OTTAWA, Nov. 21, 2017 /CNW/ - Following the tabling of the 2017 Fall Report of the Auditor General of Canada, the Honourable Jane Philpott, Minister of Indigenous Services issued the following statement:
"Our Government is committed to a renewed relationship with Indigenous peoples based on the recognition of rights, respect, cooperation and partnership.
We thank the Auditor General for his report and accept the recommendations. We will work with First Nations and Inuit partners to implement these recommendations, by:
- Finalizing a strategy by March 2018 with First Nations and Inuit partners to improve oral health and service delivery
- Improving data collection; by working with First Nations and Inuit partners to track the needs of community members, a strategy will be in place by April 2018,
- Utilize programs with First Nations and Inuit partners to attract, educate and retain Indigenous oral health workers in communities, and
- Improving how decisions are documented under NIHB by including more details on approvals and policy changes.
Last year, more than 300,000 First Nations and Inuit received coverage for dental services through Health Canada. There is good evidence to show that these services are improving the oral health of First Nations and Inuit populations. The department will work with partners to strengthen our data, including the possibility of an oral health survey that would help us measure how these services are improving the overall oral health of Indigenous peoples.
Annually, our Government invests more than $2.7 billion in First Nations and Inuit health, including oral health services and non-insured health benefits. In Budget 2017, we proposed an additional investment of $45.4 million for the Children's Oral Health Initiative over five years to expand its oral health program in up to 214 additional communities, based on partnership engagement.
The creation of the new department of Indigenous Services represents a profound shift in our relationship with Indigenous communities. Bringing Indigenous service delivery programming together in one department gives us an opportunity to address the key building blocks of Indigenous wellness, together with our partners, in a more coordinated and seamless way.
There will be ongoing consultation, including with First Nations, Inuit and Métis, to determine the most effective way to deliver services to Indigenous peoples, including health. The report from the Auditor General will help inform this process as our Government works to improve the delivery of services to Indigenous Peoples."
This statement is also available on the Internet at www.aandc.gc.ca
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SOURCE Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada
For further information: For more information, media may contact: Andrew MacKendrick, Press Secretary, Office of the Honourable Jane Philpott, 819-956-5372, INAC Media Relations, Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada, 819-953-1160