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Canadian Federation of
Medical Students
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About the CFMS
The CFMS is an organization representing over 8,000 medical students from 15 Canadian medical student societies from coast to coast. We represent medical students to the public, to the federal government, and to national and international medical organizations.
Canadian Federation of Medical Students Statement in response to the resignation of Yotakahron Jonathan, Director of Global Health
November 23, 2020

First and foremost, we want to sincerely apologize to Yotakahron Jonathan for the harm we have caused.  The CFMS is disappointed that we have not created or fostered an environment where all members feel safe, especially those who have been, and continue to be marginalized in medicine and in leadership roles. We acknowledge the structural racism that continues to exist within the CFMS and the medical community at large. We are committed to undertaking the steps necessary to ensure we are working safely and respectfully alongside systematically excluded groups, including Indigenous peoples and to redressing any harm that has been caused.

In September at our 2020 Annual General Meeting, the CFMS approved recommendations from our Equity, Diversity, and Inclusivity Task Force to integrate EDI principles into our organization. It is evident that much work still needs to be done and that the CFMS is not yet a safe environment for many of our members. For this, we are sorry, and commit to taking steps immediately to address the Board and organization’s shortcomings on equity, diversity and inclusivity.

Initial steps we are taking include:

  1. Conducting a formal review of the facts and circumstances leading up to this event and identifying areas of improvement to dismantle structures and practices that have failed to foster a safe and culturally-inclusive environment at the CFMS; 
  2. Undertaking formal cultural safety/anti-racism training as a Board;
  3. Re-committing ourselves to drive forward the recommendations from our Equity, Diversity, and Inclusivity Task Force and holding ourselves accountable to their implementation as a top priority for the full Board;
  4. Reviewing and addressing gaps in our current practices, policies, and institutional culture to ensure we foster a safe working environment for systematically excluded members of the CFMS,  particularly Indigenous CFMS members and student leaders including our National Officer of Indigenous Health, members of our Indigenous Representation Exploratory Working Group, and all student leaders championing this work;
  5. Re-examining our Anti-Violence, Harassment & Discrimination Policy and its implementation to identify gaps that exist, particularly for medical students from underrepresented groups;
  6. Establishing an award to formally recognize student leaders in equity, diversity, and inclusivity;
  7. Increasing financial resources for our Indigenous Health portfolio;
  8. Developing a more detailed action plan over the coming weeks as we know that this is not the end to our work. 

We understand that our organization cannot advocate against systemic racism in our patient communities and institutions without first addressing the racism that exists within our own organization. 

Thank you Yotakahron for all of your contributions to the CFMS and for championing a safe and inclusive environment for medical students across Canada. We thank you for your courage to stand up to systemic racism.  We recognize our organization continues to have a lot to learn and we accept full responsibility for this. Moving forward we will continue to keep our members and the medical education community updated and engaged in our work. 

Sincerely,

The CFMS Board of Directors 2020-2021

For Global Health portfolio inquiries, please contact: Mary Boulos, CFMS Global Health Attaché/Ontario Regional Director at [email protected]

For Communication inquiries, please contact: Vivian Tan, CFMS Vice-President of Communications, at [email protected] 

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