Julie Green: Introduction to the Office of Client Experience and Update on the Indigenous Patient Advocates

Ministers' Statements and Speeches

Yellowknife — February 14, 2023

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Mr. Speaker, I am proud to announce a new focus on patient experience in the health and social services system.

The Office of Client Experience offers a centralized point of contact for individuals to provide feedback, make a complaint, or ask any questions they have regarding the health and social services system.

The Office of Client Experience will provide support for all residents and their families when accessing health and social services, including system navigation, client and family advocacy, and connecting clients with additional supports and resources. The Office also supports system improvement and responsiveness, using client experience and feedback to inform changes needed to meet the goal of providing equitable and culturally safe care and services.

Mr. Speaker, as part of the Office of Client Experience I am pleased to announce the launch of the Indigenous Patient Advocate Program. Following direction from Regular Members, the Department of Health and Social Services collaborated with the Northwest Territories Health and Social Services Authority and the Indigenous Advisory Body to develop these positions as part of a new, innovative, and comprehensive approach to improving client experience. The Indigenous Patient Advocates will help Indigenous residents, their families, and guests by providing advocacy, and access to cultural, spiritual, emotional, and language supports. The Advocates are located in the NWT’s acute care facilities: Stanton Territorial Hospital, Inuvik Regional Hospital, the Hay River Health Centre, and the Fort Smith Health Centre.


To access services, individuals can call the Office of Client Experience toll-free or email. The details are available online or from your health centre. They can also ask to speak with an Indigenous Patient Advocate at any of the acute care facilities where they have been admitted.

Mr. Speaker, to ensure the Indigenous Patient Advocates are successful in supporting and advocating for Indigenous residents, they have been given a mandate for change. This is an essential element of the program to ensure the Advocates can address and resolve systemic barriers or challenges. The Indigenous Patient Advocates are members of their regional Senior Management teams, ensuring Indigenous representation and participation in decision-making at those leadership tables.

The Advocates make up a territorial team that reports to an Indigenous director, with a shared reporting relationship with the Chief Operating Officer, or CEO, for their region. This approach will provide support and guidance to the Advocates, as well as a peer network to help counteract systemic racism experienced by Indigenous employees as they work to break down barriers and support residents to navigate the complex health and social services system.

Mr. Speaker, system change takes time, but the implementation of the Office of Client Experience and the Indigenous Patient Advocate Program adds direct supports now that contribute to our goal of providing the best care possible for patients and clients, while also informing longer-term system-level changes for a better future for all residents.

I look forward to reporting progress on this new and exciting initiative again in the future.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.