Government of Canada

Government of Canada
First Nations Health Authority

First Nations Health Authority
Government of British Columbia

Government of British Columbia

October 21, 2013 12:45 ET

Tripartite Partners Signify New Path Forward with Historic Transfer of Health Services for BC First Nations

VANCOUVER-COAST SALISH TERRITORY, BRISTISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - Oct. 21, 2013) - Grand Chief Doug Kelly, Chair of the First Nations Health Council was joined today by the Honourable Rona Ambrose, Federal Minister of Health and B.C. Minister of Health Terry Lake to celebrate the historic transfer of all health programs and services for B.C. First Nations previously administered by Health Canada to the new First Nations Health Authority (FNHA).

"The support of our Chiefs and leadership has been essential to moving forward with this historic decision to transform our health care - the First Nations Health Authority was built by B.C. First Nations for B.C. First Nations. Now is the time for B.C. First Nations to take our rightful place, determining our own health outcomes and what wellness means to us," said Grand Chief Doug Kelly. "I would like to commend our federal, provincial, health authority, and other partners on the collaborative work to date and we look forward to our service delivery role, bringing to life our vision of healthy, self-determining and vibrant BC First Nations children, families and communities."

Through the Tripartite B.C. First Nations Health Plan, partners are taking a new path forward in their relationship with the ultimate goal of elevating the health status of B.C. First Nations community members.

"Today marks the beginning of a new era in health care for B.C. First Nations," said Minister Ambrose. "The transfer of responsibilities empowers First Nations while promoting a better, more responsive, integrated and innovative model of health service delivery. This Agreement will contribute to the development of healthier and more sustainable B.C. First Nations communities."

This transfer of services has been several years in the making and was outlined in a number of guiding documents and agreements including the 2011 British Columbia Tripartite Framework Agreement on First Nation Health Governance. The Framework Agreement paved the way for the federal government to transfer the planning, design, management, and delivery of First Nations health programs to the new FNHA. The new approach enables the FNHA to incorporate First Nations' cultural knowledge, beliefs, values, and models of healing into the design and delivery of health programs that better meet the needs of First Nations communities.

"We have achieved a historic milestone," said British Columbia Health Minister Terry Lake. "We are empowering First Nations all across the province with the goal of improving the health status of all British Columbians. This is a first in Canada and a made-in-B.C. program of which we can all be proud."

The work of the FNHA does not replace or duplicate the role or services of the B.C. Ministry of Health and Regional Health Authorities but collaborates, coordinates and integrates respective health programs and services to achieve better health outcomes for B.C. First Nations addressing services gaps through new partnerships, closer collaboration, and health systems innovation.

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B.C. Tripartite Health Transfer

The transfer of responsibilities for planning, design and delivery of health programs and services from Health Canada's First Nations Inuit Health Branch BC Region to the BC First Nations Health Authority was set into motion in October 2011 with the signing of the BC Tripartite Framework Agreement on First Nation Health Governance. The Framework Agreement concluded negotiations that began in 2006 among the federal government, the Province of British Columbia and B.C. First Nations, when they signed the First Nations Health Plan: Memorandum of Understanding.

The new arrangement supports better health outcomes for B.C. First Nations through a new governance structure and a new relationship among the three parties. It addresses health service gaps through new partnerships, closer collaboration and health systems innovation through coordination and integration.

The BC First Nations Health Governance Structure includes the:

  • First Nations Health Authority: responsible for planning, management, service delivery and funding of health programs previously provided by Health Canada's First Nations Inuit Health Branch B.C. Region.

  • Tripartite Committee on First Nations Health: responsible for coordinating and aligning planning and service delivery among the First Nations Health Authority, the B.C. health authorities, the B.C. Ministry of Health, and Heath Canada.

  • First Nations Health Directors Association: composed of health directors and managers working in First Nations communities and responsible for supporting education, knowledge transfer, professional development and best practices for health directors and managers. This Association also acts as a technical advisory body to the First Nations Health Council and the First Nations Health Authority on research, policy, program planning and design, and the implementation of the Health Plans.

  • First Nations Health Council: provides political leadership and advocacy for implementation of Tripartite commitments and supports health priorities for BC First Nations.

The transfer is supported by the Canada Funding Agreement which authorizes the transfer of roughly $380 million per annum for a total of $4.7 billion from July 1, 2013 until March 31, 2023. The amount is based on federal expenditures for First Nations programs and services in British Columbia with an escalator to reflect expected population and cost increases.

As of the end of fiscal year 2012/13, the B.C. Government has provided $27 million in funding to support the Framework Agreement. This funding is part of the overall $100 million commitment that will be provided to the First Nations Health Authority up to 2020 to implement the provisions outlined in the Framework Agreement and original commitments contained in tripartite and bilateral health plans and agreements.

The new First Nations Health Governance Structure through the FNHA and FNHC has also led the signing of Regional Partnership Accords with each regional health authority in BC and the respective First Nations Health Council Regional Caucus, leading to region-specific initiatives with closer collaboration and integration to better meets the needs of First Nations in their territory.

Background documents:

Together in Wellness: The Tripartite Committee on First Nations Health 2011-12 Interim Annual Report:

2012 Tripartite Health Partnership Accord

2011 British Columbia Tripartite Framework Agreement on First Nation Health Governance

Contact Information

  • Media Inquiries:
    Michael Bolkenius
    Office of the Honourable Rona Ambrose
    Federal Minister of Health
    (613) 957-0200

    Health Canada
    Media Relations
    (613) 957-2983

    Trevor Kehoe
    Communications Officer and Media Relations
    First Nations Health Authority
    604-831-4898 (Mobile)

    Ryan Jabs
    Media Relations Manager
    Ministry of Health, British Columbia
    250 952-1887 (media line)

    Public Inquiries:
    (613) 957-2991
    1-866 225-0709