Health

The Health Unit is mandated to protect, maintain, promote, support and advocate for First Nations inherent, Treaty and constitutional rights, (w)holistic health and the well-being of First Nations.

First Nations Health Transformation Agenda

The First Nations Health Transformation Agenda (FNHTA) was developed under the direction of the AFN Chiefs Committee on Health (CCOH) throughout 2016, with input from subject matter experts, the National First Nations Health Technicians Network (NFNHTN), the AFN Task Force on Aging, and the First Nations Health Managers Association.  The FNHTA sets out 85 recommendations to federal,  provincial and territorial governments.  These cover a wide range of policy areas all aimed at stabilizing profoundly underfunded health programs, and increasing self-determination of First Nations health in keeping with inherent, Treaty and international rights.

The FNHTA guided AFN’s advocacy with the federal/provincial/territorial (FPT) Health Accord table, and continues to guide the work of the AFN on health issues.

The FNHTA was used by AFN leadership in securing new investments in First Nations health in Budget 2017 and provides a roadmap for ongoing advocacy towards future investments and policy transformations.

New Health Website

AFN Update

Regional Chief Isadore Day
is the AFN portfolio holder for health.

Mental Wellness remains a key priority for the AFN. Key activities over the past year have included working with the AFN Youth Council in developing a response to youth suicides, addressing the emerging challenge of opioid addiction including fentanyl, and advocating for the implementation of the First Nations Mental Wellness Continuum Framework (FNMWCF), among others.

The work of the AFN-FNIHB Non-Insured Health Benefits (NIHB) Joint Review continues and is expected to be completed in 2017.  The Joint Review is intended to enhance client access to benefits, identify and address gaps in benefits, streamline service delivery to be more responsive to client needs, and increase program efficiencies.

For Budget 2017, the AFN put forward a budget ask of approximately $1.6 billion in new funding annually.  The advocacy of the National Chief and the portfolio holder was a key factor in securing new health investments in Budget 2017, including $828.2 million over five years.  Minister Philpott indicated that these Budget 2017 investments represent a “downpayment” on investments to come.

With direction from the CCOH, the AFN Health Sector is currently developing a First Nations-specific action plan to address the ongoing opioid crisis, supported by Resolution 82/2016. Elements of the action plan will include prevention, treatment and harm reduction activities.  Related to the implementation of the FNMWCF, the AFN is working with partners in developing service delivery models for Crisis Response & Prevention and Land-Based Programs.

Related to NIHB, the immediate work of the Joint Review will be completed in 2017.  In December 2016, the AFN was mandated by Resolution 126/2016 to secure the necessary resources to support communities and regions in exploring alternative governance options for the delivery of the NIHB program based on First Nations self-determination in health, population growth, inflation, geography and need.  This includes exploring/developing legislative and legal options based on Treaty and Inherent Rights.  This work will continue alongside the implementation of Joint Review recommendations. Budget 2017 included funding to support a number of key recommendations from the Joint Review including the use of traditional healers and Elders in the NIHB mental wellness benefit and the provision of maternal escorts in medical transportation.

Next Steps

  • The AFN Health Sector and the CCOH will continue to advocate for increased investments in the federal budget cycle leading to Budget 2018 and progressive policy change utilizing the FNHTA. The CCOH will work to influence federal, provincial and territorial governments on First Nations health issues including a First Nations-specific opioid strategy and is scoping work with the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse on guidelines for First Nations working to develop their own community-based Suboxone treatment program.

  • The NIHB Joint Review will continue reviewing the remaining benefit areas with an emphasis on developing remedial policy recommendations and implementation plans to address inequalities in service to First Nations.

Health Staff

Addie Pryce
Director


Melanie Morningstar
Sr. Policy Analyst


Marlene Larocque
Policy Analyst


Marie Frawley-henry
Sr. Policy Analyst


Lucie Gaspe
Administrative Support


Erin Tomkins
Sr. Policy Analyst


Arlene Lariviere
Administrative Assistant


Amanda Meawasige
Sr. Policy Analyst


Stephanie Wellman
Policy Analyst


Darcy Diachinsky
Policy Analyst


rdbrinkhurstHealth
Assembly of First Nations
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