For First Nations, the environment is vital in determining health and well-being. Our environment includes the land, air, water, food, housing and other resources that need to be cared for and considered to sustain healthy children, families and communities.
The FNHA's Environmental Public Health Services (EPHS) Team works in partnership with First Nations communities to identify and prevent environmental public health risks in First Nations communities that could impact the health of community members.
Where public health risks are identified, recommendations are provided to reduce these risks. Through community training, education and awareness, community capacity is increased to achieve a healthy and safe environment. EPHS aims to reach an equivalent or better standard of environmental health as non-First Nations communities. The FNHA EPHS Team provides services to all First Nations communities in the province of BC.
For a complete description of program objectives and components, see Environmental Public Health Overview in the FNHA Programs and Services Guide.
FNHA Environmental Health includes work in these areas:
The booklet Environmental Public Health Services provides a full outline of the FNHA's work in the area of Environmental Health.
health surveillance, investigation and education, to address foodborne, waterborne and vector-borne (infections transmitted by species such as mosquitoes, ticks and blackflies) diseases
EHOs work closely with health professionals in communities and regional health authorities to provide a coordinated response to illnesses and outbreaks.
BC Centre for Disease Control: http://www.bccdc.ca/
This program funds research projects that explore the link between human health and chemical environmental contaminants.
The program helps communities address their environmental health concerns and enables research at the community level; it encourages the integration of Indigenous ways of knowing, Traditional Knowledge and empirical science.
Where suspected or confirmed risks from contaminants exist, assistance is available to interpret research results and provide recommendations to control exposure.
FNHA Environment Contaminants Health Program: Guidelines for Proposals – A guide for health professionals
First Nations Food, Nutrient and Environment Study
On-site wastewater systems constructed on-reserve should be installed based on the current provincial BC Sewerage Standard Practice Manual. Please contact an EHO for applicable forms and submission process.
Environmental Health Officers (EHOs) provide advice, education, inspections and recommendations to First Nations and their leadership to help them manage public health risks associated with the environment. They collect data and observations to determine whether a public health risk exists, and determine what steps can be taken to improve conditions. Chief and Council are responsible for addressing the recommendations provided.
All EHOs working in First Nations communities are certified by Canadian Institute of Public Health Inspectors , a minimum requirement in British Columbia.
If you are interested in becoming an Environmental Health Officer, contact your local Environmental Health Officer to talk with them about the work. The Canadian Institute of Public Health Inspectors (CIPHI) maintains a list of schools across Canada that offer special training.
Emergencies Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Call your local Environmental Health Officer
Emergencies after hours
Calls or emails received after 10:00 p.m. will be responded to the following day at 6:00 a.m.