CASLPA applauds federal initiatives for Canada’s aboriginal communities

Measures announced in the Canadian government’s 2013 budget will have a positive impact on the health of aboriginal Canadians, says the Executive Director of the Canadian Association of Speech Language Pathologists and Audiologists (CASLPA).

Joanne Charlebois says the measures will improve health care and education on reserves.

“Healthcare for Aboriginal communities has been an ongoing issue of concern for CASLPA,” she says. “The current lack of access to speech-language pathology and audiology services has serious repercussions. It’s important to note that when left untreated and undiagnosed, speech, language and hearing disorders become more difficult to treat and can lead to long-term learning and social problems.

“The government’s inclusion of $48 million over the next two years towards improving quality of health services in First Nations communities is noteworthy and will make a great difference for the people that live there,” continued Charlebois.

The 2013 budget also included a variety of incentives meant to promote education and skills training for the country’s Aboriginal populations. The $241 million investment over the next five years will help ensure that young recipients have the incentive to participate in training necessary for them to gain employment.

“By investing in skills training, the government is effectively investing in the future prosperity of the country’s Aboriginal population. It is our hope that education in treating communications disorders will take place in order to address the current lack of available services in many First Nations communities,” concluded Charlebois. “It is extremely important that members of Canada’s Aboriginal communities collaborate and participate in the delivery of communication disorder services. CASLPA has met with several Members of Parliament to stress the need to build community capacity for training community members in a supportive role to deliver speech, language and hearing programming.”