The federal government has in the past defined involvement in Indigenous health at the federal or provincial/territorial level: “The federal government provides some health services to First Nations on reserve and Inuit, including public health activities, health promotion and the detection and mitigation of hazards to health in the environment” (Health Canada, 2005, p.3).

“The majority of health services available to Inuit, Métis, non-status Indians and status Indians living away from communities are provided by the provinces and territories in the same manner that services are available to all citizens. Some provinces/territories provide innovative, culturally-specific programs and services to meet the particular health needs of First Nations, Inuit and Métis” (Health Canada, 2005, p.7).

In 2017, the federal government embarked on an important restructuration. Indigenous Services Canada was co-created with Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada from what was formerly Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada and the First Nations and Inuit Health Branch of Health Canada. It collaborates with partners in linking First Nations, Inuit and Metis with high quality services (Indigenous Services Canada, 2013, 2018, 2019). As of 2019, the process of transitioning previous programs to Indigenous Services Canada is in progress.


Alberta Health Services has a dedicated Indigenous Health Program. The Indigenous Health Program works throughout the province in partnership with Indigenous people and organizations to provide high-quality, “accessible, culturally appropriate health services for all First Nations, Métis and Inuit people” (Alberta Health Services, n.d.).

The Indigenous Health Program has the following objectives:

  • “providing an effective, patient-centered approach for improving care to First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples and communities through specific services
  • working with health zones to facilitate the development and delivery of health services for First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples
  • facilitating accessible, culturally safe, equitable health service delivery for all First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities and peoples” (Alberta Health Services, n.d.).

It also provides:

  • cultural and spiritual support for Indigenous families in collaboration with health care providers to ensure “culturally-safe and family-centred care” with a focus onspecialized mental health and addiction support
  • diabetes education
  • advocacy for support of Indigenous patients and their families across the continuum of care
  • help for Indigenous patients navigating the cancer care system (Alberta Health Services, n.d.).

“The 1989 Métis Settlements Accord, which replaced the 1938 Métis Betterment Act, includes a number of health-specific provisions, including a) the right to make bylaws to promote the health, safety and welfare of the residents of the settlement area; b) the right to invest money in hospital districts or health regions under the Regional Health Authorities; and c) make bylaws respecting and controlling the health of the residents of the settlement area and against the spread of diseases. Since then, the Métis of Alberta have focused on securing increased control over issues such as housing, child welfare, health and legal institutions” (National Collaborating Centre for Aboriginal Health, 2011, p. 30).  

  1. Alberta Health Services. (n.d.). Indigenous Health Program. Retrieved from:

  2. Health Canada. (2005). Blueprint on Aboriginal Health. A 10-year transformative plan. Retrieved from:

  3. Indigenous Services Canada. (2013). First Nations and Inuit Health Branch. Retrieved from:

  4. Indigenous Services Canada. (2018). Indigenous Services Canada - Departmental plan 2018-2019. Retrieved from:

  5. Indigenous Services Canada. (2019). Indigenous Services Canada. Retrieved from:
  6. National Collaborating Centre for Aboriginal Health. (2011). Looking for Aboriginal health in legislation and policies, 1970 to 2008: The Policy synthesis project. Prince George, BC. Retrieved from: