The Dene Nation of the Northwest Territories endorses the Principles to Guide Health Care Transformation in Canada

OTTAWA, Aug. 15, 2013 – The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) is pleased to announce that the Dene Nation of the Northwest Territories is supporting the Principles to Guide Health Care Transformation in Canada. The Dene Nation becomes the first Aboriginal group and the 131st organization in total to officially endorse the document.

“In order to make progress and to improve the health of First Nations communities across Canada, strong principles are needed,” said Dene Nation National Chief Bill Erasmus. “The Dene Nation and its 30 communities within the NWT strongly support the CMA’s belief that a transformation of the health care system is critical to meet the needs of the future,” he said.

“As an emergency room physician in Yellowknife, I see every day the urgent health care needs of Aboriginal peoples,” said CMA president Dr. Anna Reid. “As our recent report on the social determinants of health makes clear, improving the health of First Nations is a priority for the CMA and it should be a priority for our country.”

Released last month, the CMA report What Makes us Sick? calls for a comprehensive strategy and associated investments by the federal government to improve the health of Aboriginal peoples, in partnership with non-governmental organizations and Aboriginal communities.

The principles were developed in 2011 by the CMA and the Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) to guide the transformation of the health care system in Canada. The goal is for Canada’s public health care system to provide quality care and to be sustainable, equitable, accountable and patient-centred, with a greater emphasis on prevention. (Click here to see the principles.)

“The Dene Nation encourages other First Nations communities to endorse the principles. It is also our role to work closely with the medical profession to address the needs of our people,” added National Chief Erasmus.

“We are pleased to count on the Dene Nation’s support and their leadership within the Assembly of First Nations to improve the health care system for First Nations and for all Canadians,” said Dr. Reid. “We hope that other First Nations will follow suit and also endorse the principles.”

The Dene Nation, also known as the Athapaskan peoples, is a political organization located in the Northwest Territories. Its objective is to support the Dene Territories and Dene Communities in upholding the rights and interests of the Dene, including rights and interests arising from Dene use and occupation of land and interests arising from Treaties.

The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) is the national voice of Canadian physicians. Founded in 1867, the CMA is a voluntary professional organization representing more than 78,000 of Canada’s physicians and comprising 12 provincial and territorial medical associations and 51 national medical organizations. CMA’s mission is to serve and unite the physicians of Canada and be the national advocate, in partnership with the people of Canada, for the highest standards of health and health care.

For further information:

Lucie Boileau
Senior Advisor, Communications and Public Outreach
[email protected]
Tel.: 800-663-7336 / 613-731-8610 ext. 1266 Cell.: 613-447-0866


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