Coast Salish Territory – The First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) marks 10 years working to reform and redesign health and wellness services for First Nations communities in British Columbia (BC).
In 2013, the FNHA began a new era in BC First Nations health governance and health care delivery by taking responsibility for the programs and services formerly delivered by Health Canada. This new health structure includes the FNHA, the First Nations Health Council and the First Nations Health Directors Association. On October 3, the FNHA hosted a 10-year celebration in Vancouver filled with past reflections, traditional dancers and cultural crafts.
The FNHA and its partners at the FNHC and FNHDA take direction from the Chiefs and leaders of over 200 diverse First Nations living in BC. The FNHA continues to support and advocate for wholistic, integrated health and wellness services for members living in community, urban-and-away from home and rural and remote areas.
Richard Jock, FNHA Chief Executive Officer
“The FNHA is proud of the accomplishments over the decade and recognizes there is still much to do on our journey forward. We continue to work against the effects of colonialism and systemic racism in the health care system to improve the lives of First Nations people in BC. Reflecting back, I recognize the many challenges we have overcome in the first ten years. We've had to stay flexible and responsive to communities – acknowledging the response efforts to the wildfires, floods, COVID-19 pandemic, and the effects of colonialism, including the continued discovery of unmarked graves. Our challenges have resulted in successes and I look forward to the implementation of UNDRIP and DRIPA, knowing that FNHA operates through the 7 Directives and is community-driven, nation-based."
Colleen Erickson, Chair of FNHA Board of Directors
“We have so much to celebrate, we really have had a positive ten years of growth and transition in service of First Nations people in BC, who are the ones who said this organization is needed to take over our own health care. We've done well in serving the people in the last ten years."
Wade Grant, Chair, First Nations Health Council
“This milestone is our opportunity to reflect on the wisdom and guidance received from First Nations Chiefs, leaders and communities that guides our journey for health transformation in BC. From the creation of the 7 Directives that underpin our work, to creation of a new health authority in 2013 to the signing of a new 10-year funding agreement with Canada this past spring, the FNHC is proud of our role as advocates in service to the health and well-being of First Nation communities – the Title and Rights Holders. With our partners at the FNHA and FNHDA, we remain focused on our shared vision of healthy, vibrant and self-determining children, families and communities."
Keith Marshall, President, First Nations Health Directors Association
“While many strategies and action plans have been developed in the years, our organizational success is not measured by the documents, it's measured by the impacts that have been felt in communities, the countless lives that have been saved, and the health disparities that have been improved. This is our true measure of success! We must always remember that this work was all made possible by the First Nations Chiefs and Health Directors in this province who believed in themselves, and believed in each of you to help implement their vision. Transfer was a true act of self-determination. We have excelled ever since."
About the BC First Nations Health Governance Structure: The First Nations health structure belongs to First Nations in BC. Its beginnings start with the signing of the Transformative Change Accord to address health disparities between First Nations and other residents in BC by the First Nations Health Council, the Province of British Columbia and the Government of Canada. Our success is rooted in a core set of values, our guiding Seven Directives given to us by BC First Nations, and our Shared Vision Statement and collective goal of “Healthy, Self-Determining and Vibrant BC First Nations Children, Families and Communities." The structure includes: 1) the First Nations Health Council (FNHC), created in 2006 and re-structured in 2010, as a provincial-level political and advocacy organization with a regionally-appointed 15-member Council; 2) technical advice and capacity development from the First Nations Health Directors Association (FNHDA) which was formally created in 2010; and 3) the First Nations Health Authority (FNHA), formed in 2013, which provides health service delivery and associated partnership and leadership functions. The FNHA, FNHC and FNHDA receive direction from community leadership and Nations from the five regions of the province through community engagement sessions. The Tripartite Committee on First Nations Health is the forum for aligning programming and planning efforts between the FNHA, BC Health Authorities, the BC Ministry of Health, and Health Canada Partners.