Timmins ON: Health care services within the Mushkegowuk (Weeneebayko) region have been rapidly deteriorating and are in a very serious and dangerous situation. This has resulted in the Mushkegowuk Council of Chiefs declaring a State of Emergency. The Chiefs represent seven First Nations in Northern Ontario that are facing shortages in nursing care, as well as a physician shortage at the regional hospital in Moose Factory. 

Recent developments that include shortage of health care professionals, reduced services, infrastructure issues, and more importantly, community members not having access to health care, have forced the Mushkegowuk Council of Chiefs to intervene. This has occurred despite decades of health-related studies, reports, proposed investments and planning by both the governments of Canada and Ontario. 

“When we signed the Weeneebayko Area Health Integration Framework Agreement with Canada and Ontario in 2007, our community was promised a new hospital, improved health care services, more programming and long-term care services, but instead 15 years later our community members are being denied proper health care. We are in dire need of equitable health care services. The level of health care in our community would never be allowed to happen in Timmins or Kapuskasing. Something is terribly wrong, this is totally unacceptable, and we need to do something immediately,”

Kashechewan Cree First Nation Chief Gaius Wesley

Infrastructure is a pillar supporting the fundamental goal of promoting improved standards of care and wellbeing for all patients. Infrastructure to fully implement the Primary Care services under Mushkegowuk O.M.A. continues to be a challenge without capital funding commitments. We require the full support of the Indigenous Services Canada and the Ministry of Health to allocate necessary resources for infrastructure development. Infrastructure that will include supporting elements for a fully operational Primary Care model: equipment, access, information technology (IT), systems and processes, sustainability initiatives and adequate staffing for our unique needs. 

“As the Grand Chief I have written a letter to the Minister of Indigenous Services Canada, Patty Hajdu to convey my deep disappointment and serious concerns with the deteriorating state of our health care system. As well, I called an emergency meeting of the Mushkegowuk Council of Chiefs and Weeneebayko Area Health Authority management to implement an emergency strategy that is intended to alleviate the crisis in our health care system. The Mushkegowuk Council of Chiefs are demanding immediate action from both the governments of Canada and Ontario by holding immediate tri-lateral talks to develop the required mechanisms to respond to this crisis. Among other actions within the emergency strategy are the following: declaring a state of emergency, establishing a Treaty-based political and technical table to resolve immediate, short, and long-term healthcare issues including the strengthening of community and regional healthcare systems, and to explore the option of filing a Human Rights Complaint,”

Mushkegowuk Council Grand Chief Alison Linklater

Download orignal PDF of this release here: https://mushkegowuk.ca/wp-content/uploads/2022/09/Health-Care-Services-Mushkegowuk-Region-SEPT-6-2022.pdf

Contacts for this article: 

Gaius Wesley

Kashechewan Cree First Nation Chiefgaius.wesley@kfnation.ca

Alison Linklater

Former Grand Chiefgrandchief@mushkegowuk.ca