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OTTAWA, April 18 – The Honourable Tony Clement, Minister of Health and Mary Simon, President of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK), today agreed to a joint workplan developed by a newly formed Health Canada /ITK Task Group that aims to improve Inuit health.
The Task Group will explore and develop approaches in areas of mutual interest for improving Inuit health. The joint work plan will focus on four key areas: implementation of an Office of Inuit Health at Health Canada to better address Inuit specific health issues; cross-jurisdictional collaboration; quality of and access to health services; and exploring approaches for strengthening Inuit data sharing and infrastructure, information and research through partnerships at the regional and national levels. “This joint initiative demonstrates our commitment to work collaboratively with ITK to explore initiatives to advance Inuit health,” stated Minister Clement. “Canada’s New Government will continue to involve and work with Inuit leaders to improve Inuit health,” added Minister Clement.
“I applaud this integrated approach to addressing the key priorities and issues which impact the health of Inuit across our four regions,” said Mary Simon, President of ITK. “The work plan is an important tool for ITK and the federal government to set and achieve clear targets in those areas that can best support the advancement of Inuit health.”
The six-person Task Group consists of senior officials from Health Canada: a representative from the Deputy Minister’s office; Assistant Deputy Minister, First Nations and Inuit Health Branch – Ian Potter; and a representative from the Office of the Minister of Health – Jo Kennelly; ITK Executive Director – Jim Moore; Health Director – Onalee Randell; and chairperson of the National Inuit Committee on Health – Natan Obed.
The activities identified in the workplan, including position papers and jointly developed strategies and options, are expected to be completed in the fall 2007. The Task Group, which will report directly to the Minister of Health and the President of ITK, will report on progress and outcomes at the end of its mandate in September 2007.
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For further information: Media Enquiries: Carole Saindon, Health Canada, (613) 957-1588; Erik Waddell, Office of the Honourable Tony Clement, Federal Minister of Health, (613) 957-0200; Stephen Hendrie, Communications Director, Cell: (613) 277-3178, firstname.lastname@example.org; Public Enquiries: (613) 957-2991, 1-866-225-0709; Health Canada news releases are available on the Internet at www.healthcanada.gc.ca/media
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