Today, across Canada and around the world, we recognize and celebrate the work midwives do in providing and strengthening healthcare for women, their babies and their families.
This year’s theme – “Midwives, Mothers and Families: Partners for Life!” – reflects the important services midwives provide during pregnancy, labour, birth and after a baby is born. Midwives offer comprehensive primary care for women before, during and after pregnancy, labour and childbirth. They also provide counselling, conduct examinations, and take detailed medical histories. Midwives are well-positioned to address the specific challenges faced by women in rural, remote, and Indigenous communities in Canada. Our Government is committed to helping increase women's access to quality midwifery services.
This year, I would like to recognize, in particular, the role that Inuit, First Nations and Métis midwives play in their communities to bring safe, traditional birthing closer to home. Indigenous midwives draw from a rich tradition of language, Indigenous knowledge and cultural practice as they work with women to deliver health services closer to Indigenous families and communities. I am proud to continue to support the National Aboriginal Council of Midwives and to work with them to achieve excellence in reproductive healthcare, women’s wellness and baby care.
The Government invests $27 million every year in the Canada Prenatal Nutrition Program to bring pre-natal, birthing and post-natal supports to pregnant women, new mothers and babies. The program’s First Nations and Inuit component, at $12.7 million each year, aims to improve maternal and infant nutritional health among women in First Nations and Inuit communities. Moreover, Health Canada invests $25 million each year to support maternal child health in First Nations and Inuit communities.
To further support the health of First Nations and Inuit mothers and children, Budget 2017 has pledged more than $83 million over five years. Through this historic investment, Health Canada will work with First Nations and Inuit communities to improve access to midwifery services.
Midwives play an integral part in enhancing the health and well-being of women, children and families everywhere. I invite all Canadians to join me in celebrating the profession of midwifery in Canada and around the world.
The Honourable Jane Philpott, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Health