Organizational and Legislative Context

Nunavik being a region of Québec, the health and social services offered to Nunavimmiut are a responsibility of the provincial government. The ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux (MSSS) is the primary governmental body in that sector. The organization of health and social services in Québec falls principally under the Act respecting health services and social services. As Nunavik is a distinct region, other statutes must be taken into account in order to understand service organization and the service supply in Nunavik.

In 1975, the James Bay and Northern Québec Agreement (JBNQA) was adopted. Work began on the organization of health and social services in Nunavik. The Nunavik health and social services network functions as follows:

  • the NRBHSS, established in 1995, works on the improvement of the state of health and welfare of the Nunavimmiut of the 14 communities;
  • the two health centres provide services for the population:
    • the Inuulitsivik Health Centre (IHC) serves the seven communities on Hudson Bay;
    • the Ungava Tulattavik Health Centre (UTHC) serves the seven communities on Ungava Bay.

      Their mission is to contribute to the improvement of the communities’ overall health, well-being and living conditions through services that are accessible, integrated and of good quality. The services translate into actions of prevention and promotion as well as direct services that correspond to the population’s needs, in partnership with the community. There are some differences between the two health centres, but fundamentally, the services they offer are similar.

The abovementioned legislations (JBNQA, Act respecting health services and social services) are general pieces of legislation that imply that the individual has consented to the care and services offered. Given the importance of human rights, several other laws exist in Québec and Canada to protect users: the Québec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, various codes of ethics for health and social services professionals, etc. More information on those laws is available on the site

In spite of the importance of rights and freedoms, other laws exist to ensure the safety and well-being of individuals at risk or in danger, when they do not consent to the care and services offered. We can principally cite:

  • the Youth Protection Act;
  • the Public Curator Act;
  • section 13 of the Civil Code of Québec concerning emergency medical care;
  • the Act respecting the protection of persons whose mental state presents a danger to themselves or to others.