On April 28th, 2021, during a meeting of The Standing Committee on the Status of Women, a motion put forward by NDP Critic for Women and Gender Equality, Lindsay Mathyssen, calling for a study on the impact of the cuts made to the midwifery program at Laurentian University, passed. This is another win for the NDP in a series of actions forcing the Liberal government to address the ongoing crisis at the university and the wider impacts it will have.
“The loss of the midwifery program at Laurentian University will have devastating effects on the level of maternal care women, especially those in underserved, francophone and Indigenous communities, receive,” said Mathyssen. “This study will help uplift the role of midwives throughout in the province and protect maternal health.”
Laurentian University’s four-year midwifery program, is one of only three offered in Ontario and the only one offered in French. The program was capped by the province at 30 students, however the demand was much higher and the program had well over 300 applications a year. With the Laurentian program being cut, the province will lose one-third of its midwifery graduates, at a time when the services of midwives are increasingly in demand.
“My fellow New Democrats and I have been fighting hard to undo the damage that has been done in francophone and indigenous communities in Northern Ontario as a result of the closure of Laurentian University,” added Mathyssen. “So far the Liberals have remained practically silent on this issue. We’re holding them to account and making sure they don’t leave people in Northern Ontario behind.”
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