• Regional priorities for the wellness of First Nations in Quebec presented to the Assembly of First Nations
Mar 13, 2019

The health sector of the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) is currently conducting a strategic planning exercise. As part of this exercise, each region must report to the AFN on its issues, priorities and expectations with respect to the AFN.

The Health and Social Services Directors were consulted on this subject at the joint meeting of the Health and Social Services Directors held in January 2019. In addition to a document submitted to the AFN, the results of the reflections were presented at a national meeting that brought together all the regions on February 20, 2019. Donna V. Metallic, Health Director in Listuguj, April Adams-Phillips, Chief of the community of Akwasasne, and Sophie Picard, Health Services Manager at the FNQLHSSC, were on hand to present the regional priorities regarding health and wellness of the First Nations in Quebec.

Main issues

The First Nations in Quebec must deal with several issues that are specific to the regional context. The main regional issues identified and presented to the AFN relate to services (access, English language and border communities), access to resources (human, financial and material), jurisdictional disputes, relations with the provincial network, the transformation of Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) and the new financial relationship.

Regional priorities

The priorities for health and wellness of the Quebec region, which appear in the 2017-2020 Strategic Plan of the FNQLHSSC, are divided into five focus areas:

  1. Access to quality care and services
  2. Governance in terms of recognition of First Nations’ rights and interests
  3. Capacity-building
  4. Healthy lifestyles
  5. Cultural awareness

In addition to these priorities, the expectations regarding the transformation of ISC were highlighted. It was expressed that a genuine engagement process must be initiated to ensure that the needs of the communities and organizations are taken into consideration. The First Nations must play a leading role and be at the centre of the decisions leading to the transfer of responsibilities relating to the delivery of health services and social services.


In terms of recommendations, the First Nations in Quebec want the AFN and its health sector to consider the diversity and specificities of each region and territory given its advocacy-oriented role. To do so, it is hoped that more regular communication can be established between the Quebec region and the AFN, and that consultation mechanisms can be established so that the AFN’s decisions reflect the positioning, needs and priorities of our region.

The role played by the AFN on the national scene is important and contributes significantly to promoting the interests of the First Nations, but it is little known by the communities and organizations in our region. It is hoped that closer collaboration with the AFN and its health sector will develop over the next few years.