‘It’s all about access’: Ottawa pledges funding for sexual health education

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CALGARY-

Ottawa has committed $2.8 million to organizations that help those who face barriers in learning about sexual and reproductive health.

Yi Wen Shao, Montreal-based project coordinator for the Canadian Council for Sex Information and Education, said there was a severe lack of support for young people, people with disabilities and Indigenous communities.

She said her organization addresses the sexual health needs of people with autism and young people with disabilities that have long been overlooked and neglected.

“I think stigma is a big reason and I think that’s part of the reason why these services and this education aren’t even available to them in the first place and there are assumptions about the extent to which people with autism and disabilities want to be sexually active, Shao said in an announcement Wednesday in Calgary.

“Sexual health is a pretty big topic. I think the first step is to change the way people think about sexuality and sexual health when it comes to these populations.

Federal Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos announced funding for projects by the Sex Information and Education Council and Calgary’s Center for Sexuality.

“We are talking about people who generally face the greatest needs, but also the greatest obstacles. It’s a matter of access. It’s about shame, stigma, feeling unimportant and not having access to services from people they can trust,” Duclos said.

“So how do we leverage the power and success of organizations like the center to make these services accessible and known to young Canadians who need them most? »

The Center for Sexuality will receive over $2 million to adapt its existing in-person program to include an online component as well as content related to the special needs of LGBTQ youth, First Nations communities and persons with disabilities intellectual.

“A lot of times what we see in the community, especially around issues like sexual and reproductive health, is that people feel they have to take what’s already there and give it to people and they don’t react. still at it,” the chairman and president of the Center for Sexuality said. CEO Pam Krause.

“We’re starting to look for specific answers for specific populations and, in the case of sexual health information and education, it’s even reaching people just outside of major centres.

The Sex Information and Education Council will receive more than $800,000 to help health service providers improve sexual health promotion for young people with autism and disabilities.

The federal government has committed $45 million over three years, starting in 2021-22, to improve access to support for sexual and reproductive health care.


This report from The Canadian Press was first published on August 24, 2022.

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