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The service was launched in the early 1970s after major reforms in the health and social services system were made by the Castonguay-Nepveu Commission during the Quiet Revolution era in the 1960s. Until the commission, most health and social services had been generally under jurisdiction of religious-affiliated agencies, primarily those of the Roman Catholic Church. After the commission, the Quebec government, with several measures made by the Quebec Liberal Party of Jean Lesage, took full control of the health and social services jurisdiction and later created the CLSCs. The province also granted access to a wide variety of services for free for most citizens.
The network offers a wide variety of services including psychological and health services. There are 147 CLSCs spread throughout the province. In Montreal and in the Outaouais, health services are provided by the Centre de santé et de services sociaux (CSSS).
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