What is HCOM?
Health Co-Management is a structure unique to Alberta based on a bilateral agreement between First Nations and the First Nations and Inuit Health Branch (FNIHB) supporting information sharing and joint decision making on First Nations health programs and services in Alberta. Of all of the provinces and territories, Alberta has a unique structure where First Nations and the federal government have an opportunity to work together to make decisions on funding and programs to improve the health of First Nations in Alberta.
Health Co-Management receives its mandate from the Treaty Chiefs in Alberta and is accountable to the Assembly of Treaty Chiefs. Representatives from First Nations work with the Government of Canada through the Health Co-Management Committee and Subcommittees.
Committees are comprised of two representatives from each Treaty area as well as two from FNIHB. FNIHB, Treaty 6, 7, and 8 have one vote each. Most HCoM decisions are made by consensus, which reflects traditional decision-making processes. Subcommittees meet quarterly to discuss business relating to health programs operations and funding. Decisions are made collaboratively with a province-wide lens. Member First Nations have the ability to vote on federal funding and programs, and Health Co-Management gives First Nations in Alberta a vehicle to be at the decision-making table.
Whether you are a community member, a health expert, or leadership, health is the foundation to a good life, and having a say empowers First Nations in Alberta to take the lead in our own health.
The HCOM Structure
The Health Co-Management Committee is comprised of two Chiefs from Treaty 6, 7, and 8, as well as two representatives from First Nations and Inuit Health Branch (FNIHB). The Treaty areas and FNIHB each have one vote. There is one FNIHB co-chair and one First Nations co-chair. Health Co-Management is accountable to the Assembly of Treaty Chiefs, i.e. the signatories of the agreement.
The Co-Management Committee oversees six subcommittees: Children and Youth, Health Protection, Mental Health and Addictions, Non-Insured Health Benefits, Ops and Support, and Prevention Programs. Modelled after the Co-Management Committee’s structure, each subcommittee also has eight representatives and has one FNIHB co-chair and one First Nations co-chair, who is appointed by the representatives. The voting structure is the same as HCoM.
Although the Health Co-Management Secretariat is part of Treaty 8 First Nations of Alberta, we support the HCoM process for all First Nations in Alberta. Part of our role is Prepare, coordinate, and support the work of Health Co-Management Committee and sub-committees, including briefing notes, minutes, support strategic planning, coordination of meetings & conferences, and facilitating information sessions with First Nations when necessary. We are also responsible for the development, implementation and maintenance of an effective communication framework for HCoM that is respectful of all partners and stakeholders.
The team at Treaty 8 has compiled the following PDF document that explains in detail the entirety of our HCOM structure as well as various procedures, processes and safety regulations we adhere to as a health department.