Health Canada-Indian And Northern Affairs Canada Joint-Action Plan: Pandemic Planning And Preparedness - Management Of H1N1 Activities In On-Reserve First Nations Communities
This Joint-Action Plan applies to H1N1 flu virus emergencies that have the potential to threaten the health and safety of First Nations on reserve. Health Canada and Indian and Northern Affairs Canada will work collaboratively to implement this Joint-Action Plan nationally and at the regional level to ensure an integrated approach and clearly defined operating procedures for managing and coordinating H1N1 activities in First Nations communities.
The Joint-Action Plan highlights the roles and responsibilities of both departments during a pandemic with respect to First Nations on-reserve. It captures the main points of interdepartmental collaboration and is not meant to cover the wide range of preparedness and response activities occurring within each department that relate to H1N1, or the Government of Canada's response more broadly. It is recognized that other partners such as the Public Health Agency of Canada, Public Safety Canada and the provinces and territories have roles to play in the advancement of some of the activities contained in the Joint-Action Plan. The Joint-Action Plan is an ‘evergreen' document that will be adjusted according to work underway.
The Joint-Action Plan will ensure that each organization provides support in its areas of expertise and mandate to the other, including coordinated advice on issues of common interest.
The purpose of this plan is to provide a collaborative framework between Health Canada's First Nations and Inuit Health Branch and Indian and Northern Affairs Canada for activities related to H1N1 in on-reserve First Nations communities as they fulfill their roles and responsibilities under Annex B of the Canadian Pandemic Influenza Plan for the Health Sector.
The Joint-Action Plan will target key areas of pandemic preparedness and response, including:
- clearly defining the roles and responsibilities between Health Canada and Indian and Northern Affairs Canada in the event of a pandemic; and
- enhancing effective collaboration at all levels to ensure that Health Canada and Indian and Northern Affairs Canada are kept fully informed and each organization provides support in its areas of expertise and mandate to the other, including coordinated advice on issues of common interest.
More specifically, the parties continue to collaborate on the following seven points of action related to preparation and response activities:
- Collaboration and Memorandum of Understanding;
- Enhanced internal and external communications;
- Standardized water accessibility;
- First Nations pandemic and emergency management planning;
- Enhanced capacity and capabilities;
- Surge capacity and business continuity; and
- Transportation and personnel in First Nations communities.
Action Item 1: Collaboration and Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)
Expected Outcome: Comprehensive and well coordinated collaboration at all levels throughout both organizations
- Roles and responsibilities for pandemic planning, preparedness and response for each organization clearly articulated through: 1) a Joint Action Plan and 2) a signed Memorandum of Understanding
- Task Group established to oversee implementation of Joint Action Plan
- INAC is an active member of the Health Canada chaired Remote & Isolated Working Group along with provinces, AFN, ITK
- Weekly meetings between Health Canada and Indian and Northern Affairs Canada senior executives
- Development of detailed First Nations community data for improved issues management and informed decision making within and between organizations
Action Item 2: Enhanced Internal and External Communications
Expected OutcomeConsistent messaging and information from the Government of Canada to First Nations communities on pandemic planning and response efforts.
- Communications protocol established to ensure timely flow of communications and rapid response to issues
- Development of an Indian and Northern Affairs Canada and Health Canada joint communications strategy for the purpose of delivering messages to First Nations and Inuit communities and the public
- Development of culturally appropriate H1N1 public information (e.g. posters displaying First Nations people carrying out prevention measures like hand washing)
Action Item 3: Standardized Water Accessibility
Expected Outcome: INAC and HC collaborating with First Nations communities to ensure all First Nations have access to water and other measures for public health purposes
- Development by Health Canada of guidance on the quantity of water required per person per day, for effective hand washing and other public health measures for Indian and Northern Affairs Canada's review and consensus
- Production of a data report summarizing the supply of potable water and the types of water distribution systems in First Nations which will assist the organizations in identifying and then collaborating with those First Nations communities requiring enhanced access to water or other measures for effective hand washing and other public health purposes
- Development by Health Canada of policy guidance regarding public health measures such as hand sanitization. INAC to review implications of this policy statement and develop action plan should it be required
Action Item 4: First Nations Pandemic Plans and Emergency Management
Expected Outcome: All First Nations have Pandemic Plans in place by fall 2009
- Review the status of community emergency management plans and identify gaps to be filled
- Review the status of community pandemic plans and identify gaps to be filled
- Strategically target support to First Nations communities with no pandemic or emergency management plan in place as a first priority
- Collaborate with First Nations more broadly to complete both a pandemic and emergency management plan through one on one interventions, workshops, regional meetings etc.
Action Item 5: Enhanced Capacity and Capabilities
Expected Outcome: Storage space requirements identified and First Nations Communities able to respond to outbreaks due to pre-positioned supplies
- Parameters for storage facilities needed in First Nations communities articulated
- Storage sites identified and supplies prepositioned in consultation with First Nations communities
- Storage requirements (size, amount being stored, temperature, security, etc.) for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) identified
Action Item 6: Surge Capacity and Business Continuity
Expected Outcome: Health Canada and Indian and Northern Affairs Canada have plans in place to ensure minimum disruptions in departmental services during an outbreak, enhanced capacity to jointly respond to issues, and clear roles and responsibilities with respect to the provision of essential services in First Nations communities
- Surge capacity plans are developed that detail how each department would support their own activities
- The plans will consider requirements at the various levels (i.e., HQ, regions, interdepartmentally)
- Clarification of roles and responsibilities with respect to business continuity at the community level will be shared
Action Item 7: Transportation and Personnel in First Nations Communities
Expected Outcome: Enhanced federal capacity to respond to community-based events through the deployment of personnel and the coordination of transportation/delivery into First Nations communities
- INAC is identifying employees that can be quickly deployed to assist FNIHB and territorial governments as requested in the event of mass immunization clinics or significant outbreaks
- Air charters and / or other means of transportation or delivery into First Nations communities are being coordinated to maximize effectiveness