In order to address the jurisdictional disputes concerning Aboriginal people who do not reside on reserves, we call upon the federal government to recognize, respect, and address the distinct health needs of the Métis, Inuit, and off-reserve Aboriginal peoples.

Indigenous Watchdog Status Update

Current StatusOct. 4 2021STALLED
Previous StatusSept. 5, 2021STALLED

Why “Stalled”?

On June 2, 2020 the Federal government announced $85 million in funding for the construction and operation of 12 new shelters for Indigenous women and girls: 10 in the provinces and 2 in the territories as well as ongoing operating costs plus funding for the Métis related shelter provision and projects. On Jan. 26, 2021 Indigenous Services Canada committed to fund the construction and operations of shelters for Inuit women and children across Inuit Nunangat as well as in urban centres. Funding for the new shelters will be part of the $724.1 million for a comprehensive Violence Prevention Strategy as announced in the 2020 Fall Economic Statement. The government will continue to work with Pauktuutit and other Inuit partners to determine the locations and define the details of the projects to best meet the needs of women and families seeking shelter.

Federal Government is working through the Canada Métis Nation Accord and the Inuit-Crown Partnership Committee to address the distinct health needs of Métis and Inuit. The off-reserve needs of First Nations are not explicitly addressed.

Government Commitments to Inuit, Métis and Off-Reserve Indigenous People
Federal Government

Spring 2016 – Health Canada provided funding to AFN, Métis National Council and Inuit Tapariit Kanatami to develop distinctions-based health priorities to inform future health investments.

April 13, 2017 – Metis Nation Accord signed between the government of Canada and the Métis National Council. The Parties will undertake to examine and consider options for acting on:

  • Development of approaches to respond to specific health needs and priorities;
  • Opportunities for Métis Nation to engage with the federal government in health and wellness policy, program development, and delivery;
  • Collaboration with federal and relevant provincial governments to work together, and within their jurisdictions, with Métis Nation leaders to determine areas of shared priority; and to improve the coordination, continuity and appropriateness of health services for Métis people.

August, 2017 – A Common Statement of Principles on Shared Health priorities. Endorsed by the federal, provincial and territory governments, the statement acknowledges the significant disparities in Indigenous health outcomes compared to the Canadian population.

Sept. 10, 2018 – Inuit Nunangat Declaration Priorities: Distinct Health Needs. Inuit-specific Child First Initiative and framework is under development and interim measures are available for Inuit families to submit requests to Indigenous Services Canada on behalf of Inuit children requiring access to the health, social and education products, services and supports they need. 

June 2, 2020 – The federal government announced $44.8 million over five years to build 12 new shelters, which will help protect and support Indigenous women and girls experiencing and fleeing violence. This funding will help build 10 shelters in First Nations communities on reserve across the country, and two in the territories, to support Indigenous women and children. The government will also provide $40.8 million to support operational costs for these new shelters over the first five years, and $10.2 million annually ongoing. We are also announcing $1 million a year ongoing, starting this year, to support engagement with Métis leaders and service providers on shelter provision and community-led violence prevention projects for Métis women, girls, and LGBTQ and two-spirit people.

Federal Health Budgets

For complete details see Call to Action # 18 or Call to Action # 19

British Columbia

March 1, 2017 – “Declaration of Commitment to Cultural Safety and Humility

The BC Health Regulators (BCHR) represents 23 regulatory colleges governed by the Health Professions Act and the Social Workers Act declared their commitment to making the health system more culturally safe for First Nations and Aboriginal People through actions and processes which will ultimately embed culturally safe practices within all levels of health professional regulation. BC health professionals are the first in Canada to make the pledge. 

https://www.cdsbc.org/PublishingImages/FNHA-Declaration-.jpg

Sept. 15, 2019 – First Nations and other residents in Metro Vancouver will have increased access to culturally safe and appropriate primary health care thanks to the Province and First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) supporting expansion of the Lu’ma Medical Centre. The Ministry of Health and FNHA are partnering to provide more than $1.8 million in ongoing funding and over $200,000 in one-time funding to expand Indigenous primary care services. Lu’ma provides health and outreach services to urban-based First Nations, Métis and Inuit, many of whom are living away from home and others who travel to the metro area to access medical treatment not available where they live. Lu’ma will soon be able to hire 12 more full-time equivalent health-care professionals who will provide culturally respectful, First Nations-focused care to 1,750 new patients, serving about 2,900 patients in total. The patients will receive wraparound support from a team of new and existing health-care providers, including doctors, nurse practitioners, nurses, social workers, as well as access to traditional healers, Elders and social navigators. 

Alberta

May 18, 2017 – Métis Nation of Alberta released three health reports on Cancer, Injuries, and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). The reports mark MNA’s continued ground breaking attempts to gather significant health information specific to Métis citizens of Alberta.

Oct. 2, 2018 – Indigenous Health Transformation Roadmap 2018-2020 released by The Population, Public and Indigenous Health Strategic Clinical Network through Alberta Health Services states

  • Ensure effective, accessible and comprehensive primary health care delivery with First Nation, Métis and Inuit communities across Alberta wherever they live
Ontario

Oct. 6, 2016 Patients First Act, 2016

Designed to improve access to health care for patients and their families with a greater focus on culturally and linguistically appropriate services by giving Ontario’s 14 Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs) an expanded role in improving and integrating planning and delivery of front-line health care services and directing more funding to patient care within the existing system. Commitment to consult with indigenous groups.

April 18, 2018Urban Indigenous Action Plan

Developed with Indigenous partners, the goal of the plan is to address barriers that many Indigenous peoples in Ontario, including First Nation, Inuit and Métis, face in accessing services and opportunities, including access to education, employment, social services and housing. The Urban Indigenous Action Plan supports reconciliation between urban Indigenous communities, the provincial government and the broader public service by:Recognizing relationships and culture as the foundational requirements for policy and program development; and,

Guiding government and the broader public service to develop responsive, inclusive policies, programs and evaluations with, and that meet the needs of, urban Indigenous communities.

https://www.ontario.ca/page/urban-indigenous-action-plan?_ga=2.88917788.604982430.1525879173-513792752.1525879173

Nov. 19, 2019 – Aakuluk clinic at CHEO in Ottawa

A first of its kind health clinic for Inuit peoples’ has opened at CHEO. The Aakuluk clinic will serve as a hub for children and youth from Nunavut who have complex medical needs. Patients will be greeted by Inuit ‘patient navigators’, as well as art and images from the North. The patients will also have better access to translation services. Last year, 2,200 patients from Nunavut visited the children’s hospital some 2,000 kilometres away from home.

Québec

May 28, 2021 – Val-d’Or Native Friendship Centre – Provincial funding to set up the first Indigenous health clinic in Quebec. This investment is not only a major step forward in the collaboration between the provincial health network and services for Indigenous people, it also affirms First Nations specificities in front-line healthcare and social services.

In brief

The $27 million in funding from the Government of Québec is broken down as follows:

  • $12 million to pursue the VDNFC’s Indigenous health clinic initiative
  • $15 million to improve front-line services for the urban Indigenous populations served by the Native Friendship Centres

Operating since 2011, the Indigenous health clinic is a concrete example of the successful partnership between the VDNFC and the CISSS Abitibi-Témiscamingue. It has improved access to care in the region in a way that takes Indigenous determinants of wellness into consideration.

In addition to its provision of care and various health services (routine and perinatal care, disease prevention, health promotion, screening, etc.), the clinic also offers psychosocial, community and cultural services, and traditional healing. Its work encompasses the preservation of cultural identity in Indigenous children, mental health support, anti-addiction services, assistance for clients with intellectual disabilities, the creation of healthy and safe environments, and the promotion of social and citizen participation. The Indigenous health clinic model will lead all Native Friendship Centres to reap the benefits of VDNFC’s knowledge and forge links between the various actors in the field. These services are part of an Indigenous approach and knowledge.

Inuit Nunangat

Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada called on Prime Minister Trudeau to immediately implement at least one of the 46 Inuit-specific recommendations contained in last year’s Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) – namely, funding for five new Inuit shelters in Inuit Nunangat and in Ottawa. his urgent plea to reconsider funding for shelters comes after Friday’s announcement of almost $100 million in federal funding for the construction and operation of 12 new shelters for Indigenous women and girls.  However, the new funding does not include any Inuit-specific shelters for women and children fleeing violence – despite collaborative and productive discussions between Pauktuutit and key cabinet ministers and federal officials in recent months and weeks regarding this urgently needed investment.

Specifically, Pauktuutit is calling for an immediate investment of $20 million for five new shelters for Inuit women and children.  This funding would build five desperately needed multi-purpose shelters and transitional housing units in Nunavut and in the Inuvialuit, Nunavik and Nunatsiavut regions, as well as in Ottawa, which has the highest urban Inuit population in Canada.

Jan. 26, 2021: Indigenous Services Canada – Commit to fund the construction and operations of shelters for Inuit women and children across Inuit Nunangat as well as in urban centres. Funding for the new shelters will be part of the $724.1 million for a comprehensive Violence Prevention Strategy as announced in the 2020 Fall Economic Statement. The government will continue to work with Pauktuutit and other Inuit partners to determine the locations and define the details of the projects to best meet the needs of women and families seeking shelter.

A Common Statement of Principles on Shared Health Priorities

Aug, 2017 – Recognizing the significant disparities in Indigenous health outcomes compared to the Canadian population, the federal, provincial and territorial governments are committed to working with First Nations, Inuit and Métis to improve access to health services and health outcomes of Indigenous peoples and discuss progress. At the national level, the federal government is committed to working with national First Nations, Inuit and Métis leadership in response to their identified health priorities (developed through the First Nations Health Transformation Agenda, an Inuit –Specific Approach to the Canadian Health Accord and the Métis National Health Shared Agenda). At the regional level, federal, provincial and territorial Health Ministers commit to meaningfully engage and to working together with regional Indigenous organizations and governments.

FPT Health Ministers commit to approaching health decisions in their respective jurisdictions through a lens that promotes respect and reconciliation with Indigenous peoples

Objectives

This Common Statement of Principles focuses on two priority areas (home and community care, and mental health and addictions) where federal funding will be provided to Provinces and Territories in response to increased demands.

Principles to Guide Actions

All elements of the Statement of Principles will be interpreted in full respect of each government’s jurisdiction, guided by the following principles:

A. Collaboration: FPT Health Ministers agree to work together to achieve the objectives set out in this Statement of Principles.
B. Innovation: FPT Health Ministers agree to continue the development and evaluation of innovations which deliver better outcomes for Canadians, and to share successes and lessons learned with a view to further stimulating improvement across health systems.
C. Accountability: FPT Health Ministers agree to measure progress on the collective and jurisdiction-specific goals under this Statement of Principles, and to report to Canadians.

Improving Access to Mental Health and Addiction Services

Over the next ten years, FPT Health Ministers will work together to improve access to evidence-supported mental health and addiction services and supports for Canadians and their families by pursuing one or more of the following actions:

  • Expanding access to community-based mental health and addiction service for children and youth (age 10–25), recognizing the effectiveness of early interventions to treat mild to moderate mental health disorders;
  • Spreading evidence-based models of community mental health care and culturally-appropriate interventions that are integrated with primary health services; and
  • Expanding availability of integrated community-based mental health and addiction services for people with complex health needs.

To support provinces and territories to improve access to mental health and addiction services through such initiatives, the federal government will provide the provinces and territories with $5.0 billion over ten years starting with $100 million in 2017/18.

Improving Access to Home and Community Care

Over the next ten years, FPT Health Ministers will work together to improve access to appropriate services and supports in home and community, including palliative and end-of-life care, by pursuing one or more of the following actions:

  • Spreading and scaling evidence-based models of home and community care that are more integrated and connected with primary health care;
  • Enhancing access to palliative and end of life care at home or in hospices;
  • Increasing support for caregivers; and
  • Enhancing home care infrastructure, such as digital connectivity, remote monitoring technology and facilities for community based service delivery

To assist with improving access to appropriate home and community care, the federal government will provide PT governments with $6.0 billion over 10 years, starting with $200 million in 2017/18.

https://www.canada.ca/content/dam/hc-sc/documents/corporate/transparency_229055456/health-agreements/principles-shared-health-priorities.pdf

Official Federal Government Response: Sept. 5, 2019

In spring 2016, Health Canada provided funding to the Assembly of First Nations, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami and the Métis National Council to develop distinctions-based health priorities that will form the basis for collaborative work and inform future federal health investments. In August 2017, the Common Statement of Principles on Shared Health Priorities included a commitment by federal, provincial and territorial governments to work with First Nations, Inuit and Métis to improve access to health services and health outcomes for Indigenous peoples.

The Government of Canada is engaging the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami through the Inuit-Crown Partnership Committee and Métis National Council through the Canada Métis Nation Accord to advance the health priorities of Indigenous peoples who do not live on reserve. Work plans are being developed to guide future efforts on jointly identified priority areas. Regional specific Métis interests, including those related to health, are also being discussed at the Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs-led Recognition of Indigenous Rights and Self-Determination tables with each of the Métis governing members.

Indigenous Services Canada works in close partnership with the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami at the national level and with Inuit regional land claims organizations located in the Northern, Quebec and Atlantic regions to increase access to health services and to improve health outcomes. As part of these efforts, the department has committed to an Inuit Health Approach which states that it will “work with Inuit, territorial and provincial governments, and other federal partners to develop an approach to Inuit health that informs planning.” The Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami also participates on a number of committees and working groups to collaborate on areas of mutual interest and advance Inuit health priorities. 

Through a distinctions based-approach, Budget 2018 announced $1.5 billion over 5 years, starting in fiscal year 2018 to 2019, and $149 million per year ongoing, as follows:

  • $498 million, with $97.6 million per year ongoing, to sustain access to critical medical care and services, including 24/7 nursing services in 79 remote and isolated First Nations communities
  • $200 million, with $40 million per year ongoing, to enhance the delivery of culturally appropriate addictions treatment and prevention services in First Nations communities with high needs
  • $235 million to work with First Nations partners to transform First Nations health systems by expanding successful models of self-determination so that health programs and services are developed, delivered and controlled by and for First Nations. This investment will also support access to quality and First Nations-controlled health care in remote and isolated James Bay communities, as part of the Weeneebayko Area Health Integration Framework Agreement
  • $490 million over 2 years to preserve access to medically necessary health benefits and services through the Non-Insured Health Benefits program
  • $109 million over 10 years, with $6 million per year ongoing, to respond to high rates of tuberculosis in Inuit communities and develop a better understanding of the unique health needs of Inuit peoples through the co-creation of a distinct Inuit Health Survey
  • $6 million over 5 years to support the Métis Nation in gathering health data and developing a health strategy