VICTORIA, March 11, 2020 – Yesterday, Inter Tribal Services Association (ITSA) – formerly the InterTribal Health Authority (ITHA) – filed a notice of application in the Supreme Court of British Columbia for a summary trial of its breach of contract claims. The Notice of Civil Claim demands that the First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) adequately compensate the organization for damages caused by the termination of funding agreements with ITHA in March 2019.
Through the summary trial application, ITHA is seeking declarations that FNHA breached their duties good faith and honest performance and committed multiple breaches of the funding agreements.
ITHA is seeking both general and punitive damages for breach of contract, interest, and costs. The termination of the agreements deprived ITHA and its member First Nations communities of the fundamental benefits of expected health services to their citizens. In addition, the termination caused significant damages to ITHA, including but not limited to, severance obligations to employees, lease and contractual termination, loss of members and access to provincial and third-party funding opportunities.The claim details how the damages suffered by ITHA as a result of the breaches of contractual relationship has amounted to approximately $20 million.
“ITHA was built by our communities as an enhanced, responsive and evidence-based health service model for our Nations. For over 20 years, ITHA has supported our people and communities by providing critical health programs and services that incorporate traditional values”, said James Wilson, Executive Director of ITHA and New Horizons Indigenous Association. “When FNHA unlawfully terminated our funding agreements, it had a direct negative impact on the health services to our people. For this reason, ITHA is pursuing our breach of contract claims through a summary trial.”
ITHA was incorporated in 1998 to create, implement and maintain health services for its member First Nations communities through agreements with the federal government and the FNHA. These agreements sustained health services for ITHA’s member First Nation communities until March 2019 when the FNHA breached these agreements and illegally terminated funding on 90 days’ notice and without cause. FNHA’s actions compromised health services to ITHA’s member First Nations, disrupting contracts and essential health services with those members. ITHA had 29 member First Nations when FNHA unlawfully terminated the funding agreements in 2019.
The summary trial is currently scheduled for April 27,2020, pending any scheduling changes from the court.
While the Inter-Tribal Health Authority is named as plaintiff in this filing, the Inter Tribal Services Association (ITSA) replaced ITHA in 2019. The name change reflects the fact that without FNHA funding the organization has expanded service delivery beyond health programs.
For further information: or to arrange an interview with ITHA, please contact: 250.753.3990