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Ontario Improving Access to Aboriginal Midwifery Care

Province Supporting Maternal Health and Wellness in Indigenous Communities

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.  

QUOTES 

"Aboriginal Midwives play an important role in the health and well-being of Indigenous women, their children and their families. We’re committed to working with Indigenous partners to support culturally appropriate and safe health care services that meet the specific needs of their communities.”

― Dr. Eric Hoskins, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care

"Expanding access to culturally appropriate midwifery care is helping to ensure Indigenous communities have access to child and maternity care that meets their needs. Supporting comprehensive and integrated care is one of the many steps on Ontario’s journey of healing and reconciliation with Indigenous peoples."

― David Zimmer, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation 

“The new program will help ensure that all women, children and families in the Thunder Bay area have access to maternal care that respects their cultural needs. I am proud to see all our community partners working together to improve the health and well-being of everyone in our community.”

― Bill Mauro, MPP for Thunder Bay—Atikokan 

“I am proud of the work and commitment of our government to support culturally appropriate health care and wellness in Indigenous communities in our region. By establishing the Aboriginal Midwifery Program and working together with Dilico Anishinabek Family Care, we will be able to provide more effective child and maternity care and support in a way that integrates well with existing health care services.”

― Michael Gravelle, MPP for Thunder Bay—Superior North 

“We are honoured to be the first Aboriginal Family Health Team in the province to host an Aboriginal Midwifery program. This program will strengthen the identity and long-term health and wellness of Aboriginal women, children and families in a culturally safe and appropriate manner, with specific attention to the needs of highly marginalized and/or substance involved women and families.”

― Darcia Borg, Executive Director, Dilico Anishinabek Family Care 

“This announcement is a remarkable step towards the renewal of Aboriginal midwifery in Ontario. It's a welcome and celebrated step towards culturally appropriate care that will restore, reclaim and enable healing and well-being for women, newborns, families and entire communities."

― Ellen Blais, Policy Analyst, Aboriginal Midwifery, Association of Ontario Midwives  

QUICK FACTS 

  • Ontario is investing up to $2 million to increase access to culturally appropriate midwifery care now and in the future.
  • 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 healthcare 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.
  • 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.

 

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