Nova Scotia

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.


The Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness provides leadership for programs and services that protect and promote health, and treat illness for families and communities in Nova Scotia (Government of Nova Scotia, 2019). 

In addition, the Nova Scotia Health Authority provides a broad range of health and treatment services. In terms of Indigenous-specific programs, mental health and addiction treatment services are delivered in several First Nations communities (Nova Scotia Health Authority, 2018).

The Health Working Committee of the Mi'kmaq-Nova Scotia-Canada Tripartite Forum plays a key coordinating role. “The Mi'kmaq-Nova Scotia-Canada Tripartite Forum (the Tripartite Forum) was formed in 1997 as a partnership between the Nova Scotia Mi'kmaq, the Province of Nova Scotia, and the Government of Canada. Its purpose is to strengthen relationships and resolve issues of mutual concern affecting the 13 Mi'kmaq communities in the province” (Mi'kmaq-Nova Scotia-Canada Tripartite Forum, 2008, p. VI). The Health Working Committee “works to address various issues in regards to health needs for Nova Scotia Mi'kmaq. Through researching the needs of Mi'kmaq, projects and partnerships are developed with First Nations communities and the government” (Mi'kmaq-Nova Scotia-Canada Tripartite Forum, 2018).

The Native Council of Nova Scotia “is the self-governing authority for the large community of Mi'kmaq/Aboriginal peoples residing off-reserve in Nova Scotia throughout traditional Mi'kmaq territory” (Native Council of Nova Scotia, 2019). Broadly speaking, programs are largely focused on the social determinants of health.

Furthermore, the Atlantic Policy Congress of First Nation Chiefs Secretariat (APC) “is an advocate for speaking with one voice on behalf of First Nations communities. Through research and analysis, [the APC] develop and table policy alternatives for matters affecting First Nations communities in Atlantic Canada, Quebec, and Maine, USA” (Atlantic Policy Congress of First Nation Chiefs Secretariat, 2019).  In terms of health policy, “The APC Health Department works in partnership with First Nations Inuit Health Branch – Atlantic (FNHIB) [now Indigenous Services Canada] to improve Atlantic First Nations' health and wellbeing” (Atlantic Policy Congress of First Nation Chiefs Secretariat, 2018). 



  1. Atlantic Policy Congress of First Nation Chiefs Secretariat. (2018). Health. Retrieved from:

  2. Atlantic Policy Congress of First Nation Chiefs Secretariat. (2019). About. Retrieved from:

  3. Government of Nova Scotia. (2019). About the Department of Health and Wellness. Retrieved from:

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

  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. Mi'kmaq-Nova Scotia-Canada Tripartite Forum. (2008). Exploring health priorities in First Nations communities in Nova Scotia. (Health Working Committee). Retrieved from:

  9. Mi'kmaq-Nova Scotia-Canada Tripartite Forum. (2018). Health Working Committees. Retrieved from:

  10. Native Council of Nova Scotia. (2019). Home. Retrieved from:

  11. Nova Scotia Health Authority. (2018). First Nations Services. Retrieved from: