Quebec launches pilot project to provide youth protection mediation services for no cost

MONTREAL — A pilot project launched in Quebec encourages parents to seek out mediation and other solutions for the benefit of their children.

Simon Jolin-Barrette, Justice Minister, and Lionel Carmant, Junior Health Minister, made the announcement Monday in a release. They said that the mediation service could improve child protection intervention, such as in cases where disputes arise within the families involved in custody cases.

Jolin-Barrette stated that the project will encourage parents outside of the court to find solutions, which can often have negative consequences for their children.

Jolin-Barrette stated that it was a non-judicial way to serve the child’s primary interests. “This pilot project will encourage exploration of new avenues in order to better protect children.”

According to the release, mediation is an option before going to court. It will be offered after a deadlock occurs or when voluntary agreements are rejected. Quebec hopes to improve intervention with the free, fast and independent mediation service.

This service will be free and available for up to five hours. The service will be gradually implemented in the provincial capital’s judicial district, before being expanded to other areas in 2022.

After a two-year investigation into the death of a Granby, Que., seven-year-old girl, in April 2019, the Commission on Children’s Rights and Youth Protection recommended the pilot project.

Despite being the subject of several reports to the youth protection division, the girl was found in critical condition at her family home. In his May 552-page report, Commission president Regine Laurent made many recommendations. He stated that the girl’s suicide was a collective failure in Quebec society and that more needs to be done.

Carmant stated that the pilot project was part of our determination to follow up with diligence and rigour on the Commission’s recommendations.

According to the release, the service will employ mediators who are experienced in family law and have knowledge about youth protection.