not really understand each other and ultimately it is the child who falls through the cracks,” she said.

That exacerbates the other problems in the youth protection system, she said.

Quebec called the Laurent commission after the death of a seven-year-old girl in Granby in the Eastern Townships last April. Youth protection authorities had monitored her situation, but the girl died after a “succession of events that should not have occurred,” an investigation found.

In response, Quebec said it would commit to examining Quebec’s youth protection services, the law that governs these services, as well as the role of the courts and social services.

At the commission last Thursday, many spoke about a new “one file, one child” rule, which would keep all information about a child under youth protection together in a single online location. This might have prevented the missteps that led to the girl’s death, they said.

“We welcome the ‘one file-one child,'” Grey said.

But she said the basic structure of the judicial system hasn’t yet been implemented in Nunavik.

“So we cannot even argue about ‘one file-one child,'” she said, adding that Nunavik can’t recruit judges, has no legal aid lawyers and there’s a big turnover in youth protection workers.

Grey asked for Laurent commission to build on the recommendations of the Viens commission, which looked at how to improve public services for Indigenous people in Quebec.

But Grey said there has to be a will to do that.

“We are ultimately Quebec citizens and want our rights to be protected,” she said. “Often times we find that we (Inuit) are put aside and all our rights are violated became of a lack of understanding.”

The commission must submit its report and recommendations to the Quebec government by Nov. 30, 2020.

The commission, headed by Régine Laurent, a former health union president, has a website where anyone can find information about the commission or submit their stories to commissioners.

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(13) Comments:

  1. Posted by This is ridiculous on

    Am i missing something here? I mean looking after and caring for and loving children are the most universally aspects of all people on earth, or you would think so. To indicate that Nunavik don’t understand the system, got nothing to do with the high rates of child neglect were having in Nunavik. There are two channels of thoughts going on here, and it’s confusing the real issues. The real question should be, why is there so much child neglect in Nunavik. And if there was less of the neglect, we wouldnt even have to be concern about miscommunication.

    • Posted by learn the system on

      so learn the system! right?

      • Posted by What system on

        The only system is the one where many people are having their kids taken away , due to neglect. I know that system very well. Most of us know it so well that we are not having our kids taken away, yet we know how to have a beer also and not break any laws. That’s the system worth knowing.

        • Posted by Learn the system on

          I hope the system continues to look after the abuse kids. Frankly I think the Quebec government is doing a great job in Nunavik with dyp. I’m hoping that all this complaining don’t allow kids back in abusive families.

  2. Posted by Misunderstanding? on

    These committees are great in the south, and they should also be great in the north, but they’re not great in the north. That because the north has hundreds of abuse issues, more so than the south. The alcohol and drug abuses are driving the abuse in the north. Plus when these committees are implemented in the north, they take a life of their own, and steers people away from the core issues. There becomes a new fabrication of issues that comes out of the committees rather than staying on track for the reason of the committees. This is just another injustice to getting to the real solution for the kids. Its also amazing how people race to get on these committees as a way to supplement their income.

  3. Posted by Grandfather on

    My 2 grandsons aged 7 & 2 had their alcoholic mother at a drunken state abandoned them from their home to go have a dispute against another drunk person. While abandoned at their home the older boy (7 yrs) terrified as they were put on their winter cloths alone and ran out of the house and attempted to walk to my home a mile away to the other side of the village in the middle of the winter season (February). As the 2 brothers started walking 1/4 the way, a man driving to work saw them holding hands walking slowly towards the direction of my home. That was 8:30 in the morning. Thankfully the man saw them and took them on his truck and brought them to me. Although furious about what happened. their mother was arrested for disturbing the peace. Their common-law father is also an alcoholic and abusive to their mother, threatening to commit suicide if their mother breaks up their relationship because of their relationship be harmful and not worth it, he blackmails her with posting pictures through the internet therefore he has the upper hand. Being thoughtless and will not have a job and live off his mother’sand common law father’s income, he is not helping himself to get counselling, support, and be trained to be a productive citizen of the community. Yes, alcohol and drug abuse is rampant in the north but still the social services and Youth Protection have their hands full and deserve to be given proper resources. Instead of children being sent to foster care, why not send the parents to detox centres whether it be to the northern facilities or to the south where there are more resources available. Grandparents or other CLOSE relatives can understand the enormity of their dilemma in the family circle. Until that happen in some fashion or other way, we will continue to give strained, drained, despair, care. Inuit will continue to fight for their rights especially their small children who are …

    • Posted by Makes me sick on

      Yes this makes me want to vomit. People not looking after their children, and blame other people for it. Doing nothing in life, uneducated, with no desire to learn. Spending all family income with n drugs. And turning around and continue to blame. Some people need to be locked up.

  4. Posted by Pasha on

    It’s so easily to make the “Inuit” look bad but all you duos are after is taking any and every child possible under the DYP files to get more cheque’s you guys get a ( vacation) every two month , 19 -20 year old DYP workers who have absolutely no idea what they are handling the only thing they know is Another paycheque towards their Company , then the Inuit become an easy victim for the DYP ! Their way of trying to take over plus they do a Bigger neglect then the actual parents and do not allow the “parents” to be involved as if they have better nurturing parenting planned for them .

  5. Posted by Look after you kids on

    Its simple, look after your kids. Its pretty much a free country. No one is going to take anyones kids that are being well cared for. But its great that we have a system by which children can get protection from abuse. Just look after your kids. Stop abusing them.

    • Posted by Bobby on

      In the mean time, the adult’s behaviour or lack of self-control should be aware that they are still wearing invisible diapers. Go back into time and face the terror or horror they saw as they were children, having been stumped in their emotional growth has in their lost state do not know how to move forward and be healed from the trauma experienced. Until this is dealt with by facing it and decide to forgive that past and seal the door that had many a drama they are still haunted by. You are not alone and many people care for you too. We are only human.

  6. Posted by Bobby on

    Children who are in danger of neglect should go to their relatives if relatives have room. The abusive parents who neglect their children should go to rehab at no choice since the children have no choice when their parents decide to spend their income be it welfare cheques, child assistance benefits, on alcohol or drugs. Six to 12 months in rehabs should be efficient for the parents who will go cold turkey and then they will decide for themselves whether they see they need to seek help by their now privileged choice given to them. Options are few and far so let the parent(s) see what has been their problem, past, present, or future. Children will benefit from counselling by the foster parents, dyp agents, and local elders. Time to grind it out.

    • Posted by Prioritize your children, instead of turning to Alcohol on

      I agree with you Bobby.

      Way before the children being spotted by DYP, us Inuit use to have second choice to hand over our children to our family members.

      It is already out rages seeing neglected children on streets, that is how they learn violence on streets, out of love, careless, no respect on people’s in need of peace, and being traumatized because of your behaviour, their choice is to run away on streets cause their parents are fighting, arguing etc.

      A child does not have adult’s grown bones, mind and needs tender loving care, they are small in need of proper nutritious meals to grow, a baby to toddler, adolescence, to Adult and Age friendly.

      It is best to stop blaming who is taking a child, it is you, yeah you, you are parent, suppose to stay home and look after your child until it is fully grown, you can step up and wake up, look at yourself, your responsibility as a Parent!

      Atii Anaanaujuit Ataataujuit qiturngaminik sivuliuriqattalaurlit!

      • Posted by Prioritize your children, instead of turning to alcohol on

        Typos correction at last paragraph;


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