News release

Province Signs Historic Health Agreement with Mi'kmaq

Province Signs Historic Health Agreement with Mi'kmaq


The province and Mi'kmaq leaders of Unama'ki (Cape Breton) are working together to improve health care for first nations people on the island.

Health and Wellness Minister Maureen MacDonald joined the Mi'kmaq Chiefs from Cape Breton, today, June 15, to sign the Unama'ki Client Registry Data Sharing Agreement.

This registry will provide Cape Breton's First Nations with a better understanding of patterns of disease and injury, and their use of health services. This will provide them with access to timely, reliable and accurate population health status information.

"An agreement like this is unprecedented in Canada, and speaks to our strong commitment to improving the health of First Nations individuals in Cape Breton and across the province," said Ms. MacDonald. "We are committed to providing better health care to all Nova Scotians and their families, and this agreement will ensure that the programs and services provided to the Mi'kmaq are meeting their needs."

The Unama'ki Client Registry will create a list of health card numbers that will link data from Indian and Northern Affairs Canada’s Indian Registry System with data from the MSI Health Card Number Registry, while protecting privacy. This will provide information from doctor or hospital visits, pregnancies, births, cancers and other health conditions that affect Cape Breton Mi'kmaq people. This information will be used in the planning of health promotion, disease prevention and treatment programs for the Mi'kmaq people in Cape Breton.

"This is a significant achievement and an important step forward in enhancing our capacity to meet the health needs of our community members," said Chief Denny. "We'll now have the right tools to focus on our specific needs and better use our available resources."

Since 2008, the Tui'kn partnership, a health partnership of the five Cape Breton bands, has been working closely with the province, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, Dalhousie University, Medavie Blue Cross, Health Canada and the Public Health Agency to create the registry. Health Canada, through its Aboriginal Health Transition Fund, provided more than $430,000 over three years, and the Public Health Agency of Canada, through its Enhanced Surveillance for Chronic Disease Program, has provided almost $200,000 over two years to fund the registry.

"The government of Canada is pleased to be working with the province of Nova Scotia and Unama'ki First Nations to enhance sharing of health information among communities, health authorities and government," said Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health. "This important data sharing agreement will lead to greater access to health information and towards improved health outcomes for First Nations.

The registry is active and organizations such Cancer Care Nova Scotia, Reproductive Care Program of Nova Scotia, Cardiovascular Health Nova Scotia and the Population Health Research Unit at Dalhousie University are producing reports for the Tui'kn partnership to help plan the future health care of the Mi'kmaq in Cape Breton.

FOR BROADCAST USE:

The province will sign an historical agreement with the Mi'kmaq of Cape Breton, today, (June 15th), that will work to improve health care for Cape Breton Mi'kmaq communities.

Health and Wellness Minister Maureen MacDonald and the five Mi'kmaq Chiefs from Cape Breton signed the data sharing agreement.

The registry will help the Mi'kmaq better understand patterns of disease and injury, and their use of health services.

This will help them better plan and advocate for their health care needs.

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Media Contacts:

Chrissy Matheson
Health and Wellness 902-424-3976 E-Mail:
Jacqueline Van Amburg
Office of Aboriginal Affairs 902-233-7685 E-Mail: