Nurses in Canada respond to federal inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women
December 8, 2015, Ottawa — With the federal government’s launch of a national public inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women (MMIW), nurses in Canada are reaffirming their commitment to safeguard and promote the health and well-being of our country’s Indigenous Peoples.
The Aboriginal Nurses Association of Canada (A.N.A.C.) and the Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) are encouraged by the significant step the new government is taking and anticipate an opportunity to participate, both in the scope-setting and inquiry phases. A.N.A.C. is calling for social justice aimed at supporting the survivors of MMIW. CNA, the national sister organization of A.N.A.C., also endorses the national public inquiry and is looking for greater health-care investment for Indigenous Peoples.
“This is a landmark initiative that needs to build up hope for Indigenous Peoples and not re-traumatize those who have lost a loved one,” said A.N.A.C. president Lisa Bourque-Bearskin. “The inquiry needs to actively engage Indigenous women’s associations, such as the Native Women’s Association of Canada and Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada, as well as A.N.A.C. More importantly, it needs to produce concrete, actionable recommendations. Indigenous nurses will continue their current critical role in supporting healing of the survivors, families and communities.”
Nurses, especially those working in rural and remote communities, are a trusted first point of contact with health and community support services for Indigenous women, men and children. They significantly improve access to care and health outcomes in these communities. Further, nurses emphasize the need for greater attention to disparities in health and advocate for more sustainable human resources that can provide culturally safe care in Indigenous communities.
“Evidence shows that when nurses are working to a full or expanded scope of practice with the appropriate resources, they significantly improve access to care and health outcomes of people living in First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities,” said CNA CEO Anne Sutherland Boal. “Each day we are living with and working around the barriers that hinder the delivery of safe, high-quality care to Indigenous communities. We need the government to understand these barriers and to help us implement action.”
A.N.A.C. is further encouraged by the federal government’s commitment to respond to the “calls to action” by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. Many of these calls could be implemented immediately and support forthcoming objectives of the national public inquiry.
In the spirit of collaboration, CNA and A.N.A.C. are committed to working together to support and advance a nursing profession that can provide the wide range of care needed for improved health and wellness of Indigenous Peoples.
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The A.N.A.C. is the longest standing indigenous health organization in Canada that is governed by a board of directors whose mission is to improve the health of First Nation, Inuit, and Métis people, by supporting First Nation, Inuit and Métis nurses and by promoting the development and professional practice of aboriginal health nursing.
CNA is the national professional voice representing 135,000 registered nurses in Canada. CNA advances the practice and profession of nursing to improve health outcomes and strengthen Canada’s publicly funded, not-for-profit health system.
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For more information, please contact:
Kevin Barlow, A/Executive Director
Aboriginal Nurses Association of Canada
Telephone: 613-724-4677, ext. 3
Kate Headley, Manager of Communications
Canadian Nurses Association
Telephone: 613-237-2159, ext. 561