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Métis Nation Presses Health and Wellness, Family and Child Care Priorities at Policy Sessions in Ottawa

At their summit in June, 2018, Prime Minister Trudeau and the Métis Nation leadership established Year 2 priorities under the Canada-Métis Nation Accord which sets out a process for Canada and the Métis Nation to co-develop policies and programs to improve social and economic conditions of Métis people. At policy forums in early July, ministers and officials from the MNC and its Governing Members worked on proposals and federal budget asks on two of these priorities, education and economic development, that will be taken up by federal Ministers and Métis Nation leaders at their next meeting under the Accord in October. In late August, similar policy forums were held in Ottawa on the critical issues of health and wellness as well as child and family services.

The Métis Nation Health Policy Session in Ottawa August 20-21, 2018, concluded with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Government of Canada for the development of a 10-year Accord that will identify the health needs of Métis people and ways in which the Government of Canada can support the Métis Nation in improving health outcomes for its citizens.

The 10-year Accord will address the following themes:
a. Métis capacity to participate effectively in health care systems;
b. Métis Nation research, surveillance, knowledge and evaluation;
c. Métis Nation supplementary health benefits;
d. Métis Nation participation in primary health and specialist care;
e. Métis Nation home, community, long-term and palliative care models;
f. Métis community and wellness hubs (i.e. Métis service/wellness access centres);
g. Métis people within the health human resources sector;
h. Healthy living and disease prevention and health promotion capacity;
i. Cultural competency of the health care system;
j. Intergovernmental coordination to adapt and to improve health care systems that reflect expanded roles of the Métis Nation;
k. Climate change related health effects and risks mitigation, and associated data management; and
l. Access to mental health supports.

The Child and Family Services (CFS) Policy Session August 22-23, 2018, built on the work started with the Emergency Meeting on First Nations, Inuit and Métis Nation Child and Family Services sponsored by Minister Philpott in January 2018 and a follow-up Summit on Métis Nation Child and Family Services in March. At the first of these earlier conferences, the Government of Canada committed to the following specific actions to address the over-representation of Indigenous children and youth in care in Canada.

1. Continue to fully implement the orders from the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal including Jordan’s Principle, and reform First Nations child and family services including moving to a flexible funding model.
2. Work with partners to shift the focus of programming to culturally-appropriate prevention, early intervention, and family reunification.
3. Work with our partners to support communities to draw down jurisdiction in the area of child and family services, including exploring co-developed federal legislation.
4. Participate and accelerate the work at tripartite and technical tables that are in place across the country in supporting reform.
5. Support Inuit and Métis Nation leadership in their work to advance meaningful, culturally-appropriate reform of child and family services.
6. Create a data strategy with provinces/territories and Indigenous partners to increase inter-jurisdictional data collection, sharing and reporting to better understand the rates and reasons for apprehension.

At the recent CFS session in Ottawa, ministers and officials from the MNC and Governing Members examined the issue of federal legislation that would provide jurisdiction over family and child services to Métis government and the types of investments needed in Budget 2019 to support a Métis Nation delivered child and family services system. These are also priorities expected to be taken up by federal Ministers and Métis Nation leaders at their next meeting under the Canada-Métis Nation Accord in October.

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