Government of Canada and Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK) Sign Agreement to Collaborate on Improving Inuit Health

Ottawa, Ontario –(June 4, 2009) – The Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health and Mary Simon, President of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK), today signed an extended Task Group Agreement to signal their continued cooperation on improving Inuit health.”This Agreement highlights Canada’s commitment to working collaboratively with our Inuit partners to enhance the quality of life and promote a healthy future for all Inuit,” Minister Aglukkaq said at a signing ceremony in Ottawa. “As an Inuk, I’ve seen first hand both the need and the opportunities to enhance health care in the far north.”

“This announcement is an important extension of the good relationship we already share, and is an integrated approach to focus on key priorities which have an impact on the health of Inuit across our four Arctic regions,” said Mary Simon, President of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami. “The task group and work plan are valuable tools for ITK and the federal government to set and achieve clear objectives in those areas that can best enhance the health of Inuit.”

The Agreement seeks to promote and expand on the successes of a joint working group that began in 2006. The Task Group’s mandate will enable further discussions and reports on areas of cooperation including: approaches to support effective health services for Inuit, community wellness planning, mental health initiatives, health human resources, and information and data collection. Through partnerships at the regional and national levels, collaborative work with ITK, and the initiatives of the Office of Inuit Health, Health Canada will more effectively address Inuit health concerns and issues, and increase awareness of Inuit health issues across all levels of government.

The Task Group, which will continue to report directly to the Minister of Health and the President of ITK, is made up of seven senior officials from Health Canada, the Public Health Agency of Canada and Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami. The mandate of this working group has been extended to 2010.

In keeping with its commitment to promoting Aboriginal health, the Government allocated $305 million in Canada’s Economic Action Plan towards supporting First Nations and Inuit health programs over the next two years.

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