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CAM and NACM Present to House of Commons on Act respecting National Day of the Midwife

The Canadian Association of Midwives (CAM) and the National Aboriginal Council of Midwives (NACM) presented to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Health (HESA) on the subject of Bill C-608, An Act respecting National Day of the Midwife.

Private Member’s Bill C-608, introduced by Member of Parliament Rosane Doré Lefebvre, received its second reading in the House of Commons on November 19, 2014 and was unanimously voted in favour by all political parties. May 5 is already recognized as the International Day of the Midwife and this bill will show appreciation for the important role that midwives play as primary maternal and newborn health care providers across Canada and recognize May 5 as National Day of the Midwife here in Canada.

During her testimony in front of HESA, Emmanuelle Hébert, CAM President, outlined the benefits of midwifery care for Canadian families as well as the barriers to accessing midwifery care, especially in provinces and territories where the profession remains unregulated and unfunded (New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, and the Yukon) and within federal jurisdictions.

“Midwifery can play a significant role in ensuring better access to care for women and their babies,” said Emmanuelle Hébert, CAM President. “CAM firmly believes that Bill C-608 is an important step in showing appreciation for the vital contribution that midwives make to the delivery of safe, quality maternity care to families and to the important role that midwives play in delivering thousands of healthy babies in Canada,” concluded Ms. Hébert.

“NACM believes that Bill C-608 will bring much-needed visibility to the work of Aboriginal midwives in supporting health and healing within our communities,” said Ellen Blais, NACM Co-Chair. “Aboriginal midwives have always worked in the community carrying the cultural knowledge for safe childbirth. Yet, over the past 100 years our work has become almost invisible due to the medicalization of childbirth. We are working hard to reclaim our role and legislation such as Bill C-608 offers further support to this essential work,” concluded Ms Blais.

In June 2017, Canada will host the International Confederation of Midwives global midwifery Congress in Toronto. Over 4,000 midwives and maternity care providers from around the world will be in Canada to learn and discuss on issues regarding global maternal, newborn and child health. CAM and NACM see this event as an important opportunity for Canada to demonstrate its leadership in the delivery of safe, equitable and cost effective community-based maternal, newborn and child health services for all Canadians and around the world.

About Midwifery in Canada

There are just over 1300 registered midwives in Canada. Midwives are primary health care providers who work as part of the health care system in most provinces and territories in Canada. They provide care to women during pregnancy, birth and the postpartum period.

The Canadian Association of Midwives (CAM) is the national organization representing midwives and the profession of midwifery in Canada. The mission of CAM is to provide leadership and advocacy for midwifery as a regulated, publicly funded and vital part of the primary maternity care system in all provinces and territories.

The National Aboriginal Council of Midwives is a diverse group of midwives from all regions of Canada, representing First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities.   We recognize that the good health and well-being of Aboriginal mothers and their babies is crucial to the empowerment of Aboriginal families and communities.  We advocate for the restoration of midwifery education, the provision of midwifery services, and choice of birthplace for all Aboriginal communities consistent with the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. As active members of the Canadian Association of Midwives, we represent the professional development and practice needs of Aboriginal midwives to the responsible health authorities in Canada and the global community.