Government of Canada signs two bilateral agreements with Nunavut to improve health care closer to home

March 5, 2024 | Iqaluit, Nunavut | Health Canada

Canadians deserve a health care system that gives them timely access to health services when and where they are needed, as well as the ability to age with dignity closer to home.

Today, the Honorable Mark Holland, Minister of Health of Canada, and the Honorable John Main, Minister of Health of Nunavut, announced two bilateral agreements to invest a total of more than $35.6 million to improve healthcare access and services in Nunavut.

Through Working together Under the agreement, the Government of Canada will first provide more than $23.6 million to support Nunavut’s three-year action plan to achieve improvements in its health care system. The plan:

  • Increase coordination and access to primary care in all regions.
    • Increase the number of Inuit in health care jobs through an Inuit-specific radiologic technician program with 150 graduates over three years, and by enrolling five Inuit in a midwifery education and training program;
    • Establish assessment tools for remote and isolated communities to help understand what communities need, based on population size and health needs. These tools will help in the design of primary health care teams in remote environments;
    • Expand the existing paramedic program, which was established in 2021 to support primary care programs in community health centres, to all 25 Nunavut communities. Nunavut will also establish a new paramedic practice consultant who will support the integration of paramedics into communities; and
    • Strengthen Qikiqtani General Hospital in Nunavut by supporting the newly established obstetrics and gynecology program, recruiting additional surgeons, expanding cardiology services, and investing in nurse practitioner pilot programs.
  • Support healthcare worker recruitment, retention and training initiatives and help reduce delays.
    • Implement a comprehensive recruitment campaign to attract nurses and nursing professionals, and improve the Graduate Nursing Residency Program; and
    • Address orthopedic needs by purchasing a CT scanner, portable MRI and C-arm to increase medical procedures within the territory and reduce reliance on patient travel to Ottawa, helping to alleviate wait times.
  • Expand the provision of culturally appropriate mental health and addictions services and specialized care.
    • Support the training of paraprofessionals to ensure that Inuit in Nunavut can access culturally and linguistically relevant Inuit-specific mental health services and programs; and
    • Continue to implement annual trauma symposiums to equip frontline workers with the tools and skills necessary to engage in trauma work with community members, particularly children and youth.

Through the Aging with Dignity Agreement, the Government of Canada will provide more than $12 million to support Nunavut’s five-year action plan to age with dignity close to home, with access to home care or long-term care facility care. safe term. This will:

  • Fund revisions, expansions and services of home and community care programs.
    • Conduct a comprehensive review to help inform organizational changes and expansions to help recruit and train additional staff, focusing on Inuit hiring and increasing hours of service; and
    • Upskill the workforce, specifically supporting nursing students, through online courses and in-person training, with the goal of providing quality care to Nunavummiut in all 25 communities, to help them maintain independence and well-being .
  • Strengthen workforce stability.
    • In collaboration with Nunavut Arctic College, continue to develop a customized personal support worker program to enhance the skills of home and community care workers and continuing care workers in Nunavut, while supporting their continuing education; and
    • Allow nurse practitioners to provide virtual care in long-term care facilities.
  • Improve standards of long-term care.
    • Support Nunavut to meet new national long-term care standards by improving culturally appropriate care, providing Inuit-specific counseling to residents outside the territory, and addressing organizational challenges within Home Care Division facilities and Keep going.

Progress on these broader initiatives and commitments will be measured against targets that Nunavut will report publicly on annually.

Through these new agreements, the Government of Nunavut will work with the Government of Canada to improve the way health information is collected, shared, used and communicated; expedite the recognition of foreign credentials for internationally trained health professionals; facilitate the mobility of key health professionals within Canada; and fulfill shared responsibilities to defend the Canada Health Law protect Canadians’ access to health care based on need, not ability to pay.

Recognizing the significant disparities in Inuit health outcomes, the governments of Canada and Nunavut are also committed to meaningfully engaging and working with Inuit partners to support improved access to quality, culturally appropriate health care services. Nunavut’s action plan builds on continued engagement with its Inuit partners and recent trilateral discussions involving the federal government. All levels of government will approach health decisions in their respective jurisdictions through a lens that promotes respect and reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples.

Nunavut and the federal government will continue to work together to improve health services for all patients across the territory, including responding to the needs of Inuit and other disadvantaged and underserved populations.

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