Government of Canada invests in University of New Brunswick and Clinic 554 research on barriers to access abortions, and invites organizations improving access to sexual and reproductive health care to apply for federal funding

News release

August 3, 2021  |  Fredericton, New Brunswick  |  Health Canada

No matter where they live, Canadians deserve access to sexual and reproductive health services and resources. It is also critical that we support those who face the greatest barriers to accessing these services and resources, including women, youth, 2SLGBTQIA+ persons, racialized Canadians and Indigenous peoples.

That’s why, today, the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Health, along with Jenica Atwin, Member of Parliament for Fredericton, are announcing research funding to the University of New Brunswick (UNB) and clinic 554, and are inviting organizations improving access to sexual and reproductive health care to apply for funding.

To help health care providers have access to accurate and current data on the access to abortion services in New Brunswick, the Government of Canada will be providing $366,000 to UNB to undertake research with Clinic 554. This project will help identify the barriers and restrictions to access to surgical abortions in the province between 2015 and 2020, and seek the perspective of medical professionals and the lived experience of New Brunswick patients.

To continue to support community-based organizations across the country who help make sexual and reproductive health care information and services more accessible to under-served populations, the Government of Canada is also inviting organizations improving access to sexual and reproductive health care to apply for funding. Through an investment of $45 million committed in Budget 2021, the selected organizations will provide Canadians across the country with supports such as inclusive training materials for sexual and reproductive health care providers, public awareness activities, and travel and logistical support for individuals who could not otherwise access abortion services.

Together, these two initiatives will help improve access to sexual and reproductive health care supports, information, services and research—including protecting access to abortion care.


“Our government supports organizations across the country who help improve access to health and reproductive services, and it so important that we address the barriers that many people still face in accessing these services, including abortion. That is why we are announcing funding to help more organizations continue to help Canadians with resources and services about sexual health, and research funding in New Brunswick to make sure women can have access to abortion services.”

The Honourable Patty Hajdu
Minister of Health

“I am pleased that the Government of Canada will be supporting this important research being conducted by the University of New Brunswick. The results of this work are going to provide health care workers and policy makers with invaluable information about surgical abortions in New Brunswick, including the challenges faced by those wishing to access abortion care.”

Jenica Atwin
Member of Parliament for Fredericton

"Despite lack of provincial funding, Clinic 554 continues, for now, to be a safe, non-judgmental space for New Brunswickers to access vital sexual and reproductive care.  We pride ourselves on practicing evidence-based medicine, but we need local data in order to truly do so. We applaud Health Canada’s Health Care Policy and Strategies Program for supporting this accomplished team of researchers in their work to add to our understanding of NB's unique abortion landscape. It is research like this that helps healthcare teams like ours have the facts we need to do our best for our patients."

Dr. Adrian Edgar
Medical Director, Clinic 554

"Getting a clearer picture of the abortion services needs in the Province of New Brunswick will allow governments, health authorities and health care providers to make better, more evidence-based decisions that are responsive to the constitutional and legislative mandates for accessible and equitable health care. Drs. Haley, Pearlston, Taylor and I are looking forward to working towards this important goal.”

Dr. Jula Hughes
Professor and Dean of Law, Lakehead University, and Adjunct Professor, University of New Brunswick

“Every day, our researchers and their colleagues from institutions across Canada work to understand the complex challenges we face as individuals and communities. Through their work, they provide knowledge and insight that can be used to resolve these challenges. That work is made possible by funding from our partners, including the Government of Canada, whose support reflects both the importance of the research, and the calibre of the research team. Congratulations to all involved in this project.”

Dr. David MaGee
Vice-President (Research), University of New Brunswick

Quick facts

  • An initial targeted call for proposals to invite select organizations to submit applications for the $45 million in Budget 2021 funding was launched on July 29, 2021. A subsequent call will follow later in 2021 to ensure the goals of the initiative are being adequately addressed and the money being invested is targeting the sexual and reproductive health needs of vulnerable populations.

  • Dr. Jula Hughes, Adjunct Profession of law at UNB, and Dr. Tobin Haley from Ryerson University, will be leading the research project at UNB with the $366,000 in federal funding.


Thierry Bélair
Office of the Honourable Patty Hajdu
Minister of Health

Media Relations
Public Health Agency of Canada

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