The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations and the federal government are establishing the first ever First Nations Health Ombudsperson’s Office in Saskatchewan.

The Office will allow Indigenous Peoples who feel discriminated against in accessing health care, a safe place to report these incidents.

The Ombudsperson Office’s team will work with individuals and their families to bring systemic concerns to the attention of federal and provincial health organizations for resolution.

“This is a positive step forward and we are proud of the hard work that has taken place to ensure this important initiative is available to our First Nations people in the province. There has been a long history of negative, and sometimes tragic, interactions between First Nations people and health care providers or hospitals,” said Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations Chief Bobby Cameron.

Until now, Indigenous peoples who have faced racial discrimination when seeking health services in the province have had little to no recourse in addressing problematic and challenging experiences.

“This is just one important step of many needed in addressing anti-Indigenous racism and discrimination in health care. The creation of the First Nation Health Ombudsperson’s Office will help to ensure First Nations in Saskatchewan have a voice in any services they receive, as well as a venue to formally address and resolve concerns and complaints where change is needed. Indigenous peoples have the right to access health care services free from discrimination or racism,” Patty Hajdu Minister of Indigenous Services said.

The federal government is investing $1.17 million into the Office.