Chief Doug Kelly, the chairman of British Columbia's First Nations Health Authority, says the agreement was signed two years ago and the transfer took effect at the beginning of the month.
The agreement — the first of its kind in Canada — allows B.C. aboriginal bands to incorporate cultural and traditional knowledge into health care programs and services including community programs and addictions treatment.
B.C. Health Minister Terry Lake says First Nations in B.C. have lower life expectancy, higher rates of disease and lower overall health outcomes than non-aboriginal residents — and that needs to change.
The province's First Nations health authority now has control over programs and services for indigenous residents previously delivered by Health Canada.
Federal Health Minister Rona Ambrose says the change was driven by aboriginal leaders and marks the beginning of a new era for B.C. First Nations.
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