Government of Canada welcomes the creation of a First Nations program to lower risks of diabetes-related foot complications in Manitoba First Nations

News Release

Innovative program designed by First Nations for First Nations 

October 6, 2017                             Ottawa, ON                               Health Canada

The Government of Canada believes that the best health outcomes for Indigenous peoples will be achieved through programs that are designed, developed and led by Indigenous communities. 

On behalf of the Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Health, and the Honourable Jane Philpott, Minister of Indigenous Services, Robert-Falcon Ouellette, Member of Parliament, today joined Manitoba First Nations health leaders in Winnipeg to celebrate the newly created First Nation Basic Foot Care Program, which will help Manitoba First Nations lower their risks of diabetes-related foot complications.

The Program was designed by the First Nations Health and Social Secretariat of Manitoba (Nanaandawewigamig) and the First Nations Diabetes Leadership Council in Manitoba. First Nations people experience both diabetes and diabetes-related foot issues at higher rates than the general Canadian population. When the Program is up and running, people living in all 63 Manitoba First Nations communities will have access to improved foot care and treatment, will benefit from a lower risk of diabetes-related foot complications and will have better overall health. 

The Government is pleased to provide $19 million over the next four years to support First Nations-led basic foot care services in all Manitoba First Nations communities. Services will be provided by certified foot care nurses through local Tribal Councils or directly by community health services. 


“I am pleased that this Indigenous-led initiative will provide First Nations communities in Manitoba with improved health care to help reduce the risk of amputations related to diabetes. This program is an example of how the Government is working with First Nations to support self-determination in health care and is a concrete demonstration of our commitment to a renewed relationship with Indigenous peoples."

Robert-Falcon Ouellette, 
Member of Parliament for Winnipeg Centre

"Nanaandawewigamig is extremely grateful to learn our proposal entitled, First Nation Basic Foot Care Program: A Solution to Reduce Diabetic Foot Complications and Amputation Rates was approved by Health Canada. The Tribal Councils and Independent First Nations who are investing to address better foot care for diabetics to prevent foot complications at the community level are poised to apply the project goals and objectives and to implement the work plan on the preventative approach on Foot Care. 

Nanaandawewigamig represents the Chiefs in Manitoba on health advocacy, programs and services. Our doors are always open to dialogue with Health Canada and the new Indigenous Services department on new investments for First Nation health."

Chief Cathy Merrick, 
Chairperson, Nanaandawewigamig Board of Directors

Quick Facts

  • First Nations experience diabetes at a rate 4.2 times higher than the general population.

  • First Nations amputation rates related to diabetes complications are 18 times higher than for all other Manitobans.

  • Patients living with diabetes who have foot ulcers are at risk for hospitalizations, lower extremity infections, and amputations

  • A 2009 report by Manitoba Health on diabetes in the province projected that the number of amputations amongst Manitoba First Nations people with diabetes would increase dramatically; from 95 in 1995, to 185 in 2005, to 300 in 2015, and to 445 by 2025.

  • Many First Nations communities in Manitoba do not currently have access to basic foot care, an essential element of diabetes programming. 

Associated Links


Yves-Alexandre Comeau
Office of the Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor
Minister of Health

Andrew MacKendrick
Office of the Honourable Jane Philpott
Minister of Indigenous Services

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Media Relations

Health Canada 

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