On February 22-23, 2023, the Ontario Native Welfare Administrators’ Association (ONWAA) and NORDIK Institute co-hosted a national workshop on behalf of Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) to engage First Nations persons from across the country in discussions about long term and continuing care in their communities. The event was hosted at Algoma University’s Sault Ste. Marie campus.
Existing federal government program funding models create challenges within First Nations and Inuit communities to comprehensively address long term and continuing care needs in their communities. Canada’s 2019 budget provided $8.5M for ISC to begin filling these noticeable gaps by working with First Nations and Inuit partners to develop a new and more holistic long-term and continuing care framework. This funding was used to support roughly 35 Indigenous partners in regional engagement activities, which brought forward perspectives from more than 300 nations across Canada. ONWAA and NORDIK Institute collaboratively synthesized the reports from these engagement activities, highlighting key themes and recommendations.
The February 2023 event was a validation exercise to collect feedback on the synthesis report. The draft synthesis report was provided to participants ahead of the validation event. Feedback was collected throughout the event and in the two weeks after. Some of the comments of participants reflected a need for urgent action to correct existing systems, rather than wait for longer term policy outcomes to be implemented, while others considered the broader impacts that engagements like this one can support:
This work “is about serving the most vulnerable and leaving no one behind…Canada is obligated to take on this work. I think it is really fundamental that we find a place to root and serve First Nations. The ultimate question is, what is it going to take to build full self governance?”
The synthesis report, being finalized for submission to Indigenous Services Canada by the end of March 2023, will inform options for a new and more holistic long-term and continuing care framework that will be co-developed with partners over the next few months. The validation workshop and report synthesis were funded by ISC.