Federal, Provincial and First Nations leaders taking action on health transformation for First Nations in NAN Territory

News Release

Nishnawbe Aski Nation and the governments of Ontario and Canada solidify work plan to achieve health system transformation for 49 First Nations communities in Northern Ontario

November 17, 2017 - Timmins, ON - Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada

Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN), the Government of Ontario and the Government of Canada recognize the challenges in delivering health services in First Nations communities and are committed to working together to help overcome them.

Today, Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler of Nishnawbe Aski Nation, Canada’s Minister of Indigenous Services Jane Philpott, and Ontario Minister of Health and Long-Term Care Eric Hoskins committed to supporting the Joint Action Table Health Transformation Work Plan at the NAN Health Summit.

The overarching objectives for health transformation include:

• Development of a community-driven process with NAN First Nations as full partners;
• Establishment of a Political Oversight Group to guide this transformation process;
• Providing adequate funding to support First Nations capacity in this process;
• Addressing specific needs and issues in NAN First Nations as they are identified, before Health Transformation is complete; and,
• Providing a clear mandate for each party.

NAN has put in place a core project team who will be driving the process to ensure that transformation builds on community voices and is responsive to community needs. The goal of transformation is to create a health system that:

• Is accountable to NAN First Nations;
• Supports decision-making and responsibility for health at the community level;
• Builds on First Nations’ capacities and strengths with an emphasis on local control and authority over health care service; and,
• Provides secure fiscal resources for services, programs and governance.

The transformation work plan also builds on work already underway and was developed in collaboration with First Nations leaders, Sioux Lookout Area Chiefs Committee on Health (CCOH), First Nation Health Authorities and representatives of the federal and provincial governments. It is the next step after the signing of the tri-lateral Charter of Relationship Principles Governing Health System Transformation in July 2017. 


“We are pleased with the commitments from our federal and provincial Treaty partners to transform health systems across NAN territory with our First Nations as full partners. Our communities are in a perpetual state of crisis, and health transformation is the pathway to improving outcomes for our people. This is a monumental undertaking, but we are confident that by working together with leaders, policy-makers, health care administrators and providers we can build a health system that works for our people.”

Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler
Nishnawbe Aski Nation

 “I am proud to be working together to transform the way health care is delivered in NAN communities. This is a remarkable milestone in the work being done by First Nations to develop their own solutions to address critical issues that are directly impacting their communities, such as mental health, public health and the delivery of health services.”

The Honourable Jane Philpott, M.D., P.C., M.P.
Minister of Indigenous Services

“Working together as equal partners our government is committed to following our shared vision to transform the design, delivery, management, and governance of health care services in NAN communities. This is a historic first step in the spirit of reconciliation to ensure communities are in control of the services they need to be healthy and thrive.”

Dr. Eric Hoskins
Ontario Minister of Health and Long-Term Care

Quick Facts

  • Health Canada and the Government of Ontario each provided $150,000 to support the NAN Health Summit.

  • The Government of Canada is working in collaboration with First Nations and provincial partners to fund seven mental wellness teams to cover NAN Territory. An additional $7 million has been committed to date in 2017-18. More than $22 million has been committed through Choose Life, reaching more than 10,337 children in NAN Territory.

  • In Budget 2017, the Government of Canada committed more than $118 million over five years to mental health programing. This is in addition to the $69 million announced in July 2016 for immediate crisis interventions and the $300 million that the Government provides annually to support culturally relevant mental wellness programs and services in First Nations on-reserve and Inuit communities.

  • Budget 2017 also provided an additional investment of $828 million over five years in maternal and child health, mental wellness, home and palliative care, primary care, infectious diseases, non-insured health benefits, and harm reduction measures.

  • Ontario’s First Nations Health Action Plan is investing nearly $222 million over three years (starting in 2016-17) in the areas of primary care, public health and health promotion, seniors’ care and hospital services, and life promotion and crisis support.

  • Ontario is also investing in mental health and wellness programs and services ($8 million in 2017-18 and $10 million in 2018-19 and ongoing years) and mental health and addictions treatment and healing centres.

Associated Links


Bismah Haq
Office of the Honourable Jane Philpott

INAC Media Relations

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