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Federal government plans examination of coerced sterilization

OTTAWA — Coerced and forced sterilizations of Indigenous women are to be tackled by a working group the federal government wants to form with provincial and territorial officials, Indigenous groups and medical organizations.

Valerie Gideon, a senior assistant deputy minister in the Indigenous Services Department, told a Commons committee today that minister Jane Philpott and Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor are sending a letter to outline Canada’s intention to bring together officials to discuss cultural safety in medicine.

Gideon detailed the federal government’s response to recent reports on the sterilizations, which dozens of women say have been inflicted on them against their will.

She says coerced sterilization amounts to a violation of human rights and medical ethics, as well as a form of gender-based violence.

She also says it reflects a broader need to eliminate racism and discriminatory practices in health.

Last week, the United Nations Committee Against Torture issued conclusions that Canada must stop the “extensive forced or coerced sterilization” of Indigenous women and girls in Canada, saying all such allegations must be impartially investigated.

The Canadian Press