Barriers to Accessing Traditional Healer Travel Funding from Off-Reserve


  • Michael Hankard University of Sudbury


Since the 1990s, medical transportation funding has been available to First Nations people with official Indian
status for accessing traditional healers through Health Canada’s Non-Insured Health Benefits program.
However, for those living off-reserve in northeastern Ontario actually obtaining this funding is far more
challenging in practice than in policy. This article identifies health policy disjunctures that present themselves as
barriers to accessing Non-Insured Health Benefits travel funding from off-reserve to see traditional healers. My
article argues that hidden social, financial, religious and geographic barriers severely impede off-reserve access
to medical transportation funding that is used to access traditional healers. The purpose of my article is to make
visible these hidden barriers and to encourage a dialogue surrounding issues of off-reserve health inequality,
differential access and class-based access to the Non-Insured Health Benefits program. These findings are from
my study entitled “Accessing Traditional Healer Travel Funding: It’s Not “The Same for Everybody” (2012).


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