Reaction to Bill 79

  • April 1, 2021

In a letter to the Committee on Citizen Relations, Québec Ombudsperson Marie Rinfret commented on Bill 79, Act to authorize the communication of personal information to the families of Indigenous children who went missing or died after being admitted to an institution. The Bill carries over the amendments in Bill 31, Act to amend mainly the Pharmacy Act to facilitate access to certain services, which were withdrawn before the Bill was passed.

Ms. Rinfret welcomes Bill 79. She considers it an adequate response to her recommendations on Bill 31. She also feels that it addresses Call for Justice 20 of the Complementary Report on Québec of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls ("We call upon the Quebec government to provide Indigenous families with all the information it has about children who have been apprehended following admission to a hospital or any other health center in Quebec").

However, the Ombudsperson is concerned about the time limit for submitting a request (within five years of the Bill’s date of assent). Ms. Rinfret recommended abolishing this deadline. She also pointed out the importance of establishing culturally appropriate measures for properly assisting families with the process.