Mr. Speaker, through the economic action plan 2012, Health Canada has maintained the delivery of federal health programs, services and benefits for first nations and Inuit to help maintain and improve their health. Opportunities to create efficiencies have been identified in non-service delivery areas and through simplification of internal operational processes and structures, such as reducing and restructuring the size of the First Nations and Inuit Health Branch, FNIHB, headquarters office to better support regional offices and their focus on frontline service delivery to communities.
Going forward, funding for Health Canada’s First Nations and Inuit Health Branch will focus on direct service delivery, such as primary health care, nursing, community-based programming, and the non-insured health benefits, NIHB, program. Funding in areas such as research, building capacity, developing partnerships and networking will continue, but on a limited basis. We continue to make investments in aboriginal health, nursing and research. For example, last year our government invested over $30 million in aboriginal health research through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. In fact, between 2006 and 2010-11, the latest year for which figures are available, we have invested over $151 million. In June we announced an investment of $25 million in a new long-term aboriginal health research initiative, pathways to health equity for aboriginal peoples.
Of the $2.2 billion in planned spending for 2012-13, approximately 47 per cent will fund non-insured health benefits, including drug and vision benefits and medical transportation, et cetera, for clients both on and off reserve. An additional 41 per cent will fund primary health care programs and activities in communities, including home and community care, communicable disease control, and community health promotion and disease prevention. The remaining 12 per cent will focus on health infrastructure support, comprising planning and quality management; health human resources activities, including the aboriginal health human resources initiative; health facilities costs; health systems integration activities, including the health services integration fund and tripartite activities; eHealth infostructure; nursing innovation; and branch overhead activities.
The non-insured health benefits program is available to all eligible first nations and Inuit regardless of their place of residence. Like all other eligible NIHB recipients, urban aboriginal women who qualify for the NIHB program will see no reduction in their benefits as a result of budget 2012. These benefits include drugs, dental care, vision care, medical supplies and equipment, short-term crisis intervention, mental health counselling and medical transportation. There are a number of other programs our government provides significant investment towards that benefit urban aboriginal women. For example, last year alone we provided $53.8 million towards gender related research through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. Since 2006 we have invested more than $241 million in this.
FNIHB’s mandate will continue to focus on providing the highest quality health services in first nation and Inuit communities.