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Native Alcohol Abuse Program - Joint Effort

The National Native Alcohol Abuse Program is a joint effort by the Department of Indian Affairs and Health and Welfare Canada to provide up to $13 million over three year trial period to help native people across Canada to develop and carry out preventive and rehabilitative projects.

In the past, federal and provincial governments have funded a variety of native alcohol abuse projects, but the approach was piecemeal and evaluations of projects success' have not been undertaken. The new program is intended to treat some of these shortages and also to begin to provide a technical support and expertise while giving native people the leading role in designing and implementing projects.

The need for a concerted attack on the native alcohol problem has been acknowledged by all governments and agencies who have been involved in past efforts in this area. Native leaders have increasingly called for greater assistance.

Planning for the program began in 1973 through a task force consisting of representatives from both departments and the National Indian Brotherhood. A work group toured the country to solicit the views of native people on the basis of the fairly consistent opinions expressed at a session was made to the Cabinet in December 1974 was approved and the program was officially launched on April 1, 1975.

Funding for the program is to be assigned to provide easier, more centralized access to the technical assistance and funds available from the two federal departments. Provision also has been made for provincial involvement. Projects which are intended to serve people, both on or off reserves, and which relate to both health and social well being may be funded on the cost sharing basis within the overall program.

For several years, native groups in a number of provinces have received financial support for alcohol abuse projects from various federal and provincial government departments and agencies. Projects funded federally have included the Native Courtworker Program, while provincial governments have funded projects such as Cultural and Friendship Centers, for off reserve Indians and Metis. Both levels of government have also funded detoxification and rehabilitation programs.

Groups that already sponsor alcohol abuse projects may apply for new funding under this program, subject to the same terms, and conditions that apply to new proposals.

For the past few years, the Non-Medical Use of Drugs Directorate of Health and Welfare Canada has also been funding three year demonstration projects. Separate funding will continue to be available for native alcohol abuse projects under their program.

Under the National Native Alcohol Abuse Program, federal funds of $3 million are available for 1975-76, compared to the $1 million provided for similar activities last year. Federal monies for subsequent years will be determined on the basis of what was spent in the first year and on the general fiscal situation, to a maximum of $13 million over the three year trial program.

Funds are being tentatively allotted to regions on a weighted per capita basis, but may be redeployed if they are not used. Funds are available to projects for hiring and training of staff, including consultants' fees if necessary; for travel costs and for the maintenance of facilities including rent, insurance, telephone, utilities and office supplies. Other expenses may also be covered depending on the needs of the project. It should be noted that capital expenditures will not be covered by federal funds because of the trial nature of the program for the first three years. It is also not intended that funds be used primarily for employment creating purposes.

Groups will receive initial payment when projects are approved, additional payments will follow at quarterly intervals when progress reports are submitted. At the end of a year, funding may be renewed after the results of the project have been reviewed by the regional and national advisory boards, and after receipt of an audited financial statement.

A national advisory board has been set up in Ottawa and at present consists of six members, including two representatives from Indian Affairs, one member each from Health and Welfare's Medical Services Branch and Non-Medical Use of Drugs Directorate, and one representative from both the National Indian Brotherhood and Inuit Tapirisat. Its functions are to direct and guide the program, co-ordinating project activities across Canada. The board also makes recommendations to the Assistant Deputy Ministers of both departments, and monitors the effectiveness of the program as a whole.

Regional advisory boards have been established in each province and territory. Membership consists of representatives from native groups, the two federal departments and the respective provincial or territorial government. The provincial or territorial representative will have had extensive experience with alcohol abuse projects and can also provide advice on possible cost-sharing arrangements for projects.

The regional boards act as liaison between federal and provincial bodies or native groups and make recommendations and evaluations to

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Native Alcohol Abuse Program - Joint Effort

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the national board concerning projects in their area. Most importantly, the regional board helps groups in setting up projects.

Alcoholism consultants are now being appointed to provide staff support to each regional advisory board and the national board.

Any questions you have concerning the program as a whole or your own project proposal should be directed to the regional director of either Indian Affairs or Health and Welfare Canada or to the chairman of your regional advisory board.

The regional alcoholism consultant, in co-operation with the regional board members, will be available to advise and assist you in preparing a submission should you decide to proceed with developing a project.

Project proposals can be submitted at any time. It will take approximately two months to consider and process your submission.

Funds for next year's program will depend on both the quality and quantity of projects approved this year, so the sooner you get your group organized and a proposal prepared, the better.