Ontario is investing nearly $222 million over the next three years to ensure Indigenous people have access to more culturally appropriate care and improved outcomes, focusing on the North where there are significant gaps in health services. This investment will be followed by sustained funding of $104.5 million annually to address health inequities and improve access to culturally appropriate health services over the long term.
Ontario’s First Nations Health Action Plan, which will be implemented and evaluated in close partnership with Indigenous partners focuses on primary care, public health and health promotion, senior’s care, hospital services, and life promotion and crisis support. The plan includes:
- Investments in primary health care, including increasing physician services by 2,641 more days for 28 First Nations communities across the Sioux Lookout region
- Providing cultural competency training for front-line health care providers and administrators who work with First Nations communities
- The establishment of up to 10 new or expanded primary care teams that include traditional healing
- Expanding access to fresh fruits and vegetables for approximately 13,000 more Indigenous children in northern and remote communities
- Expanding diabetes prevention and management in Indigenous communities
- More hospital beds for seniors care at Meno Ya Win Health Centre and increased funding to the Weeneebayko Area Health Authority for capital planning
- Improving access to home and community care services, including on-reserve
- Life promotion and crisis support, such as trauma response teams, youth programs and mental health workers in schools
- Expanding access to telemedicine for individuals who need clinical support.
While focused on northern First Nations, the plan also includes opportunities for investments in Indigenous health care across Ontario.
The province will continue to work with Indigenous partners to invest $25 million over three years and $14 million ongoing in home and community care, $48 million over three years and $30 million ongoing in primary care, and $15.5 million over three years and $10.15 million ongoing in diabetes prevention and management. Ongoing collaboration will ensure that these investments are culturally appropriate and effective. – CINEWS