Health Funding Announced with Focus on North

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Premier Wynne in Thunder Bay - stock image
Premier Wynne - stock image

New Health Funding Announced

THUNDER BAY – Ontario’s First Nations Health Action Plan will target investments in four key areas: primary care, public health and health promotion, seniors care and hospital services, and life promotion and crisis support.

The Premier has announced an investment of $220 million over the next three years and annual funding of $104.5 million, this represents the largest investment in Indigenous health care in Ontario’s history.

While focused on the North, the plan also includes opportunities for investments in Indigenous health care across Ontario. The province will continue to work with Indigenous partners on key areas such as home and community care, primary care and diabetes prevention and management to ensure that investments are appropriate and effective.

“Our government is taking action to make a real difference in First Nations communities by addressing urgent health care needs and improving access to care. This investment demonstrates to the people of Ontario that our government is committed to ensuring First Nations communities have equitable access to health care no matter where they live. We will continue working together with First Nations partners to address the social determinants of health and achieve sustainable and lasting change,” stated Dr. Eric Hoskins, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care.

“Today’s investment will help to improve health, healing and wellness for Indigenous people. By working closely with First Nations partners, this will help meet the needs of their communities through culturally appropriate services and programs. This is an important step in Ontario’s journey to reconciliation and will create a better future for everyone in this province”, said David Zimmer, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs.

Ontario Regional Chief Isadore Day said, “The Ontario government has made a significant step forward and has raised the bar on First Nation health in the province with this investment. The Chiefs of Ontario looks forward to continuing our collective efforts to improving the health outcomes of our people, strengthening our communities and contributing to a stronger Ontario.”

Anishinabek Nation Grand Council Chief Madahbee says that he is pleased with Ontario First Nation Health Action Plan announcement of $221 million investment over three years, but says that he will be looking for more details of the plan in the next coming weeks.

“We will need to see more details in the implementation and how exactly this action plan will affect all First Nations,” says Grand Council Chief Madahbee. “Of course these are positive first steps in addressing key areas of need in health, focused on the North, with some needed funding to all First Nations in the province. We look forward to working together with the province to continue to address health needs in First Nations across Ontario.”

Primary Care 

 Investing $72.2M over three years and $37.4M ongoing.

 Increase physician services by 2,641 days for the 28 First Nations communities in the Sioux Lookout region.

 Establish a new, culturally appropriate primary health care team in the Sioux Lookout First Nations Health Authority (SLFNHA).

 Work with partners to establish up to 10 new or expanded primary care teams that include traditional healing, serving Indigenous communities across Ontario.

 Deliver Indigenous cultural competency training to front-line health care workers who work with First Nation communities.

Public Health and Health Promotion 

 Investing $44.1M over three years and $21.3M ongoing.

 Support the Sioux Lookout First Nations Health Authority’s “Approaches to Community Wellbeing” public health model. This includes:

o The appointment of an Associate Medical Officer of Health dedicated to Indigenous health in the SLFNHA region.

o Increasing public health nursing, planning and service capacity to SLFNHA and surrounding communities to support an integrated, sustainable and community-owned approach to well-being.

o Supporting communities to develop more robust community health assessments and monitoring and improve the collection of population health data across Northern Ontario to ensure public health services are targeted to specific needs.

 Expand the current Northern Fruit and Vegetable Program to four additional public health regions to provide access to fresh fruits and vegetables for approximately 13,000 more Indigenous children in northern and remote communities.

 Work with Indigenous partners to review and address gaps in diabetes services, to focus on better prevention and management across Ontario.

Seniors Care and Hospital Services 

 Investing $45.3M over three years and $20.8M ongoing.

 $1 million for hospital beds for seniors at the Meno Ya Win Health Centre to help deliver seniors care closer to home and a capital planning grant to support the development of a senior’s care plan in the North.

 Funding to the Weeneebayko Area Health Authority for capital planning and a commitment from the province to help this hospital establish long term financial stability.

 Designated funding to work with Indigenous partners to expand home and community care services for Indigenous communities across the province, including on-reserve.

Life Promotion and Crisis Support 

 Investing $60.0M over three years and $25.0M ongoing.

 Expand supports, including trauma response teams, suicide prevention training, youth recreation/cultural programs and mental health workers in schools, to help communities prevent crisis or manage a crisis should they experience one.

 Expand access to telemedicine to help connect individuals in crisis with appropriate clinical supports.

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