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.
Investing in the health and wellness of Indigenous communities is one of many steps on Ontario’s journey of healing and reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. It reflects the government’s commitment to work with Indigenous partners, creating a better future for everyone in the province. It is also part of the government’s plan to build a better Ontario through its Patients First: Action Plan for Health Care, which provides patients with faster access to the right care; better home and community care; the information they need to live healthy; and a health care system that is sustainable for generations to come.
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.
Indigenous Health Investments to Focus on Four Priority Areas
Patients First: Action Plan for Health Care