WINNIPEG -- A group of advocates have come together to create a service to ensure all Winnipeggers have equal access to health care.

The service, called Health Buddies, will match advocates to people who don’t feel comfortable accessing the health-care system. The advocates will be accessible all day every day and will attend appointments, point people towards resources and explain people their rights.

The service will also take an anti-racist, culturally safe and harm reduction-oriented approach.

“What those health buddies will then do is to provide that witness to make sure people are getting fair and adequate treatment,” said Michael Redhead Champagne, organizer of Health Buddies.

“But also when somebody’s in too much pain or they’re too afraid to speak that health buddy can provide a voice to those individuals so they can have their health-care needs met.”

Currently, the organizers of the service meet virtually once a week in order to plan the program.

The hope is to start offering Health Buddies in early 2021.