First Nations Children in Quebec Deserve Better

Press Release

Wendake, November 22, 2023 — On the occasion of Early Childhood Week, the First Nations of Quebec and Labrador Health and Social Services Commission (FNQLHSSC), in collaboration with the Observatoire des tout-petits, is unveiling the results of a survey carried out among the Quebec population by the Léger firm.

The results confirm that concerted actions must continue with a view to eliminating all forms of discrimination and ensuring that all stakeholders make a collective commitment.

Some highlights from the survey:

  • • More than one in two Quebecers believe that First Nations and Inuit children aged 0 to 5 years are discriminated against in Quebec and that their state of health is worse than that of other children in Quebec.
  • • According to 63% of Quebecers, First Nations and Inuit children are born with less of a chance of developing their full potential than other children in Quebec.
  • • More than half of Quebecers believe that young First Nations and Inuit children have access to fewer health and social services than the rest of Quebec children, and that these services are of lower quality than those received by Quebec children.
  • • 63% of Quebecers agree that First Nations and Inuit governments and organizations are capable of making their own choices regarding health services, social services and educational services for children.
    • o On the other hand, fewer than one in two Quebecers believe that the governments of Quebec (44%) and Canada (43%) are making sufficient efforts.

“In light of the survey results revealed today, the Declaration on the Rights of First Nations to Self-Determination and Cultural Safety, which was recently adopted by the Chiefs of the Assembly of First Nations Quebec-Labrador (AFNQL) on September 28th, comes to mind. This declaration, which is more relevant now than ever, confirms the desire of First Nations governments to prioritize the rights and safety of our populations. Our children represent the heart and the future, and they deserve all our attention,” declared Ghislain Picard, Chief of the AFNQL.

‘’Over the past several years, more and more people have recognized the social inequalities that endure between First Nations families and those of Quebec’s general population, and the importance of actually addressing those inequalities. Our children do not benefit from the same treatment when it comes to the provision of services in Quebec, and therefore have less chance of reaching their full potential. This is the essence of systemic discrimination. Several commissions of inquiry have recognized this reality and there now seems to be consensus among the civilian population on this subject. We invite the Quebec government to set an example by respecting First Nations expertise, autonomy, and governance methods in matters of child and family services,” said Derek Montour, President of the Board of Directors of the FNQLHSSC.

About the AFNQL

The Assembly of First Nations Quebec-Labrador is the political organization that brings together 43 Chiefs of the First Nations in Quebec and Labrador.

About the FNQLHSSC

The First Nations of Quebec and Labrador Health and Social Services Commission is a non-profit organization that supports Quebec First Nations in achieving their objectives in terms of health, wellness, culture, and self-determination.


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