IRC Patient Advocacy Program

February 1, 2024

The Patient Advocacy Program is designed to help address the patterns of racism and discrimination faced by Indigenous Peoples and other equity seeking groups within the health care system. 

The Patient Advocate may be able to assist with responding to situations where individuals feel they have faced anti-Indigenous racism, discrimination or received inadequate medical care. This may include interacting with dental, hospital care, medical travel, and Non-Insured Health Benefits (NIHB) or territorial health benefits. 

Sometimes when an individual has had a negative experience with a health system, they may feel unsure about who to talk to and what next steps to take. The Patient Advocate can assist you with:

  • Clearly identifying the legal issue based on your experience.  
  • Filing an appeal if rejected from accessing benefits or services.
  • Lodging a formal complaint to the applicable licensing or regulatory body.

The Patient Advocate also works to help advance changes where larger patterns of discrimination are identified in either programming or the operation of health systems. 

Individuals can feel confident that all discussions and communications with the Patient Advocate are strictly confidential. Any actions taken will only be with the direction of individuals accessing the Patient Advocacy Program. 

While the Patient Advocate can assist you with identifying an issue and guide you in the process of the appropriate next steps, we cannot submit complaints or appeals on your behalf or represent you as your independent legal counsel. If applicable, the Patient Advocate may be able to provide direction on retaining independent legal counsel. 

For more information about the Patient Advocacy Program please see:

See IRC’s Patient Advocacy Brochure

If you have had a negative experience with health systems and would like guidance on the appropriate next steps, or you have any questions about the Patient Advocacy Program, please contact the Patient Advocate at