Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to reiterate that our Conservative government is committed to protecting the health and well-being of all Canadians, including those who live in first nations on reserve and Inuit communities.
We work hard on prevention and the overall health status of first nations on reserve and Inuit people, including TB rates.
Our Conservative government remains committed to supporting and working with communities, provincial and territorial health care systems, scientific experts, and all TB partners to assist in the prevention and reduction of TB by developing scientific evidence-based advice regarding TB prevention and control in Canada.
As the House knows, there are many things that contribute to TB: high smoking rates, poor nutrition and overcrowding. We are working hand in hand with other ministers in our government to address these very important issues.
In addition, our Conservative government currently provides funding for the TB prevention and control program in the territories and provinces. The three northern territories are responsible for all health program service delivery which incorporates TV prevention and control activities for all territorial residents including first nations and Inuit.
As opposed to the previous Liberal government that cut funding transfers to the provinces and the territories, we have not only maintained funding but increased it by 6% per year.
In 2009-10 the Government of Canada invested $9.6 million to support the delivery of health promotion, TB prevention and control services on reserve across Canada, and to support some collaborative project-based work with Inuit communities.
Canada has adopted the global stop TB rate reduction target of 3.6 cases per 100,000 population by 2015 for the entire Canadian population including first nations and Inuit.
As the House knows, some remote and isolated first nations on reserve and Inuit communities face the additional challenges of related social determinants of health. Poverty, overcrowded housing, and other existing diseases such as diabetes and HIV-AIDS, and the lack of ready access to a full range of medical services, all increase the risk of TB among aboriginal people.
In addition, the unique cultural, educational and language differences that prevail in many aboriginal communities can sometimes present barriers to receiving appropriate health care made only worse by their geographical remoteness.
Speaking of Health Canada's specific mandate for on reserve populations, Health Canada makes TB prevention and control programs available to first nations. This includes: enhanced screening, surveillance, contact investigation, centralized case management, directly observed therapy for disease cases, a controlled system of medical and medication supply, education and awareness activities.
As previously mentioned, the delivery of health care services in the territories is the responsibility of territorial governments. Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada provide funding to support health promotion and disease prevention activities in the territories. The Public Health Agency of Canada is responsible for the overall management of TB prevention and control in Canada.
I wish to reiterate that our Conservative government will continue to work with all first nations on reserve and Inuit communities, leadership and other partners to help prevent TB, and help improve the overall health status of aboriginal Canadians. A critical part of that work will focus on the reduction of tuberculosis.