Canada invests in safer health systems through Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technologies and Sturgeon Lake First Nation

Indigenous Services Canada

As part of the Government of Canada’s commitment to addressing anti-Indigenous racism in health systems, Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) is supporting the expansion of Indigenous Health Human Resources and Indigenous midwifery initiatives.

The Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technologies (SIIT) Indigenous Practical Nursing program is expanding its Indigenous Practical Nursing Diploma program to rural and remote locations. This is the first dedicated Indigenous Practical Nursing program in Canada, rooted in Indigenous worldviews and ways of knowing. The Indigenous Practical Nursing program supports the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action to increase the number of Indigenous professionals in Canada’s health systems. The program, which is informed by the ongoing impacts of colonization, guided by Indigenous Peoples, and rooted in cultural safety and humility, will be instrumental in advancing the provision of health services throughout the system. Initiatives such as this, which focus on building capacity at the community level and increasing Indigenous health human resources, are critical at this time. The department is proud to have supported SIIT’s work by contributing $2.25 million in the 2021-22 fiscal year.

In addition to this investment, the Government of Canada is also taking action to support Indigenous communities in bringing traditional births closer to home. It is recognized that expanding support for Indigenous midwifery and doula initiatives is critical in ensuring access to culturally appropriate, responsive and safe services. Sturgeon Lake First Nation (SLFN) is at the forefront of this work and, in February 2022, celebrated the first midwife-assisted traditional birth in the community in decades. Through this work, the community is revitalizing at-home births as well as improving access to culturally safe services for mothers. ISC contributed $350,000 toward the construction of SLFN’s birthing centre-one of many partner-led health initiatives that focus on midwifery.

The Government of Canada remains committed to addressing anti-Indigenous racism in our health systems in a way that is informed by the lived experiences of Indigenous Peoples and based on the recognition of rights of Indigenous Peoples, respect and co-operation.

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