Health Canada

Health Canada

January 10, 2008 11:51 ET

Government of Canada Funds Groundbreaking First Nations Public Health Initiative

KENORA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Jan. 10, 2008) - The Honourable Tony Clement, Minister of Health and Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario, today announced that the Government of Canada is investing $3.7 million to ensure that public health services can be more efficient and effectively delivered in First Nations communities across Ontario.

This new project - the Ontario First Nations Public Health Initiative - is a three-year agreement supported by the Government of Canada, the Province of Ontario, and the Chiefs of Ontario, and will ensure that:

- The public and on-reserve health systems will be better integrated with better coordination of health information systems;

- A new information system will be established which will be used in First Nations communities for sharing on-reserve patient information with provincial public health units;

- Health professionals will be able to share information about communicable diseases with First Nations communities.

This agreement will also include extensive consultations with the more than 130 First Nations communities in Ontario.

"I am pleased to announce that the Government of Canada is providing $3.7 million to support this initiative," said Minister Clement. "This project is the first of its kind to improve the delivery of public health services to Ontario First Nations communities. It will ensure that First Nations people in Ontario have an effective role in the design and delivery of public health services."

"This is a very exciting day for all First Nations in Ontario as we welcome the announcement of the first "Made-in-Ontario" First Nation Public Health Project," said Angus Toulouse, Regional Chief, Chiefs of Ontario. "It should be recognized that almost one-third of all First Nations people in Canada originate from territories in Ontario. The project is aimed at improving public health services on reserve and has been driven by First Nations communities desiring, and entitled, to improved public health services," he added.

Today's announcement builds upon an agreement made in May 2006 at the Ontario First Nations Public Health Dialogue Forum to investigate opportunities for collaboration on First Nations public health information management.

At the event, Minister Clement also noted other initiatives currently underway to help improve the quality of life for First Nations in the Kenora area:

- The Government of Canada has provided $200,000 to the Kenora Chiefs for the development of a local public health pilot project, in cooperation with the Assembly of First Nations.

- The Government of Canada has provided the Kenora Access Centre with $122,156.00 and the Northwestern Health Unit with $152,580 this year for the Children's Oral Health Initiative, which helps to prevent and control tooth decay and other oral diseases in young First Nations and Inuit children. To date, some 1,450 children have benefited from this project in the Kenora area.

- In October 2007, the Government of Canada provided over $1M to the Kenora region to support: broadband infrastructure in four remote First Nations, the local Community Futures Development Corporations, an online bookkeeping system for Shibogama First Nations Council, and to support a feasibility study for the Northern Forest Innovation Centre.

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Contact Information

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    Federal Minister of Health
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