Liberals To Spend $50M On Pimicikamak Reserve's New Health Centres

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NORWAY HOUSE, Man. — A Manitoba First Nation that declared a state of emergency after six suicides and more than 140 attempts this spring has been promised a new health centre.

Health Minister Jane Philpott announced Tuesday in Norway House that $50 million will go towards building new health centres in Pimicikamak, also known as Cross Lake, as well as God’s Lake Narrows, Lac Brochet and Red Sucker Lake First Nations.

In March, Pimicikamak band council asked Ottawa for at least six mental-health workers and round-the-clock counsellors after the suicides and attempts.

Philpott also announced that Health Canada will fund six new mental wellness teams based in communities within the next three years to support Manitoba First Nations.

jane philpott
Jane Philpott responds during Question Period in the House of Commons, June 9. (Photo: Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)

As well, she said a mental health crisis response team will be dedicated to First Nations in Manitoba.

"Seeing the state of community health infrastructure and hearing concerns firsthand enables me to appreciate the tremendous value investments in health infrastructure upgrades will bring to their lives," Philpott said in a news release.

"Meeting with youth in Manitoba First Nations also helps me to better understand their perspectives, as well as how Health Canada programs might be adapted to better meet their needs. I am confident additional mental wellness teams will help address ongoing challenges in First Nations communities in Manitoba.”

Philpott also announced that the federal government will spend $382 million on a new way to implement Jordan's Principle that she says will enhance service co-ordination and ensure service access resolution so that children’s needs are assessed and responded to quickly.

"This approach will put the needs of children first and ensure that First Nations children living on-reserve receive the health and social services they need in a timely manner."

Jordan's Principle holds that no aboriginal child should suffer denials, delays or disruptions of health services available to other children due to jurisdictional disputes.

Jordan Anderson was a Cree boy from Norway House, Man., who died in hospital in 2005 after such disagreements kept him from spending his last years in home care.

"This approach will put the needs of children first and ensure that First Nations children living on-reserve receive the health and social services they need in a timely manner," Philpott said.

The money will allow First Nations organizations to hire a regional service co-ordinator to assess needs, facilitate early intervention, develop integrated care plans and connect the child and family to needed services, she said.

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