Federal government provides funding for cannabis public education in the NWT

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The Government of Canada is looking to enhance cannabis-related public education in the Northwest Territories with a more than $1.8 million funding injection over three years under Health Canada’s Substance Use and Addictions Program.

“This funding will support the Government of the Northwest Territories in developing and delivering a comprehensive and interactive cannabis public education campaign,” notes a press release issued by Health Canada.

The NWT government will use the funding to lead community engagement activities, launch a media campaign using both social media and traditional media, and develop public education and awareness materials for different segments of the population, the release states. “The campaign will bring health and safety information to communities across the territory to help individuals make informed decisions about cannabis use.”

Including the development of culturally appropriate resources for Indigenous communities, “the campaign will use traditional media and social media platforms, augmented reality, community-led engagement sessions and other innovative public education tools,” Health Canada reports.

The announcement was made on behalf of federal health minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor, MP Michael McLeod and Glen Abernethy, health and social services minister for the NWT. “Public education about cannabis is fundamental to achieving the government’s objective of protecting public health and safety,” the statement notes.

“This campaign will provide Northerners with factual information to help them make informed decisions about cannabis use,” says Petitpas Taylor.

Ottawa “is working in collaboration with provinces, territories, Indigenous and community-based organizations, as well as other partners, to disseminate clear, consistent and evidence-based information on the health and safety facts about cannabis,” the federal statement points out.

In Budget 2018, Ottawa announced a $62.5 million investment over five years to support community-based organizations, Indigenous organizations and governments that are educating their communities on the risks associated with cannabis use.

“Collaborative partnerships such as this one are helping to provide Canadians with clear, consistent and evidence-based information on the health and safety facts about cannabis,” McLeod notes.

“This federal investment will support activities in communities throughout Northwest Territories that will help residents, particularly young people, have access to culturally safe information that will help them make healthy and responsible choices on cannabis use,” Abernethy adds.

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