The second phase of Tripartite Forum research into the availability of disability programs and services for First Nations living on reserve is underway in Nova Scotia. Seniors, parents, caregivers and individuals living with disabling conditions are taking part in local community meetings to discuss their experiences accessing needed services. Health, social and education staff are contributing their perspectives on home and respite care, support services for families and long term planning needs in communities.

Participants from seven Bands have voiced concern about getting services when they need them. Waiting lists for such services as speech and language therapy, assessments and appropriate housing can be long and discouraging. Respite care for family members and caregivers is rarely available and nonexistent for parents of children with special needs.

Community members have praised Health Centre staff for their work and constant support and suggested better working conditions for health caregivers as a top priority. Local meetings are scheduled to continue in the New Year in six more communities.

The third stage of the research will take place in February and March when large gatherings are planned to turn the results of the community meetings into recommendations for action to the Mi’kmaq-Nova Scotia-Canada Tripartite Forum. Cape Breton communities will meet at the end of February and Mainland communities at the beginning of March. Support for travel and accommodation is available for persons with disabilities and their caregivers. For more information contact The Confederacy of Mainland Mi’kmaq Health Liaison at (902) 895-6385 or

“Identifying Critical Pathways of Access to provincially and federally Funded Disability Programs and Services for First Nations Living on Reserve in Nova Scotia” is a province wide project sponsored by the Mi’kmaq-Nova Scotia-Canada Tripartite Forum.

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