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Health minister addresses UN report on right to health


November 20, 2018
By Ground Water Canada

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Ottawa – The federal government shared the preliminary findings and recommendations of United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, including access to clean drinking water.

Dainius Pūras noted in his initial findings that Canada has in place strong federal, provincial and territorial policies and programs, grounded in a public health approach. Pūras also made highlighted Canada’s substantial investments to improve access to mental health services through better integration within the overall health system and our ongoing efforts to address the root causes of mental illness.

“We acknowledge that, while Canadians are among the healthiest people in the world, the benefits of good health are not equally shared by all Canadians,” said the Public Health Agency of Canada in a news release. “This is one reason why Canada is a full supporter of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, without qualification.”

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Health is influenced by many factors including education, housing, poverty, the environment we live in, and access to safe drinking water, the Agency said, but noted that far too many Indigenous communities are missing the basic infrastructure that most Canadians take for granted. “In keeping with the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, we are determined to close those gaps,” it said.

The federal government will undertake a trilateral memorandum of understanding on Jordan’s Principle with Alberta and 11 First Nations, allowing for the parties to work together to address and close gaps, ensuring that First Nations children in the province are receiving the supports they need. Jordan’s Principle is a principle used in Canada to ensure that First Nations children living on and off reserve have equitable access to all government funded services.