Ontario's Aboriginal Healing and Wellness Strategy
The Aboriginal Healing and Wellness Strategy (AHWS) is a shared commitment between the Ontario government and First Nations, Métis and Aboriginal partners to reduce family violence and violence against Aboriginal women and children, and to improve Aboriginal healing, health and wellness through culturally appropriate programs and services.
The strategy was formally launched in 1994 in response to high levels of family violence and poor health status among the Aboriginal population.
Today, the AHWS serves approximately 42,000 people every year. Since its launch in 1994, the strategy has also:
- Created 650 jobs to deliver healing, health and wellness programs in 250 Aboriginal communities, and
- Established 460 community-based projects across Ontario.
The Strategy has established a network of programs located both on and off-reserve including:
- Family violence community awareness and education programs
- Shelters and family violence healing programs
- Healing lodges
- Programs that support health promotion and education
- Crisis intervention teams that respond to high rates of suicide in northern communities
- A youth treatment centre
- A maternal and child centre
- Aboriginal Healthy Babies Healthy Children programs
- Mental health programs
The government has committed to investing $8.6-million to help improve the quality of life for Aboriginal people by expanding services such as crisis intervention; counseling; supports for women, children and families at risk; and health and family violence awareness and education. This investment will support enhanced salaries and wages for front-line workers in the sector.
In addition, as part of the 2014 Budget, AHWS partners and service providers will receive $1.5 million by 2015-16 (a two per cent increase in base funding in 2014-15 plus an additional two per cent increase in 2015-16) to support a strong service delivery system consisting of a stable, well-trained workforce.