July 31, 2012 for immediate release
The Honourable Peter Van Loan, Government House Leader, on behalf of the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Federal Minister of Health, today announced the government will partner with SaskTel and the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations (FSIN) to bring broadband connectivity to 83 First Nations health centres and nursing stations in Saskatchewan.
"Our government is proud to invest in this new technology, which will help to improve health services for First Nations here in Saskatchewan," said the Honourable Peter Van Loan. "Today's announcement will expand e-Health services, and help improve the coordination of healthcare."
"It is good to see two government departments collaborating to provide a long awaited solution to the high-speed connectivity needs of First Nations." said Vice Chief E Dutch Lerat of the FSIN. " Through this collaboration, First Nations in Saskatchewan will receive e-Health services sooner and at less of an impact to the Indian Health Envelope with the savings potentially used towards e-Health preparedness such as planning and training initiatives."
"This project supports SaskTel's goal of bringing much faster broadband speeds to all First Nations communities in order to provide equitable access to services such as communications, education, health, electronic business and entertainment," said Ron Styles, SaskTel President and CEO. "SaskTel firmly believes in the importance of our First Nations in Saskatchewan and we will endeavor to make use of First Nations contractors to the greatest extent possible for this project."
Heath Canada will invest $5.8 million over 5 years to supply First Nations communities with better internet access that will allow Saskatchewan First Nations to gradually add more community level e-Health services to their health care system. SaskTel will begin installing fibre cables in 83 First Nation health facilities this year with completion expected in 2014.