Government of Canada announces funding for First Nations and Inuit midwifery

News Release

Recognizing the remarkable difference that midwives make in the lives of mothers, babies and families  

Midwives play an important role in the lives of many mothers and their babies, during pregnancy and in the post-partum weeks. Indigenous midwives, in particular, bring safe, traditional birthing options closer to home and they play a critical role in their communities. 

Today, while speaking at the International Confederation of Midwives Congress, the Honourable Jane Philpott, Minister of Health, announced new funding for initiatives that will improve access to midwifery services in First Nations and Inuit communities.

Budget 2017 included new investments totalling $828 million over five years to improve the health outcomes of people in First Nations and Inuit communities. Of this, more than $83 million over five years is dedicated to maternal and child health, including $6 million over five years to support culturally-safe midwifery in communities.

Midwives are integral health providers across this country and particularly in First Nations and Inuit communities where community-based care is so vital.

Supporting First Nations and Inuit women to be able to give birth safely in familiar surroundings is an example of how the Government of Canada is working with Indigenous partners to support innovative and transformative healthcare solutions that also respect culture, tradition and history.


“I am very proud to announce this funding to improve access to much-needed midwifery services in First Nations and Inuit communities. I believe it is vital to support midwifery care which will bring traditional birthing practices back to these communities, better support mothers and their babies and build strong families.”

The Honourable Jane Philpott
Minister of Health

“Midwives play an essential role in improving the quality of maternal-child health in communities around the world. As Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs and as a former family physician who had the privilege of attending over 2000 births, often with the support and wise counsel of midwives, I want to express my sincere appreciation for your invaluable work and for all the work that we will get to do together in the future.”

The Honourable Carolyn Bennett
Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs

Quick Facts

  • Health Canada invests $25 million each year to support the community-based Maternal and Child Health program in First Nations and Inuit communities.
  • The Public Health Agency of Canada invests more than $112 million annually in community-based children’s programs that encourage healthy pregnancies, positive parenting and healthy child development.
  • The Government invests $27 million every year in the Canada Prenatal Nutrition Program to bring pre-natal, birthing and post-natal supports to pregnant women, new mothers and babies. Of that, $12.7 million each year goes to improving maternal and infant nutritional health among women in First Nations and Inuit communities.
  • The Government also provides $4.9 million annually to increase the number of Aboriginal people working in health careers, including midwifery.

Associated Links


Andrew MacKendrick
Office of Jane Philpott
Minister of Health

Media Relations
Health Canada

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