Changes to Non-Insured Health Benefits

YELLOWKNIFE (April 18, 2017) – In response to Health Canada’s recent announcement that expecting mothers covered by the Federal NIHB program who have to travel outside of their home community to give birth will now be supported by one non-medical escort, the Department of Health and Social Services will extend this benefit to residents eligible under the Metis Health Benefits Policy and to non-indigenous mothers also. 

Effective today, expecting mothers covered under the NIHB program, the Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) Metis Health Benefits Policy, and the GNWT Medical Travel Policy will be eligible to access this new benefit.

Health Canada has not yet clarified the guidelines that will be put in place for the NIHB benefit, but in consultation with Health Canada the GNWT will implement an interim measure that provides for a non-medical escort for expectant mothers 14 days prior to their due date.  The Minister of Health and Social Services has provided an exception to the Medical Travel Escort Criteria Policy to mirror this benefit.  This Policy and the NIHB guidelines will be updated once Health Canada provides final direction.


“We support expectant mothers and their escorts.  By updating our Policies, we will help new moms and escorts in the NWT with a positive birthing experience”
-Glen Abernethy, Minister of Health and Social Services

Quick Facts

  • The Non-Insured Health Benefits (NIHB) Program is a national program that provides coverage to eligible registered First Nations and recognized Inuit with a limited range of medically necessary health-related goods and services not provided through private or provincial/territorial health insurance plans.  The Government of the Northwest Territories administers the NIHB program in the NWT, on behalf of Health Canada, through a contractual arrangement
  • NWT residents may access medical travel through many different benefit programs. Some are accessed through GNWT programs, while others are accessed through employers and private insurance.

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Media inquiries:

Charlotte Digness
Media and Communications
Government of the Northwest Territories
Ph: 867-767-9140 ext. 11092