Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller responds to a question during a news conference in Ottawa, Wednesday Jan. 20, 2021. Miller says Ottawa is working with the provinces to prioritize vaccinating Indigenous people against COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller responds to a question during a news conference in Ottawa, Wednesday Jan. 20, 2021. Miller says Ottawa is working with the provinces to prioritize vaccinating Indigenous people against COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

2nd meeting on anti-Indigenous racism in health to focus on solutions

Marc Miller has invited Indigenous leaders and health professionals to a first urgent meeting on systemic racism

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller says he is attending a virtual meeting with First Nations, Métis and Inuit leaders to discuss anti-Indigenous racism in the health care system.

Miller says Canadians expect concrete measures from politicians to ensure everyone has access to first-class health care, but he doesn’t know what these measures are yet.

Speaking to a news conference in Ottawa, Miller says the second national dialogue on systemic racism will focus for two days on specific steps to eliminate racism in the health system and the work of provincial and territorial governments to address the issue in their jurisdictions.

Miller invited Indigenous leaders and health professionals to a first urgent meeting on systemic racism in health following the mistreatment and death of Joyce Echaquan in a Quebec hospital in September.

Miller said he asked the participants at the end of that first meeting to think about possible solutions.

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He said the COVID-19 pandemic has affected Indigenous communities disproportionately, noting that a total of 15,894 COVID-19 cases and 144 deaths has been reported on First Nations reserves.

The Canadian Press

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