February 14, 2018

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Ontario Investments in Indigenous Health and Wellness 

Ontario is making historic investments in Indigenous health to improve access to culturally appropriate care for First Nations, Métis, Inuit and urban Indigenous people across the province. 

The following initiatives have been achieved through partnerships and continuous engagement between the province and Indigenous partners:

Home and community care:

  • Ontario is investing $30 million from 2016 to 2018, including $19 million in ongoing base funding starting in 2018, to expand home and community care services for Indigenous people across the province. Funding allocations are guided by the recommendations of the Chiefs of Ontario, representatives of Political Territorial Organizations, First Nations, urban Indigenous, Métis and Inuit partners, including the Métis Nation of Ontario, the Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres, the Ontario Native Women’s Association and Inuit service organizations.
  • Ontario is providing each of the 133 First Nation communities in Ontario with $55,300 in ongoing funding starting this year—an overall total annual investment of $7 million—to improve access to culturally appropriate home and community care. This funding will more than double in 2018‑19, reaching $14.8 million.
  • Ontario is providing $3 million this year to the Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres, the Métis Nation of Ontario and the Ontario Native Women’s Association to improve access to culturally safe home and community care through nearly 25 delivery sites for Indigenous people living in urban areas. Funding will increase to $4.2 million in 2018‑19. Working with Inuit organizations, this funding will also support enhancing care for Inuit, which will be based on engagement discussions.

Indigenous Interprofessional Primary Care Teams:

  • Ontario is investing up to $30 million annually in Indigenous interprofessional primary care teams for Indigenous communities ranging from Sioux Lookout in the north west, to the James Bay coast in the north east, down to communities in the south west region of Windsor. The teams will provide better coordinated and integrated care and services unique to each location through community-driven engagement with Indigenous partners. The teams will also develop a unique model of care to better sustain traditional and holistic approaches to well-being.
  • These Indigenous-governed and community-driven teams will provide culturally safe primary health care services and programs to over 70,000 Indigenous people, including individuals and families living in remote and fly-in communities. Ontario is supporting the creation or expansion of Indigenous interprofessional primary care teams through the following organizations:
    • Barrie Area Native Advisory Circle
    • Dilico Anishinabek Family Care
    • Gizhewaadiziwin Health Access Centre
    • Maamwesying North Shore Community Health Services
    • Matawa Health Cooperative
    • Mohawk Bay of Quinte Council
    • Mushkegowuk Council
    • Nipissing First Nation
    • Noojmowin Teg Health Centre
    • Shkagamik-Kwe Health Centre
    • Sioux Lookout First Nation Health Authority
    • Southwest Ontario Aboriginal Health Access Centre
    • Temiskaming Native Women’s Support Group
    • Waasegiizhig Nanaandawe’iyewigamig
    • Wasauksing First Nation

Palliative Care Training:

  • Ontario is partnering with Lakehead University and Saint Elizabeth Health Career College to provide palliative end‑of‑life care training through provincewide workshops, including eight Northern locations, and through an online training course using culturally appropriate curriculum and training methods.

Ontario has also made progress on other important Indigenous health initiatives. These include:

  • Providing Indigenous cultural safety training to up to 10,000 front-line health care providers and administrators who work with Indigenous communities.
  • Partnering with the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association and northern Public Health Units to expand the Northern Fruit and Vegetable Program. This will serve approximately 40,000 children by the end of next year, including over 8,000 children in more than 50 First Nation communities—29 of which are remote. 
  • Supporting six new Indigenous Midwifery Programs in Ontario, improving access to culturally appropriate pregnancy and newborn care for more Indigenous families across the province.
  • Providing over $2 million for Indigenous-specific HIV/AIDS initiatives across the province.
  • Improving access to culturally appropriate clinical care in rural and remote areas via telemedicine. A new, simpler and more convenient videoconference model is being piloted in more than 34 First Nations locations. Through telemedicine, over 100 First Nations communities and Indigenous health service locations are accessing more than 16,000 virtual visits each year. 
  • Providing Weeneebayko Area Health Authority with over $1 million to improve access to regional and cultural-specific public health services for Northern remote First Nation communities in the Weeneebayko, James Bay and Hudson Bay area.  


Media Contacts:

Laura Gallant, Minister’s Office, 416-327-4450

David Jensen, Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care,  416-314-6197




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