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Ontario Native Women’s Association and Ontario Health Sign Protocol to Strengthen Collaboration

Updated: May 7

Thunder Bay, ON – Leadership from the Ontario Native Women’s Association (ONWA) and Ontario Health gathered today at ONWA’s Mindimooyenh Health Clinic to sign a historic relationship protocol. This agreement marks a significant milestone in the collaborative efforts to improve health outcomes for First Nations, Inuit, Métis and urban Indigenous people and communities, especially for Indigenous women and girls, across the province.

The protocol, a priority initiative of Ontario Health’s First Nations, Inuit, Métis and Urban Indigenous Health Framework, establishes an outline for cooperation, mutual respect and shared goals. By formalizing this partnership, Ontario Health and ONWA commit to working together to address health disparities, promote cultural safety and enhance access to quality health care services for Indigenous women, girls and their families across the province.

“ONWA believes this relationship protocol is an important step in ensuring Indigenous women’s voices and perspectives inform Ontario Health’s work to improve health outcomes of FNMI and urban Indigenous peoples and communities,” said Cora McGuire-Cyrette, CEO of ONWA. “As the oldest and largest Indigenous women’s organization in Canada, ONWA advocates for health system reform that acknowledges the mental, physical, spiritual and emotional wellness of Indigenous women.”

In Ojibwe “Mindimooyenh” means “one who holds the world together.” It is a term that embodies the responsibilities Indigenous women hold within their families and communities. This includes recognizing their pivotal role and hard-earned wisdom regarding life’s passages, such as contending with sickness and disease. ONWA’s Mindimooyenh Health Clinic is filling a community-need through the provision of trauma-informed, culturally appropriate and Indigenous gender-based health services in Thunder Bay.

“Everyone should have the same opportunity to reach their best health potential,” said Matthew Anderson, President and CEO of Ontario Health. “Foundational to this mission is a commitment to partnership on Indigenous health equity and ensuring the voices of the First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities and people are included in the design and delivery of health programs and services in the province. This partnership with ONWA is critical to ensuring that we are responsive to the needs of Indigenous women and girls, in particular.”

The Ontario Native Women’s Association has been a leader in providing and advocating for Indigenous women and their families for over 50 years. ONWA’s work includes providing prevention-based services for families involved with the violence against women sectors, child welfare, in the housing and homelessness, ending human trafficking and health care.

Pour lire ce communiqué de presse en français, veuillez:

For more information, please contact:

ONWA at or

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