Mobilization and collaboration of all actors must be at the heart of the response to the crisis in Nunavik insists the CDPDJ
The Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse (CDPDJ) is following with great concern the situation in Nunavik, which far from being new seems to have reached a critical point. While announcing the release, next fall, of its assessment of the commitments made by the various actors following its numerous reports, it is now calling for the mobilization of all the actors concerned so that concrete and lasting actions are taken.
Montréal, August 12, 2022 – The Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse (CDPDJ) is following with great concern the situation in Nunavik, which far from being new seems to have reached a critical point. While announcing the release, next fall, of its assessment of the commitments made by the various actors following its numerous reports, it is now calling for the mobilization of all the actors concerned so that concrete and lasting actions are taken.
“In addition to the health and social services system being in crisis in Nunavik, there are still glaring issues in the areas of housing, education and several other basic services. The situation requires rapid intervention to prevent the multiplication of serious situations that could perhaps have been avoided. This situation has gone on for too long in a climate of generalized indifference, while the fundamental rights of the people who live there are compromised”, said Philippe-André Tessier, President of the CDPDJ.
The Commission had already on several occasions alerted the concerned actors of the alarming situation in Nunavik. The organization has published investigation and follow-up reports or questioned the authorities on the situation in 2007, 2010, 2014, 2019 and 2021. In addition, in 2016, during a visit as part of an investigation on youth protection, the Commission was able to note the enormous challenges experienced by the 14 Indigenous communities of Nunavik and also raised issues of collaboration.
The CDPDJ is currently drafting a new follow-up report on its recommendations on youth protection services in Ungava Bay and Hudson Bay. All the actors have been or are currently being solicited to contribute to this report which the Commission hopes to make public by the end of the year.
In addition to the Commission’s findings, there have been other reports on the situation in Nunavik, the latest being the report on the situation of the Itinerant Court in Nunavik published by Mr. Jean-Claude Latraverse on August 5. “The section on youth protection in Mr. Latraverse’s report contains findings similar to those of the Commission. When we read that 41% of the child population of Nunavik was reported to the youth protection services in 2019-2020, as opposed to 7% for the whole of Quebec, it is obvious that there is an urgent need to act. The physical and psychological integrity of an entire population is at risk,” added Suzanne Arpin, vice-president responsible for the youth mandate at the Commission.
“We are fully aware of the complexity and scope of the issues affecting Nunavik. However, the organizations and actors involved, both in the North and in the South, have a responsibility to act and to work with the communities so that the rights of individuals, families and children in Nunavik are respected and protected. We can no longer look the other way”, concluded the President of the Commission.
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The Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse (Human Rights and Youth Commission) ensures the promotion and respect of the principles set out in the Québec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms. It also ensures that the interests of children are protected and that their rights recognized in the Youth Protection Act are respected and promoted. In addition, the Commission oversees compliance with the Act respecting Equal Access to Employment in Public Bodies.
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