Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Nunavut April 17, 2012 - 12:19 pm

Ottawa rejigs Nunavut health handout programs for communities

Multiple programs rolled up into three windows, one application

JANE GEORGE
Nunavut's health minister Keith Peterson (left) and his deputy minister Peter Ma (right) listed as federal health minister Leona Aglukkaq announces changes to how money for public health programs in Nunavut will be handed out. (PHOTO BY JANE GEORGE)
Nunavut's health minister Keith Peterson (left) and his deputy minister Peter Ma (right) listed as federal health minister Leona Aglukkaq announces changes to how money for public health programs in Nunavut will be handed out. (PHOTO BY JANE GEORGE)

Health Canada and the Government of Nunavut’s health department have changed the way they hand out money for public health money to Nunavut communities.

Now, when a group wants to apply for what used to be called a Brighter Futures grant or money under the Canadian Prenatal Nutrition Program, instead of sending an application to the GN’s health department, the group will apply through their hamlet, or possibly, its district education authority.

The new system came into effect this past April 1.

The hamlet, or some other designated body in the community, will then submit a “comprehensive health plan” that describes its priorities.

That “plan” will replace current program applications.

Nunavut MP Leona Aglukkaq, the federal health minister, called the changes “good news” because its “a new approach” responds to “the challenge of delivering health promotion and disease prevention programs in the North.”

The new way of doing business, which territorial health minister Keith Peterson described as “fantastic,” will allow communities to better plan their health programs, he said.

Nunavut will receive $11 million a year over the next five years for the three re-named programs under the new arrangement, Aglukkaq said April 17.

The three new programs arising out of the change are:

• Brighter Futures, Canadian Prenatal Nutrition Program and Healthy Living, which will now be wrapped into one scheme called Healthy Children, Families and Communities;

• Aboriginal Diabetes Initiative and Injury Prevention, which will be combined into Chronic Diseases and Injury Prevention; and,

• Solvent Abuse program. Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, National Aboriginal Youth Suicide Prevention and National Native Alcohol and Drug Addiction Program, which will now be combined within Mental Health and Addictions.

The GN said this will help communities better plan for their priorities.

And they’ll be able to apply for multi-year funding, which should cut down on paperwork required from local groups and minimize administrative costs for the GN.

The new application forms will also be shorter.

The GN’s deputy health minister, Peter Ma, said the health and social service department will be ready to help communities where there are no community wellness groups or the hamlets need assistance with the new application process.

To compensate hamlets for the additional work of administering the programs, the administration fee handed out for management of projects will rise from 7.5 per cent to 10 per cent.

If the new way of applying for money doesn’t work, Ma said it could be revised.

While the money won’t solve the lack of core funding for groups such as the Cambridge Bay Wellness Centre or the Ilisaqsivik Society in Clyde River, Ma said the new approach will provide “certainty of funding” over up to five years, which these groups will appreciate.

The changes won’t change home and community care programs. although they’ll now be called “primary care programs.”

In total, the GN will get $83.9 million over five years under the new agreement, which includes the $55 million to be spent on re-organized community programs.

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