Recognizing Indigenous Peoples Day and reflecting on the shared commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion

Guelph, ON – June 21, 2023 – Indigenous Peoples Day has provided an opportunity to reflect on the actions taken at Guelph General Hospital since committing to establishing a culturally safe space for everyone who works and receives care at the hospital. This commitment encourages discussion about treatment options and ultimately the delivery of care for Indigenous peoples.

The hospital is committed to the calls-to-action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, and acknowledges that there is still a long way to go in creating more equitable health outcomes for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Indigenous peoples.

“During our strategic planning process we had the opportunity to connect with our stakeholders, inside the hospital and beyond. From this emerged the need for a solid commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion,” shared Karen Suk-Patrick, Vice President, People & Support Services.

Since that planning process, Guelph General Hospital has expanded access to culturally appropriate healing and wellness services including:

  • Opening a Reflection Space in May 2023 for those seeking refuge for quiet reflection. It is symbol free, sound proof, and is equipped with a ventilation system to support smudging.
  • Partnering with the Southwest Ontario Aboriginal Health Access Centre (SOAHAC) to welcome an Aboriginal Patient Navigator to help ensure patients receive cultural care while in the hospital and are connected to support after being discharged home.
  • Offering culturally sensitive and safe training for staff and professional staff to ensure that everyone is aware of and utilize the services that are available.
  • Hosting drumming ceremonies to celebrate Indigenous peoples, their culture, and contributions.

A fluid land acknowledgment was also adopted by the hospital, based on reflection rather than scripted statements. This has encouraged deeper reflection, learning, and public dialogue on the connection between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples.

Understanding and challenging racist and oppressive systems and behaviours that are reflected in the health care system, helps to create experiences that are free from barriers for staff, patients, families, and caregivers.

“Guelph General Hospital has been really active in building a partnership with us. I often hear from patients how grateful they are to have someone help navigate the health care system with them, whether it be accessing services in the hospital or in the community,” shared Katrina Graham, Aboriginal Patient Navigator, SOAHAC.

The hospital remains focused on meaningful change that supports access to holistic and culturally relevant services, so that First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Indigenous peoples receive the care they need and are active participants in their own healing journey.

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Guelph General Hospital (GGH) is a dynamic, comprehensive acute care facility providing a full range of services to the residents of Guelph and Wellington County. Services include 24-hour emergency coverage, advanced technology and diagnostic support, and specialty programs. GGH is a regional provider of general vascular surgery and a designated provincial Bariatric Centre of Excellence. GGH is also a proud partner in the Guelph Wellington Ontario Health Team. Visit us online at ggh.lab.barking.ca or @guelphgeneral. 

Photo caption: (left to right) Melissa Skinner, Vice President, Patient Services & Chief Nursing Executive, Guelph General Hospital with Katrina Graham, Aboriginal Patient Navigator, SOAHAC at the Grand Opening of SOAHAC’s newest location in Cambridge. 

For more information, please contact: Carla Kostiak, Manager of Strategic Communications, Guelph General Hospital | Tel: 519 546 3048 | Email: ckostiak@ggh.lab.barking.ca