Participating in the Laurent Commission without fear of reprisals

Participating in the Laurent Commission without fear of reprisals

The special commission on children’s rights and youth protection that began its work on October 22 in Montréal is taking a break over the holidays. It will resume its work on January 8 and continue until May 28. The chair of the Commission, Régine Laurent, called for conditions to be set in place so that youth workers can testify at the hearings without fear of reprisal.

The mission of the Laurent Commission is to provide a comprehensive picture of the work performed with the most vulnerable children in our society. It covers youth centres and all primary care services (overseen by CLSCs) that also play an essential role in youth protection. In that regard, it should be noted that the APTS, as the union representing the vast majority of youth protection workers, is currently drafting a brief that will be submitted to the Laurent Commission in the spring of 2020.

A second round of consultations will be held, using a forum-style approach, in several regions across Québec from January 14 to February 3, 2020. The forums will include a segment that is open to the general public and a segment for professionals that will be held confidentially behind closed doors, solely in the presence of the commissioners, to encourage youth workers in the public sector to express themselves freely. Our members are most likely to take part in the latter segment of the Commission’s work. For those who wish to testify, registration is now open.

The APTS advises members who wish to testify at the coming hearings to contact the Commission’s team of representatives when they come to our members’ regions, and to exercise their right to be heard behind closed doors.

The dates and locations for hearings and citizens’ forums are available on the Commission’s website. Detailed schedules for the hearings are also available on the website. We invite you to check that the necessary measures to ensure the confidentiality of your testimony are in place, as set out in the Commission’s operating procedures.

You can also send your testimony in writing, to

To contact the Commission:
Toll-free number: 1-800-990-2443 | Website | Commissioners’ video invitation

Given these safeguards, youth protection workers will be able to participate without any fear of reprisal from their employer or their professional order. However, if there are any attempts at reprisals against our members for their role in the Commission’s work despite such protective measures, the APTS will take the necessary steps to ensure members’ defence.

In that regard, here are a few tips to consider in preparing to take part in the Commission:

    • In your statements, make sure that you stick to facts and allegations that have been verified, and stay calm and truthful
    • Avoid describing events with sweeping statements that can be injurious or degrading (e.g., “it’s idiotic,” “it’s a complete mess,” “they’re off the wall”)
    • Try not to give too many details
    • If you’re going to criticize, do it in a reasonable and responsible manner
    • Use appropriate language
    • Don’t focus on specific individuals in your testimony (e.g., a manager, youth protection director, or co-worker)
    • Make sure you are reporting your past dissatisfaction or disappointments in good faith (not out of a desire for vengeance)


For more information, don’t hesitate to contact your local executive.

By Édith Demers, Mathieu Le Blanc and Adam Matthieu Ouellet | December 20, 2019