Loss of midwife program a blow to the north: Hughes

Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing MP, Carol Hughes says the loss of the midwife program at Laurentian University is a blow to the north that will increase health care costs and send students away from the region.

Hughes raised the issue in the House of Commons after Laurentian slashed the midwife program under the auspices of the federal Companies Creditor Arrangement Act (CCAA) earlier in the week.  Hughes notes the program served Northern Ontario well, training Indigenous, French and English students for services the region desperately needs.

“In a region struggling to find doctors, midwives help fill the void while ensuring that pregnant women receive the best primary care for childbirth and more,” said Hughes. “These courses also benefit indigenous students, many of whom return to provide midwife services in their home communities. “

The MP says the decision will make hospitals busier and increase the workload on doctors.

“As we work through the pandemic to protect health care workers and hospital resources, cancelling programs that help women safely give birth at home makes little sense,” said Hughes. “This decision will cost the public more as fewer midwifes are available for the north and across Ontario, and more doctors are needed to deliver babies.”

Critics of the process for the financially troubled university have noted the Companies Creditor Arrangement Act is intended for businesses and not public institutions like colleges, universities or even hospitals.

“The CCAA was never intended for public institutions and these cuts to healthcare courses limits opportunities in the north for Indigenous, francophone and racialized students, and reduces access to services women rely on,” said Hughes. “We must act now.”