First ever First Nation Health Ombudsperson's Office to be created in Saskatchewan

News release

February 22, 2022 — Saskatoon, Treaty 6 Territory, Saskatchewan — Indigenous Services Canada 

Chief Bobby Cameron of the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) along with the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Indigenous Services, announced today that the FSIN will be establishing the first ever First Nations Health Ombudsperson's Office in the province of Saskatchewan. Indigenous Services Canada is providing $1.17 million to support this work.

The First Nations Health Ombudsperson's office will ensure First Nations have a point of contact where they feel safe to be able to report incidents of discrimination when accessing health care services in Saskatchewan. The Ombudsperson Office's team of advocates will work with individuals and their families to bring systemic concerns to the attention of federal and provincial health organizations for resolution. The Office will also assist in determining options to resolve conflicts or concerns for overall system change improvements.

Until now, Indigenous peoples who have faced racial discrimination when seeking health services in the province have had little to no recourse in addressing problematic and challenging experiences. Establishing the First Nations Health Ombudsperson's Office is one important step of many to improve supports and accountability in Canada's health care systems. 

Addressing anti-Indigenous racism in our health care systems is work that needs to be done across the country. Recognizing Indigenous Knowledge, ensuring cultural safety and supporting Indigenous-led health services are central to achieving this goal. 

The Government of Canada will continue to work with Indigenous and non-Indigenous partners across the country to ensure that First Nations, Inuit and Métis have recourse - no matter where they seek services - when they experience instances of racism and discrimination in our health systems.

Quotes

"This is just one important step of many needed in addressing anti-Indigenous racism and discrimination in health care. The creation of the First Nation Health Ombudsperson's Office will help to ensure First Nations in Saskatchewan have a voice in any services they receive, as well as a venue to formally address and resolve concerns and complaints where change is needed. Indigenous peoples have the right to access health care services free from discrimination or racism – and that is exactly why our government is supporting the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations in this important work."

The Honourable Patty Hajdu
Minister of Indigenous Services

"This is a positive step forward and we are proud of the hard work that has taken place to ensure this important initiative is available to our First Nations people in the province. There has been a long history of negative, and sometimes tragic, interactions between First Nations people and health care providers or hospitals. The First Nation Health Ombudsperson's Office will make sure that our people have someone to turn to when they feel discriminated against or when they need help, advocacy, or simply, cultural understanding and assistance." 

Chief Bobby Cameron
Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations

Quick facts

  • Budget 2021 included investments of $126.7 million over three years to Indigenous Services Canada and Health Canada to take action to foster health systems free from racism and discrimination where Indigenous Peoples are respected and safe.

  • The $1.17 million to the FSIN is to establish the First Nation Health Ombudsperson's Office as a year one investment and step towards realizing the First Nations leadership vision to positively influence and change experiences of racism in health systems. Budget 2021 Investments for year 2 and 3 for this initiative are still to be determined. 

Associated links

Contacts

For more information, media may contact:

Max FineDay
Office of FSIN Vice Chief Pratt
306-291-7287
max@warshield.com

Alison Murphy
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Patty Hajdu
Minister of Indigenous Services
Alison.Murphy@sac-isc.gc.ca

Media Relations
Indigenous Services Canada
819-953-1160
media@sac-isc.gc.ca

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