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Quebec invests $15 million to improve cultural security of Indigenous patients

MONTREAL — Quebec is investing $15 million into the province’s health-care system to increase cultural security among First Nations and Inuit communities.

The concept of cultural security refers to a way of operating that ensures that health care is provided with respect for the cultural identity of the patient.

Health Minister Christian Dube says the investment spread out over five years will be used to familiarize hospital staff with the concept.

The announcement comes following the death of Joyce Echaquan, a 37-year-old Atikamekw woman and mother of seven who captured on video the insults she was subjected to by staff as she lay dying in a Joliette hospital bed in late September.

The treatment caught on video sparked outrage among the population.

Dube says the effort will concentrate on hospitals that deal most often with Indigenous patients, adding he wants the Joliette hospital to be the first to implement the training. 

The money will also be used to hire liaison officers as well as Indigenous employees who will serve as guides for patients navigating the health-care network.

The recommendation for cultural security training was contained in the Viens commission report, a public inquiry that looked at the treatment of Indigenous people by police, youth protection, public health and the justice and correctional systems and issued a report more than one year ago.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 6, 2020.

The Canadian Press

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