Report finds racism within health system


Last updated 6/23/2022 at 9:42am

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A report commissioned by the Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health and members of the Ottawa Aboriginal Coalition shares hundreds of stories of people experiencing anti-Indigenous racism while seeking care.

OTTAWA-A new report reveals racism against Indigenous people within the health system in and around Ottawa. Indigenous-Specific Racism & Discrimination in Health Care Across the Champlain Region was commissioned by Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health and Ottawa Aboriginal Coalition to uncover stories of anti-Indigenous racism in health care across the Champlain health region-which includes the city of Ottawa and Prescott and Russell, Sormont, Dundas and Gengarry, North Grenville counties and part of North Lanark-to find solutions and build confidence among Indigenous people in the health care system.

"Racism kills people especially in the hospital/health care setting," Stephanie Mikki Adams, who is the executive director at the Inuuqatigiit Centre for Inuit Children, Youth and Families and is on the project's advisory committee, told CBC News. "In our times of need, in our times of pain, in our times of suffering, we rely heavily on people to support and take care of us."

In total 315 accounts were collected from more than 200 people between late 2018 and early 2019. Wabano's research interviewers rated 91 percent as clear cases of anti-Indigenous racism based on criteria developed by the research team.

The highest percentage of accounts of racism, negative stereotypes and discrimination in hospitals were in emergency departments and maternity wards, and in the community were in health clinics and paramedic services.

"Indigenous-specific racism is embedded in Canada's colonial history, and only by taking responsibility can we achieve better health outcomes for Indigenous peoples in this country," said Wabano's executive director Allison Fisher. "The provincial government must commit to change; to end racism; to provide competent and safe care, and to enforce this. We are part of the solution; we must be part of the solution."

Besides revealing the problems faced by First Nations citizens, the report offers solutions. It makes 27 recommendations across seven themes, such as commitment to equity and collaboration, expectations, and accountability.

The report can be accessed at:


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