Where will the health and wellness governance process take us?
Sep 22, 2020
In the context of such a large-scale process taking place over several years, it is natural to wonder what the results will be. What will change from the current situation? What can we expect in terms of impacts? To answer these questions and better understand what the situation is, we need to take another look at the collective motivations that are the basis of the health and wellness governance process.
A structure that does not work
The First Nations in Quebec have long observed that the current health and social services system does not adequately respond to the realities and needs of their populations.
According to the current mode of operation, responsibilities and decision-making power are shared between different government bodies, granting very little power to First Nations in the planning and delivery of health and social services, as well as in making decisions in the best interests of our populations. Since differences between the laws of Quebec and those of the other provinces of Canada are not taken into account in the development of programs, it is rather national programs with a universal aim that are defined within federal departments and put in place for all First Nations in Canada. The specific and distinct needs of the First Nations and of each community, as well as our cultures, languages, values and holistic vision of well-being are therefore not considered. And yet, because of their knowledge of the issues and needs of their populations, First Nations are in the best position to develop, administer and offer the services intended for them.
”Better governance, exercised by and for First Nations, is essential to the rapid, significant and lasting improvement of the well-being of the population.”
Self-determination and willingness to change
The health and social services governance process was born in 2013 in light of the First Nations’ desire to renew the current governance structure to reclaim and take charge of the responsibilities that had been taken from them, combined with their wish to take collective action to improve the state of overall health and wellness of the communities for the benefit of future generations.
For the past seven years, the work carried out as part of this collective approach has aimed at developing a new model of governance, the structure and operation of which will confer real decision-making power to the First Nations as well as autonomy and freedom to take over and improve their local and collective health and wellness. Being administered by First Nations at the local and regional levels, the programs and services will more adequately meet the needs and realities of their populations.
Local and regional benefits
In addition to redefining relations with the provincial and federal governments based on new foundations, a new model of health and wellness governance will allow for the implementation of a comprehensive and holistic approach to health and wellness, fostering collective mutual aid that places First Nations communities and organizations at the heart of decisions. It also involves being able to set our own priorities, participate in the development of programs and offer services that respect our rights and take into account our cultures, languages, realities and values in order to meet the actual needs of our populations. Once the model has been validated by the communities and organizations that contributed to its development and adopted by the Chiefs of the AFNQL, eight main impacts and changes are targeted:
Recognition of our competencies and our ability to self-govern
- Reappropriation and take-over of responsibilities in health and wellness
- Greater collective powers and increased autonomy at the local level.
Active participation and freedom to act
- Local autonomy in funding management and service delivery
- Mobilization of all local and regional players
Support of local authorities by a regional body
- Strength of numbers and collective approach for the benefit of all First Nations in Quebec
Services that are adapted, better quality and more accessible
- Holistic planning that meets the real and priority needs of the population
- Effective and stable continuum of services
More flexible funding
- Recruitment, hiring, training and retention of qualified and diversified professionals
Valuing of our cultural and traditional practices
- Programs and services that are adapted to our realities, needs, cultures and languages
Greater control over data and information
- Access to the information needed to identify local and regional priorities
- Better overview of the health and wellness needs
Improvement of the overall health and wellness of the population
- Better quality services that are tailored to local and regional realities and needs
- Access to specialized and required services for all First Nations
To learn more about the health and social services governance process and to consult the most recent publications, go to gouvernance.cssspnql.com/en.
Next regional meeting: October 20, 21 and 22, 2020
Community visits: Fall 2020 and winter 2021