Committee ‘deeply disturbed’ by reports of coerced, forced sterilization


OTTAWA — The House of Commons health committee says it is “deeply disturbed” by ongoing reports of coerced or forced sterilization of women in Canada and is calling for an arms-length advisory panel to investigate the scope of the problem.

The committee has sent a letter to Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale and Indigenous Services Minister Seamus O’Regan detailing what it heard from witnesses this spring.

In the letter, committee chair and Liberal MP Bill Casey writes that the committee heard the forced or coerced sterilization of Indigenous women in Canada continues to this day, but that the full extent of it remains unknown.

He says the committee agrees with witnesses that urgent action must be taken today to address harms that have been caused by this practice and to prevent it from happening in the future.

It is recommending the government invite national Indigenous women’s organizations to participate in all federal, provincial and territorial meetings aimed at addressing coerced or forced sterilization of Indigenous women.

The committee also suggests Ottawa work with the provinces, territories, health care providers and Indigenous organizations to establish a pan-Canadian data collection system through the Canadian Institute for Health Information to monitor sterilization procedures across the country.


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