On February 13-15, 2019 the Métis National Council held its second Métis Nation Health Forum Advancing Métis Nation Health at the historic Chateau Laurier in Ottawa. Building on the success of last year’s Forum, the event attracted over 120 invited guests and presenters from the Métis Nation and Governments of Canada, Saskatchewan and British Columbia. 

The goal of the Métis Nation 2019 Health Forum was to highlight ways in which we can work together to improve Métis Nation health and wellbeing, through the application of best-practices, coordinated collaborative actions, and strategic investments. 

Participants included representatives of Pan-Canadian Health Organizations including: the Canadian Institute of Health Information (CIHI); the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer (CPAC); the Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement (CFHI); and the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC). 

Agenda – February 13-14, 2019 

The goal of the Métis Nation 2019 Health Forum was to highlight ways in which we can work together to improve Métis Nation health and wellbeing, through the application of best-practices, coordinated collaborative actions, and strategic investments. 

Presentations 

Canadian Institute of Health Information (CIHI) – Métis Nation Engagement 

Métis Nation Engagement – Collaborating for Success - A presentation by Jean Harvey, Director – Canadian Population Health Initiative. The presentation included highlights of CIHI’s Strategic Plan 2016-2021 and CIHI’s Indigenous Health and Data Governance Emerging Strategy.  

Canadian Institute of Health Information (CIHI) – Data Systems 

CIHI delivered a presentation that touched on issues including: Guiding Principles for Governance of Indigenous Data at CIHI; and Future Thinking: Identifying Métis in Health Administrative Data. 

Canadian Partnership Against Cancer (CPAC) – Strategy Implementation 

Canadian Partnership Against Cancer (CPAC) Director, First Nations, Inuit and Métis Strategy Implementation delivered a presentation that touched on topics such as: Key Activities in Métis, First Nation and Inuit Cancer Control (Mandate 1 – 2007-2012; Mandate 2 – 2012-2017); Engagement Evaluation; New Approaches; Refreshed Engagement Strategy; Partner Funded Initiative; and CPAC Governance. 

Health Canada – Palliative Care 

Director of Policy, Health Care Programs and Policy Directorate – Strategic Policy Branch, Health Canada delivered a presentation on Palliative Care in Canada. The presentation was intended to share information on palliative care with Métis Nation Health Forum participants. Included was an overview of topics such as: what is palliative care and what can it do; the Framework on Palliative Care in Canada; challenges and best practices.  Health Canada used the Forum as an opportunity to validate the Métis Nation’s interest in developing a distinctions-based palliative care framework for Indigenous peoples. 

Manitoba Metis Federation – Developing Métis Nation Health Data Systems 

Identifying a Métis Population in Manitoba – Developing Métis Nation Health Data Systems. The Manitoba Metis Federation (MMF) highlighted its partnerships with the Manitoba Centre for Health Policy which resulted in research excellence. MMF contributed expert knowledge of: Metis identity, culture and history; socioeconomic and other health determinants for the Métis population; and lived experience to the collaboration. Manitoba Centre for Health contributed expert knowledge of: statistics and analysis; and experience with health status and health utilization studies. 

Manitoba Metis Federation – Determinants of Health 

The MMF provided insight into how it views Social Determinants of Health in a Métis Nation context. Addressing social determinants of health will be a key to closing the health gaps and other Canadians. Given the current understanding of the federal government’s jurisdiction for Métis citizens, federal programming in areas such as housing, economic development, education, culture and environment should be extended to the Métis Nation. 

Manitoba Metis Federation – Giving a Hand Up 

The MMF delivered a presentation entitled “Giving and Hand Up – Helping Our Most Vulnerable Citizens”. It spoke to what was learned from the data on chronic diseases and what it has learned from its citizens. The presentation provided an overview of needs including: health benefits; navigation services; counselling and training; respite care; increased access to prenatal services; supports for young families; and mental health services. 

Manitoba Metis Federation – Mental Health 

Mental Health: From Challenges to Solutions. The MMF presented on several topics including what it knows from the data (western science) in terms of Substance Use and the Correlation between Chronic Disease and Mental Health. It also addressed what it has learned from its Citizens in terms of mental health needs (Indigenous knowledge). The needs include: increased awareness; better physician practices; around-the-clock services at one-stop mental health clinics; support groups; community participation in solutions; incorporating evidence-based practices and practice-based evidence in mental health services. Also presented on was the proposed MMF Opioids Study. 

Manitoba Metis Federation – Understanding and Advancing Health Priorities 

The MMF delivered a presentation entitled “Understanding and Advancing Métis Nation Health Priorities”. Participants leaned about MMF governance, its Program of Métis Research and Knowledge Infrastructure. Other topics included: Métis-specific Programming; Community Wellness Development and MMF’s Integrated Health and Social Resource Centres. 

Métis Nation – Saskatchewan – Métis Addictions Council of Saskatchewan Inc.

Metis Addictions Council of Saskatchewan Inc. (MACSI) participated on the Forum Panel – Mental Health and Addictions. It presented on MACSI Context and Experiences; MACSI’s Mandate and History; Governance, structures and operations; and Strengths and Challenges. Of the conclusions, going forward MACSI will contribute to making MN-S Health a distinctions-based centre of excellence that directly supports health and wellness of its citizens, families and communities. 

Métis Nation – Saskatchewan – Research Governance Framework 

Métis Nation – Saskatchewan (MN-S) shared with Forum participants a presentation entitled “Establishing a Métis-Specific Research Governance Framework within Saskatchewan. It presented on a partnership between: the MN-S; First Nation and Métis Health Services (FNMHS); Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA); First Peoples First Person (FPFP) national research hub; and the Canadian Depression Research and Intervention Network. An overview was presented on MN-S Research and Data Governance Model and its Health Research and Data Governance Framework. 

Métis Nation – Saskatchewan – Helping Our Most Vulnerable Citizens 

The MN-S presented on the Panel – Helping Our Most Vulnerable Citizens. Its insightful presentation included an overview of What We Know including that a percentage of Métis Citizens have a shortened lifespan and that people want: to live independently in their own homes and communities; want access to services close to where they live; want to participate in community life; and want to have a voice. The MN-S recognized innovative partnerships with: Indigenous Health Research Centre; Enhanced Mental Health Services at MACSI; Saskatchewan Health Authority; Canadian Partnership Against Cancer; University of Saskatchewan; and Grassroots governance with Métis locals, members and leaders. 

Métis Nation British Columbia – Mental Health 

Métis Nation British Columbia (MNBC) presented on mental health and addictions and shared a video provided from a gathering of Métis youth from across the province of British Columbia came together to begin a conversation on mental health services. Youth were asked to discuss “the Good, the Bad and the Ugly” about current mental health supports for Youth in BC and arrive at recommendations. Recommendation #1 was extending the age limit to 30. Recommendation #2 was the need for Métis-specific space “under one roof”. Recommendation #3 was for expanded supports in schools and Métis Navigators. Recommendation #4 called for increased access to peer supports. The MNBC acknowledged the support of BC Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions in getting the conversation started. 

Métis Nation of Alberta – Addressing Addictions & Mental Health 

The Métis Nation of Alberta (MNA) presented on MNA’s HEADSTRONG Summit. HEADSTRONG is a national, evidence-based, youth-led anti-stigma initiative created by the Mental Health Commission of Canada. It inspires youth to “Be Brave”, “Reach Out” and “Speak Up” about mental health by supporting youth to reduce stigma and become mental health champions in their communities. The presentation also included Promising Practice and an overview of MNA’s priorities in: Live-In Addictions Treatment Standards Project with the Thunderbird Partnership Foundation; Opioid Crisis Management and Action Plan; and Youth Cultural and Recreation Programs. 

Métis Nation of Alberta – Health Data Systems 

The Métis Nation of Alberta (MNA) Department of Health, Children and Youth presented on Métis-specific Health Research. The presentation included an overview of the MNA’s Information Sharing Agreement with Alberta Health signed in 2010 and Health Reports produced including a report on Health Status of the Métis Population in Alberta and research reports on Cancer and Injuries. Topics included Data Sources, Linkages and Considerations as well Current Research Priorities in the areas of: chronic diseases; Mental Health and Addictions; and Maternal and Perinatal Health. 

Métis Nation of Alberta – Health Determinants 

The Métis Nation of Alberta (MNA) Presented on: Tackling Métis Health Determinants. The MNA and its affiliates have prioritized the improvement of health determinants for Métis people through self-determination by creating organizations and programming for: Housing; Early Childhood; Education; Employment; Access to Health Services; and Social Safety and Culture. 

Métis Nation of Ontario – Mental Health & Addictions 

The Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) presented on its Mental Health and Addictions Program. Included in the presentation was an overview of: MNO’s Philosophy of Mental Health; Goals of the Program; Spectrum of Mental Health and Addiction Services available at the MNO; the MNO Youth Engagement Tool; and its Gaming-Gambling Awareness Program (GGAP). 

Métis National Council – Métis Health Engagement 

The Métis National Council presented on the Panel “Métis Nation Engagement: Collaborating for Success, Achieving Better Métis Nation Health Outcomes”. Included in the presentation was Strategic Health Sector Areas. Engagement Considerations include: How the research or initiative addresses Métis health priorities; How deep is Métis leadership and community engagement; How Métis governance structures are engaged in consultations; and Who owns the data. 

Public Health Agency of Canada – Dementia Strategy for Canada 

The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) presented on “Implementing a Dementia Strategy for Canada”. Part of the presentation outlined what PHAC has heard thus far in an Indigenous context. It has heard that knowledge, research and service gaps exist for Indigenous peoples. It also outlined next steps: the dementia strategy is expected to be release in Spring 2019; PHAC will develop an implementation plan during Summer/Fall 2019; and PHAC will report on the strategy annually, beginning in June 2019.