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Renewed partnership improves health, wellness for Indigenous Peoples

Press Release

CHILLIWACK – The Province is renewing its commitment with the Fraser Salish Regional Caucus, Métis Nation British Columbia and Fraser Health to improve health outcomes for Indigenous Peoples in the region.

“Nobody should ever have to worry for their safety when accessing health care,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “We recognize that Indigenous-specific racism exists in our health-care system, and we still have a lot more work to do to eradicate it as quickly as possible. Renewing the Fraser Partnership Accord will help guide our work to achieve a full and meaningful partnership in decision-making and service delivery for the betterment of health outcomes for all Indigenous Peoples living in the Fraser Salish region.”

To achieve Letse’mot, which means “everyone working together” in Halq’eméylem, the Fraser Partnership Accord has been amended to include the Fraser Salish Regional Caucus and, for the first time, Métis Nation BC as signatories and full and equal partners in decision-making and service delivery at local and regional levels. The accord was first signed in 2011 and amended in 2020, and aims to blend cultural and modern health practices to improve health and wellness for all people in B.C.

“We need to be involved in the decisions about caring for our sick and those needing medical care,” said Grand Chief Willie Charlie, representative from the Fraser Salish Regional Caucus. “The accord is a step in the right direction to ensuring we don’t repeat the wrongs of the past and that we create a better future of care for everyone. This collaborative approach allows Indigenous voices to be part of that change.”

Some key actions of the renewed accord include:

  • transitioning from the Aboriginal Health Steering Committee (AHSC) into the Indigenous Health Collaborative Council (IHCC);
  • developing a reciprocal accountability framework to inform annual evaluation, as well as ensure the parties reach agreed upon goals; and
  • developing a process to minimize or prevent disputes regarding the parties’ respective rights or obligations under the accord.

“Our Nations must have a say in the decision-making of health-care policies and processes, for our people,” said Louis De Jaeger, minister of health at Métis Nation British Columbia. “This partnership accord between the Fraser Salish Regional Council, Métis Nation British Columbia and Fraser Health is a significant step towards addressing Indigenous racism and ensuring equitable health-care access for First Nations and Métis communities.”

The regional caucus represents the Stó:lō Nation, Stó:lō Tribal Council and independent communities in the Fraser Salish region. The local Nations intend to support the well-being of all First Nations people living in the region, regardless of Nationhood, status or residence.

Métis Nation British Columbia is the governing Nation for Métis people in B.C. and represents more than 24,000 registered Métis citizens. More than 6,200 Métis live in the Fraser Salish region.

The accord aligns with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and B.C.’s Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act, and aims to establish a culturally safe health-care system in B.C. that is free of Indigenous-specific racism through the implementation of advice and recommendations made in the In Plain Sight report.

Quotes:

Jim Sinclair, board chair, Fraser Health –

“On behalf of Fraser Health, we are proud to sign this partnership accord that will empower our Indigenous communities with greater involvement over the delivery of health services. This collaboration marks a significant stride towards fostering culturally safe and racism-free care in all of our facilities.”

Dan Coulter, MLA for Chilliwack –

“For too long, barriers have existed within our health-care system that have disproportionately affected some populations in our communities, like Indigenous Peoples. This renewed accord signifies a bold action of our government to work together with First Nations and Métis people residing in the Fraser Salish region to address Indigenous-specific racism and other disparities preventing them from receiving the care they need.”

Kelli Paddon, MLA for Chilliwack-Kent –

“Updating the Fraser Partnership Accord brings us another step closer to achieving an equitable health-care system for Indigenous and non-Indigenous people alike. This agreement, along with other previous actions, such as improving access to public health-care services through the First Nations-led Sts’ailes Community Care Campus, is an important step in closing the health gaps here in the region and around B.C.”

Quick Facts:

  • The Fraser Partnership Accord sets out to ensure all health services provided by Fraser Health are culturally safe, based on a distinction-based approach.
  • A distinction-based approach means that any work with Indigenous Peoples will be conducted in a manner that acknowledges the human rights, interests, priorities and concerns of each individual, while respecting and acknowledging their unique cultures, histories, rights, laws and governments.

Learn More:

To learn more about the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/governments/indigenous-people/new-relationship/united-nations-declaration-on-the-rights-of-indigenous-peoples

For an update on the In Plain Sight report, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2023HLTH0123-001561

Contact:Ministry of Health
Media Relations
250 952-1887

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