Health Canada
Symbol of the Government of Canada

Common menu bar links

First Nations & Inuit Health

First Nations and Inuit Health Services: Supplementary Health Benefits and Infrastructure Supports

Help on accessing alternative formats, such as Portable Document Format (PDF), Microsoft Word and PowerPoint (PPT) files, can be obtained in the alternate format help section.

Health Canada's key objectives in relation to First Nations health are to improve health outcomes; ensure availability of, and access to, quality health services and support greater control of the health system by First Nations.

To meet these goals, funding supports three broad areas: 

  • primary health care, which includes health promotion and disease prevention, public health protection and primary care activities;
  • supplementary health benefits and
  • health infrastructure support.

Of the $2.4 billion in current planned spending for 2011-12, approximately 49 per cent will fund supplementary health benefits, 41 per cent will fund primary health care activities and 10 per cent will focus on health infrastructure support.

Non-Insured Health Benefits

Through the Non-Insured Health Benefits (NIHB) program, Health Canada provides registered First Nations and recognized Inuit with a limited range of medically-necessary health-related goods and services when these benefits are not otherwise provided through private insurance plans or other publicly funded programs.

Eligible benefit areas include:

  • prescription and over-the-counter medications;
  • dental and vision care;
  • medical supplies and equipment;
  • assistance with transportation to access medically necessary services; and
  • mental health counselling.

Health Infrastructure Support

Health Canada supports 226 health centres and 85 nursing stations in First Nations communities that face challenges in accessing provincial services due to geographic remoteness. 

In addition, through the Health Infrastructure Support programming the department provides support for capacity development through the Health Services Integration Fund (HSIF) and the Aboriginal Health Human Resources Initiative (AHHRI).

The Health Services Integration Fund provides funding for projects that promote collaborative planning and the integration of health services and programs for First Nations and Inuit on a broad scale. The Aboriginal Health Human Resources Initiative develops capacity through health career promotion, bursaries and scholarships, and post-secondary education student support.