On May 30, 2019, one month after the death of a seven-year-old girl in Granby, the Quebec government established a special commission chaired by Régine Laurent to thoroughly review the province’s youth protection services and the laws that govern them, as well as all aspects of the youth protection system, including courts and social services.

Ourson en peluche

Two years later, in May 2021, the Laurent Commission — more formally known as the Special Commission on the Rights of the Child and Youth Protection (CSDEPJ) — issued its assessment report and submitted a set of recommendations to the government. The report called for a paradigm shift in how children are viewed and treated in Quebec, and part of this shift involves placing a greater focus on prevention. This overarching goal is broken down into 57 recommendations and sub-recommendations.

A Watchdog Committee was set up in spring 2022 to ensure that the CSDEPJ’s recommendations are fully implemented.

The Watchdog Committee is made up of representatives of various organizations, including researchers and front-line workers recognized for their expertise in the field. The Committee’s approach is neutral, science-driven and non-partisan. All members, including the chair, have been appointed by a task force comprising a broad spectrum of early childhood experts.

The Committee’s purpose is to keep the CSDEPJ report and its recommendations at the top of our collective agenda. In the coming years, the Committee will issue annual reports documenting progress made on the report’s recommendations. When assessing progress, it will take into consideration the length of time needed for changes of this scale to bear fruit as well as the timelines indicated by the chair in the CSDEPJ’s report.