Over 10,000 Indigenous people, representing 0.6 per cent of the population, reside in the Central LHIN catchment area.
The Chippewas of Georgina Island, with about 250 residents, is the only First Nations on-reserve community in the Central LHIN. 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.
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.
Continuously, the Central LHIN engages with Indigenous leaders, communities, health service providers and other stakeholders, including from Georgina Island, NinOsKomtin 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.
Creating Positive Change
The Central LHIN provides 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.
- Local Health Centres and Programs for Indigenous Peoples: The Central LHIN offers an online database of local health and community services. This roster lists programs, services and events for First Nations, Inuit and Metis communities. Please visit: centralhealthline.ca.
- Provincial Aboriginal Leads Network: All 14 LHINs across Ontario work together in a community of practice called the Provincial Aboriginal Leads Network (PALN) to advance pan-LHIN cultural competency and collaboration on specific topics to improve health outcomes for Indigenous populations. The PALN annually produces a report.
- Aboriginal Health Access Centres: Offer clinical care to integrated chronic disease prevention and management, family-focused maternal/child health care, addictions counselling, traditional healing, mental health care, youth empowerment and other programs – none in Central LHIN.
- Ontario’s Aboriginal Healing and Wellness Strategy: This strategy, posted on the Government of Ontario’s website, involves five Ministries (Children and Youth Services, Community and Social Services, Health and Long-Term Care; Indigenous Relations, and Ontario Women's Directorate) working together with Indigenous stakeholders for wellness and healing.
- The Journey Together: Ontario’s Commitment to Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples released in 2016 outlines a three-year investment strategy to address barriers and gaps for Indigenous communities.
- The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada outlines findings and 94 calls for action as a first step toward redressing the legacy of Indian Residential Schools and advancing the process of reconciliation across Canada. The calls to action include actions related to the current state of Aboriginal health in Canada.
- Health Canada: See the Government of Canada website for federally-led programs in support of healthy First Nations and Inuit individuals, families and communities.
Central LHIN Indigenous Lead
For more information on Indigenous planning and services in the Central LHIN, please contact Michelle Donald, Health System Planning & Engagement at Michelle.Donald@LHINS.on.ca or 905-948-1872 ext. 7986.
i National Household Survey, 2011
ii Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care – https://news.ontario.ca/mohltc/en/2016/05/ontario-launches-222-million-first-nations-health-action-plan.html