The Aboriginal Healing and Wellness Strategy (AHWS) is a policy and service initiative that brings together Aboriginal people and the Government of Ontario in a unique partnership to promote health and healing among Aboriginal people. In 1990, Aboriginal organizations and the government ministries that developed this Strategy expressed a commitment to combat the alarming conditions of poor health and family violence that Aboriginal People in Ontario have endured.

The Union of Ontario Indians is one of the nine Aboriginal partners within Aboriginal Healing and Wellness Strategy. In additional to the participating in the policy work that occurs at the Joint Management Committee level, the Union of Ontario Indians administers programs funded by AHWS.


The Union of Ontario Indians (UOI) is one of the nine Aboriginal partners within Aboriginal Healing and Wellness Strategy.  In addition to participating in the policy work that occurs at the Joint Management Committee level, the Union of Ontario Indians administers programs funded by AHWS.  The Union of Ontario Indians respects the autonomy of each First Nation and each program is governed by the First Nation while meeting the program and service requirements as established by AHWS and overseen by the Union of Ontario Indians through the AHWS Community Development Support Worker.  In addition to the programs and services listed below, often there are one-time grant opportunities that arise and the Union of Ontario Indians Health Secretariat strives to ensure that our First Nations have access to and participate in these initiatives.


The Union of Ontario Indians Health Secretariat provides assistance to it member Nations and their respective AHWS programs.  The AHWS Community Development Support Worker provides these services.

  • Assist, advise and support UOI communities as required to ensure participation in community health programs administered by the Union of Ontario Indians;
  • Support the implementation and management of UOI administered community health programs to increase and maintain capacity and competence in program governance, program planning, program development, program management and administration, program evaluation and program design;
  • Provide assistance in preparing accurate/complete documentation for annual submissions/work-plans and year-end reports and other tracking activities;
  • Ensure that funding dollars are flowed to appropriate funded projects;
  • Provide community visits to assist funded projects with reporting and meeting reporting requirements; and,
  • Networking.

In addition to providing support for the AHWS funded programs, the Union of Ontario Indians Health Secretariat also provides the same service for other programs administered by the UOI including the Diabetes Education Program funded by the Ministry of Health and Long-term Care and the Aboriginal Responsible Gambling Program funded by the Ministry of Health Promotion.






The primary responsibilities of these community-based workers are to develop, provide, facilitate and/or co-ordinate a variety of local programming relating to reducing or preventing family and community violence, including community-based family violence awareness and prevention education campaigns or activities in local settings (e.g., schools) or at local community events (e.g., powwows and health fairs).  In addition, some Community Wellness Workers also facilitate or provide:

  • Local co-ordination of existing crisis or “first response” services, including community patrols, search and rescue, suicide prevention/intervention and disaster response, as well as access to required health, policing and social services; and
  • Referrals to/service co-ordination of counselling, legal and/or treatment services for individuals and families experiencing a crisis or trauma, including liaison with non-Aboriginal services to facilitate case management.

There is one Community Wellness Worker in each First Nation within the Anishinabek Nation.


These facilities offer Traditional Aboriginal healing and contemporary approaches to treatment of sexual assault, addictions and family dysfunction, etc.  Options include both residential and outpatient programming.

UOI works in partnership with Kii Kee Wan Nii Kaan (Southwest Regional Healing Lodge), which is located on Munsee Delaware Nation in southern Ontario.  More detailed information regarding their services can be found at


The objective of Aboriginal Healthy Babies/Healthy Children (AHBHC) Program is to improve the long-term health prospects of children aged 0 – 6 years.  The program includes pre-and post-natal screening and assessment, home visiting, service co-ordination and support for service integration.

AHBHC program is voluntary and open to any Aboriginal family that requests the service. Aboriginal families may also access the provincial program via the local public health unit.

Each First Nation within the Anishinabek Nation participates in and/or offers the AHBHC program.  There are projects sites including Dilico Child and Family Services and Mnaamodzawin Health Services.


The Union of Ontario Indians HIV/AIDS Program serves 40 member First Nations in Ontario.  The program currently has one full time educator who serves the 40 member First Nations.  The primary objectives of the HIV/AIDS program are to promote the adoption of healthy behaviors and reduce the spread of HIV.  The educator provides health education activities (such as workshops, presentations, education displays/ booths, health fairs) and training exercises for member First Nations by community invitation.


In 2002, the Union of Ontario Indians received funding from the Ministry of Children and Youth Services to launch a Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Program (FASD). The FASD team consists of four program developer / trainers, who provide service to the 39 member First Nations of the Anishinabek Nation.


As Anishinabe people, we believe that our children are the heart of our nations and the carriers of our dreams and aspirations for the future.  Every child has a gift and is considered sacred.  It is our responsibility to nurture and protect them so that they may fulfill the path laid out for them by the Creator.

The vision for the FASD Program Logo came from our former SE/SW Regional Program Worker: Heather Ireland. She dedicated it to her first grandchild, whose journey along the eastern doorway inspired the dream.


The Role of the FASD Team

  • To increase the general level of awareness and knowledge of First Nation community members about FASD, and to foster community ownership and action around the issue.
  • To equip First Nation front-line workers with the necessary tools to holistically address the issue of FASD at the community level.

What is Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD)?

FASD is a term used to describe a wide range of symptoms and disabilities caused by the drinking of alcohol during pregnancy.

What do I need to know?

  •  When a pregnant woman drinks alcohol, her unborn baby drinks alcohol too.
  • FASD can cause permanent mental and physical damage to a baby.
  • It is not safe to drink any amount of alcohol, at any time during pregnancy.

Alcohol can affect the development of an unborn baby as early as the first week of pregnancy.

What do we offer?

Our unique and culturally based programs are designed to help First Nation communities meet the needs of people whose lives are affected by FASD.

In addition to conducting free workshops, we are also available to assist First Nations in preparing for National FAS Day, participate on various committees, and other FASD related activities.

  • EducationWe provide specialized training and resources to First Nation caregivers, correctional officers, social service workers, educators and community members.
  • Support:  Anishinabek people living with alcohol related birth defects have a right to be treated with Zaagidwin (love) and Mnaadendomowin (respect). We are dedicated to helping our nations to develop the specialized services necessary to meet the needs of those living with FASD.

We have pamphlets resources, videos and facts. We can also supply facilitators and displays for community events as well as training for various groups in First Nation communities.

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