The Cheque Represents a Move Towards Economic Reconciliation and Increased Healthcare Access in Indigenous Communities
James Hiebert of the Turtle Clan, Mohawk Nation, and President of Medical, Surgical and Safety Supplies (MSS) Ltd., recently presented a social benefit cheque amounting to $15,000 to the Chief and Council of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation. The donation was given on behalf of Turtle Island Health and Research Society, the social enterprise segment of MSS.
The funds originate from profits accrued by MSS, a Certified Aboriginal Business in the Northwest Territories, from a contract with Niagara Health. The contract involved the supply of acute care nitrile medical gloves manufactured by MSS and PRIMED Medical Products, along with other contracts MSS has across Canada. Integral to MSS’s business model is the principle of reinvesting profits into Indigenous communities, facilitating scholarships for youth, and fostering business opportunities and improved healthcare access.
The Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation was selected as the first recipient of the social benefit cheque. This gesture recognizes that Niagara Health’s existing and new South Niagara hospital are located on Mississaugas Treaty lands (Mississaugas Treaty at Niagara, 1781).
“MSS is about giving back to the communities where we’re doing business. The profits from our new partnership with Niagara Health will be shared with the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation,” Hiebert said during the presentation.
The Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation is the first of 10 Indigenous communities across Canada set to receive a social benefit cheque from MSS. The community, located near Hagersville, Ont., and consisting of nearly 2,600 members, will determine the utilization of the funding. Hiebert expressed hopes of providing social benefit contributions to the community every three to six months.
Receiving the donation, Gimaa (Chief) R. Stacey LaForme expressed gratitude and pointed out the donation’s alignment with respect and reconciliation.
Niagara Health was the world’s first hospital to procure Indigenous-supplied, acute care nitrile medical gloves, exclusively distributed by MSS via Mohawk Medbuy Corporation. The gloves carry PRIMED’s logo and MSS’s Indigenous stylized bear branding, demonstrating a tangible Indigenous presence within Niagara Health’s various facilities.
The gloves are also emblematic of Niagara Health’s commitment to economic reconciliation and implementation of calls to action by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Following the federal government’s lead, Niagara Health has committed to procuring at least five per cent from Indigenous businesses.
“Niagara Health is continuing to walk the road toward reconciliation,” says Charity Beland, Niagara Health’s Manager of Indigenous Health Services and Reconciliation. “That’s what reconciliation is about,” adds Hiebert.