Canada's New Government Announces Health Human Resources Initiative with the Métis Nation

    OTTAWA, Feb. 6 /CNW Telbec/ - The Honourable Tony Clement, Minister of
Health, today announced $10 million in funding to support efforts to increase
the number of Métis working in Canada's health care system. The Minister made
the announcement at the Meeting of the Métis Nation Health Committee attended
by the Métis National Council (MNC) Minister of Health David Chartrand, and
approximately 25 health officials and technical staff from across the Métis
    The funding will be used to support bursaries and scholarships for Métis
students pursuing studies in health sciences and to build the capacity of
Métis organizations to engage in health human resources planning.
    "This investment will significantly increase the number of Métis students
entering health careers through bursaries and scholarships. It will create the
conditions to improve access to health care for all Aboriginal people by
helping to reduce future wait times and staff vacancies," said Minister
    "I would like to thank Minister Clement and his department for their
efforts in negotiating this extremely important $10 million Health Human
Resources Initiative with the Métis Nation," said David Chartrand. "We're all
winners with this type of partnership. The agreement will provide
opportunities for many aspiring Métis citizens who are hoping to pursue a
health career. The Métis Nation as a whole, our families and the Canadian
population will benefit either directly or indirectly from this investment."
    Through the $10 million in funding, the MNC will work to develop and
implement a Métis Nation Health Human Resource Strategy in each of the Métis
regions. The strategy will aim to increase the number of Métis in
health-related employment fields, and provide a cultural context for non-Métis
health personnel working in Métis communities. Funding will start flowing to
Métis students this year for health bursaries and scholarships.
    The $10 million in funding was made possible through Health Canada's
Aboriginal Health Human Resources Initiative, which aims to develop health
human resources strategies that respond to the unique needs and diversity
among First Nations, Inuit and Métis. This initiative, and the support
provided to other measures, such as suicide prevention, diabetes, and capacity
building, are further examples of how Canada's New Government is working to
make the health care system more responsive to the needs of First Nations,
Inuit, and Métis people.

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                      ABORIGINAL HEALTH HUMAN RE

SOURCES FACT SHEET The shortage of health care workers is a national and international issue, but the shortage is particularly acute in First Nations and Inuit communities. Additionally, Aboriginal people are under-represented in all health care fields, compared to the general population. To ensure that First Nations, Inuit and Métis have access to the health providers they need both now and in the future, Health Canada created an Aboriginal Health Human Resources Initiative (AHHRI) in 2005. What is the Aboriginal Health Human Resources Initiative? The Aboriginal Health Human Resources Initiative (AHHRI) will help to develop and implement health human resources strategies that respond to the unique needs and diversity among First Nations, Inuit and Métis. By working in collaboration with First Nations, Inuit and Métis, provincial and territorial partners, and the pan-Canadian Health Human Resources Strategy, the five-year AHHRI will build a foundation for a longer term systemic change in the supply of, demand for, and retention of, First Nations, Inuit and Métis health human resources. What are the objectives of the AHHRI? The objectives of AHHRI include: - To increase awareness of First Nations, Inuit and Métis youth about health careers and increase the number of students entering into, and succeeding in health career studies; - To increase the number of post-secondary educational institutions that are supportive of Aboriginal students pursuing health career studies; - To identify the conditions conducive to the retention of First Nations, Inuit and Métis health care workers, and non-Aboriginal health care workers working in First Nations and Inuit communities; - To establish standards of practice and certification for community- based para-professional health care workers. These, and other measures, will begin to address the acute shortage of Aboriginal health care providers and make the health care system more responsive to the needs of Aboriginal peoples. Who will benefit from this initiative? The AHHRI will benefit: - All First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples, regardless of their status and where they reside; - Health care providers working in First Nations and Inuit communities; - Universities and colleges delivering health sciences programs that are interested in making changes to their curricula in order to provide more culturally relevant health science programming; and - First Nations, Inuit and Métis and non-Aboriginal health professional and para professional organizations, and associations representing colleges and universities. How will AHHRI's objectives be achieved? Health Canada will work with National Aboriginal organizations, health professional associations, educational institutions, provinces and territories and many other health human resource stakeholders to meet the objectives of the AHHRI. Year one of the initiative (2005-2006) -------------------------------------- Year one of the initiative was spent consulting with our partners and stakeholders, establishing priority areas for action, developing the governance structure, and implementing a few key projects that build on the work begun under the Federal-Provincial-Territorial Pan-Canadian Health Human Resources Strategy, developed in 2003. Projects included: the development of multi-media career awareness programs for First Nations and Inuit youth, developed by the National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation; student supports to Nunatsiavut for the Labrador Inuit Nursing Access Program; work done by the Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada and the Indigenous Physicians Association to adapt medical schools' curricula to help develop more culturally competent physicians; and work with the National Aboriginal Health Organization on the development of indicators for Aboriginal health human resources data. In addition, more bursaries and scholarships were made available to Aboriginal youth studying health careers through the National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation. Years 2007-2010 of the initiative ---------------------------------- During the next four years, Health Canada will continue to work with partners on the work begun in 2005-2006, as well as implement new strategically targeted projects. These projects will help to identify and provide the right balance and numbers of First Nations, Inuit and Métis health care providers, improve the support to First Nation, Inuit and Métis students to assist them in succeeding in health career studies at the University and College levels, increase the level of cultural competency of all health care providers, as well as respond to current, new and emerging health services issues and priorities. For example, identification of core competency profiles and training needs for non-regulated community-based health workers and health administrators will be undertaken in partnership with First Nations and Inuit. Work on adaptation of curricula will be expanded to include projects to address cultural competency in nursing education through work with the Aboriginal Nurses Association of Canada, and the Canadian Association of Schools of Nursing. Work will be done to increase the number of Aboriginal students receiving bursaries and scholarships for health career studies through a targeted project with the Métis National Council and an increased investment in the health careers bursaries and scholarship program run by the National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation. In addition, plans will begin to be implemented that will see projects and activities that respond to regional priorities in health human resources and the introduction of Aboriginal student support programs at universities.

For further information:

For further information: Media Enquiries: Carole Saindon, Health Canada,
(613) 957-1588; Erik Waddell, Office of the Honourable Tony Clement, Federal
Minister of Health, (613) 957-0200; Public Enquiries: (613) 957-2991,
1-866-225-0709; Métis National Council: Zoran Vidic, Media Relations, Métis
National Council, (613) 232-3216, ext. 124,; Health Canada news releases are
available on the Internet at

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