NDP calls on Liberals to address health-care staff shortages on First Nations « Canada’s NDP

April 3, 2023 at 9:15 am  Federal, Politics

OTTAWA – Today, NDP Deputy Critic for Indigenous Services Niki Ashton (Churchill—Keewatinook Aski) was joined by Chief Michael Yellowback and councillor Roger Ross of Manto Sipi Cree Nation, Chief Jordan Hill of Shamattawa First Nation, Grand Chief Garrison Settee from Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak, Grand Chief Walter Wastesicoot from the Keewatin Tribal Council and Grand Chief Cathy Merrick from the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs to call on the Liberal government to tackle the health-care staff shortage that is causing a crisis in Manto Sipi Cree Nation, Shamattawa First Nation and other remote fly-in First Nations. This crisis has recently led to the death of a 37-year-old mother of five children.

“There is a humanitarian crisis happening in First Nations like Manto Sipi and Shamattawa,” said Ashton. “It is clear that the federal government is failing people in remote First Nations when it comes to the care they need. There is a shortage of nurses and care, and people are dying. We cannot afford to lose another life.”

Ashton also discussed information obtained by the NDP that revealed the significant failure of the Liberal government in hiring nurses on First Nations to deliver the care people need. This includes the fact that all remote and isolated nursing stations managed by Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) in Manitoba and Ontario have experienced reduced capacity due to staffing shortages in the past two months, and a 68 per cent operational vacancy rate of public nursing jobs. This means, the government is increasingly relying on for-profit health-care agencies that are cutting short on the care First Nations need.

“The Liberals must listen to First Nations Chiefs across Northern Manitoba. The federal government must respond immediately to the health-care crisis,” said MP Lori Idlout, NDP Critic for Indigenous Services. “Indigenous peoples cannot be left without access to adequate health care. This government cannot allow one more preventable death. This government must show its commitment to reconciliation and find more nurses to live and work on First Nations communities immediately.”

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