Inuit Custom Adoption Closer to Being Incorporated into Quebec’s Civil Code – An Important Step Say Makivik and Nunavik’s Health Board

Montreal, Quebec – October 6, 2016 – Inuit leaders representing Makivik Corporation and the Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services (NRBHSS) underline the milestone reached with the tabling of Bill 113 in the Quebec National Assembly.

The Bill, called “An Act to amend the Civil Code and other legislative provisions as regards adoption and the disclosure of information” includes important new provisions related to Inuit custom adoption.

Under the Bill, effects of Inuit custom adoptions will be recognized by law, under a mechanism developed in partnership with Makivik, the NRBHSS, and other Aboriginal groups. A unique birth certificate will be issued reflecting the new lineage resulting from traditional Inuit custom adoption.

Jobie Tukkiapik, President of Makivik Corporation, stated: “We welcome the re-submission by the Minister of Justice of modifications to the Quebec Civil code which encompasses the long-due legal recognition of the effects of Inuit customary adoptions on the civil status of Inuit adoptees, their parents and puukuluit, (biological mothers) in the respect of this important customary institution for Nunavik Inuit”.

In Nunavik, one out of every five newborns is adopted in a traditional manner. A mechanism was needed to recognize the effects of customary adoptions on the civil status of the children and parents, in the respect of their constitutional and treaty rights.

Nunavik regional organizations began lobbying for legislation to include the practice starting in the 1990s. It was highlighted in the April 2012 report of the Working Group on Aboriginal Customary Adoption in Quebec. Two legislative Bills with the provisions included died on the order papers in 2012 and 2013 due to provincial elections being called. Thus it is an important milestone that Quebec’s Justice Minister Stéphanie Vallée tabled the new Bill on October 6, 2016.

Elisapi Uitangak, Chairperson for the Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services, commented, “The recognition of the effects of Inuit customary adoption presented within this draft bill is a giant step towards action based on community member’s involvement and on the traditional Inuit Cultural system to empower Nunavimmiut.”

Both organizations this morning renewed their collaboration with the Quebec Government towards the review, establishment and implementation of this innovative approach.

Makivik Corporation is a not-for-profit corporation mandated to manage the heritage funds of the Inuit of Nunavik provided for in the James Bay and Northern Québec Agreement. Makivik´s role includes the administration and investment of these funds, and the promotion of economic growth by providing assistance for the creation of Inuit operated businesses in Nunavik. Makivik promotes the preservation of Inuit culture and language as well as the health, welfare, relief of poverty and education of Inuit in Nunavik communities.

The NRBHSS is a public agency created in 1978 under the James Bay and Northern Québec Agreement. It is responsible for nearly the entire Québec territory located north of the 55th parallel in terms of the provision of health and social services for the inhabitants of the 14 communities.

For additional information:
William Tagoona
Communications Coordinator and Media Relations
Makivik Corporation
wtagoona@makivik.org
819-964-2925

For additional information:
Elena Labranche
Director of Inuit Values and Practices
Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services
Elena_Labranche@ssss.gouv.qc.ca
819-964-2222