New Brunswick

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.


According to the Public Health Act, the “Minister may, subject to the approval of the Lieutenant-Governor in Council, enter into and amend an agreement with [...] (c) a band council as defined in the Indian Act (Canada) [...] for the purpose of the organization and delivery of public health programs and services, the prevention of diseases and injuries and the promotion and protection of the health of the people of New Brunswick or any group of them” (Public Health Act, 1998, section 58.1).

The Aboriginal Affairs Secretariat was formed in 1999 as a result of the task force on Aboriginal issues (Government of New Brunswick, 1999). Its role is “to improve the provincial government's capacity to address the increasing number of complex matters in Aboriginal affairs and to devote greater attention to Aboriginal issues. In November 2003, a Deputy Minister was appointed exclusively for Aboriginal Affairs. Aboriginal affairs involve complex social, economic, and legal issues” (Government of New Brunswick, 2019a).

“The Aboriginal Affairs Secretariat works closely with all provincial departments on issues related to environment, education, health, housing, family and community services, sport and culture, natural resource management, economic development, and strengthening relationships with Aboriginal people. The Secretariat also acts as the liaison with the Mi'kmaq and Maliseet communities and Aboriginal organizations to ensure the development of long-term positive relationships with the Aboriginal leaders within the province” (Government of New Brunswick, 2019a).

The Union of New Brunswick Indians is also an Aboriginal organization with a health policy mandate (Union of New Brunswick Indians, n.d.-a). Within the UNBI, the Commission on Health and Social Programs “is committed to the well-being of all on or off reserve Aboriginal People of N.B. and P.E.I. It's [sic] mission is to work with Aboriginal People and others to attain the well-being of Aboriginal People by promoting self-sufficiency and personal responsibility. A goal of the Commission is to increase the life expectancy and quality of life of Aboriginal people of First Nations in N.B. and P.E.I. consistent [with] non-Native brothers and sisters in N.B. and P.E.I.” (Union of New Brunswick Indians, n.d.-b). Priorities of the Commission include family health and health policy.

The New Brunswick Aboriginal Peoples Council (NBAPC) represents Metis and non-status Indigenous peoples in the province, providing services and a political voice, especially with regards to health matters. It was previously known as the New Brunswick Association of Metis and Non-Status Indians (New Brunswick Aboriginal Peoples Council, 2018).



There are currently two regional health authorities, Vitalité Health Network and Horizon Health Network, which are “responsible for managing and delivering a variety of services including Hospital Services, Community Health Centre Services, Extra Mural Services, Addictions and Mental Health Services and most Public Health Services” (Government of New Brunswick, 2019b). The Regional Health Authority Act states that “[a] regional health authority may enter into, and amend, an agreement for the purposes of this Act and the regulations with […] (c) a band council as defined in the Indian Act (Canada)” (Regional Health Authority Act, 2002, Section 37). Again, it appears that New Brunswick considers services delivered on-reserve to be a matter of federal jurisdiction.

Three regional Indigenous organizations have health policy mandates. “Three Tribal Councils (Mawiw Council, North Shore Micmac District Council, Saint John River Valley Tribal Council) represent 14 First Nations. Only one First Nation is considered independent (no Tribal Council Affiliation)” (National Collaborating Centre for Aboriginal Health, 2011, p. 42).

  1. Government of New Brunswick. (1999). Report of the Task force on Aboriginal Issues. Retrieved from:

  2. Government of New Brunswick. (2019a). Aboriginal Affairs. Retrieved from:

  3. Government of New Brunswick. (2019b). Regional Health Authorities. Retrieved from:

  4. Health Canada. (2005). Blueprint on Aboriginal Health. A 10-year Transformative Plan. Retrieved from:

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

  6. Indigenous Services Canada. (2018). Indigenous Services Canada - Departmental Plan 2018-2019. Retrieved from:

  7. Indigenous Services Canada. (2019). Indigenous Services Canada. Retrieved from:

  8. National Collaborating Centre for Aboriginal Health. (2011). Looking for Aboriginal health in legislation and policies, 1970 to 2008: The policy synthesis project. Prince George, CB. Retrieved from:

  9. New Brunswick Aboriginal Peoples Council. (2018). About NBAPC. Retrieved from:

  10. Public Health Act 1998, C-22.4. Retrieved from:

  11. Regional Health Authority Act. 2002. Retrieved from:

  12. Union of New Brunswick Indians. (n.d.-a). Welcome. Retrieved from:

  13. Union of New Brunswick Indians. (n.d.-b). First Nations Health. Retrieved from: