Chiefs of Ontario Health Forum Set to Go

Ontario Regional Chief Day speaking at Oshki Graduation in Thunder Bay
Ontario Regional Chief Day speaking at Oshki Graduation in Thunder Bay

TORONTO, ON – The Chiefs of Ontario will host its 11th Annual Health Forum February 28th, March 1st and 2nd, in Toronto with health representatives and delegates from First Nations across Ontario participating in three days of panel presentations, workshops, networking sessions and keynote speakers.

“The theme ‘Transforming the Future of Community Health & Wellness’ is as vital as ever as the future of healthy First Nation citizens begins in our communities,” said Anishinabek Nation Grand Council Chief Patrick Madahbee, Chair of the Ontario Chiefs Committee on Health. “We continue to advocate for immediate improvements to health services across Ontario and have had some wonderful success but we still have a long way to go to improve the lives and health of all our citizens. This forum is another opportunity for our dedicated health care professionals to share their knowledge, their stories and success with one another.”

The forum, which starts Tuesday and runs until Thursday, is intended for a target audience that includes Community-Based Health Workers, Health Directors, Community Health Nurses, Community Health Representatives and First Nation leadership, policy analysts and managers. There will also be a trade market with over 40 booths and vendors.

The well-rounded agenda includes presentations including Aging and Dementia, Cannabis Legalization and Mental Wellness, Laughter and Learning and HIV/AIDS, as well as updates on Jordan’s Principal, FNIHB and Trauma Informed Care.

Participants will also be able to receive a free Eye Health screening on Wednesday, March 1st throughout the day. This screening can detect early vision loss due to diabetes and glaucoma with a new technology that did not exist 18 months ago.

“We have worked hard to hold the provincial and federal governments accountable in addressing the needs of First Nation communities. Governments are finally recognizing that, as First Nations, we have a lot to offer in healing practices and how we care for our people and this Forum is an opportunity for us to share that knowledge,” said Ontario Regional Chief Isadore Day who holds the national Health portfolio for the Assembly of First Nation (AFN).

“We are dealing with very serious health issues in our communities. Violence, suicide and children living in third-world conditions exist in this country yet we turn a blind eye to it. We want what all people want – to raise happy, healthy children who will contribute to their families, their communities, and their country.”

“The upcoming federal budget must contain sufficient funding and resources to address a multitude of urgent needs such as the ongoing suicide crisis which should include land-based, mental wellness programming. We need to break the cycle of poverty and despair with the necessary infrastructure for good homes and clean water,” said Regional Chief Day. “This impacts the whole health care system in Canada. First Nation lives are not lines in a budget or dollar amounts in a lawsuit. All we need are the necessary resources to create happy and healthy communities in order to finally secure our rightful place in Canada.”

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