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 Yukon Department of Health and Social Services' programs and services are available to both First Nations and non-First Nations residents of Yukon (Government of Yukon, 2018).

The First Nations Health Programs (FNHP) at Whitehorse General Hospital “provide and support compassionate care for First Nations, Inuit and Metis people based on First Nations culture and values” (Yukon Hospital Corporation, 2019). When recipients self-identify, they are linked with available patient support services that include in-hospital patient support, mental health services and complex care discharge plans (Yukon Hospital Corporation, 2018).

The Inuvialuit Final Agreement (1984) was signed by the Inuvialuit and the federal and territorial governments and “provides rights, benefits and compensation in exchange for the interest of the Inuvialuit in the Northwest Territories and Yukon Territory” (National Collaborating Centre for Aboriginal Health, 2011, p. 46). “The agreement established the Inuvialuit Social Development Program, mandated to improve health, education, housing and standards of living of the Inuvialuit. Specific areas of concern include housing, health, welfare, mental health education, elders and the maintenance of traditional practices and perspectives within the Inuvialuit Settlement Region. Canada agrees to provide special funding to contribute to the accomplishment of these social goals by the Inuvialuit. Under this agreement, public health remains an area of territorial jurisdiction” (Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, 1984; National Collaborating Centre for Aboriginal Health, 2011, p. 46).

In addition, the Government of Yukon and Yukon First Nations Chiefs signed an intergovernmental declaration in January 2017 that commits to a renewed relationship based on reconciliation and collaboration. The declaration resulted from the first Yukon Forum in 2005 that brought together political leaders of the Government of Yukon, Yukon First Nations governments and the Council of Yukon First Nations under the Cooperation of Governance Act. There will be four Yukon Forums held a year to explore how to work together and develop an approved Joint Priority Action Plan focusing on such items as procurement, resource royalties, infrastructure funding, education, and health and wellness  (Government of Yukon, 2017).

Health legislation in the Yukon contains provisions related to existing self-government agreements and modern treaties, thereby clarifying responsibilities of the territorial government in health only in those areas articulated in these agreements. For example, the Yukon Health Act “stipulates the importance of partnerships with Aboriginal groups and the respect of traditional Aboriginal healing. [However, it] also stipulates that the Yukon Land Claim Agreement or the Yukon First Nation Self-Government Agreement shall prevail in a conflict” (Health Act, 2002, in National Collaborating Centre for Aboriginal Health, 2011, p.29).



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  2. Government of Yukon. (2018). Yukon Health and Social Services. Retrieved from:

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  5. Indian and Northern Affairs Canada. (1984). The Western Arctic Claim the Inuvialuit Final Agreement. Retrieved from:

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

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  11. Yukon Hospital Corporation. (2018). First Nations Patient Support Services. Retrieved from: