Why the Métis?
Understanding the Prioritization of Indigenous Peoples in Vaccination Roll Out
Since the early announcement that Indigenous peoples would be vaccinated under phase one of the Covid-19 vaccine roll out, the MNO has received multiple reports of Métis Citizens experiencing discrimination, skepticism, and even hostility over this inclusion. The conversations around the prioritization of Indigenous communities are complex and in many ways impacted by lasting historical and colonial legacies. The MNO has produced this fact sheet to delineate the reasons why Métis, First Nations and Inuit, are considered a priority group; and Citizens are equipped with the facts when engaging in dialogue over the vaccine prioritization.
- High Risk: The prioritization of Indigenous communities was based on evidence that Indigenous peoples can be a higher risk of COVID-19 infections and complications.
- Hospitalizations: A higher proportion of Ontario Métis have been hospitalized due to Covid-19 (8%) when compared to non-Indigenous communities in Ontario (5%).
- Racism: Systemic racism has led to neglect and substandard care within the healthcare system for Indigenous and racialized individuals, and has discouraged many from seeking necessary treatment.
- Colonialism: In addition to inadequate healthcare, Canada’s history of colonialism has yielded significant impacts on Indigenous housing, drinking water supplies, and access to traditional practices and foods
- Households and living conditions: Covid-19 infections can spread easily in crowded and in multi-generational households, more common in Indigenous and remote communities, where masking and physical distancing can be difficult or impossible to carry out.
- Reconciliation: Canada recognizes there is much work to do in repairing its relationship with Indigenous peoples, providing quality and targeted care, and in investing in the health and wellbeing of Indigenous communities.
For these reasons, the Governments of Canada and Ontario are working closely with Indigenous governments and organizations (including public health units across the province) to operationalize and optimize Covid-19 vaccine uptake in Métis, First Nations and Inuit communities. While many may have been vaccinated, we continue to urge Citizens to remain vigilant and adhere to the recommended public health guidelines. We all play a part in keeping our friends, families, and communities safe.
A list of MNO Covid-19 Supports and Programs can be found on our website at
For more information from Canada on Covid-19 vaccines and Indigenous peoples see
The information above was compiled by the Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) from a variety of sources, including
the Government of Canada, Public Health Units, and related industry experts