In Canada, health services are provided through the national health insurance plan. This plan is administered at the provincial/territorial government level. The majority of the Canadian population, including Métis, ‘non-status’ Indians and ‘status’ Indians living off-reserve, receive health services through the national health insurance plan.1
For First Nations people living on-reserve and Inuit populations, health services, health promotion and public health services are provided by the First Nations and Inuit Health Branch (FNIHB), a federal government branch within Health Canada. FNIHB is responsible for covering services covered under the national health insurance plan, as well as health benefits typically not covered including vision care, dental care, prescription drugs, transportation and other services.1
Understanding whose ‘jurisdiction’ it is to provide care can be very confusing and is in a constant state of flux. To help address the barriers with the current system, FNIHB, Indigenous government entities, and provincial, territorial and federal agencies are trying to find ways to work together. Regional Health Authorities are playing an increasingly larger role in developing Indigenous specific policies and services to address gaps and coordinate cross-jurisdictional service provision.1
1 National Collaborating Centre for Aboriginal Health. (2013). An Overview of Aboriginal Health in Canada – accessed November 14, 2018.