Approaches to Community Wellbeing


The Anishinabe Health Plan (2006) identified the need for more attention to be placed on services that prevent sickness and promote healthy living. In 2010, the Sioux Lookout area Chiefs mandated Sioux Lookout First Nations Health Authority (SLFNHA) to develop a public health system for the First Nation communities we serve (Resolution 10-06). 

SLFNHA received funding from the Health Services Integration Fund (HSIF) of Health Canada to develop a model for a public health services. Funding began in August 2012 and ended March 31, 2015. A draft model was developed, which was branded Approaches to Community Wellbeing. The model was developed through community engagement processes, and with the help of a Public Health Working Group (made up of representatives from First Nations and Inuit Health Branch, Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, Thunder Bay District Health Unit, Northwestern Health Unit, Matawa First Nations Management, Keewaytinook Okimakanak Tribal Council, and First Nations community representatives).  

In February 2015, the Sioux Lookout area Chiefs approved the Approaches to Community Wellbeing Model (Resolution 15-03) and transition plan (Resolution 15-04) and directed SLFNHA to return to the Chiefs by March 2017 with an implementation plan.

Project Goals

  • Improve community wellbeing service delivery through the integration and coordination of existing federal and provincial community wellbeing services under a First Nation governance model.
    • Implement a culturally appropriate Approaches to Community Wellbeing that supports a best practice approach to community wellbeing service delivery within the region.
    • Develop systems for communication, collaboration and partnership between all community wellbeing service providers and their respective agencies to increase access, improve service quality, and monitor service delivery and client health outcomes.
    • Increase access to community wellbeing services inclusive of: population health assessment, health surveillance, health promotion, disease and injury prevention, and health protection.
    • Increase the capacity of First Nations communities to design, deliver and evaluate public health care services through investment in workforce training and development.
  • Improve the health status of First Nations in northwestern Ontario.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is community wellbeing?

Community wellbeing, or public health, refers to measures used to prevent disease, promote health, and prolong life. It does not include the treatment of diseases or illnesses. Community wellbeing looks at populations as a whole, instead of individuals, to create systems/conditions that allow people to be healthy. 

Most people think of immunizations when referring to community wellbeing, but other services include environmental health (safe water, food safety), health protection (needle exchange programs, sexually transmitted infections prevention), and health promotion (chronic disease prevention and injury prevention).

Why is SLFNHA developing the Approaches to Community Wellbeing?

Access to community wellbeing services on First Nations has been identified as a gap in the Anishinabe Health Plan (2006). It’s clear that health services in our communities focus on the treatment of diseases and illnesses. To work towards health prevention and promotion, the Sioux Lookout area Chiefs mandated SLFNHA to develop a regional community wellbeing system (Resolution 10-06).

What is the goal of SLFNHA’s Community Wellbeing Project?

To transition resources to the Approaches to Community Wellbeing, build capacity at the regional level to support the Approaches to Community Wellbeing, and support communities in adapting the model to fit their unique needs in the community.  During this time, the project will be planning for full implementation. By March 2017, an implementation plan will be provided to the Chiefs for approval. 

How will community priorities and needs be included in the Approaches to Community Wellbeing?

The Community Wellbeing Project Team has involved community health directors and health service providers during the development stage to ensure community perspectives are heard and included. We’ve done this at health director conferences, roundtables, various interviews, community visits and through First Nation representation on the former Public Health Working Group.  We will continue to do this through the new Approaches to Community Wellbeing Working Group, and the information and ideas gathered will help guide a public health system that will be responsive to community priorities.

Who will manage and govern the Approaches to Community Wellbeing?

First Nations in the Sioux Lookout area will provide governance of the Approaches to Community Wellbeing. By working with various partners, SLFNHA will manage and deliver the Approaches to Community Wellbeing.

What is the Approaches to Community Wellbeing Working Group?

The Approaches to Community Wellbeing Working Group is made up of representatives from Tribal Councils (Shibogama First Nations Council, Windigo First Nations Council, Independent First Nations Alliance, Keewaytinook Okimakanak, Matawa First Nations Management), Paawidigong First Nations Forum, and Independent Communities (Saugeen, Sandy Lake, and Mishkeegogamang).  The purpose of the group is to assist the SLFNHA Community Wellbeing Project team in planning and decision-making associated with the transition and implementation period. The term of service is two years and meetings are monthly. The group will also serve as a liaison between SLFNHA and their respective communities. This will help communities adapt the model to fit their needs and prepare for transitioning into the new model.


What is the Negotiations Table?

The Negotiations Table is made up of representatives from Thunder Bay District Health Unit, Northwestern Health Unit, Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care, Northwest LHIN, Health Canada, Chiefs Committee on Health, and SLFNHA. Ex-officio members include other SLFNHA staff, two members of the Approaches to Community Working Group, and an Elder. The term of service for the Negotiations Table is two years and meetings are held quarterly. The purpose of the group is to develop agreements to support the transition of services and resources into the new model. They will also assist in legislative concerns, and developing guidelines or standards of practice.

What does the model look like?

View the following links for more information about the model: