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Government of Canada announces support for young children and families in Official Language Minority Communities across Canada

Government of Canada announces support for young children and families in Official Language Minority Communities across Canada

Canada NewsWire

The Healthy Early Years Program aims to help children at risk have a strong start in life

OTTAWA, ON, Aug. 13, 2020 /CNW/ - English and French minority communities across the country are an integral part of Canada's cultural fabric, and supporting the vitality of these communities is important for the Government of Canada. This support includes promoting the positive health and wellbeing of Canadian children and their families, particularly those living in situations of increased vulnerability.

Today, the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Health, announced more than $6.3 million in funding over three years for two organizations. The funding supports early childhood health promotion programming to improve the health and wellbeing of children and families in Official Language Minority Communities (OLMCs).

The Société santé en français (SSF) is receiving more than $5.1 million and is leveraging its partnerships with the Alliance des partenaires nationaux in early childhood to develop early childhood health promotion programs and activities for the Francophone minority population living in OLMCs outside of Quebec. Third-party community organizations will deliver locally-tailored activities to support parents and young children, offering prenatal care, parenting skills and infant-parent and toddler-parent relationship programs. 

The Community Health and Social Services Network (CHSSN) is receiving more than $1.2 million and is engaging its networks to distribute funding to approximately 20 to 25 community organizations to implement the Healthy Early Years Program for minority Anglophone Canadians living in OLMCs throughout the province of Quebec. CHSSN will select a range of communities, including rural, isolated, semi-urban and urban settings, with a focus on enhancing knowledge and skills and building capacity through community-based activities and outreach.

These investments are provided through the Public Health Agency of Canada's new Healthy Early Years Program. Funding helps support children (0 to 6 years of age) and their families who are living in conditions of risk and who may face barriers to care. Conditions of risk could include being low-income, socially isolated, single-parent families or newcomer families.


"The Government of Canada is committed to supporting a strong beginning for all Canadian children to improve their chances of growing into healthy adults. This means ensuring that communities are supported to deliver programs and activities they need in the official language of choice for Canadians. Improving the health and wellbeing of children and families in Official Language Minority Communities across Canada lays a foundation for health for future generations of families and communities."

The Honourable Patty Hajdu

Minister of Health

"In a minority situation, language barriers are a major obstacle to the well-being of young children. We are proud to be able to work with the Public Health Agency of Canada to help families in Francophone and Acadian minority communities. This assistance will make it possible to better support them from the prenatal period onward, as well as children aged up to six years old. It will also help engage the communities in taking charge of their health and well-being through a range of French-language health services."

Ms. Anne Leis

President, Société Santé en français 

"The Quebec Survey of Child Development in Kindergarten confirmed that Kindergarteners whose mother tongue is English are more likely to be considered vulnerable than their French-speaking peers. The Public Health Agency of Canada's Healthy Early Years (HEY) program is addressing this inequality directly. Through the Community Health and Social Services Network's (CHSSN) network of organizations across the province, programing to serve families with small children is being implemented with this program. These community organizations can reach vulnerable families that the system struggles to support. They have the capacity now to develop programing that responds to the actual needs of vulnerable families and children, to improve their health and well-being, and ensure that children are prepared to enter school. The CHSSN is thrilled that the Public Health Agency of Canada's HEY program recognizes the capacity of minority communities to address inequalities in access to services for vulnerable English-speaking families in Quebec."

Jennifer Johnson

Executive Director, Community Health and Social Services Network

Quick Facts

  • These projects are being funded through the Public Health Agency of Canada's new Healthy Early Years (HEY) Program, which provides $10 million in new funding over five years with $2.2 million ongoing.
  • The HEY Program is designed to enable OLMCs to develop comprehensive, culturally and linguistically appropriate programs to improve the health and development of children (0-6 years of age) and their families, particularly those facing health inequities. It aims to improve access to community-based early childhood health promotion programming, expand knowledge and resources and strengthen capacity building and training.
  • By providing funding to SSF and CHSSN and using a third party agreement approach, the Public Health Agency of Canada aims to ensure that funds will be efficiently and effectively distributed amongst OLMCs by organizations who have established community networks and who have demonstrated experience in administering health promotion programs to the targeted communities.

Related Links

Action Plan for Official Languages

Childhood and Adolescence

SOURCE Public Health Agency of Canada

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