Dr. Yvonne Boyer

Research Involves

The research program of the Canada Research Chair in Aboriginal Health and Wellness examines the interaction of law and health in Canada, focusing specifically on the legal-health interface for Aboriginal peoples. This research evaluates existing local, regional, national and international health care policies and guidelines in the context of current and emerging Canadian and international law.

Research Relevance

This research generates a widespread understanding of the holistic nature of health and mental health and the manner in which the law and health and health outcomes are connected and mutually re-enforcing.

First Nations Metis and Inuit Health and the Law- a Study in Health Practices

The health of First Nations, Metis and Inuit is in crisis as evidenced by sky rocketing diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, HIV/Aids, mental health issues and addiction rates. The overall objective of the research is to gather, document and analyze the oral Indigenous knowledge of health care for First Nations, Metis and Inuit. Accordingly, the oral history detailing health practices will provide the basis of the legal analysis of Aboriginal and/or treaty rights to health and health care for First Nations, Metis and Inuit. This analysis has the potential to influence policy, legislation and the laws in Canada in relation to Aboriginal health care and to improve health care status. The overall purpose of the research is to provide a comprehensive base of knowledge that will inform further action leading to positive change in health care for all Canadians.

This research program merges the law and health through an interface driven by the community. This health/legal framework will be implemented through:

  • Studies of historical health practices of Aboriginal communities in Canada;
    Engaging First Nation, Metis and Inuit communities: gathering and documenting oral history at the Centre as well as a mobile unit in their own communities.
  • Studies of the intersect (and legal basis) ) of Aboriginal and treaty rights to health and the exercise of these rights within Canadian law;
    Oral history and the transmission of Indigenous knowledge provide the legal basis for these rights.
  • Contemporary work on the mental health issues in the law and corrections and studying the challenges and issues of mental health in Canadian society.
    Human rights law, Aboriginal, treaty rights and Indigenous laws frame the analysis for new opportunities for providing mental health treatment in federal and provincial institutions.
  • International right to health and evaluations of the Aboriginal right to health in other Commonwealth countries;
    This entails expanding our Canadian work and findings into the international arena through connecting our Elders Health Circles with Elders in New Zealand, Australia, US, and Europe.