KENORA – Leader’s Ledger – The issue of health care is close to the hearts of all Northerners. Whether directly or indirectly, we are all affected by the many ways health care impacts our personal lives and our families. The delivery of health care services, particularly in remote and rural areas is complicated, to say the least, but through partnership and collaboration with municipal, provincial, federal governments, and stakeholders, we can work to better the lives of all Northerners.
Last week, along with the Seamus O’Regan, Minister of Indigenous Services Canada, I was pleased to stand with Chiefs of the Kenora Chief’s Advisory, All Nations Hospital partners and board, as well as stakeholders, to announce $375,000 to support First Nations involvement in the planning of an All Nations Hospital Care System for the Kenora region.
This health care investment will support planning efforts in the development of an integrated model of health services delivery, which will include collaboration from the Kenora Chiefs Advisory, Kenora area First Nations communities, Lake of Woods District Hospital, City of Kenora, Township of Sioux Narrows-Nester Falls, Kenora Métis Council, Grand Council Treaty #3, and the Ontario Provincial Government. First Nations involvement in the planning process will ensure that the health needs of First Nation communities are considered in the development of an integrated health care approach. This will also result in a seamless delivery of health services for these communities.
Earlier this month, I supported Bill C-451, which puts a priority on the well-being, health, security, and education of children and youth, by recognizing that every child has the right to enjoy a standard of living that allows for their physical, mental, and social development to flourish. On June 5th, I will present my private members motion M-226, which calls on the Standing Committee on Health to undertake a study to determine some of the factors which contribute to the significant disparities in the health outcomes of rural Canadians, compared to those in urban centres.
This study should provide recommendations on strategies, including the use of modern and rapidly improving communication technologies to improve health care delivery in rural areas, as well as call on the federal government to work with the provinces, territories, and relevant stakeholders to further address and improve health care delivery these areas.
In order to continue building a stronger North, we must have healthy, strong Northerners. Transforming the region’s health care system and taking a new collaborative approach to healthcare delivery is one of the ways to develop solutions that work for the North. We must continually work to improve our system, so we don’t fall further behind. The goal is to work towards universal care, so every person receives equal, culturally appropriate treatment, which will lead to long-term improvement to health and wellbeing throughout the North.