CAMH is launching the CAMH Truth and Reconciliation Action Plan, a three-year strategy to build stronger relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people at CAMH. The plan invites everyone at CAMH to take up the work of reconciliation with detailed actions to:
- create a safe work environment for First Nations, Inuit and Métis staff and physicians;
- create an environment where First Nations, Inuit and Métis patients and families feel safe to receive CAMH services; and
- ensure accountability for meeting targets associated with CAMH’s reconciliation agenda.
“CAMH has a legacy as a colonial institution,” says Dr. Catherine Zahn, President and CEO of CAMH. “This means Indigenous patients and their families experience barriers to health care and do not have access to the best care we can offer. CAMH must be a safe and brave space where Indigenous patients, families and staff can thrive.”
Built into this Action Plan is a list of clear directions to ensure targets are achieved through a lens of anti-Indigenous racism, reconciliation and Indigenous cultural safety. The plan was initiated by a team of Indigenous and non-Indigenous staff at CAMH before it was adopted by CAMH leadership.
“It is critical that the development of the CAMH Truth and Reconciliation Action Plan was a joint-effort by Indigenous and non-Indigenous staff,” says Kahontakwas Diane Longboat, Senior Project Manager, Shkaabe Makwa and Mohawk, co-chair of the CAMH Reconciliation Working Group. “Indigenous Peoples cannot carry the burden of this work alone, and for real system-change to happen, non-Indigenous allies and leadership must take ownership over progress towards truth and reconciliation.”
“For me, truth and reconciliation means listening, learning and taking action,” says Lori Spadorcia, Senior Vice President Public Affairs and Partnerships, Chief Strategy Officer. “We must build culturally relevant systems in partnership with the communities we serve so that Indigenous Peoples have access to culturally safe care and supports, no matter which door they walk through across the health care system and beyond.”
In 2000, CAMH formally launched the Aboriginal Services program, a unique and essential service for First Nations, Inuit and Métis patients seeking culturally grounded, trauma-informed, patient and family-centred therapy, group work and individual sessions. Since that time, a number of meaningful reconciliation initiatives have been undertaken, including the opening of the Ceremony Grounds at CAMH’s Queen Street site, the release of Guiding Directions, a five-year plan to strengthen CAMH’s practices and partnerships with First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples, and the launch of Shkaabe Makwa, a Centre to support equity and community wellness for First Nations, Inuit and Métis.
“The CAMH Truth and Reconciliation Action Plan is the next step in our commitment,” says Dr. Zahn. “Thank you to the Elders, Indigenous health care leaders and community members who have guided us in our journey toward advancing truth and reconciliation.”
- Click here to read the full strategy, the CAMH Truth and Reconciliation Action Plan
- Click here to read an overview of the actions outlined in the CAMH Truth and Reconciliation Action Plan
About The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH)
CAMH is Canada's largest mental health and addiction teaching hospital and a world leading research centre in this field. CAMH combines clinical care, research, education, policy development and health promotion to help transform the lives of people affected by mental illness and addiction. CAMH is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto, and is a Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization Collaborating Centre. For more information, please follow @CAMHnews on Twitter.