Statement by Ontario's Minister of Health and Minister of Children and Youth Services on Providing Assistance to Attawapiskat
Dr. Eric Hoskins, Ontario's Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, and Tracy MacCharles, Ontario's Minister of Children and Youth Services have issued the following statement:
"Today, we travelled to Attawapiskat to speak directly with the community and their leadership. We heard from them how we can work together on short, medium and long-term solutions to address the serious challenges facing this community and their youth.
We are providing additional assistance to the community following the province's Emergency Medical Assistance Team's (EMAT) assessment. An EMAT reconnaissance team was dispatched immediately to conduct an assessment, working with the local Band Council as well as the Weeneebayko Area Health Authority (WAHA) to determine how EMAT can best provide assistance to the community.
Ontario is providing up to $2 million to fund a Youth Regional Coordination Unit for Mushkegowuk Council and to start deploying today, through EMAT, additional emergency health care personnel and support staff to help the community through this crisis. The deployment will provide 24/7 mental health support, and evening and night nursing clinical support, including staffing of four psychological health workers, up to five nurses, two security staff, one communications officer and one incident manager.
Our government will be working with the community in the coming days to determine other supports and investments that can be made to help address this crisis.
The provincial government, the local Band Council and the community will hold a forum to develop a long-term plan to support the community to ensure the people of Attawapiskat - particularly youth - feel safe, respected and supported.
This is a very tragic situation and our hearts go out to the people and families affected. Ontario is strongly committed to working together with the Attawapiskat community and with First Nations in Ontario alongside our federal partners, Health Minister Jane Philpott and Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Carolyn Bennett, to address the underlying issues and health inequities facing Ontario's First Nations and indigenous people to prevent such tragedies in the future."