Background to the Nunavik Commission Health Recommendations

An Excerpt


The guiding principles identified here stem from the human sciences of health. This perspective is similar to that of the World Health Organization and, as such, it shares a scope of a universal nature. This framework is frequently endorsed by those engaged in the planning and formulation of government policies, in the delivery of health care, and in health research.

The Commission’s mandate was the formulation of recommendations for the establishment of an Assembly and Government in Nunavik (northern Quebec) which would hold a large degree of autonomy. The Commissioners were not required to undertake a detailed study of current Nunavik economic and social problems, nor was our mandate to pinpoint problems and suggest solutions. This limited mandate was difficult to abide by, when making recommendations in fields such as wildlife management, education, or health and social issues. To be effective, these recommendations have to be defined from experience and factual observations, or from knowledge acquired about Nunavik through other sources.

There were several components to the operational framework used by the Commission in its recommendations on health and social issues. In the full Report, these recommendations on health are located in the third part, entitled “Fundamental Social Issues.” The analysis of the historical and sociopolitical contexts as well as the recommendations are in Chapter 8, entitled “Social and Economic Development.” Here, the analytical developments on health and social services are placed beside those on education, housing, and economic development. The constituent parts of the chapter make it clear, at the start, that health and education are seen as the two major components of economic and social development.

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