The First Nations Environmental Contaminants Program (FNECP) was launched in 1999, as a follow-on to the EAGLE (Effects on Aboriginals from the Great Lakes Environment) Project. The EAGLE Project was a unique environmental health research project that operated throughout the 1990’s and ended in 2000. The EAGLE Project was chartered to examine the effects of environmental contaminants on the health and well-being of the Great Lakes Aboriginal population. The FNECP was created to broaden this concept to First Nation communities across Canada, funding research into potential health impacts resulting from environmental contaminants.
The FNECP consists of two main components: the National First Nations Environmental Contaminants Program (NFNECP) and the Regional First Nations Environmental Contaminants Program (RFNECP). The objectives of both the national and regional programs are similar, but the national program is broader in scope. The National program is designed to address issues of national significance that are common to First Nations across Canada. Both the NFNECP and the RFNECP are funded by the First Nations and Inuit Health Branch (FNIHB), Health Canada.
From 1999 to 2005, the NFNECP was jointly administered by the Assembly of First Nations (AFN)
and Health Canada . In 2005, the AFN shifted from its role as co-administrator to a more advisory and advocacy role which would better complement its organizational goals and mandate. A Call for Letters of Interest went out to from AFN to First Nations organizations that could potentially undertake AFN’s previous administrative duties for the Program. The First Nations University of Canada (FNUniv)
responded and was accepted in 2006 by the AFN and Health Canada as a new partner in the Program.