Registed Nurses' Association of Ontario


RNAO and Indigenous health

RNAO works collaboratively with provincial and national Indigenous groups, Indigenous organizations, Indigenous-focused Best Practice Spotlight Organizations (BPSO) and the Indigenous Nurses and Allies Interest Group (INAIG) to guide a meaningful and impactful Indigenous Health Program. 

The Indigenous Heath Program is primarily responsive to the priorities of Indigenous partners and communities and nurses who work with Indigenous peoples across Ontario.  This collective work is being co-created with Indigenous partners and RNAO staff, RNAO members and INAIG from across the association. This work involves advocating for addressing the Indigenous determinants of health, Indigenous wellness, the preservation of Indigenous languages, cultures, land, communities, and ultimately Indigenous health-care transformation.

From a practice perspective, a highlight of the Indigenous Health Program includes delivering Indigenous-focused webinars in collaboration with Nishnawbe Aski Nation, Chiefs of Ontario, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health Shkaabe Makwa, Canadian Indigenous Nurses Association, Ontario First Nations Young Peoples Council, Sioux Lookout First Nations Health Authority and Indigenous Services Canada. These webinars highlight the invaluable knowledge of elders, knowledge helpers and traditional healers. Past webinars are available to watch online.

RNAO also collaborates with five Indigenous-led organizations from across Ontario and an Indigenous community to create a tailored BPSO program that honours Indigenous ways of knowing and supports holistic, community wellness. The inaugural Indigenous-focused BPSOs have a common goal to support the quality of life of Indigenous individuals and communities where health-care providers work and live. 

The first Indigenous-focused RNAO best practice guideline (BPG) titled “Promoting Smoking Reduction and Cessation with Indigenous Peoples of Reproductive Age and their Communities” will be published in early 2022. This BPG offers nurses and the circle of care, evidence-based guidance on culturally safe and meaningful ways to promote smoking reduction and cessation with Indigenous peoples of reproductive age, their support networks and their communities. 

RNAO will continue to build the Indigenous Health Program in partnership with provincial and national Indigenous groups and organizations as a means to demonstrate its commitment to reconciliation and the inherent rights of Indigenous peoples. For a more comprehensive review of the Indigenous Health Program, please view the RNAO’s in focus webpage.
For more information on the Indigenous Health Program please contact project coordinator Tanya Costa at

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