RNAO and the Indigenous Primary Health Care Council sign relationship agreement

May 16, 2024

A new partnership between the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) and the Indigenous Primary Health Care Council (IPHCC) aims to build a reciprocal relationship that fosters Indigenous representation at decision-making tables within RNAO to guide the association’s work towards truth and reconciliation. 

On May 16, RNAO signed a relationship agreement with IPHCC that will introduce a Knowledge Keeper as a member of RNAO’s board of directors (BOD) to provide an Indigenous perspective to RNAO’s governance work. “We are honoured to welcome a Knowledge Keeper to the board of directors,” says RNAO’s President Dr. Claudette Holloway, adding that “we will learn from their wisdom and teachings, how to walk in a good way towards healing, reconciliation and ensuring a safe space for Indigenous voices, including Indigenous nurses.”

For the past decade RNAO has been working collaboratively with provincial and national Indigenous groups, organizations, and Best Practice Spotlight Organizations® (BPSO®) to guide its Indigenous Health Program. In early 2022, RNAO published its first Indigenous-focused best practice guideline Promoting Smoking Reduction and Cessation with Indigenous Peoples of Reproductive Age and Their Communities. The BPG was developed by a panel of Indigenous and non-Indigenous members with expertise and experiences in perinatal smoking cessation in Indigenous communities. It offers evidence-based guidance on culturally safer and effective ways for nurses and circles of care to support smoking reduction and cessation among Indigenous Peoples of reproductive age, their support networks and communities to improve health and wellness.

“RNAO recognizes and respects First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Peoples’ rights to self-determination, including self-governance. With this agreement, we will work with IPHCC to develop joint initiatives that will help advance Indigenous health priorities and address the negative impact of colonialism on Indigenous Peoples’ health and wellbeing,” says RNAO CEO Dr. Doris Grinspun.

“The IPHCC is pleased to have established this relationship with RNAO. We look forward to some exciting work together and especially for the opportunity to provide an Indigenous lens to the exemplary work RNAO has been doing for nurses and with their best practice guidelines. Also, by contributing to their governance and decision-making we believe this a great step to putting Indigenous health in Indigenous hands,” says IPHCC CEO Caroline Lidstone-Jones.

The Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) is the professional association representing registered nurses, nurse practitioners and nursing students in Ontario. Since 1925, RNAO has advocated for healthy public policy, promoted excellence in nursing practice, increased nurses’ contribution to shaping the health system, and influenced decisions that affect nurses and the public we serve. For more information about RNAO, visit or follow us on X (formerly Twitter)FacebookInstagram and LinkedIn.

The Indigenous Primary Health Care Council (IPHCC) is an Indigenous governed, culture-based, and Indigenous-informed organization. Its key mandate is to support the advancement and evolution of Indigenous primary health care services throughout Ontario. It works with 21 Indigenous primary health care organizations (IPHCOs) across Ontario including Aboriginal Health Access Centres (AHACs), Indigenous Interprofessional Primary Care Teams (IPCTs), Indigenous Community Health Centres (ICHCs) and Indigenous Family Health Teams (IFHTs) to address the physical, spiritual, emotional, and mental wellbeing of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis (FNIM) peoples and communities being served.

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Contact info

Victoria Alarcon
Communications Officer/Writer
Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario (RNAO)
Marlon Cole
Director of communications