Former Minister of Indigenous Services now health advisor to Nishnawbe Aski Nation

Nishnawbe Aski Nation hires former Minister of Indigenous Services, Dr. Jane Philpott, as health advisor.

Nishnawbe Aski Nation hires former Minister of Indigenous Services as health advisor

Nishnawbe Aski Nation hires Dr. Jane Philpott as health advisor. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press)

The Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) has hired former federal politician Dr. Jane Philpott to act as an advisor as it works to take control of its own health system.

Philpott is a former federal Minister of Indigenous Services. 

She was expelled from the Liberal caucus last spring for supporting Jody Wilson-Raybould in the SNC-Lavalin affair.

Philpott ran as an independent in the October 21 federal election but lost her seat.

She says that while there are many issues that need to be dealt with eventually, her first priority will be recruiting qualified health care workers who will commit to staying in isolated First Nations. 

"One of the most pressing issues is being able to get doctors and nurses who are regular and who are known to communities and who understand that work and who will stay and work both in communities as well as some of the hospitals," said Philpott. 

Philpott adds that "communities also have some serious concerns about what it's like when a nurse or another health professional comes in for a week and has never worked in the north before." 

"It's not always the ideal circumstance for the people of those communities," she added. 

Philpott says health care professionals are willing to work in First Nations communities "but there hasn't always been an easy pathway into knowing how that can be done and there are many issues that health professionals face."

According to Philpott, some of those issues include finding accommodation for health care providers and making sure that they have the facilities and equipment they need to practise their professions.

She says another long-range goal she's been asked to help with is making sure that young people from NAN communities see themselves as the health professionals of the future.

Philpott adds there will be many opportunities to partner with training institutions such as the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, which has campuses in Sudbury and Thunder Bay. 

The Nishnawbe Aski Nation encompasses 49 communities in Treaty 5 and Treaty 9 territories of northern Ontario.


With files from Kate Rutherford


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