Quebec tables bill to give families of missing Indigenous children access to records

QUEBEC — The Quebec government introduced legislation on Wednesday that would allow relatives of Indigenous children who disappeared or died after being admitted to health-care facilities to obtain information about their loved ones.

Indigenous Affairs Minister Ian Lafreniere tabled the bill, saying he hoped it would help families get answers.

Several dozen children died or were placed in foster care after being admitted to health or social-services facilities between the 1950s and 1989.

In some cases, the parents never learned what happened to the children.

The new law would require health-care facilities, social services, organizations and religious congregations to transmit personal information about the missing or deceased children to their families.

It also gives the government the power to launch an investigation into organizations that don’t comply.

Resources will be put in place to ensure families understand the medical data and are supported in their search, including helping them to locate living family members who were sent to foster care.

Lafreniere said some parents have reached the age of 89 or 90 and still don’t know what happened to their child.

“In some cases, we’re talking about children who were given for adoption,” he said.

“In other cases, there are children who died, but there’s no confirmation. We don’t know where they’re buried, we don’t have details.”

Lafreniere promised that the families would be given a telephone number to call, as well as a file number.

He said funding would be put in place to hire a team to support the families and help them in their research.

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