Government of Canada funding supports improving healthy living behaviours for Indigenous women in the Prairies

News release

Taking a holistic and cultural approach to help increase physical activity and improve overall health

March 8, 2022 | Calgary, Alberta | Public Health Agency of Canada

Research shows that 44% of adults in Canada live with at least one chronic disease, such as heart disease, hypertension, cancer, or diabetes. Many chronic diseases are more prevalent among Indigenous peoples, which often reflects broader inequities they face. Healthy living initiatives that centre and celebrate the strengths, cultural traditions, and resilience of Indigenous peoples can help reduce the risk of chronic disease and support overall health and wellbeing.

Today, in Calgary, at the Miskanawah Community Association, George Chahal, Member of Parliament for Calgary Skyview, Alberta, on behalf of the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Health, announced an investment of $886,880 to the University of Calgary. This funding will help improve access to health programs for Indigenous women and two-spirit persons in Alberta and Saskatchewan. The project will enable innovative and integrated approaches to promoting healthy living and addressing the common risk factors for chronic disease.

The funding received will help implement the Wolf Trail Program Expansion Project, a holistic, physical activity-based program designed for Indigenous women. In the program, participants come together to experience new types of exercise, learn about nutrition, and share their personal experiences in a safe, supportive, and culturally appropriate environment. The Wolf Trail Program fosters a sense of social and community connection for participants, while supporting healthier lifestyle behaviours, including physical activity, healthy eating and tobacco cessation.

The Government of Canada will continue to work with the public, private, and not-for-profit sectors to promote healthy living and chronic disease prevention while addressing health inequities to ensure that everyone in Canada has the same opportunities to lead a healthy life.

Quotes

“Our government continues to take important steps to improve health outcomes for all people living in Canada. Through this project, Indigenous women and two-spirit persons in Alberta and Saskatchewan will have access to tools and resources to help maintain a healthy lifestyle while also strengthening cultural connections.”

The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos
Minister of Health

“Today’s funding supports integrating gender equity and cultural relevancy through physical activity and health programming for approximately 1,000 women across ten communities in Calgary, Edmonton, Onion Lake Cree Nation, and First Nation communities in Saskatchewan.”

George Chahal
Member of Parliament for Calgary Skyview, Alberta

“The Wolf Trail program exemplifies the impact that research can have when it is anchored by the community it serves. Through deep understanding and a commitment to shared goals, University of Calgary researchers in partnership with Miskanawah have created a holistic program with the capacity for long-term sustainability. We are honoured to partner with each of the communities involved.”

Dr. William Ghali
Vice-president (research), University of Calgary

Quick facts

  • Funding announced today is being distributed through the Public Health Agency of Canada's Multi Sectoral Partnerships (MSP) program, which has invested $20 million a year since 2013 in innovative projects across the country. It supports projects that aim to lower Canadians' risk of chronic disease by tackling common modifiable risk factors, namely unhealthy eating, smoking, and physical inactivity. The MSP is now known as the Healthy Canadians and Communities Fund.

  • University of Calgary's Cumming School of Medicine and Miskanawah, in conjunction with the ten Indigenous communities involved, will complete the project called Makoyoh'sokoi – The Wolf Trail Program Expansion Project – Supporting Indigenous Women to Celebrate Good Health. In the program, participants come together to experience new types of physical activity, learn about nutrition and share their personal experiences in a safe, supportive, and culturally appropriate environment.

Associated links

Contacts

Marie-France Proulx
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos
Minister of Health
613-957-0200

Media Relations
Public Health Agency of Canada
613-957-2983
media@hc-sc.gc.ca

Kelly Johnston
Senior Communications & Media Specialist
Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary
Kelly.johnston2@ucalgary.ca
Cell: 403-617-8691

Public Inquiries:
613-957-2991
1-866-225-0709

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