On March 4, the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) formalized its commitment to the
Calls to Action outlined by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). In a ceremony at the First Nations University of Canada in Regina, the SHA joined with those impacted by residential schools, First Nations and Métis government officials, youth representatives, and the Ministry of Health to commemorate the
signing of a document which will serve as a framework for the SHA to move forward toward reconciliation with First Nations and Métis Peoples.
Scott Livingstone CEO and Marg Friesen, Minister Métis Nation – Saskatchewan, visit after the program is concluded.
“Today, the Saskatchewan Health Authority acknowledges the pain, loss, and dislocation caused by the residential school system on individuals, families, communities and nations. Today, we publicly commit to creating concrete and sustainable actions for change,” said SHA Board Chair R.W. (Dick) Carter at the ceremony.
Glen McCallum, President, Metis Nation – Saskatchewan; Marg Friesen, Minister Métis Nation – Saskatchewan; Elder Norman Fleury and Gabe Lafond, Executive Director of First Nations and Métis Health, SHA, pose for a photo.
In developing the framework, the SHA engaged with the First Nations and Métis communities and its employees to help identify ways in which the organization could meet the recommendations set out in the Calls to Action. In addition, a working group was established to assist with framework development. Members of that group included First Nations and Métis representatives, Saskatoon Tribal Council, Touchwood Agency, the Northern Village of La Loche, Patient Family Advisors and representatives from the SHA.
Red Dog Drum Group drums for the grand entry.
The Grand Entry to bring in flags and commence the day's program.
“This public commitment builds upon our ongoing dialogue with our First Nations and Métis partners,” said CEO Scott Livingstone. “While we have accomplished many things working together, we also realize that more work needs to be done to create a health care system that adheres to our organizational values and that continues to put patients and families at the centre of everything we do.”
Beth Vachon, VP, Quality Safety & Strategy, Saskatchewan Health Authority, emcees the Truth and Reconciliation Commitment program.
R.W. (Dick) Carter (left), Board Chairperson, Saskatchewan Health Authority and Scott Livingstone, CEO, Saskatchewan Health Authority sign the Saskatchewan Health Authority’s Commitment to Truth and Reconciliation.
To help monitor progress on goals set out in the commitment, the SHA will establish an Implementation Working Group, which will report back to SHA senior leadership and to the community on progress made toward achieving those goals.
The overall engagement is part of the work currently within the SHA that includes expansion of First Nations and Métis Health programs across the province, the development of a patient navigation system, the establishment of a First Nations and Métis Relations office, ongoing community engagement as well as recruitment and retention efforts.
Dignitaries at the ceremony in Regina on March 4 included (from left) Glen McCallum, President of the Métis Nation Saskatchewan; Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations Second Vice Chief David Pratt; SHA Board Chair R.W. (Dick) Carter; Chief Alvin Francis of the Nekaneet First Nation; and SHA CEO Scott Livingstone. In the background is speaker Winston Bear.
The wording of the commitment is as follows:
“Reconciliation is about maintaining and forging relationships. There are no shortcuts.”- Justice Murray Sinclair, Chief Commissioner of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.
The Saskatchewan Health Authority acknowledges Saskatchewan as the traditional territory of First Nations and Métis people, which includes Treaties 2, 4, 5, 6, 8, and 10.
We commit to fostering and maintaining respectful relations with all First Nations and Métis people.
The Saskatchewan Health Authority acknowledges the pain, loss, and dislocation caused by the residential school system on individuals, families, communities and nations.
We commit to being a culturally responsive organization by addressing systemic barriers.
We acknowledge the history is important to our future and our efforts to close the gap in health outcomes between Indigenous and non- Indigenous people.
The Saskatchewan Health Authority acknowledges and embraces the diversity in our provincial health system.
We commit to honouring all First Nations and Métis people in our health system by creating an inclusive culture grounded in our values of Safety, Accountability, Respect, Collaboration and Compassion and the commitment to a philosophy of Patient and Family Centred Care.
We commit to increasing the cultural responsiveness and cultural safety training opportunities for all Saskatchewan Health Authority employees.
The Saskatchewan Health Authority recognizes that First Nations and Métis people have a wholistic view of health and well-being, including traditional medicines and practices that have existed since time immemorial. Health and well-being includes the emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual aspects of an individual.
We commit to honouring and acknowledging the traditional worldviews, knowledge and practices of First Nations and Métis people for health and wellbeing.
The Saskatchewan Health Authority recognizes that residential schools have had a serious impact on the health and well-being of First Nations and Métis people across Canada. These harms related to health must be addressed through constructive action within the Saskatchewan Health Authority.
We commit to increasing the number of First Nations and Métis employees within the Saskatchewan Health Authority.
We commit to continuing to find constructive ways of implementing the Calls to Action outlined by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, June 2015 that are relevant to health and healthcare.
The Saskatchewan Health Authority acknowledges the importance of understanding the health status of First Nations and Métis people.
We commit to establishing appropriate data infrastructure, in collaboration with Indigenous leaders and communities, to better understand the health status of First Nations and Métis people in Saskatchewan.
The Statement of Commitment will be respected and honoured for present and future generations.
Saskatchewan Health Authority Commitment to Truth and Reconciliation
Signed this 4th Day of March, 2019 at Regina, Saskatchewan
Scott Livingstone, CEO,
Saskatchewan Health Authority
R.W. (Dick) Carter, Board Chairperson,
Saskatchewan Health Authority Board of Directors