October 22nd, 2020

Miller to discuss racism in health care with Indigenous leaders as COVID cases rise

By The Canadian Press on October 8, 2020.

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller responds to a question during a news conference, Thursday, Oct. 8, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

OTTAWA – Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller says he’s convening a high-level meeting with Indigenous leaders to tackle systematic racism in health care as communities brace for the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Miller says the risk that Indigenous people won’t seek care or an eventual vaccine is real if the problems within the health care system are not dealt with.

He says there are 123 active cases in First Nations communities as of yesterday and a total of 768 confirmed cases since March, with great fear that the current outbreaks will be worse than the spring’s.

Systemic racism in health care gained new urgency with the death of Joyce Echaquan, who livestreamed racial slurs directed at her by the nurses in a Quebec hospital last month.

Miller says Indigenous people have become too used to just being treated “like garbage” when they go to hospital, and he says that is unacceptable.

Details of the meeting are forthcoming but Miller suggests it will include an effort to set measurable objectives.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 8, 2020.


This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

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