Last updated on April 23, 2014 at 12:06 EDT

BC First Nations establish first permanent provincial First Nations Health Authority in Canada

May 28, 2012

Nations have achieved a historic level of consensus in moving to
establish Canada’s first provincial First Nations Health Authority
(FNHA).  The decision was made at the fifth annual Gathering Wisdom for
a Shared Journey forum on May 15-17, 2012 and marks another significant
step forward in creating a more effective and culturally-responsive
health service system for BC First Nations.

Over 800 delegates were on hand at the three-day event that saw 94% of
Chiefs and Proxies in attendance approve the Consensus Paper 2012: Navigating the Currents of Change – Transitioning
to a New First Nations Health Governance Structure.
The Consensus Paper mandates transition from the interim First Nations Health Authority into a permanent form and begins
planning for the establishment of Regional Offices to support health
and wellness engagement with First Nations and Health Authorities at
the regional level.

The new model is founded upon the principle of reciprocal accountability
and creates an environment for innovation, tradition and continued
collaboration with all partners towards the overall goal of improving
the design and delivery of health services and achieving a higher
standard of health for BC First Nations. This development will enhance
the clear separation between the political health governance work of
the First Nations Health Council (FNHC) and the service delivery
responsibilities that will soon fall under the FNHA.

“We have seen an overwhelming level of consensus again in the setting of
further standards and clear marching orders by BC First Nations for our
work over the next 18 months. As directed we will now establish our permanent Health Authority and provide tools for First Nations within
the regions to do the work they need to improve services locally,” said
Grand Chief Doug Kelly, Chair of the FNHC. “We are seeing a new level
of leadership make ground-breaking changes in the way health services
are created and delivered to BC First Nations. Our work is rooted in
the Directives laid out by our leaders from the Consensus Paper 2011 that triggered the momentous change we’re seeing now in the
transformation into a permanent system of wellness that will elevate
the quality of life for all BC First Nations.” 

This year’s forum also included signing ceremonies for Regional
Partnership Accords between First Nations and Regional Health
Authorities in the North, Vancouver Island, and Vancouver Coastal
regions, opening new doors for cooperation and shared decision-making.

“The main focus of our work is improving services for BC First Nations.
We are eager to implement an innovative holistic health and wellness
model and to transform into our new role as a wellness partner to First
Nations in BC,” said Joe Gallagher, CEO of the iFNHA. “This truly will be our Health Authority, built upon a foundation of responsiveness, efficiency
and innovation.”

The Gathering Wisdom for a Shared Journey forums are the largest
assembly of BC First Nations leadership in the province. The event
brings together Chiefs, Elders, front-line health workers, community
members, and provincial and federal partners to move forward on health
systems transformation for BC First Nations. It’s a celebration of
culture, tradition and the vision of healthy, self-determining and
vibrant BC First Nations children, families and communities.

Connect with the First Nations Health Authority: www.fnha.ca

First Nations Health Council: www.fnhc.ca

High resolution photos are available upon request.

Background Documents:
2011 Gathering Wisdom IV Press Release
The Transformative Change Accord: First Nations Health Plan (2006)
The Tripartite First Nations Health Plan (2007)
The Consensus Paper: British Columbia First Nations Perspectives on a
new Health Governance Arrangement (2011)

British Columbia Tripartite Framework Agreement on First Nation Health
Governance (2011)

SOURCE First Nations Health Authority

Source: PR Newswire