Government of Canada supports Indigenous Dental Therapy program launching at University of Saskatchewan  

News release

May 17 — Saskatoon, Treaty 6 Territory, Saskatchewan — Indigenous Services Canada

The University of Saskatchewan’s College of Dentistry, together with the Northern Inter-Tribal Health Authority (NITHA), Northlands College and Saskatchewan Polytechnic, are collaborating to establish the first and only accredited Indigenous dental therapy degree program of its kind in Canada.

This initiative will focus on the recruitment of Indigenous students and provide opportunities for students to learn where they live by offering multiple campuses, which will be key to supporting the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action to increase the number of Indigenous professionals in Canada’s health systems. The program is also responsive to the unique needs of students, allowing flexibility for breaks in their studies, should they be required, by letting students complete the program in steps. Additionally, the dental therapy program will enable Indigenous communities and organizations to sponsor Indigenous students as a way to promote working in Indigenous communities.

That is why ISC is investing $2.1 million to support a new generation of Indigenous dental therapists, who will be key to providing culturally appropriate oral health services to Indigenous patients and communities. 

The department continues to work with organizations and communities across the country to ensure fair and equitable access to quality and culturally safe healthcare services, from any health professional, anywhere they are, and at any time they need it. This is another example of the Government of Canada taking action to address anti-Indigenous racism in health systems through increased support for Indigenous health professionals.  


“The great work that the University of Saskatchewan’s College of Dentistry is doing alongside the Northern Inter-Tribal Health Authority (NITHA), Northlands College  and Saskatchewan Polytechnic is paving the way for a new generation of oral health professionals and creating a brighter future for those seeking health services. I am eager to see the first cohort of new graduates from this great initiative and the benefits this work will bring for so many. Congratulations.”

The Honourable Patty Hajdu
Minister of Indigenous Services 

Quick facts

  • Budget 2021 provided $126.7 million over 3 years, beginning in 2021-22, to take action to foster health systems free from racism and discrimination, where Indigenous Peoples are respected and safe.      

  • In the coming months, those accessing health systems will continue to see how this funding is contributing to more culturally safe, inclusive and accountable health services, as partners continue to advance their initiatives and actions to undertake positive change. 

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For more information, media may contact:

Alison Murphy
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Patty Hajdu
Minister of Indigenous Services

Media Relations
Indigenous Services Canada

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