November 28, 2018
Cree Govt. Final Brief to the Viens Commission
Final Brief of Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee) / Cree Nation Government, Cree Board of Health and Social Services of James Bay to the “Public Inquiry Commission on Relations Between Indigenous peoples and certain public Services in Québec: Listening, Reconciliation and Progress”
A. End criminalization of homeless Indigenous people (1)
B. Attacking the housing crisis (3)
C. Breaking down silos – Towards improved service coordination (1)
D. Model of Police Services – Building Relationships (6)
E. Accountability – ending the culture of impunity (4)
F. Culture & training (6)
G. Support for Indigenous Police Forces (5)
H. Improving the police complaints process for Indigenois persons (8)
I. Bureau des Enquêtes Indépendantes (“BEI” ) (2)
J. Justice (1)
K. Health and Social Services (3)
October 4, 2021
The report of the Viens Commission contains 142 recommendations, of which 135 are addressed to the Québec government 68 of which are in progress. The calls for action cover the entire array of government services offered to the Indigenous peoples (justice, correctional and police services, health, social services, youth protection, and so on) and demand:
- a change of organizational culture in the main public service networks;
- the enhancement of the services that the indigenous peoples receive, especially health services;
- enhanced funding of public services;
- enhanced delivery of certain public services intended for the Indigenous peoples;
- legislative and regulatory amendments;
- heightened public awareness of Indigenous realities.
- Initiatives with Concrete Spin-offs
The Québec government announced in Budget 2020 $200 million to implement the calls for action.
- Enhance and perpetuate funding for services
- Strengthen primary care in urban environments based on the innovative Val-d’Or health and social services model
- Support the relocation of the Resilience Montreal homeless shelter in Montréal
- Adapt the justice services offered to the Indigenous peoples through broader support for Indigenous Courtwork Services
- Enhance the quality of services
- Implement new community justice initiatives in urban environments
- Establish mixed police intervention teams devoted to vulnerable individuals
- Establish three new community living environments for adult and other students and their families
- Implement cultural safety in public services
- Implement the cultural safety approach in the health and social services network
- Enhance access to court interpreters in Indigenous languages
Concrete measures that have had or will have an immediate impact of the lives of individuals have been announced and $125 million has already been committed.
September 19, 2019
Public Inquiry Commission on Relations Between Indigenous peoples and certain public Services in Québec: Listening, Reconciliation and Progress
Submission of “ Final Report (the Viens Commission)” whose mandate was to investigate, ascertain the facts and make analyses with a view to making recommendations as to the concrete, effective and sustainable measures to be implemented by the Gouvernement du Québec and by the Aboriginal authorities to prevent or eliminate, regardless of their origin or cause, any form of violence or discriminatory practices or differential treatments in the provision of the following public services to the Aboriginals of Québec: police services, correctional services, justice services, health and social services and youth protection services.
The Commission was created in response to a specific problem at a specific place, the “Val-d’Or Crisis” of October 2015. This crisis turned on allegations by a number of courageous Indigenous women on serious misconduct including physical and sexual abuse by certain officers of the Sûrete du Québec (SQ) detachment in Val-d’Or. After an investigtion by the Montréal Police Force ended with 36 of 38 charges being dropped and widespread outrage within the Indigenious world, the Québec government eventally acceded to the demands for an independent inquiry.
The 142 Calls for Action are spread across the following themes:
- Police Services 13
- Justice Services 16
- Correctional Services 18
- Health and Social Services 34
- Youth Protection Services 30
- Tracking Mechanism 5
- Other 26
The very first Call to Action was for the Government of Québec to make a public apology to members of First Nations and Québec’s Inuit for the harm caused by laws, policies, standards and the practices of public service providers.
December 14, 2018
Joint Final Presentation: Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee) / Cree Nation Government, Cree Board of Health and Social Services of James Bay, Val-d’Or, “Quebec Public Inquiry Commission on Relations Between Indigenous peoples and certain public Services in Québec: Listening, Reconciliation and Progress”
Police and Justice
- Decriminalize homeless Indigenous persons (1)
- Attacking the housing crisis (3)
- Coordination of Services (1)
- Model of Police Serices: from repression to relationships (2)
- Accountability: ending the culture of impunity (3)
- Culture and training (1)
- Support for Indigenous police forces (3)
- Police complaints process (3)
- Justice: additional recommendations (3)
- Health and Social Services (5)
- Enhance ciltural safety for Indigeous persons throughout the health and social services system (3)
- Involve Indigenous communities in revison of healthcare legislation to recognize Indigenous values andd traditions (4)
- Support the recruitment and training of Indigenous professionals in health and sociall services (1)
- Bring specialized services, including obstetrics and dialysis, to the Indigenous communities, instead of sending patients outside (1)
- Address language barriers for Indigenous persons in the health and social service system (1)
March 5, 2021
Final Report: Initial Investments
In response to the Viens Commission, the MMIWG Inquiry and ZERO TOLERANCE, the government of Québec announced an investment of $19.2M in the following areas:
- Hiring additional Indigenous workers responsible for providing crime victims assistance services ($7.7 million):
- These workers will be deployed in the CAVAC network and in Indigenous organizations that have established victim assistance services, or that wish to do so.
- An increased deployment of courtworker services for Indigenous people ($6 million):
- Adjustment of the compensation for courtworkers already employed ($1 million);
- Increased funding for the operation of Indigenous organizations responsible for providing courtworker services ($2.5 million);
- Hiring of new courtworkers from within the community for First Nations and Inuit ($2.5 million);
- Improvement and deployment of interpreter services in Indigenous languages ($5.5 million):
- Development of agreements with Indigenous organizations for the training, accreditation and hiring of interpreters in Indigenous languages in the context of justice-related activities.
September 30, 2020
Final Report: Progress Update
Office of the Minister Responsible for Indigenous Affairs
The government is pleased to announce that out of 142 calls for action, 51 of direct concern to it are already under discussion, completed or on the way to completion, for example:
- Call for action 1: Make a public apology to members of First Nations and Québec’s Inuit for the harm caused by laws, policies, standards and the practices of public service providers. (On Oct. 2, 2019 Premier Legault apologized to the Indigenous people of Quebec for discrimination they suffered in dealing with the state);
- Call for action 2: To National Assembly – Adopt a motion to recognize and implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in Québec.
- Call for action 56: Train all Québec probation officers to prepare Indigenous pre-sentencing reports and teach them the reassuring cultural approach for collecting information;
- Call for action 130: Ensure that families and significant people who are not represented by an association and who foster Indigenous children receive financial compensation equivalent to family-type resources.
In order enable itself to take action, to implement the calls for action and calls for justice of the two commissions of inquiry (the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls and the Public Inquiry Commission on relations between Indigenous Peoples and certain public services [the Viens Commission]), the government allocated $200 million in new funding over five years, in the 2020 budget.
June 23, 2021
Final Report: Recommends Ombudsman track implementation progress
Government of Québec – The report of the “Public Inquiry Commission on relations between Indigenous Peoples and certain public services in Québec” recommended that the Government of Québec mandate the Québec Ombudsman to monitor and assess implementation of the calls to action it contains until they are fully carried out. Québec Ombudsperson Marie Rinfret gratefully welcomes the receptiveness of the Indigenous organizations of Québec to her active role in assessing whether the Viens Commission’s calls to action are being implemented.
The creation of an advisory committee, composed of First Nations and Inuit members, will promote collaboration so that the Viens Commission’s calls to action translate into concrete outcomes that respond to the needs of the First Nations and Inuit representatives, no matter their living environment.