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Senior Health Policy Analyst
The Union of New Brunswick Indians (UNBI) has been in existence for forty one years and has been accountable both to its First Nations members and various funding agencies.
On April 6, 1993, the First Nation leaders, by resolution, established a Commission on Health and Social Programs, which was mandated to promote First Nation control in all areas of health and social programming.
UNBI subsequently entered into a Health Transfer Agreement with First Nations and Inuit Health Branch, Health Canada in 1995 and renewed the same in 2003.
This agreement expired on March 31, 2008 and UNBI wishes to renew the Agreement for another five year period in order to continue to provide second and third level health programs and services to its member bands.
WHEREAS: The Government of Canada is responsible for "Indians and Lands reserved for Indians under Sect. 91 (24), Constitution Act; and
WHEREAS: The Mi'kmaq and Maliseet First Nations of New Brunswick have demonstrated their capacity to manage their health programs and to improve the well being of their citizenry; and
WHEREAS: Since the first Health Transfer Agreement was signed in 1995, the Commission, through the UNBI Health Committee, has dealt mainly with health programs;
BE IT RESOLVED: That the Board of Directors, Chiefs of the Mi'kmaq and Maliseet Nations change the name of the Commission on Health and Social programs to the Commission or Health Programs to carry out the following mandate:
1. Advance First Nations control of all health programs for their members by endorsing the negotiation of a new Health Transfer Agreement.
2. Promote Aboriginal, Treaty and Constitutional Rights to good health including a healthy environment.
3. Promote the hiring and training of First Nations people at all levels of health services and programs available to First Nations people in New Brunswick.
4. Advise Health Canada on the review and modification of any policies that currently exist or will be formulated in the future to ensure the sound and effective delivery of health programs which will be suitable for youth, seniors and disabled people of the First Nations.
5. Act as an advisory group on policies related to Health Transfer processes to any First Nation upon their request.
6. Ensure that any additional funding requested not in any way jeopardize the existing program funding for First Nations.
7. Recognize that the Union of New Brunswick Indians Health Committee will be accountable to the Chiefs in their role as the administrator of the health programs as listed in the Transfer Agreement.
THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED: That we, the Chiefs of the Mi'kmaq and Maliseet First Nations authorize that a new five year five year funding agreement be entered into with the First Nations and Inuit Health of Health Canada by the Union of New Brunswick Indians to carry out the above noted mandate.
MOVED BY: Chief Joanna Bernard
SECONDED BY: Chief Everett Martin
Adopted this 29th day of April 2008, by the Chiefs comprising the Board of Directors of the Union of New Brunswick Indians.
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Senior Health Policy Analyst
The Non-Insured Health Benefits (NIHB) Program is a national program that provides coverage to registered First Nations and recognized Inuit to support them in reaching an overall health status that is comparable with other Canadians. The Non-Insured Health Benefits Program provides coverage for a limited range of medically necessary goods and services to which these clients are not entitled through other plans and programs. In cases where a benefit is covered under another plan, the NIHB Program acts to coordinate payment of eligible benefits. It is the Government of Canada’s position that current health programs and services including Non-Insured Health Benefits are provided to First Nations and Inuit on the basis of national policy and not due to any constitutional or other legal obligations. First Nations assert that health benefits are an Inherent Aboriginal and Treaty Right and are constitutionally protected.
As in past years, UNBI will work with each of its twelve First Nations (Madawaska, Eel Ground, Metapeneagiag, Buctouche, Kingsclear, St. Mary's, Pabineau, Fort Folly, Woodstock, Indian Island, Oromocto and Eel River Bar), to develop their community teams and plan youth activities around suicide prevention. As you can well imagine, these are unique to each community as the community designs each aspect. Communities are encouraged to involve health professionals, educators, peace keepers and response personnel in their community teams and identify any skills/training that may be needed to strengthen their capacity. With respect to the youth activities under the NAYSPS, communities plan different gatherings for their youth.
(1) increase awareness and understanding of Aboriginal youth suicide prevention;
(2) strengthen key protective factors such as a strong sense of identity, meaning and purpose, and resilience;
(3) strengthen and facilitate collaborative approaches and linkages within and across governments, agencies and organizations;
(4) develop and implement locally-driven suicide prevention plans in First Nations and Inuit communities;
(5) improve and increase crisis response efforts to intervene more effectively in preventing suicide and suicide clusters following a suicide-related crisis in First Nations and Inuit communities; and
(6) enhance knowledge development regarding what is known about what works in preventing Aboriginal youth Suicide.
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Secretary, Board of Directors
The First Nations Information Governance Centre is an exciting development whereby First Nations will now have a dedicated Centre that will serve as the permanent home of the First Nations Regional Longitudinal Health Survey (RHS) and build upon that successful process to provide an abundance of information, research, training, data collection, analysis and dissemination services to First Nations at the community, regional and national levels. In addition, the Centre will not only be centrally located in Ottawa, it will also support the development of regional centre’s that will serve the strategic First Nations information and research needs as determined by each of the participating regions.
The First Nations Data Centre (FNDC) is a knowledge exchange service of the First Nations Information Governance Centre (FNIGC). Located at FNIGC’s Ottawa office, the FNDC provides access to unpublished and record-level data from FNIGC's respected survey work, including the First Nations Regional Health Survey (FNRHS, or RHS) and the First Nations Regional Early Childhood, Education and Employment Survey (FNREEES, or REEES).
The first service of its kind, the FNDC offers data access to individuals pursuing academic research, policy development, and program planning and evaluation on a pay-per-use basis. The data cannot be used for commercial purposes.
The goal of the FNDC is to encourage the dissemination and knowledge transfer of FNIGC’s First Nations data among researchers, academics, policy makers and other stakeholders.
The FNDC’s services are available in person at FNIGC’s Ottawa offices or online at FNIGC.ca/FNDC, a website that includes an online application process for those looking to make use of data from the FNRHS (or the FNREEES, starting in spring 2016).
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It is widely recognized that there is an information gap in First Nations communities for many key Socio-economic indicators, particularly in the areas of education, employment and early childhood education. A national survey is necessary to address some of these important data gaps and provide valuable data to help make informed policy and programming decisions, which could ultimately lead to improvements in the lives of First Nations. Since the needs of each region may differ from each other and those of the entire Nation, each region across Canada has been given the opportunity to collect and analyze their own data for the purposes of addressing their regional specific needs,
The First Nations Regional Early Childhood Development, Education and Employment Survey (FNREEES) is a national five (5) year (2011-2016) First Nations research project that builds upon the Success of the First Nations Regional Health Survey (RHS). It is being implemented by regional First Nations partners to produce on-reserve First Nations population estimates at a national, regional and territorial level (in addition to select large First Nations communities). The FNREEES will provide community-based culturally relevant research information about New Brunswick First Nations in order to support collective priorities and strategic directions for re-building strong and healthy Nations. It will provide valuable information and data to support policy and program development, and inform decision making that reflects the needs of First Nations communities.
The First Nations Regional Education, Employment and Early Childhood Development Survey (FNREEES) is a First Nation-driven survey which is aimed at collecting information regarding the education, employment and early childhood development of First Nation communities across Canada;
The FNREEES was developed to respect and uphold the sovereign rights of First Nations and the authority conferred or mandated to their representative bodies. The principles of Ownership, Control, Access, and Possession (OCAP") which flow from those rights, mandate that First Nations have control over the collection, use and disclosure of information about their communities.This survey is unique because it is strictly owned and controlled by First Nations in the region that the Survey is managed. In this region, the survey is managed by The Union of New Brunswick Indians (UNBI). Information from this study will benefit First Nations through the development of programs and policies that are consistent with First Nation culture. The survey is managed nationally by the First Nations Information Governance Centre (FNIGC) as mandated under AFN Resolution (No. 19/2011).
New Brunswick First Nation REEES Training
Back row left to right: Hazel Atwin, REEES Administrator (UNBI); REEES Field Workers: Cindy Tomah, (Kingsclear); Kara Martin (Eel Ground); Jolene Caplin (Kingsclear); Ted Polchies (Kingsclear); Brittany Buchan (Woodstock) and UNBI Health Director Nelson Solomon. Front row: Kayla Marcoux (FNIGC), Peter Birney (UNBI); Katie Wood (FNIGC)
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The only First Nations-governed holistic health survey of its kind in Canada, the RHS is currently in the third year of a five-year process that will see it collect data from 250 First Nations communities, in collaboration with its regional partners in 10 provinces and two territories. The Regional Health Survey is the only First Nations-governed national health survey in Canada, the First Nations Regional Health Survey (FNRHS, or RHS for short) is a unique initiative. Founded in 1997, the RHS collects information about on reserve and northern First Nations communities based on both Western and traditional understandings of health and well-being.
The RHS is carried out by the First Nations information Governance Centre (FNIGC), a non-profit First Nations organization that has been doing surveys on reserve and in northern communities in collaboration with its Regional Partners since 1997.
The RHS grew out of a National Steering Committee which was created to design a new national First Nations health survey as a response to a Federal Government decision to exclude First Nation people living on reserve from three major longitudinal population surveys.
In the nearly two decades since, the RHS has gone through four cycles and has collected quality, culturally relevant data from tens of thousands of First Nations people. This data has influenced and informed such crucial programs and policies as the Aboriginal Diabetes Initiative, the Aboriginal Head Start Program, the Children's Oral Health Initiative, as well as Communicable Disease Control, Food Security and Nutrition, Healthy Living,Healthy Child Development, and Mental Health and Addictions.
FNIGC's pioneering survey work has been reviewed by Harvard University (in 2006) and Johns Hopkins University (in 2012), which concluded that our methodology was “outstanding,” “excellent” and “first-rate”. It also concluded that “with respect to fidelity of design, the evaluators found the execution of the RHS to be excellent overall and superb along many dimensions.”
The Assembly of First Nations(AFN) Chiefs in Assembly, the Chiefs Committee on Health (CCOH) and First Nations regions across the Country have mandated the FNIGC to oversee the administration of the RHS,
FNIGC membership is derived from the RHS regional organizations, which provides a solid regional and community based foundation for governance. Results of the most recent version of the Survey, RHS Phase 2, were published in June 2012. RHS Phase 3 is scheduled to start rolling out in Fall 2014.
The RHS is happening in 250 First Nations communities in 10 regions (which include 10 provinces and two territories) across Canada: Yukon, Northwest Territories, British Columbia, Alberta,Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland. RHS Regional Coordinators manage the implementation of the survey in collaboration with the FNIGC.
Phase 3 of the RHS is scheduled to launch in Fall 2014, and Will build upon the previous success of the RHS Phase 1 and 2. Upon completion of data collection and analysis, the data will be released in a series of targeted reports in 2016/2017.
The RHS addresses a comprehensive range of health Status, wellness and health determinant measures and is broken down into three parts: adult, youth and child. When combined, these parts provide comparability to other Canadian surveys while addressing First Nations priorities within a cultural and holistic framework.
While the questionnaires have largely remained true to their original content, work has been undertaken to modernize the questionnaires ensuring their continued relevance to First Nations communities.For example, for RHS Phase 3, two new priority areas -bullying and maternal behaviors - have been identified by our Regional Partners.
Final results from RHS Phase 3 will be presented in a series of targeted reports focusing on priority areas identified by our First Nations partners.
First Nations Information Governance Centre (FNIGC) (2012). First Nations Regional Health Survey (RHS) 2008/10: National report on adults, youth and children living in First Nations communities. Ottawa: FNIGC.
First Nations Longitudinal Regional Health Survey. Presentation to the Workshop on Data Collection and Disaggregation on Indigenous Peoples Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues United Nations Headquarter, New York, New York January 19- 21, 2004
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Senior Health Policy Analyst
The Non-Insured Health Benefits (NIHB) Program is a national program that provides coverage to registered First Nations and recognized Inuit to support them in reaching an overall health status that is comparable with other Canadians. The Non-Insured Health Benefits Program provides coverage for a limited range of medically necessary goods and services to which these clients are not entitled through other plans and programs. In cases where a benefit is covered under another plan, the NIHB Program will act to coordinate payment of eligible benefits. It is the Government of Canada’s position that current health programs and services including Non-Insured Health Benefits are provided to First Nations and Inuit on the basis of national policy and not due to any constitutional or other legal obligations. First Nations assert that health benefits are an Inherent Aboriginal and Treaty Right and are constitutionally protected.
Should you wish to obtain further information, please contact us at:
Union of New Brunswick Indians
75 Melissa Street, Unit 1
Hear Our Voices: Meeting Sept 2016 First Nations in N.B. and P.E.I. Recommendations for NIHB Reform.