Indigenous Peoples and Health Law and Policy: Responsibilities and Obligations

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



Indigenous peoples, Canada, Health Policy, Self-Governance, Jurisdictional Issues, Critique, Inequity, Accessibility


Much more than the study of laws relevant to the area of medicine, Canadian Health Law and Policy draws together the legal and policy issues that are relevant to human health, and sheds new light on emerging and continuing trends. Written by Canada's leading health law scholars, the fifth edition of this unique work provides expert commentary and analysis on a wide range of emerging health law related issues. It is a vital resource for anyone seeking to understand the developing and critical issues in health law and policy.

State governance of Indigenous health in Canada is burdened by inequitable administrative structures and policy-based arrangements which were born of eras that denied the right of Indigenous peoples to self-govern. Although no longer resting on explicitly racist premises, this governance regime remains only partially aligned with Indigenous understandings of health and well-being. Moreover, no federal entity has assumed responsibility for a national governance structure, nor have the provinces and territories committed to a comprehensive governance structure to foster Indigenous health. The result is a cumbersome series of programs and policies with varying criteria for access, even among Indigenous populations within the same region. Governance of Indigenous health lacks the foundational principles that otherwise underpin health care governance in Canada.