Government of Canada and Government of Saskatchewan Support Seven Projects to Improve the Health of First Nations and Métis in the Province

News Release
April 28, 2009
For immediate release

Backgrounder: Backgrounder on Aboriginal Health Transition Fund (AHTF)

REGINA – The Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health, and Saskatchewan Minister of Health Don McMorris, today announced support for seven new projects in Saskatchewan aimed at improving the health of First Nations and Métis people.”This Government is pleased to be working with Saskatchewan, Aboriginal organizations and regional health authorities to improve health service delivery to First Nations and Métis communities in the province,” said Minister Aglukkaq. “The projects being announced today will help meet targeted health needs in a culturally appropriate manner.”

“Our Government is pleased to support projects that will help address the serious health care challenges in Aboriginal communities,” Minister Don McMorris said. “This is an important part of a long-term partnership that will lead to better integration of services and improved health outcomes for Aboriginal people.”

Through its Aboriginal Health Transition Fund (AHTF), the Government of Canada is investing a total of $13.8 million in Saskatchewan over five years (2005/06 to 2009/10) to improve the health of the nearly 142,000 First Nations and Métis people living in the province.

Nearly $2.4 million of this amount is being allocated to support the following seven new projects:

o $558,000 to the Métis Nation of Saskatchewan for adapting the provincial health system to better meet the needs of Métis people.
o $212,800 to the Kelsey Trail Health Authority to enhance mental health, alcohol and drug addiction services, and better meet the needs of Cumberland House community residents.
o $163,810 to the Sunrise Health Region for maternal child health initiatives for First Nations residents of the Kamsack area.
o $317,000 to the Prairie North Health Region, the BTC Indian Health Services Inc., Meadow Lake Tribal Council and numerous First Nations to develop inter-organizational services teams on mental health and addictions. The funding will also be used to improve communications and joint staff training.
o $392,000 to the Regina-Qu’Appelle Health Region to ensure culturally-appropriate home care services are provided to Aboriginal people.
o $368,000 to the Regina-Qu’Appelle Health Region for the Métis Community Health Coordinator Initiative, which improves access by Métis people to health services.
o $377,000 to the Kinistin First Nation, the Saskatoon Health Region and the Central Urban Métis Federation to coordinate health services through a formal health council and secretariat.

Regional health authority representatives worked with First Nations and Métis organizations to develop the proposals, which were then submitted to the Saskatchewan Ministry of Health for review. The ministry consulted with an independent panel of experts before deciding which projects should receive support through the AHTF.

“Health care providers must work together if we are to make progress in improving the health status of Aboriginal people in Saskatchewan,” First Nations and Métis Relations Minister June Draude said. “These projects will establish important partnerships that will remove barriers to Aboriginal people receiving health care services and make the services delivered more culturally relevant.”

“I would like to congratulate the First Nations leadership and regional health authorities involved in establishing partnerships that will improve health outcomes for First Nations of Saskatchewan,” Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations Vice-Chief Glen Pratt said. “From prenatal support to home care services, these investments will further adapt the provincial health system to meet the needs of First Nations children, youth, elders and families.”

“The future of Saskatchewan will be predicated on the health of every citizen of this province, which includes the Métis,” Métis Nation – Saskatchewan president Robert Doucette said. “We are pleased to work with the provincial government on this important initiative which will allow meaningful input and action on policy development and the delivery of health services by Métis citizens for Métis citizens in the province of Saskatchewan.”

The Aboriginal Health Transition Fund (AHTF) is a five-year initiative (2005 to 2010) which seeks to improve the integration of Federal, Provincial and Territorial funded health systems, adapt existing health programs and services to serve better the needs of Aboriginal peoples (First Nations, Inuit and Métis), improve access to health services, and increase the participation of Aboriginal peoples in the design, delivery, and evaluation of health programs and services.


Media Enquiries:
Health Canada
(613) 957-2983

Karen Hill
Communications Branch
Saskatchewan Ministry of Health
Phone: (306) 787-4083

Josée Bellemare
Office of the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq
Federal Minister of Health
(613) 957-0200

Public Enquiries:
(613) 957-2991
1-866 225-0709

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