Midwifery Task Force of Ontario

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Midwifery Task Force of Ontario

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Dates of existence

1983-1993

History

In June 1983, a small group of midwives, consumers, health care providers and other supporters of midwifery met to discuss the status of midwifery in Ontario. Historically, Ontario had a tradition of lay midwives who attended the births of family, friends and neighbours. This tradition of community midwifery began to decline around the turn of the century until, by the 1950s, midwifery had all but disappeared in Ontario. In the 1970s, the practice of midwifery began to re-emerge and was influenced by the natural childbirth movement principles that pregnancy and birth are normal, healthy, family events and that pregnant women themselves should be the primary decision makers about the health care they receive.
Subsequently, the Midwifery Task Force of Ontario (MFT-O), a community-based lobby group, was established to promote legislation and recognition of midwifery. Around the same time, the association of practicing midwives (Ontario Association of Midwives) and nurse-midwives association (Ontario Nurse-Midwives Association) joined together to form the Association of Ontario Midwives (AOM). The MTF-O gained support from women and their families seeking an alternative to the medical model of childbirth and maternity care. Over the next several years, the AOM and the MTF-O worked together to advocate the creation of midwifery as a recognized profession. This culminated in Bill 56, the Midwifery Act which was passed on December 31, 1993 making Ontario the first province in Canada to recognize, regulate and fund midwifery as part of the health care system.

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