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Nurses commit to action against anti-Indigenous racism

June 9, 2021 — Nurses in Canada have been working to respond to the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission since it was published in 2015. But the treatment of Joyce Echaquan by nursing and other staff in Joliette QC in September 2020 – recorded by her and shared across multiple media outlets – ignited an outcry across nursing that accelerated action against racist treatment of Indigenous Peoples.

After meeting through the past winter to strategize on action, leaders of the Canadian Nurses Association, Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions, Canadian Nursing Students Association, and Nurse Practitioner Association of Canada, with input from the Canadian Indigenous Nurses Association, are releasing a Nursing Declaration Against Anti-Indigenous Racism in Nursing and Health Care [PDF, 329.8 KB]. The Declaration sets the context for action by nurses and lays out principles and actions for which individuals, nursing organizations, and the nursing profession at large will be held accountable.

“None of us has any interest in a document that will be locked away in a file. The declaration is a living document intended to be a blueprint to help us as organizations and as a collective to take meaningful action. My colleagues leading this group of associations are all committed to acting forcefully to dismantle historic injustices that we all know have damaged Indigenous Peoples across our health and social systems – and particularly to understand the historic and current impacts of nurses,” said Tim Guest, CNA president.

The Declaration and its principles and actions have roots in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, Jordan’s Principle, and Joyce’s Principle – concluding with the statement that nurses “unconditionally condemn all acts of racism and discrimination against Indigenous Peoples and call for social justice to address racism and health inequity in Indigenous communities.”

The group of associations will convene the first National Summit on Racism in Nursing and Health Care in Canada on November 24, 2021, to discuss the progress of individual, organizational, and cross-nursing work related to combating racism in nursing and health-care.

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About the Canadian Nurses Association
The Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) is the national and global professional voice of Canadian nursing. We represent registered nurses, nurse practitioners, licensed and registered practical nurses, registered psychiatric nurses and retired nurses across all 13 provinces and territories.

For more information, please contact:
Eve Johnston
Media and Communications Advisor
Canadian Nurses Association
Cell: 613-282-7859
Email: ejohnston@cna-aiic.ca