Assembly of First Nations Welcomes Major Investments in First Nations Healthcare by Province of Ontario

OTTAWA, May 25, 2016 /CNW/ - Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde welcomed today's announcement by the Province of Ontario on significant new investments in Indigenous healthcare.

"I want to commend Minister of Health and Long-term Care, Dr. Eric Hoskins and Premier Wynne for demonstrating a real commitment to closing the gap in health between First Nations people and Canada," said National Chief Bellegarde.  "I want to acknowledge the hard work and advocacy of the First Nations leaders in Ontario that led to today's announcement. This kind of initiative is exactly what is needed in other parts of the province and the country.  Ontario is setting an important example for other jurisdictions as we head into discussions on a new Health Accord.  Rather than focus on concerns about jurisdiction, Ontario is demonstrating an understanding that closing the gap will take everyone's effort."

The Ontario First Nations Health Action Plan announced today is the largest investment in Indigenous healthcare in the province's history.  The province announced a $221 million investment over the next three years that will be followed by sustained funding of $104.5 million annually to address health inequities and improve access to culturally appropriate health care services.  The plan invests in four key areas: primary care; public health and health promotion; seniors care and hospital services; and life promotion and crisis support.

AFN Ontario Regional Chief Isadore Day stated: "As chair of the Assembly of First Nations National Chiefs Committee on Health, I wrote to both Minister of Health and Long-Term Care Eric Hoskins and Federal Health Minister Jane Philpott regarding the Nishnawbe Aski Nation Emergency Declaration. To quote from the letter: 'I expect immediate action to address this health crisis which has existed for far too long not only in Ontario, but in many First Nation communities across Canada. We cannot allow another generation to suffer from the lack of socioeconomic determinants that result in poverty, poor health, despair, and suicide.'  While largely targeted specifically at the First Nation communities in the Sioux Lookout and Nishnawbe Aski Nation region, the $221 million in new provincial funding over the next three years is a significant step towards addressing all First Nation health priorities."

The Assembly of First Nation is the national organization representing First Nation citizens in Canada.  Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Comms, @AFN_Updates and visit the AFN website at www.afn.ca.

 

SOURCE Assembly of First Nations

For further information: Jenna Young Castro AFN Communications Officer 613-241-6789, ext. 401; 613-314-8157 or jyoung@afn.ca; Alain Garon AFN Bilingual Communications Officer 613-241-6789, ext. 382; 613-292-0857 or agaron@afn.ca


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