Co-developing distinctions-based Indigenous health legislation

Together with Indigenous partners and the provinces and territories, we are co-developing new legislation to improve Indigenous access to high-quality, culturally relevant health services.

Current status: Open

This engagement began on January 28, 2021.

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As indicated in the September 2020 Speech from the Throne, Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) is working with Indigenous peoples so that they can deliver services independently that address the specific needs of their communities.

We are aware of the challenges faced by Indigenous communities in accessing culturally safe care and we are committed to working in partnership to advance the priorities Indigenous peoples put forward when it comes to healthcare. Minister Miller's mandate letter commits to accelerating this work alongside the release of a mental wellness strategy and actions to address anti-Indigenous racism in the healthcare system. It is part of our commitment to address the social determinants of health and advance self-determination in alignment with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

The co-development of distinctions-based Indigenous health legislation is an opportunity to:

What co-development means

Co-development is a collaborative approach that acknowledges the distinct nature and lived experience of First Nations, Inuit and Métis. This approach is guided by:

Co-development will happen in 2 stages:

  1. Broad engagement with First Nations, Inuit, Métis, provinces and territories, subject matter experts and other groups to determine the co-development pathway.
  2. Co-development of legislative options.

Learn more about how legislation is developed:


The Government of Canada will engage with:


We will work together with Indigenous partners to:

We will also work with the provinces and territories to make sure potential federal legislation:

About Indigenous health care in Canada

Under sections 91 and 92 of the Constitution Act, 1867, the Government of Canada and the provinces and territories share some jurisdiction over health care for Indigenous peoples. ISC funds or directly provides services for First Nations and Inuit that supplement those provided by provinces and territories. This includes primary health care, health promotion and supplementary health benefits such as drugs, medical transportation and dental care.

Indigenous communities also play an important role in the delivery of health services and programming.

Any federal legislation in the area of health care must be developed in consultation with provincial and territorial governments and with careful attention to the constitutional division of powers.

Learn more:

How to participate

As we co-develop this engagement process and the engagement tools, more information will be available.

There will be at least 3 ways to participate:

  1. Attend a virtual session
  2. Complete and submit a questionnaire
  3. Send comments by email or mail to the address listed in Contact us

Contact us

Indigenous Services Canada
Distinctions-based Indigenous Health Legislation
10 Rue Wellington Suite 1455
Mail Stop 1921C
Gatineau, Quebec  K1A 0H4

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