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The Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux (MSSS), formerly the Ministère des Affaires sociales, was created on June 20, 1985, with the adoption of the Act respecting the Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux. The main law governing the health and social services network is the Act respecting health services and social services; this law was significantly modified in 2005-2006, especially the parts dealing with the network’s governance.


The Ministère’s mission is to maintain, improve, and restore the health and well-being of Quebecers by providing access to a set of integrated and high-quality health services and social services, thereby contributing to the social and economic development of Québec.

According to this mission, the Ministère’s chief role is to ensure the smooth operation of the Québec health and social services system. It sets and applies the priorities, objectives, and policy directions in the health and social services field, with a view to improving the health and well-being of the populace. It establishes health and social services policies and sees to their implementation and observance by health and social services agencies. It also evaluates results according to the goals it sets.

Finally, the Ministère can propose priorities for intervention by state and other actors in order to promote conditions that improve the health and well-being of the populace.

Regional organizations

In pursuing its mission, the Ministère shares responsibilities with eighteen regional authorities that are responsible for the organization of services within their region. Of these, fifteen are health and social services agencies (agencies for short). The other regional associations are the Centre régional de santé et de services sociaux de la Baie-James in the Nord-du-Québec region; the Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services in the Nunavik region; and the Cree Board of Health and Social Services of Baie-James, in the Terres-Cries-de-la-Baie-James region.

The agencies are in charge of coordinating and implementing health services and social services in their region, especially with regard to funding, human resources deployment, and access to specialized services. They also facilitate the development and management of local health and social services resources. Finally, they have responsibilities in regional public health, including monitoring of health and well-being, promotion, prevention, and protection.

(Translated from the Rapport annuel de gestion 2005-2006 [Annual Management Report 2005-2006].)

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