June 29, 2021

NAFC provides 7 recommendations to address anti-Indigenous racism in healthcare

The National Association of Friendship Centres (NAFC) believes that to advance work in improving health care outcomes and addressing racism in health care for urban Indigenous people, the following recommendations must be implemented by all governments, hospitals and the health care system as whole:

Our Recommendations

  1. Fully implement Jordan’s Principle. Indigenous children are eligible regardless of where they live and their status. A Canada that builds back better will not do so unless there are significant and predictable investments in urban Indigenous children and youth.
  2. Fund Jordan’s Principle workers to be made available at Friendship Centres and other urban Indigenous organizations nationally. This would support Indigenous families and children in accessing safe health care as well as assist families with navigating the complex jurisdictional landscape when seeking care for their children.
  3. Fund training on knowing your legal options to address discrimination in healthcare for Friendship Centres. It is challenging to stop systemic discrimination, but training for urban Indigenous people to know their legal options to address discrimination is a step forward.
  4. Implement the SafeSpaces Network nationally. The NAFC is well positioned to facilitate the role out of this platform to reach Indigenous people directly. This is a simple step to begin tracking and mapping instances of racism and discrimination which would allow us to create policy positions to address the issues. The NAFC has a well-established, reliable network that is poised to do this.
  5. Implement a national program to fund health navigators placed in Friendship Centres and other urban Indigenous organizations as a harm reduction measure while continuing to work on systemic change.
  6. Develop a national urban Indigenous health framework to map out a continuity of services for Indigenous people that fully considers their intersectionalities and residencies to ensure that no one is left behind.
  7. Immediately release a timeline on implementing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s 94 Calls to Action. Survivors of Residential Schools deserve immediate action beyond budgetary commitments.

These recommendations are taken from the NAFC’s follow-up reports from the following forums we held:

The NAFC knows that we are only one piece of the puzzle in advancing reconciliation and addressing systemic racism in health care. It is our position that hospitals, medical schools, governments, and the health care system as a whole need to make concrete and accountable steps for fundamental changes and to work with Indigenous people to achieve these changes.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action clearly outline that Canada must foster Indigenous specific spaces within non-Indigenous organizations in combination with Indigenous specific clinics and services within Indigenous organizations. Without the full implementation of the Calls to Action, the Canadian Government will continue to dishonour the truths shared by Residential School Survivors.

We support the work that is currently being done within our communities and implore provincial and federal governments to examine that work to witness its efficacy and in turn provide sustainable funding to expand these programs at a national level.