Ottawa, Ontario (May 14), 2021 — The Minister of Indigenous Services, Marc Miller, the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, Carolyn Bennett, and the Minister of Northern Affairs, Daniel Vandal, issued the following statement today:
"Answering the call. For nurses, this means rushing into work in the middle of the night to help with an emergency health crisis.
It means stepping up to face unprecedented health care challenges on the frontline, putting themselves at risk to keep others safe.
It means long hours, changing schedules and tireless efforts to save lives across Canada, including in Indigenous and Northern communities.
When we are in our most vulnerable, fragile states, nurses answer the call. That is why this year's theme for National Nursing Week is #WeAnswerTheCall, highlighting the countless ways in which nurses have helped and continue to help patients while keeping communities healthy every single day.
Today, on May 14, we also celebrate Indigenous Nurses Day. This day is an opportunity for us to specifically recognize the dedication and contributions of First Nations, Inuit and Métis nurses practicing across the country, including in their own communities, to ensure that their patients receive high-quality and culturally appropriate health care. We are truly grateful they answered the call when they chose to become a nurse and to serve communities as the most trusted professionals.
In the last year, nurses have been vital in leading the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. In recent months in particular, nurses from all over Canada have stepped up to provide surge support in Indigenous communities to lead COVID-19 testing clinics, treatment and vaccination efforts. These nurses have had to comply with strict but necessary self-isolation requirements in order to travel to communities, making significant sacrifices in their professional and personal lives for the well-being of others.
Nurses are often travelling several hours on end from their homes to their work. For those nurses serving in more remote and isolated Indigenous communities, we are in awe of how they have answered the call by taking on even broader responsibilities around both disease prevention and caring for those who are sick. It's impossible not to be humbled by all that these nurses do to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
Like Florence Nightingale, whose birthday we are celebrating this week, nurses are observing patterns and providing the data to track and stop this deadly disease. The pandemic has also resulted in an increased need for critical mental wellness and substance use services and supports. And again, Indigenous and non-Indigenous nurses have answered the call.
The world has changed in many ways since the pandemic began. And through it all, through all the unique challenges, we've been able to rely on nurses for emotional and physical support. It is nurses who show kindness and compassion even on the darkest of days, who can bring a smile to their patients' concerned faces, and who ensure we all stay healthy and strong with their expertise and skills.
Our appreciation for nurses goes beyond words, and their selfless dedication to providing health care to Indigenous communities is nothing short of inspirational. To all nurses in Canada—we are proud of and grateful for your outstanding and unparalleled commitment.
As National Nursing Week wraps up, we say, "thank you, merci, miigwech, marsee, nakurmiik, ay-hay, nia:wen, wela'lin, huy chexw, marsi tchogh."
For more information, media may contact:
Office of the Honourable Marc Miller
Minister of Indigenous Services
Indigenous Services Canada
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