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Sunday, June 22, 2014

NIAGARA this WEEK Apr 03, 2014 HNHB LHIN funds migrant agricultural worker health services Community Health Centres in St. Catharines and Brantford to receive new funding Grimsby Lincoln News GRIMSBY — A new investment will make is easier for migrant workers to access health care services. At its March meeting, the Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) approved $150,000 in new funding to expand and implement migrant agricultural worker health services in two sub-LHIN communities. "Recent research pointed to the Community Health Centre (CHC) care model as a good fit to meeting the primary care needs of Migrant Agricultural Workers," said Donna Crips, LHIN CEO. "I’m pleased Quest and Grand River CHCs in our LHIN stepped forward for these people in their communities." Quest Community Health Centre based in St. Catharines and Brantford’s Grand River Community Health Centre will each receive $75,000 in base funding to provide primary health care through an interdisciplinary team (physician, nurse practitioner, nurse and outreach coordinator), in languages and at times and locations accessible to area migrant agricultural workers. Migrant workers are entitled to health care under the Ontario Health Insurance Plan but face several systemic and practical barriers in accessing care, says the LHIN, including a lack of understanding of entitlements to heath care, lack of time and transportation and a fear and mistrust of being returned home due to health issues. This new funding seeks to address and provide community outreach, worker education, health promotion and accessibility, thereby reducing these barriers to care. Quest CHC currently provides services in Virgil and with this new funding will expand those services. The program will also aim to engage in community development and health promotion activities within the migrant workers six to eight month seasonal period. "This will be Quest’s fourth season working in collaboration with Niagara’s Migrant Worker Interest Group, as well as volunteer translators and students from McMaster University’s School of Medicine, to develop and implement a culturally sensitive health strategy to meet this need," said Coletta McGrath, Quest executive director. "This base funding will help strengthen and expand the current interdisciplinary model of primary health care for individuals who provide vital labour to Niagara’s agricultural sector." The Grand River CHC will offer its new program in Delhi and Simcoe from May to October and it will develop a similar model to one currently in place at Quest. The Grand River CHC is expected to provide similar programs and service levels. "It is not enough to say that migrant workers have legal access to health care — without active supports to ensure they can reach care when and where they need it — many workers go without adequate attention," said Dr. Janet McLaughlin, assistant professor of health studies at Wilfrid Laurier University's Brantford campus and co-founder of the Migrant Worker Health Project. "This initiative represents a major shift in approach that will make health care services truly accessible to migrant workers. This important and innovative project should be seen as a model for other host communities to adopt." Over the next couple of months the LHIN will negotiate a Performance Framework (including targets, deliverables, and timing) for the respective MAW programs with both Quest and Grand River CHCs. Each program will be monitored monthly for the first year to ensure that targets and outcomes are realized. Program specific metrics will be determined in addition to the required indicators (i.e. number of individuals served, number of visits provided). Every year, more than 38,000 legal, temporary contract positions are available for migrant agricultural workers n Canada, with more than half of them in Ontario. The HNHB LHIN has the greatest number of migrant agricultural workers with up to 8,000 annually.

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