The Government of Canada and the Government of the Northwest Territories announce funding to improve the safety and well-being of homeless people in Yellowknife

Ensuring Northerners in vulnerable situations are able to access appropriate health services

November 30, 2017 – Ottawa, Ontario – Health Canada

The Government of Canada recognizes the unique challenges of delivering health care services in the North, and is committed to improving access to the health services available to all Northerners.

Health Canada is working in partnership with the Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) to help improve the lives of those experiencing homelessness in Yellowknife. To support Yellowknife’s Street Outreach Program, Health Canada is pleased to announce that it is investing $200,000 through the Health Services Integration Fund (HSIF). The GNWT is contributing $56,000 from the same HSIF. This is a one-time funding for the 2018 calendar year.

This Program offers vulnerable people in Yellowknife struggling with mental health and addictions and who may also be homeless safe rides to various locations, including shelters, homes and health service providers. It also helps to ensure that the immediate health needs of affected individuals are met, by providing water, food and first aid.

Through HSIF, Health Canada is working with the GNWT, as well as with First Nations and Inuit organizations, to integrate federal and territorial health services and to improve access to those services for First Nations and Inuit. Across Canada, the Government is investing $15.8 million annually through HSIF, and more than 70 projects have been approved in the last four years.


“Our Government believes that all Canadians should have access to quality health services, no matter where they live. Yellowknife’s Street Outreach Program is a great example of how governments can work together to meet the needs of individual communities and to better protect the health and well-being of those most vulnerable.”

The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Health

“The Government of the Northwest Territories is committed to supporting communities in their efforts to find culturally appropriate solutions to community-specific needs. The City of Yellowknife’s Street Outreach Program has served clients by taking them to a safe place where they receive the care they need while reducing the strain at the emergency room. I am pleased that with the addition of new funding, this important program can continue in the 2018 calendar year.”

Glen Abernethy
Minister of Health and Social Services for the Northwest Territories

“This funding announcement will ensure that the City of Yellowknife is able to continue the critical safe ride service provided by the Yellowknife Street Outreach Program. Collaboration between all levels of government is vital to the success of the City’s efforts to ensure the safety of vulnerable and at-risk individuals.”

Mark Heyck
Mayor, City of Yellowknife

“The Arctic Indigenous Wellness Foundation is pleased that this program is getting financial support to continue its operations. We have been involved with the City of Yellowknife on the work in this area and know that the Indigenous homeless population gains great benefits from this program. Our Board is very interested in continuing to support the health and wellness of the homeless population in Yellowknife.”

Nicole Redvers
Arctic Indigenous Wellness Foundation Board Chair

Quick Facts

  • The Street Outreach Program helps provide access to shelter and services for individuals facing mental health and addictions issues and possibly experiencing homelessness, including First Nations and Inuit populations.
  • A national help line is also available for First Nations peoples and Inuit experiencing emotional distress and wanting to talk. The First Nations and Inuit Hope for Wellness Help Line provides immediate, culturally competent, telephone crisis intervention and counselling support 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It can be reached at 1-855-242-3310. This line is in complement to the NWT Help Line which is available 24-7 and can be reached at 1-800-661-0844.
  • Through Budget 2017, the Government of Canada renewed the Territorial Health Investment Fund, which will see $28.4 million invested in the Northwest Territories over the next four years to improve health services and programs.


Thierry Bélair
Office of the Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor
Minister of Health

Charlotte Digness
Media and Communications Coordinator
Cabinet Communications and Protocol
Phone: 867-767-9140  Ext. 11092

Public Inquiries:

Media Relations
Health Canada


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