First Nations in B.C. get $8.2B from Canada to fix disparities in heath care

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the First Nations Health Authority in British Columbia will receive $8.2 billion over the next decade to help 200 communities.

“Today’s announcement is an important step toward ensuring that decisions that impact the health of First Nations can be made by First Nations,” Trudeau said.

“We’re committed to working in partnership with Indigenous communities to deliver the best results for people’s health, build a more resilient health care system.”

During an announcement at the Squamish Nation in West Vancouver, Trudeau said the authority has transformed the way health is delivered to First Nations in B.C.

The authority took over health care for B.C. First Nations in 2013 from the federal government for the planning, management and delivery of health programs.

The government said in a statement that fixing the disparities in First Nations health care can only be achieved by addressing the cultural, social, economic and historical disadvantages that have led to intergenerational trauma.

Colleen Erickson, chair of the First Nation Heath Authority board said the money “is a testament to the shared understanding of the many disparities in the current health care system that contribute to gaps in health outcomes for Indigenous Peoples. I lift my hands and acknowledge all those who continue to work toward building a safer and more accessible health care system for First Nations in British Columbia.”

The First Nations Health Authority is the first of its kind in Canada, although five other similar health initiatives are underway in Nova Scotia, Quebec, Ontario and Manitoba, where there are two.

With files from the Canadian Press

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