Communique: Trilateral First Nations Health Senior Officials Committee Update

December 21, 2012 7:51 pm
Published by

TO:                 Ontario First Nations Leadership

From:             Ontario Regional Chief Beardy

Date:              December 19, 2012


Resolution 11/38, passed at the AOCC in June 2011 directed the Ontario Chiefs’ Committee on Health (OCCOH) to establish the Trilateral First Nations Health Senior Officials Committee with the provincial and federal governments.  The mandate of resolution 11/38 continues to be upheld as the direction from the Chiefs in Assembly, and is without prejudice to the Inherent and Aboriginal Treaty rights of First Nations in Ontario. This Trilateral Committee is an interim step in the process of developing a full working relationship with the Province (formal Health Accord).

The Trilateral Committee includes opportunities for all three levels of government (First Nations – Ontario Chiefs Committee on Health, ADM of Health Canada, and ADM of Ontario Ministry of Health) to work together on collaboration in shared activities. A priority mandate of this committee has been the development of a process for respectful, transparent and accountable communications and discussions through a positive joint working relationship. At this time the Trilateral First Nations Health Senior Officials Committee has been focused on strategic administrative arrangements to maximize resources for improved service delivery to all First Nations communities in Ontario. The four priority areas identified by Chiefs include Mental Health and Addictions, Public Health, Data Management, and Diabetes Treatment and Management.  Based on the identified crisis of Prescription Drug Abuse this has been the focus in the first year. The work on the other priority issues of the Chiefs in Assembly, continue to be developed through a coordinated approach.  We have, and will continue to provide you with updates at our assemblies and through our committee processes as per the mandate of Resolution 11/38.

I hope that if you have questions that you will contact your representatives on the Chiefs Committee on Health, the Health Coordination Unit, or any of the established working groups.  As mentioned this process is one that relies on everyone’s contribution and has been open to all options tabled in any of the committee processes. First Nation Leadership through their involvement on this Senior Level Committee has an opportunity to drive change for their communities leading to healthier outcomes for their members. The accompanying pages outline some of the key accomplishments of the Trilateral First Nations Health Senior Officials Committee to date and community-based solutions which are being implemented. 

TFNHSOC Accomplishments to Date:

  • Four face to face meetings and 3 conference calls (June 2011-Dec. 2012)
  • Terms of Reference (TFNHSOC) approved June, 2011 by all three parties are inclusive of all First Nations in Ontario. The TOR allows observer status for GCT#3 at their request. (Terms of Reference are available on COO website).

Mental Health Addictions-Working Group:

The MHA-WG was the first to be formed and began July 2011. 

The primary objective of this working group is to address prescription narcotics abuse among First Nations living on reserve from a holistic perspective via a series of concrete activities. The MHA Working Group includes representatives from the Chiefs of Ontario, the provincial and federal governments, and First Nations service providers. The priority is enhancing addictions services and the continuum of care for First Nations communities will be the initial focus. The MHA-WG work plan was presented and approved by TFNHSOC on March 7, 2012.

  • $1.5 million was committed by both MOHLTC and Health Canada ($3.0 million in total) to support implementation of activities outlined in the work plan (June, 2012).
  • The MHA-WG recommended the implementation of six Community Wellness Development Teams (CWDT) in northern, central and southern Ontario, based on the successful demonstration of the existing CWDT at Nodin Child and Family Intervention Services in Sioux Lookout.  For further details on the Community Wellness Development Teams, refer to the previous Communiqué distributed on November 1, 2012 or contact your working group representative.
  • Three teams will be located across Northern Ontario, and three in Southern/Central Ontario.  Teams are currently being recruited and plan to be functional early in the new year.  A further update will be provided as this process is consolidated. 

Additionally, Health Canada has contributed over $2 million this year to address PDA through Community – based initiatives.  This fund is intended to support the community-based solutions identified as a result of the community’s work with the CWDT.  

  • To date 10 communities have implemented projects following the assessment done by the existing CWDT to support their community-based PDA programs. 
  • Thirty-two communities (26 of which are in remote/northern communities) have been funded to implement community-based PDA programs, using a variety of approaches, including detox, traditional programs, and land-based treatment and aftercare. 

The MHA working group also has advocated and made recommendations for a First Nations distinct approach to the province in implementation of initiatives under their Comprehensive Mental Health Strategy such as MCYS funding of Mental Health Workers, and expansion and enhancement of Telemedicine services for Mental Health.  However, the decisions on implementation of those initiatives remain at the discretion of the province.

Public Health Working Group:

The work plan was approved by TFNHSOC on March 7, 2012 and includes five key activities (inclusive of all geographic areas)

  • Apply relationship principles developed through the First Nation Public Health Advisory Committee to guide the development of a FN public health system.
  • Promote a process leading to the development of a public health service delivery model for the Weeneebayko Area Health Authority.
  • Promote a process leading to the development of an integrated public health delivery model for the Sioux Lookout First Nations Health Authority (SLFNHA).
  • Further develop models and/or tools that can be used to facilitate partnerships for public health service delivery for First Nation communities and Public Health Units.
  • Expand dental services through an integrated approach. Two dental pilot projects focusing on northern/remote communities have been completed.

A Project Charter for the Public Health Working Group was signed and endorsed by all three governments (Sept 2012).This project charter outlines key relationship principles by which all three parties agree to do business.

Data Management Working Group and Diabetes Prevention and Management Working Group

Scoping Documents have been completed for the Data Management-Working Group and the Diabetes Prevention and Management-Working Group. Inaugural meeting for the Data Management-working group planned for Jan./2013

As a goal for next year we will continue to move the mandate of the Trilateral First Nations Health Senior Officials Committee forward. We will continue to update the Chiefs in Assembly on all activities of this committee including all community based solutions being developed through the Trilateral First Nations Health Senior Officials Committee.





  1. Public Health and Mental Health Working Group Members




Public Health Working Group (TFNHSOC)


Tracy Antone (COO)                    

Linda Ogilvie (COO)                     

Ruby Miller                                  

Laurie McLeod                             

Jean Lemieux                              

Julia Hill                                      

Gloria Daybutch                           

Brigitte Blazina                            

Caroline Lidstone-Jones                          (

Janet Gordon                               


Mental Health Working Group (TFNHSOC)


Kevin Berube                               

Dr Brenda Restoule                     

Carolyn Doxtator                         

Crystal Burning                            

David Pierce                                

Laurie McLeod                             

Linda Ogilvie                               

Rolanda  Manitowabi                    

Tracy Antone                               

Bernadette deGonzague(COO)      



            (As of December 1, 2012)

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