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Métis Leaders in Ontario, Alberta and Saskatchewan Address Racism in Healthcare

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[OTTAWA, ONTARIO, October 19, 2020] Leaders from the Métis Nation of Ontario, Métis Nation – Saskatchewan and the Métis Nation of Alberta joined other Métis, First Nations and Inuit leaders from across the country on a video call held October 16th hosted by Ministers Miller and Bennett. The session focused on a national action plan to address systemic racism experienced by Indigenous peoples in Canada’s health care systems, following the horrifying public footage of the racism Joyce Echaquan experienced moments before her untimely death.

The Presidents of the Métis Nation of Ontario, The Métis Nation – Saskatchewan and the Métis Nation of Alberta express their deepest condolences to the family of Joyce Echaquan. Sadly, Métis, First Nations and Inuit people across the country have long documented systemic racism in our healthcare systems. These injustices continue to deter Indigenous peoples from accessing healthcare services, which results in overall poorer health outcomes and avoidable deaths for Indigenous peoples across Canada.

Systemic problems require systemic solutions. While broad representation from multiple orders of government and health care organizations at this meeting is heartening, it is only one step. We need a sustained effort to affect systemic change. Unequal access to healthcare calls for an immediate plan of action.

These actions must include mandatory cultural safety training for medical professionals, and the inclusion of Métis, First Nations and Inuit partners at every stage of the decision-making process in order to address the health needs and priorities of Indigenous peoples. Increasing respect, recognition and a genuine understanding of Métis people among mainstream health care providers is critical in order to bring about change improving health outcomes.

The Presidents of the Métis Nation of Ontario, The Métis Nation–Saskatchewan and the Métis Nation of Alberta will continue to work with federal Ministers Miller, Bennett and Hajdu, and the respective provincial governments to move this forward on behalf of their respective citizens.