In 2010, the Ontario government worked with its Aboriginal partners to develop a renewed Aboriginal Healing and Wellness Strategy. The renewal included some important changes to:

  • allow greater Aboriginal oversight and control of AHWS programs and services, and
  • strengthen health services for Aboriginal communities.

On September 17, 2010, the government wrote to its Aboriginal partners. The letter sets out the components of the renewed strategy.

Ministers’ letter to Aboriginal partners

September 17, 2010

We are pleased to be able to express our continued support for the renewal of the Aboriginal Healing and Wellness Strategy (AHWS) to ensure the continuation of these important programs and to strengthen the governance and accountability of the Strategy.

We are encouraged by the ongoing commitment of the Aboriginal and government partners to the goals and principles of AHWS for culturally appropriate programming and the ongoing collaboration and dialogue between government and First Nation, Métis, and Inuit leaders and communities to improve the health and healing outcomes of Aboriginal communities.

It is our plan to move to a new overarching framework that reflects the goals and principles of AHWS. We are also pleased to announce that the Ministry of Children and Youth Services will become a partner in the Strategy.

The new overarching framework will mark the next phase for AHWS that will continue to empower First Nations, the Métis, and Inuit to design, deliver, and manage programs for their communities, and reflect new collaborative processes to build our ongoing relationships.

In order to support program stability we will maintain current funding levels for AHWS with annualized funding under a new governance and accountability model.

The government will enter into direct service contracts with the Aboriginal partners and service providers. These contracts will enable each partner organization to design and implement services that address local community priorities, while being accountable for administration and results. Partners may choose to work collaboratively to share learning and to identify common priorities. This will allow greater Aboriginal oversight and control of AHWS programs and services.

To support strengthened primary health care for Aboriginal peoples, the Aboriginal Health Access Centres (AHACs) will have a direct funding and accountability relationship with the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC). We are pleased with the creation and growth of AHACs under AHWS over the past number of years, and this change in administration will ensure they are recognized as important providers of health and healing services to Aboriginal communities and as partners in Ontario’s health care system.

AHAC funding administered under AHWS will now be directly administered by MOHLTC. Other health funding provided to AHACs outside of AHWS, including funding by the Local Health Integration Networks, is not affected by this change.

During the 2010/11 transition to the new model, the Joint Management Committee (JMC) will oversee the operational aspects of AHWS including the funds allocated for the 2010/11 fiscal year. This will ensure that the day-to-day functions of AHWS programs are maintained during the transition. The JMC will wind down operations once this transition is complete. We would like to take this opportunity to thank the JMC members for their hard work overseeing the delivery of quality health care and community services on behalf of First Nation, Métis and Inuit families and communities.

The Aboriginal and government partners will have the opportunity to discuss further details of the transition activities at the next JMC meeting, including the process for establishing recommendations in realigning funding based on Aboriginal and government priorities.

We can all be proud of the impact AHWS has had on improving the health and healing outcomes of Ontario’s Aboriginal communities.

We look forward to continuing to work with First Nation, Métis, and Inuit leaders and communities as we move to the next phase of AHWS and develop new approaches for collaboration to advance our shared goals for community driven programs to improve Aboriginal health and healing.


Madeleine Meilleur
Minister of Community and Social Services

Deb Matthews
Minister of Health and Long-Term Care

Chris Bentley
Minister of Aboriginal Affairs

Laurel Broten
Minister Responsible for Women`s Issues
Minister of Children and Youth Services

c: Joint Management Committee