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The nurses of Canada urge immediate action to redress longstanding inequities facing Indigenous Peoples

June 23, 2021 — In the wake of the discovery of the mass burial site of Indigenous children in Kamloops and the findings of the inquiry into the death of Joyce Echaquan in Joliette, Quebec, the Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) is urging immediate action from all levels of government in Canada. Just after National Indigenous Peoples Day was celebrated in Canada, CNA’s board of directors sent a letter [PDF, 363.1 KB] to every federal, provincial, and territorial elected official in Canada asking for immediate funding and delivery of priority services needed to redress the legacy of Indian residential schools and combat anti-Indigenous racism.

“The convergence of these two tragedies is emblematic of the reality that damning historic injustices are very much alive today. Indigenous and non-Indigenous people alike are fed up. Longstanding, racist policies need to be tackled with the highest urgency, and nurses intend to amplify our demand for meaningful action until it happens,” said Tim Guest, president of CNA.

To address the disparities that exist for Indigenous Peoples in Canada, CNA’s board is calling for urgent action in these three priority areas:

  1. Safe drinking water
  2. Better health, safer care
  3. Protect, honour, and nourish the lives of children

“We understand Canada is still in a global pandemic and there are many competing policy priorities for governments. However, the actions outlined in our letter address decades-old issues that continue to exert devastating health and social impacts that test the many strengths of Indigenous Peoples. There is no time left; action must come immediately,” said Guest.

CNA pledges to work with governments, health authorities, and employers, as well as nursing organizations, schools, and unions to engage and mobilize nurses to support these efforts. But it is the federal, provincial, and territorial governments that have the appropriate reach, resources, and authority to drive real change.

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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