Northern and Indigenous Health

Cree mother and child imageFirst Nations, Inuit and Métis in Canada face more health challenges than other Canadians, including higher rates of chronic diseases, infectious diseases, suicide and a gap in life expectancy.  But some Indigenous communities have successful health services and outcomes.  The impact of residential schools across generations continues to be a challenge for some Indigenous peoples in their health and mental health. CFHI is committed to supporting partners to contribute to closing the gap in Indigenous health, through sharing knowledge, facilitating partnerships, and encouraging a vision of reconciliation.


Introduction to Indigenous Health

Indigenous Canadians access health and mental health services from multiple jurisdictions, and partnership between providers and leaders is essential for effective services.  CFHI collaborates with provincial-territorial government departments, regional health authorities and Indigenous organizations and groups to support the development and spread of culturally appropriate and safe care for all Indigenous people in Canada.  

"In 2015, as the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada wraps up its work, the country has a rare second chance to seize a lost opportunity for reconciliation. We live in a twenty- 1st-century global world. At stake is Canada’s place as a prosperous, just, and inclusive democracy within that global world… Reconciliation must support Aboriginal peoples as they heal from the destructive legacies of colonization that have wreaked such havoc in their lives. But it must do even more. Reconciliation must inspire Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples to transform Canadian society so that our children and grandchildren can live together in dignity, peace, and prosperity on these lands we now share."    — From Honouring the Truth, Reconciling for the Future: Summary of the Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada

Many health and mental health organizations are considering how to contribute to reconciliation.  In partnership with the National Collaborating Centre on Aboriginal Health and The Circle of Philanthropy with Aboriginal Peoples, we recommend building knowledge in advance of entering into the Indigenous health field, as it is complex.

CFHI’s Northern and Indigenous Health Team focusses its activities and support around the following core areas:

Canadian Northern and Remote Health Network

CFHI is bringing together healthcare organizations that provide services to northern and remote populations to work together on these unique challenges. The Canadian Northern and Remote Health Network provides an opportunity for decision makers, leaders, policy makers and practitioners to build leadership and improvement capacity by networking, comparing innovative solutions, and sharing success stories. This network aims to improve the health status of people living in northern and remote regions in Canada and includes partners from seven provinces and three territories. Learn more »

Suicide Prevention/Life Promotion Collaborative

The Suicide Prevention/Life Promotion Collaborative emerged from several roundtables hosted by CFHI’s Canadian Northern and Remove Health Network (CNRHN) where decision makers, leaders and policy makers discussed regional challenges and identified priorities to improve the health status of people living in northern and remote regions of Canada.

The collaborative is a co-designed learning program that brings together multidisciplinary teams from CNHRN and their community partners from across northern, rural and remote parts of Canada to address suicide prevention and life promotion using a shared learning approach. It will consider all aspects of one’s life and community wellness.

Objectives of the collaborative:

  • Build the capacity and knowledge of teams in areas of quality improvement, community engagement practices, and Indigenous health and wellness frameworks;
  • To support teams to implement an initiative related to suicide prevention/life promotion.

More details about the Suicide Prevention/Life Promotion Collaborative will be announced in the coming weeks.