What Is Happening with Health Legislation?

Together with Indigenous partners — including the Métis Nation od Ontario (MNO) — the Canadian government alongside the provinces and territories are working to co-develop distinctions-based Indigenous health legislation to improve access to high-quality, culturally relevant health services. The government of Canada indicates on its website that, Canada has committed to working to ensure that any potential federal legislation is informed by provincial and territorial perspectives, is complementary to existing provincial and territorial health systems, self-government or tripartite models, and does not infringe on provincial jurisdiction or the territorial role in health.
The Canadian government has also recognized that it is imperative that engagement be led by Indigenous peoples, for Indigenous peoples, and that this engagement will inform a co-development process for this initiative.
To read more about the process, please visit the government of Canada website: Co-developing distinctions-based Indigenous health legislation (sac-isc.gc.ca)

How Do I Have My Voice Heard?

To ensure the needs and aspirations of Métis people and communities are understood and reflected in any potential legislation, MNO will be holding a number of engagement sessions to gather input on the federal government’s approach to co-developing distinctions-based Indigenous health legislation.
All MNO citizens are encouraged to participate in this initial engagement, whether it be through the completion of this survey or participation in an upcoming engagement session. To complete the MNO survey on the Indigenous Health Legislation, please go to visit this link.

Why Is This Important?

The MNO considers holistic Indigenous health to encompass the physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and cultural aspects of one’s life. The MNO works to facilitate and coordinate health and wellness programs, services, and activities to address health and wellness needs of Métis people in Ontario at the provincial, regional, and local levels. 
The co-development of a distinctions-based indigenous health legislation with Canada must be led and heavily guided by the Métis Nation of Ontario and its citizens in order to affirm our path towards self-government and address the unique needs and circumstances of our communities. For instance; the risk of cancer, smoking and alcohol consumption, and food insecurity are all significantly higher within the Métis population than in the general population of Ontario. These factors highlight the need for a distinctions-based approach to healthcare to create an equitable path forward in the reconciliation process.

Current Status

Despite the ongoing challenges associated with a global pandemic, the Métis Nation Governments, alongside the Government of Canada, continue to work to establish overarching principles that will guide the transformation and evolution of healthcare systems that improve the health of Métis people. 
In 2021, Métis Nation Governments and other Indigenous partners engaged their respective citizens to further explore and validate health principles and priorities as they relate to the development of health legislation. Key principles that guided these engagements included:
  • Respectful grounding of all engagement in Métis knowledge, experiences, and perceptions.
  • Maintaining clear communication and trust; including transparency and reporting to community.
  • Leveraging existing engagement data and opportunities to avoid duplication, burden to community, and to maximize efficiency of the process.
  • Flexibility in engagement approach to ensure that the diversity among Métis people was honored.
This work put forward a vision for Métis health and well-being to guide the development of a Métis-specific health legislation and had three objectives:
  1. Establish key principles, health priorities and recommendations that will serve as a foundation for Métis-specific health legislation.
  2. Establish a common ground to provide a path forward for meaningful codeveloped distinctions-based health legislation.
  3. Advance the Nation-to-Nation relationship between Métis Nation Governments, the Government of Canada and Provincial Governments as it relates to health and well-being.
The Federal Government drafted a What We Heard: Visions for Distinctions-Based Indigenous Health Legislation report, in order to summarize the input received from Indigenous peoples [See the executive summary here]. Relevant health strategy and governance documents from Métis Nation Governments and available health research and grey literature were reviewed to identify collective principles, strengths, assets, and challenges related to Métis health and well-being. This collective data was discussed and validated through health governance from MNBC, MNA, MN-S, MNO, LFMO and MNC health, intergovernmental, and senior policy knowledge holders, and Métis Government leaders and was used in developing a Métis Nation approach to health legislation. 
Where necessary, the summary report will help inform subsequent discussions between the government of Canada and Indigenous partners (Including the MNO) as it relates to the development of distinctions-based Indigenous health legislation.