Mandate, Plans and Priorities


The mandate of First Nations and Inuit Branch is to:

  • ensure the availability of, or access to, health services for First Nations and Inuit communities;
  • assist First Nations and Inuit communities address health barriers, disease threats, and attain health levels comparable to other Canadians living in similar locations; and
  • build strong partnerships with First Nations and Inuit to improve the health system.


Our strategic plan has seven guiding principles and four key goals:

  • the provision of quality health services,
  • working collaboratively with partners and stakeholders to achieve our goals,
  • providing a supportive work environment,
  • continually improving performance and efficiencies.

For more detailed information on the First Nations and Inuit plans and priorities, consult Health Canada Estimates: A Report on Plans and Priorities.


The current priorities of the First Nations and Inuit Health Branch are to:

Manage the cost-effective delivery of health services within the fiscal limits of the First Nations and Inuit Health Envelope.

The First Nations and Inuit Health Envelope was introduced in the 1994 Budget. It includes resources for all First Nations and Inuit health programs, totalling more than 1.1 billion dollars of the Health Canada budget. Envelope growth levels were set at six per cent in 1995-96, three per cent in 1996-97 and 1997-98, one per cent in 1998-99, and three per cent ongoing.

The First Nations and Inuit Health Envelope must provide services and plans for the future, while balancing demographic pressures - a young population, growing at twice the rate of the Canadian population - and increased health care costs.

Transfer existing health resources to First Nations and Inuit control within a time-frame to be determined with them.

The First Nations and Inuit Branch works with First Nations and Inuit organizations to transfer autonomy and control of health programs and resources . The federal policy, Inherent Right of Self-Government, announced in 1995, also recognizes self-government as an existing right within section 35 of the Constitution Act of 1982. First Nations and Inuit Health Branch works with First Nations and Inuit organizations, other Health Canada branches and federal government departments to achieve these objectives. The challenge lies in balancing these objectives under current budget constraints.

Support action on health status inequalities affecting First Nations and Inuit communities, according to their identified priorities.

This priority acknowledges First Nations and Inuit community involvement in managing and providing health services. While health trends and initiatives are relatively uniform, individual and community health status varies. Community involvement is key in establishing priorities.

Establish a renewed relationship with First Nations and Inuit people.

This priority highlights a joint vision, shared goals and priorities. The challenge is to find the best way to work together to achieve effective and appropriate health care.

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