REGINA — Changes are coming to Saskatchewan health cards, as the province announces that the “Registered Indian” status designation will no longer be included on card faces moving forward.
A statement from the provincial government said that beginning on March 1, new health cards will no longer contain an “R” to indicate an individual’s status.
Until now, Saskatchewan was one of the only provinces in Canada to include a specific identifier for Indigenous people on health cards.
Saskatchewan NDP MLA Betty Nippi-Albright has previously called for a re-examination of the practice, which she said was a form of systemic racism.
Saskatchewan residents do not need to declare treaty status in order to receive health care services in the province, said the government release, making the status indicator an unnecessary inclusion of personal information.
Individuals are still offered the option of self-declaring their registered status when applying for a health card, to inform government programs, but officials say that declaration will not be reflected on the card itself.
The province has said that eHealth Saskatchewan is offering residents the option to reprint their already-issued health cards without the status indicator, at no cost to the cardholder. Reissued cards can be requested online through eHealth’s website.