FASD & the Justice System

Access to service delivery

In much of Canada, access to FASD health services is limited - but in Indigenous communities, access to FASD health service delivery is especially problematic. There are no multi-disciplinary diagnostic FASD teams anywhere in Nunavut and only limited access to diagnostic services in the Northwest Territories, despite the fact that team diagnosis is recommended by Health Canada and the Canadian Guidelines for Diagnosis. A report on Inuit public health notes.

FASD has been identified as a pressing health issue facing Inuit communities. Interviews with representatives from each of the northern regions identified FASD as one of the major issues they were concerned about in their region.

There also may be some health service inequalities among different Indigenous communities. For example, service providers in Inuit communities reported that their communities receive a disproportionately lower portion of FASD Federal funding than other Indigenous groups in Canada. This report also noted the general lack of Inuit-specific planning, programming, and resources for FASD specific activities. 

Across regions in Canada, the following deficits have been identified in regard to FASD health service delivery in First Nations and Inuit communities:

  • Lack of diagnosis
  • Lack of follow-up and coordination following diagnosis
  • Lack of intervention and family support services after diagnosis to assist diagnosed individuals and their families
  • Lack of alcohol counselling and harm reduction services for women
  • Lack of training of health professionals and lack of health staff in the communities
  • Lack of staff training for community members to assist them in implementing FASD-related programs and services
  • Lack of services and staff for FASD-affected offenders in corrections including adult diagnosis
  • Lack of culturally specific FASD strategy and approach to diagnosis, prevention and intervention”