Health Canada reduces funding to Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami
ITK's budget for health programs and research cut by 40 per cent
Health Canada has cut Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami's budget for health programs and research by 40 per cent.
In total, ITK will lose $1.5 million a year for the next two years. This follows cuts to similar groups such as Pauktutiit Inuit Women of Canada who are involved with Inuit health policy and research, and the Native Women’s Association of Canada, which ran HIV awareness and diabetes prevention programs.
"I really fail to see the logic," said Mary Simon, president of ITK.
"The government is saying aboriginal people are a priority for this country, but you take away the tools for the national organizations to do their work?"
Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq said her priority is to protect primary health care.
"Those organizations do not deliver frontline health care services," she said.
Aglukkaq said it’s the provinces and territories that handle health care services and transfer payments to them have not been cut.
But Simon said cuts to ITK's work on tuberculosis, diabetes and suicide will have a negative effect on Inuit health.
"It's the service itself that we provide the communities to make informed choices that's going to be hard hit."
Simon said her group does work that overstretched health centres just can't take on.