"I Guess I Shouldn't Come Back Here": Racism and Discrimination as a Barrier to Accessing Health and Social Services for Urban Métis Women in Toronto, Canada

J Racial Ethn Health Disparities. 2020 Apr;7(2):251-261. doi: 10.1007/s40615-019-00653-1. Epub 2019 Oct 29.


Racism serves as a major barrier in access to health and social services, leading to absent, delayed, and/or avoidance of treatment. Métis Peoples experience barriers to accessing both Indigenous-specific and mainstream services yet are often left out of discourses surrounding racism and service access. Racism and discrimination experienced by Métis people is rooted within a deep history of assimilative and racist colonial policies. The objective of this research was to create space for the all too often unacknowledged voices of Métis Peoples by engaging with the traditional community health experts, Métis women. This research aimed to learn from Métis women's experiences to build an understanding on steps toward filling the health service gap. Nested within a longitudinal cohort study, this research employed a conversational method with urban Métis women in Toronto, Canada. In this paper, we share the experiences of racism and discrimination faced by urban Métis women when accessing and working within health and social services. Métis women (n = 11) experience racial discrimination such as witnessing, absorbing, and facing racism in mainstream service settings, while experiencing lateral violence and discrimination in Indigenous-specific services. This research highlights the need for reframing conversations around race, identity, health services, and the urban Métis community.

Keywords: Gender; Health Service Access; Métis; Racism; Urban.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Canada
  • Female
  • Health Services Accessibility / organization & administration*
  • Humans
  • Indians, North American / psychology*
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Medicine, Traditional / methods
  • Qualitative Research
  • Quality Improvement / organization & administration
  • Racism / psychology*
  • Social Work / organization & administration*