The 2012 Federal Budget includes $200 million in annual cuts to Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada in an effort to reduce waste and duplication. Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AAND) have had their funding cut by $165 million. These cuts have directly and significantly impacted several Aboriginal organizations and their work in First Nations, Métis and Inuit health. For a commentary on the impact of the budget on Aboriginal Peoples, see this Nation Talk article.
The National Aboriginal Health Organization (NAHO), founded in 2000 with a goal of providing health programs and a common research base for Canada’s diverse Aboriginal populations, has had all funding from the Federal government revoked. NAHO will consequently close on June 30, 2012. NAHO employs over 30 health researchers and has unique and valuable intellectual holdings including rare video and audio of Indigenous knowledge shared by Elders.
Health Canada funding to the Native Women’s Association of Canada’s (NWAC) work on national health programs and policies has been cut. For more than 30 years, NWAC has worked to address health inequities experienced by Aboriginal women in Canada. The health budget of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK) has been cut by 40%, a loss of $1.5 million per year for the next two years.
Reasons provided for these cuts include: governance issues experienced by NAHO, lack of support for NAHO by partner organizations; and prioritizing front-line services to Aboriginal peoples in lieu of indirect services that these organizations provide. No matter the policy logistics of the cuts, their impacts will be felt at the human level.
To read more: NationTalk.ca