Indigenous Community

Population Profile

Over 10,000 Indigenous people, representing 0.6 per cent of the population, reside in our Central catchment area which includes northern Toronto, a portion of Etobicoke, York Region and South Simcoe. 

The Chippewas of Georgina Island, with about 250 residents, is the only First Nations on-reserve community in the area. The majority of Indigenous peoples in the Central LHIN live off-reserve, primarily in Northern York Region and South Simcoe.i

Advancing Health Outcomes

Indigenous people in Ontario experience lower health status, including shorter life expectancy, higher infant mortality and higher rates of chronic and infectious diseases compared to the general population.ii

This is made even more challenging by barriers to equitable access to health services experienced by this population, such as cultural insensitivity and fewer targeted community programs focused on their particular health needs.

2021 Update

On April 1, 2021, health system planning and funding functions of the Central LHIN are now part of Ontario Healtha government agency responsible for ensuring Ontarians continue to receive high-quality health care services where and when they need them.

2017-2020 Updates

The Central LHIN engaged with Indigenous leaders, communities, health service providers and other stakeholders, including from Georgina Island and other organizations to develop engagement plans, collaboratively review and understand local needs, priorities, build relationships, and develop a framework for action to advance culturally appropriate and accessible health care services.

Through a co-design process that supports self-determination, the Central LHIN is committed to working in partnership to advance health initiatives that increase access and improve coordination of health programs and services for Indigenous people living in the Central LHIN. This commitment is embedded as a strategic priority in the Central LHIN’s Integrated Health Service Plan (IHSP) 2016-2019, Annual Business Plan (ABP) 2018-2019, and in our accountabilities under the Local Health System Integration Act, 2006. The Central LHIN’s Better Care for Underserved Communities priority, outlined in the IHSP and ABP, aims to advance culturally-appropriate services: contributing to better patient experiences, enhanced quality of care and improved health outcomes for Indigenous residents in our LHIN.

The Central LHIN provided planning and funding support for various health and community programs and services, including traditional programs, seniors support, and various wellness programs for Georgina Island residents and Indigenous people living off-reserve.

Supported and co-designed programs and services include: 

  • For Georgina Island residents: New and expanded programs in 2017-2018 included transportation, exercise and nutritional classes, and counselling to support improved health outcomes.
  • On January 14, 2018, the Georgina Nurse-Practitioner Clinic, which serves 3,000 patients, some of whom include on- and off-reserve Indigenous community members, was destroyed by an electrical fire. Clinic staff, with tremendous community support, were able to quickly resume services in other temporary locations. Previously announced plans to relocate the clinic to Lake Drive are continuing. A few months earlier, in October 2017, the Government of Ontario had committed to providing $1.6 million to support construction of the new facility.
  • For urban Indigenous population (particularly those in Northern York Region and South Simcoe): In 2017-2018, new and expanded Indigenous cultural healing programs and services, including drumming, through our collaboration with Canadian Mental Health Association-York Region (CMHA-YR).
  • Developing an engagement strategy and five year plan to further explore needs and opportunities for culturally-appropriate services that foster improved health outcomes for local Indigenous population.
  • Central LHIN funded other Health Service Providers – for example, CMHA-YR, CHATS, Black Creek Community Health Centre – to provide programming and services to the local Indigenous population. 
  • The Central LHIN provides promotion, support and funding for Indigenous Cultural Safety Training. Over the past three years, over 800 Health Service Provider staff across a wide array of health related sectors – hospitals, long-term care homes, community agencies – as well as Central LHIN staff have completed either Indigenous Cultural Safety Training (online) or Indigenous Cultural Competency and Safety Training (in-person). The purpose of Indigenous Cultural Competency Training is to develop and advance skills, knowledge, attitudes and values for meaningful and informed relationships with the Indigenous community.

Additional Information

National Household Survey, 2011
ii Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care –