Ontario is improving access to culturally appropriate child and maternity care for more Indigenous people across the province.
Dr. Eric Hoskins, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, was at Dilico Family Health Team Clinic in Fort William First Nation today to announce that two new Aboriginal Midwives will be hired to provide culturally appropriate child and maternity care to up to 30 Indigenous women and their children in the community over the next three years. Aboriginal Midwives provide a full range of culturally safe midwifery primary care, support services, language and community education.
In addition, the government is supporting the establishment of the following Aboriginal Midwifery programs across the province:
- K’Tigaaning Midwives, Powassan
- Kenhte:ke Midwives, Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory
- Onkwehon:we Midwives, Akwesasne
- Shkagamik-Kwe Health Centre, Sudbury
- Southwest Ontario Aboriginal Health Access Centre, London.
To help people connect more easily with these services, many of the Aboriginal Midwifery programs will work in existing health care teams with family doctors, nurse practitioners, social workers and traditional healers, and will develop strong links with local primary care health services in their area. Ontario is also offering development grants to organizations across the province to explore how Aboriginal Midwifery services could be established in their communities.
Supporting culturally appropriate health care and wellness in Indigenous communities is one of the many steps on Ontario’s journey of healing and reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. It reflects the Ontario government’s commitment to work with Indigenous partners, creating a better future for everyone in the province.
Investing in Indigenous child and maternity care is part of the government’s plan to build a better Ontario through its Patients First: Action Plan for Health Care, which provides patients with faster access to the right care, better home and community care, the information they need to live healthy, and a health care system that is sustainable for generations to come.
- Ontario is investing up to $2 million to increase access to culturally appropriate midwifery care now and in the future.
- To develop Ontario’s Aboriginal Midwifery program, the province consulted with Indigenous, midwifery and primary health care organizations and issued a call for applications.
- There are approximately 30 midwives in Ontario who self-identify as Indigenous. Through Ontario’s new Aboriginal Midwifery program, these professionals will have access to culturally appropriate training as well as more formalized networks to connect with patients across the province.
- Development grants to explore future sites for Aboriginal Midwifery services are being offered to organizations in the following communities: Cornwall, Cutler, Fort Frances, Keewatin, Kenora, Nestor Falls, Oshawa, Thamesville and Thunder Bay.
- Ontario’s First Nations Health Action Plan commits to a $222 million dollar investment over three years and a sustained commitment of $104.5 million dollars thereafter to address Indigenous health care needs.
- The Journey Together: Ontario’s Commitment to Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples outlines the province’s response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s calls to action.
- In 2016-17, Ontario is investing an additional $27.3 million in 89 midwifery practice groups across the province, helping to provide midwifery services for an additional 4,053 births in Ontario – a nearly 18 per cent increase in midwife-attended deliveries. This investment also allows for 87 more midwives to begin practicing in Ontario this year.