The Aboriginal Health Transition Fund (AHTF) is a five-year, $200-million fund designed to improve access to health care for Aboriginal peoples in Canada. The AHTF will achieve this overall goal by supporting better integration of federally funded health systems in First Nations and Inuit communities with provincial/territorial health systems and through the adaptation of existing provincial/territorial health service systems to better meet the needs of all Aboriginal peoples, including MÚtis and those living off-reserve. The AHTF is also intended to increase the participation of Aboriginal peoples in the design, delivery, and evaluation of health programs and services that affect them. It was launched in 2004-2005 and will run until 2009-2010.
The Aboriginal Health Transition Fund (AHTF) is part of a longer term plan to address the disparity in the health status of Aboriginal peoples in Canada when compared to the general population. By devising new ways to integrate and adapt existing health services to better meet the needs of Aboriginal peoples, and by more fully engaging Aboriginal peoples in health care decision-making processes that affect them, the AHTF will assist in closing gaps in heath status between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Canadians through coordinated efforts by all involved in Aboriginal health.
Unlike other Canadians, First Nations and Inuit must access two different systems for their health care: the federal government provides limited primary health care and health promotion services on First Nations reserves and to Inuit; while provinces and territories deliver universal health services to all Canadians, including First Nations, Inuit and MÚtis and those Aboriginal peoples living off reserve. It has been noted in several reports, including those of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology (Kirby Committee), and the Commission on the Future of Health Care in Canada (Romonow Commission), that there is need for better coordination of health services for Aboriginal peoples funded by federal/provincial/territorial governments.
The Aboriginal Health Transition Fund (AHTF) comprises three distinct funding envelopes:
In the context of the Aboriginal Health Transition Fund (AHTF), integration refers to efforts to improve coordination and collaboration between the universal health systems funded by provincial/territorial governments and the health systems in First Nations and Inuit communities, funded by the federal government. Examples of integration activities include:
Adaptation of health services means redesigning, reorienting or modifying existing programs and services to ensure that they are both available and appropriate to meet the needs of all Aboriginal peoples. Examples of adaptation activities include:
The Pan-Canadian Envelope supports cross-jurisdictional integration and adaptation initiatives in three streams: First Nations, Inuit and MÚtis. Examples of pan-Canadian activities include:
In all three envelopes funding is provided to eligible recipients following the development and approval of a plan. More specifically the eligible recipient for each envelope is as follows:
Aboriginal organizations and communities can access funds through each of the three funding envelopes. The process varies for each of the envelopes.
Integration Envelope: Aboriginal organizations and communities that wish to secure funding must have worked in partnership with the appropriate Health Canada regional office to engage in the development of the Integration Plan. Integration plans and projects are submitted by Health Canada Regional Offices to Health Canada headquarters for review, internal consultation and approval.
Adaptation Envelope: Aboriginal communities and organizations must work with the appropriate provincial/territorial government to develop an Adaptation Plan and identify projects. Adaptation plans and projects are submitted by provincial and territorial governments to Health Canada headquarters for review, internal consultation and approval.
Pan-Canadian Envelope: Proposals for Pan-Canadian projects are first reviewed by the Aboriginal Health Transition Fund Secretariat and relevant subject experts within the federal government, and then by subject experts external to the federal government selected in collaboration with the relevant national Aboriginal organization. Projects that meet the AHTF criteria and fall within the funding strategy for the relevant stream are then recommended for final approval by Health Canada.
Gender-based analysis is an analytical tool that uncovers social, economic, biological and other differences between women and men, girls and boys. It identifies how these differences affect women's and men's health status and their access to, and interaction with, the health care system. Health Canada has a number of tools and resources to assist with gender-based analysis.
Health Canada is responsible and accountable for the overall administration of the Aboriginal Health Transition Fund.
The Aboriginal Health Transition Fund Secretariat reviews and recommends for approval:
Health Canada's regional offices are responsible for developing Integration Plans in partnership with First Nations and Inuit organizations and provincial/territorial governments, and negotiating agreements for integration projects and some pan-Canadian projects.