The OHTN would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge its commitment towards Reconciliation with Indigenous (First Nations, Inuit and Métis) people in Ontario and Canada.
As Canadians mark 150 years of the Canadian Confederation, we formally acknowledge the collective effort needed from all Canadians to establish and strengthen trusting, respectful relationships with First Nations, Inuit and Métis people – and we commit ourselves to that effort.
The OHTN recognizes that Indigenous people in Ontario are estimated to be 1.7 times more likely to have HIV than non-Indigenous people. There are many factors and determinants of health that can drive up these rates, including inadequate housing, trauma, substance use, and mental health issues. However, we know that the fundamental determinant of significant inequitable health outcomes for Indigenous people in Canada remains colonization and its continuing social and health impacts. It is crucial at this time to acknowledge the benefit of active listening and working with Indigenous communities to map the road to Reconciliation. The OHTN formally expresses its commitment to do so both internally within our agency, and externally with our stakeholders. Moving towards Reconciliation is an opportunity to work holistically with Indigenous communities to prevent new HIV infections, and other adverse health outcomes, and to ensure that Indigenous people who are living with HIV have access to the best health care, treatment and support that is available in Ontario, and Canada.
Since 2009, June has been designated as National Aboriginal month and June 21st as National Aboriginal Day. This month there are many opportunities to learn more about Indigenous communities and their culture, here in Toronto and across the country. We encourage the participation of our staff and stakeholders.