Ontario is investing nearly $222 million over the next three years to ensure Indigenous people have access to more culturally appropriate care and improved outcomes, focusing on the North where there are significant gaps in health services. This investment will be followed by sustained funding of $104.5 million annually to address health inequities and improve access to culturally appropriate health services over the long term.
Ontario’s First Nations Health Action Plan, which will be implemented and evaluated in close partnership with Indigenous partners focuses on primary care, public health and health promotion, senior’s care, hospital services, and life promotion and crisis support. The plan includes:
- Investments in primary health care, including increasing physician services by 2,641 more days for 28 First Nations communities across the Sioux Lookout region
- Providing cultural competency training for front-line health care providers and administrators who work with First Nations communities
- The establishment of up to 10 new or expanded primary care teams that include traditional healing
- Expanding access to fresh fruits and vegetables for approximately 13,000 more Indigenous children in northern and remote communities
- Expanding diabetes prevention and management in Indigenous communities
- More hospital beds for seniors care at Meno Ya Win Health Centre and increased funding to the Weeneebayko Area Health Authority for capital planning
- Improving access to home and community care services, including on-reserve
- Life promotion and crisis support, such as trauma response teams, youth programs and mental health workers in schools
- Expanding access to telemedicine for individuals who need clinical support.
While focused on northern First Nations, the plan also includes opportunities for investments in Indigenous health care across Ontario.
The province will continue to work with Indigenous partners to invest $25 million over three years and $14 million ongoing in home and community care, $48 million over three years and $30 million ongoing in primary care, and $15.5 million over three years and $10.15 million ongoing in diabetes prevention and management. Ongoing collaboration will ensure that these investments are culturally appropriate and effective.
“The Ontario government has made a significant step forward and has raised the bar on First Nation health in the province with this investment. The Chiefs of Ontario looks forward to continuing our collective efforts to improving the health outcomes of our people, strengthening our communities and contributing to a stronger Ontario.”– Ontario Regional Chief Isadore Day
“These are positive first steps in addressing key areas of need in health — especially for the North — with some needed funding to all First Nations in the province. We look forward to working together with the province to continue to address health needs in First Nations across Ontario.” – Grand Council Chief Pat Madahbee, Anishinabek Nation
Did you know…
- Indigenous people in Ontario experience lower health status, including shorter life expectancy, higher infant mortality and higher rates of chronic and infectious diseases.
- The Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) declared a State of Health and Public Health Emergency on February 24th, 2016. On April 13 Ontario provided up to $2 million to Attawapiskat First Nation to deploy the province’s Emergency Medical Assistance Team and fund a Youth Regional Coordination Unit for Mushkegowok Council in response to that community’s state of emergency declaration.
- The Meno Ya Win Health Centre serves approximately 30,000 patients each year from the Sioux Lookout region and 28 surrounding First Nations in the North.
- Weeneebayko Area Health Authority (WAHA) was incorporated as a public hospital on October 6, 2008 and includes sites in Moosonee, Moose Factory, Fort Albany and Attawapiskat.
- Ontario acknowledges the key role of the federal government in health services for First Nations, such as nursing stations and medical transportation, and we look forward to working together in partnership with them.
“Our government is taking action to make a real difference in First Nations communities by addressing urgent health care needs and improving access to care. This investment demonstrates to the people of Ontario that our government is committed to ensuring First Nations communities have equitable access to health care no matter where they live. We will continue working together with First Nations partners to address the social determinants of health and achieve sustainable and lasting change.” – Dr. Eric Hoskins, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care
“Today’s investment will help to improve health, healing and wellness for Indigenous people. By working closely with First Nations partners, this will help meet the needs of their communities through culturally appropriate services and programs. This is an important step in Ontario’s journey to reconciliation and will create a better future for everyone in this province.” – David Zimmer, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs
“Working in collaboration with our partners, the Ministry of Children and Youth Services is committed to providing youth in Indigenous communities with the services and life promotion supports they need when faced with crisis, and to deliver these services in a holistic and culturally appropriate manner. That’s why we’re expanding our tele-mental health services for Indigenous youth in rural and remote communities and on-the-ground trauma supports when a community is faced with crisis.” – Tracy MacCharles, Minister of Children and Youth Services