McGuinty Government Invests Over $1.6 Million For Aboriginal Health



    Multi-Year Commitment Addresses Disease Prevention And Health Promotion

    TORONTO, March 30 /CNW/ - The McGuinty government is providing $1,685,737
over two years for thirteen initiatives that address the disease prevention
and health promotion needs of Ontario's Aboriginal communities, Health
Promotion Minister Jim Watson announced today.
    The funding will go to Aboriginal organizations and agencies to implement
culturally appropriate initiatives that will best address particular
challenges facing the Aboriginal population.
    "The McGuinty government appreciates that Aboriginal communities
experience particular challenges with respect to healthy and active living and
tobacco misuse, which is why we are pleased to invest in these 13 necessary
programs," said Watson. "We asked organizations and agencies that service
these communities to tell us how best to address these challenges in their
communities and these initiatives are as a result of this healthy
partnership."
    "This funding is very important to Aboriginal communities across
Ontario," said David Martin, President of the Ontario Federation of Indian
Friendship Centres. "These programs will help us to address incidents of
chronic disease, such as diabetes and cancer which are many times higher than
the provincial average. Most important, we will empower our youth to lead
efforts to reduce commercial tobacco use in our communities. We very much
appreciate this opportunity to work with the Ontario government toward
improving the quality of life for Aboriginal people."
    
    The thirteen programs that have received funding are:

    -  The Mohawk Council of Akwesasne, Kanonkwa'Tesheio:oi Health Centre in
       Cornwall. ($96,146)
    -  The Anishnawbe Mushkiki Aboriginal Health Access Centre in Thunder
       Bay. ($166,250)
    -  The De dwa da dehs ney s Aboriginal Health Access Centre
       in Hamilton. ($209,870)
    -  The Ganaan De We O Dis Yethi Yenahwahse Aboriginal Health Access
       Centre in London. ($6,042)
    -  The Gizhewaadiziwin Access Centre in Fort Frances. ($131,600)
    -  Nishnawbe Aski Nation in Thunder Bay. ($35,800)
    -  The N'Mninoeyaa Aboriginal Health Access Centre (North Shore Tribal
       Council) in Cutler. ($175,000)
    -  The Noojmowin Teg Aboriginal Health Access Centre in Little Current.
       ($131,250)
    -  The Ontario Federation of Indian Friendship Centres. ($346,630)
    -  The Ontario Native Women's Association in Thunder Bay. ($84,435)
    -  The Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health in Ottawa. ($146,828)
    -  The Wassay-Gezhig Na-Nahn-Dah-We-Igamig Aboriginal Health Access
       Centre in Keewatin. ($128,888)
    -  The Union of Ontario Indians in North Bay. ($25,000)
    

    The McGuinty government also recently introduced the province's first
Aboriginal-specific mass media campaign to raise awareness of the harmful
effects of commercial tobacco.
    Smoking kills an average of 16,000 people in Ontario each year.
Tobacco-related diseases cost the Ontario health care system at least $1.7
billion a year, result in more than $2.6 billion in productivity losses, and
account for at least 500,000 hospital days each year.
    Ontario's tobacco consumption has fallen by 18.7 per cent or more than
2.6 billion cigarettes since 2003. During that time, the government has
increased its investments in tobacco control six-fold to a total of $60
million, including a $10 million increase in 2006 over the previous year.

    
                              www.mhp.gov.on.ca
                           www.ontario.ca/smokefree



    Backgrounder
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

             IMPROVING THE QUALITY OF LIFE FOR ABORIGINAL PEOPLE
    

    As part of Ontario's Action Plan on Healthy Eating and Active Living and
the Smoke-Free Ontario Strategy, the McGuinty Government is committed to the
prevention of chronic disease and the promotion of healthy eating and active
living.
    The Ministry of Health promotion is funding Aboriginal organizations and
agencies in 2006/07 and 2007/08 to carry out projects supporting
Aboriginal-specific prevention, education and cessation activities, as well as
tobacco control resources in Aboriginal communities and culturally appropriate
healthy eating and active living projects.
    
    Funding recipients include:

    -  The Akwesasne, Mohawks of Kanonkwa'Tesheio:oi Health Centre in
       Cornwall is working with local school boards to provide smoking
       cessation education to high school students and the Boys and Girls
       club as an extra-curricular activity. ($96,146)

    -  The De dwa da dehs ney s Aboriginal Health Access Centre in Hamilton
       working in partnership with YMCAs will educate Aboriginal youth to
       live and promote tobacco-wise lifestyles. ($209,870)

    -  The Gizhewaadiziwin Access Centre in Fort Frances developed a smoking
       cessation video to discourage Aboriginal youth from smoking and to
       help those who are smoking quit. As well support groups for
       Aboriginals and their families to lead healthy eating and active
       living initiatives including community kitchens, baby food making
       workshops, and sport and recreation activities were established.
       ($131,600)

    -  NAN - Nishnawbe Aski Nation in Thunder Bay developed a conference and
       traditional land-based learning camp for Aboriginal youth that
       encourages cessation of commercial tobacco use and promote active
       living. ($35,800)

    -  The Ontario Federation of Indian Friendship Centres is providing a
       train-the-trainer program to staff at its 28 friendship centres across
       Ontario. The training will promote physical activity, healthy eating
       and smoke-free living to women and youth. ($346,630)

    -  The Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health in Ottawa developed a project
       entitled "Walking the Healthy Journey Throughout the Life Cycle". The
       project will focus on prevention and cessation of commercial tobacco
       use, healthy food choices that are available on a limited budget and
       increasing physical activities that reflect Aboriginal traditions.
       ($146,828)

    -  The Union of Ontario Indians, headquartered in North Bay, received
       support to begin development of an "Anishinabek Nation Smoke-Free
       Strategy" to address the health and economic burden of commercial
       tobacco use in 43 member First Nations. ($25,000)

    -  The Anishnawbe Mushkiki Aboriginal Health Access Centre in Thunder Bay
       was funded to work with the Thunder Bay Urban Aboriginal Strategy and
       the Lakehead School Board to develop active living and healthy eating
       initiatives in five schools and neighbourhoods. Monthly active living
       activities and children's community kitchens will be held at each
       site. As well, the Centre will develop a 12 week life skills training
       session on the causes of tobacco abuse, smoking myths and realities,
       helping participants move towards quitting or harm reduction
       approaches ($166,250)

    -  The Ganaan De We O Dis Yethi Yenahwahse Aboriginal Health Access
       Centre in London received funding to support healthy living training
       for 30 health care workers from London Urban Aboriginal agencies, as
       well as from the seven surrounding area reserves. ($6,042)

    -  The Noojmowin Teg Aboriginal Health Access Centre in Little Current
       received support for community workers to participate in the
       "Community Nutrition Advisory Program" being facilitated by the
       Sudbury and District Health Unit. These newly trained community staff
       will then coordinate two Take Five programs within the seven local
       First Nations areas targeted towards First Nation parents and their
       children and focused on reducing health problems including obesity,
       diabetes, heart problems and other health issues. ($131,250)

    -  The N'Mninoeyaa Aboriginal Health Access Centre (North Shore Tribal
       Council) in Cutler received support to develop the "Grow Healthy
       Families" project. This initiative fosters families taking
       responsibility for their health by providing them with tools, support
       and infrastructure to be successful and promoting healthy lifestyle
       choices. ($175,000)

    -  The Ontario Native Women's Association in Thunder Bay will develop
       community health gatherings in Kenora and Sudbury. The gatherings will
       include speakers on diabetes awareness, physical activity, nutrition
       and overall healthy living. ($84,435)

    -  The Wassay-Gezhig Na-Nahn-Dah-We-Igamig Aboriginal Health Access
       Centre in Keewatin received funding to hire a health promotion
       coordinator. The coordinator will carry out community-based activities
       designed to promote traditional healthy nutrition and active
       lifestyles that focus on issues including asthma, heart disease,
       diabetes, and other nutrition topics. ($128,888)


    Disponible en français

                              www.mhp.gov.on.ca
                           www.ontario.ca/smokefree
    





For further information:

For further information: Adam Grachnik, Minister's Office, (416)
326-8497; Julie Rosenberg, Communications Branch, (416) 326-4833

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