Indigenous peoples make up a large part of the population in Canada’s territories. The Indigenous community are among the highest-risk populations for diabetes and associated complications. Early screening and prevention strategies are crucial for this community as well as all other Canadians living in the territories. All of Canada’s territories have educational programs and supports that are aimed at helping those diagnosed with diabetes and those who are at a high risk of being diagnosed. 

Yukon

6.4% of Yukon’s population has diabetes. To support its residents, Yukon has programs in place to educate and assist those living with diabetes.

 

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Offerings

The Diabetes Education Centre provides services to adults throughout Yukon. This centre offers outpatient appointments and group sessions that provide support with the following:

  • Type 1 diabetes
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Gestational diabetes
  • pre-diabetes
  • impaired fasting glucose

Members of the community have the option of connecting with the Diabetes Education Centre through Telehealth if they are unable to attend in person. A referral from a doctor or healthcare professional is required.

The Yukon Diabetes Resources Guide is an educational resource available online. While it does not replace a doctor’s assessment or visit, it does provide information and insight into some of the things to consider when managing diabetes.

The Yukon Government also offers a Chronic Conditions Support Program (CCSP) that provides chronic care and self-management support to those living with a chronic condition, including diabetes. Several services are offered through the program, including:

  • Supervised exercise
  • Chronic disease self-management workshops
  • Diabetes Wellness Series

 

Financial Assistance

The Yukon Government recently decided to continue providing funding for continuous glucose monitoring for all Yukoners with Type 1 Diabetes from ages 2 to 18. 

A pilot program for Yukoners with Type 1 diabetes was established in 2018. This program provided participants up to the age of 25 with access to funded continuous glucose monitors (CGM) for a period of two years. At the end of the pilot, the program reported that participants were better able to manage their condition, improve their quality of life, and reduce their financial burden while on the program.

Participants of the pilot who are between the ages of 19 and 25 may continue to use the program until they turn 26. The government is currently reviewing options that will support those older than 25 years of age.

Yukon’s Chronic Disease Program provides financial assistance for prescription medication, medical supplies, and other resources for the management of a medical condition where these supplies are medically required, including diabetes. 

 

Northwest Territories

An estimated 5-6% of NWT’s population has diabetes. Various health and education programs are offered in NWT to help those diagnosed and those at risk of being diagnosed with diabetes.

 

Offerings

The NWT Community Health Nursing Chronic Care Program is offered to individuals living with diabetes. This program is offered in all community health centres within the territory. A doctor or a nurse practitioner follows residents with diabetes to ensure medication and disease activity is monitored. 

The Health and Social Services Authority in NWT offers services to support its residents living with diabetes. These services include:

  • Diabetes education
  • Health promotion
  • Nutrition

 

Financial Assistance

The Métis Health Benefits Program provides registered Indigenous Métis residents with a wide range of benefits that are not covered by the hospital or medical care insurance. This health benefits program offers participants with various types of coverage, including prescription medication, vision care, dental care, etc. Diabetic supplies, including blood testing strips and injection supplies, are also covered under this program. Medical travel expenses, including meals, accommodations and ambulance services, are also covered under this program.

The Extended Health Benefits for Specified Disease Conditions Program provides non-Aboriginal and Métis residents of NWT with coverage for certain benefits that are not covered by the hospital or medical care insurance. Eligible prescription medication, supplies and equipment, including diabetes supplies, are covered under this program. Expenses like medical travel expenses like meals and accommodations may also be included. 

 

Nunavut

The territory of Nunavut has the largest landmass in Canada. According to the Office of the Auditor General of Canada, the size of the region, the distribution of its small population, and its reliance on air transportation make it a difficult place to deliver healthcare services. 

 

Offerings

The Aboriginal Diabetes Initiative (ADI) project gives money to community programs that promote the management and prevention of diabetes. These programs help address diabetes by providing more insight into the disease, how to prevent it, and how to stay healthy if you are diagnosed with the condition. 

One of the programs supported by the Aboriginal Diabetes Initiative is Inuusiqartiarniup Aqqutaa, which loosely translates to “pathways to a healthy life.” This program is focused on the prevention of diabetes and the promotion of healthy lifestyle habits and choices. Some of the physical fitness activities hosted by this program include:

  • Recreation drop-ins
  • Traditional games
  • Igloo building
  • Dog sledding
  • Health and fitness workshops
  • Land trips

 

Financial Assistance

Nunavut Family Services-Social Assistance (SA) is a “last resort” program that assists residents of Nunavut who are unable to meet their basic life needs for various reasons, including illness and disability. Residents of Nunavut who are 18 years of age or older may apply. 

The Income Security Program managed through the government’s Education, Culture and Employment sector supports residents who require short or long-term assistance to meet their needs.

There may be additional programs and supports available in each of these territories, as the above list is not exhaustive. Check with your local government if you have questions about available programs or financial assistance.

People living with diabetes in Canada may qualify for the Disability Tax Credit (DTC). The DTC offers tax credits and deductions for people with disabilities, their supporting family members, and their caregivers. A form completed by both yourself and your doctor or medical professional is required. Speak with your doctor or healthcare professional for assistance.

 

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