The systemic racism endured by Indigenous individuals in Canada’s well being care system exists as a result of the system was designed that method, Health Minister Patty Hajdu stated at this time after a assembly with representatives from the provinces, Indigenous teams and the well being care sector.
“Sadly this is not shocking to me,” Hajdu stated. “Racism is not an accident. The system is not broken. It was created this way. And the people in the system are incentivized to stay the same.”
Hajdu made the feedback after attending a gathering with Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller, Northern Affairs Minister Daniel Vandal and Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett to debate racism in Canada’s well being care system.
The assembly with some 400 members from throughout the nation was known as following the loss of life of Indigenous mom of seven Joyce Echaquan, who died in a Quebec hospital final month.
Echaquan, 37, recorded among the final moments of her life on a video later launched on Facebook. The video captured Echaquan screaming in misery, together with the voices of workers members making degrading feedback, calling her silly and saying she can be higher off useless.
“It’s always a very powerful experience to be trusted to hear these very personal experiences and there’s so much to reflect on. I have a deep gratitude for all speakers who shared fearlessly about their personal experiences of racism in the health care system and in the health care education process,” Hajdu stated.
Those who attended at this time’s assembly will reconvene in January, when they’re anticipated to convey “concrete plans for training, prevention, health care data, wraparound services and accountability,” Hajdu stated.
Miller stated that whereas the accountability for delivering well being care to Indigenous Canadians is shared between the federal and provincial governments, systemic reform mustn’t occur with out Indigenous leaders enjoying a key function in shaping the method.
While widespread reforms probably should wait till after the January assembly, Miller stated that issues could be accomplished immediately to enhance the system for Indigenous sufferers, corresponding to requiring higher accountability from well being care suppliers and introducing higher sensitivity coaching.
Federal and provincial duties
“It is time for all of us, regardless of our jurisdiction, to step up and use the power that each of us has to insist that systemic violence of Indigenous peoples end,” Hajdu stated.
Miller stated that federal investments in well being care need to respect provincial jurisdiction.
“The reality is that health is a jurisdiction that is jealously guarded by provinces,” he stated. “We need their help to reform it. We cannot reform the licensing bodies. We do not have the power, the Supreme Court has said it clearly in black and white.”
Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde stated the assembly — which he described as a listening session — left those that took half with no doubts in regards to the scope of the issue.
Watch: ‘Systemic change takes greater than concern.’ – Minister of Health Patty Hajdu:
“There is systemic racism, there is systemic discrimination. let’s deal with it, let’s put an action plan in place so that it no longer persists in 2020 and beyond, because we’re all in this together,” he stated.
“Nobody should be afraid to go into that system because of racism or discrimination or they’re gonna be treated differently, and we need to feel good about getting the proper healthcare, each and every one of us.”
“It was not an isolated incident,” Hajdu stated. “It is not a few bad apples. It is a system that not just turns a blind eye but implicitly endorses and reinforces this behaviour many times over. And Joyce in the middle of her deep pain showed something that so many people would prefer to ignore. So she gave Canada a gift that has to be honoured no matter how difficult it is to receive it.
“We as leaders can’t let her present of bravery go to waste.”
Watch: Miller says reforms to system, must be done with Indigenous representatives:
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau suggested today that the government could introduce specific Indigenous health care legislation.
“All premiers have condemned racism and there may be nonetheless extra work to do, clearly. But we’re assured that we’ll be capable to make important enhancements within the well being care entry by Indigenous peoples,” he told a news conference in Ottawa.
“As we did with the query of kid and household companies, we can be sitting down in partnership with Indigenous communities and Indigenous leaders to assist design the ideas that ought to underline higher well being outcomes and companies for Indigenous peoples.”
The provinces are seeking billions more dollars in health transfers from the federal government, with Trudeau promising a first ministers conference on the subject soon.
On Thursday, Miller said the federal government is ready to use its financial leverage over the health system to fight anti-Indigenous racism in health care, but ruled out holding back federal transfers as a tactic to ensure that happens.
Miller said he doesn’t think it’s helpful to try to punish provinces for inadequate action on racism, especially in the middle of a pandemic, but the federal government has a moral duty to set and maintain standards.
Watch: Quebec launches inquiry into Joyce Echaquan’s death: