Six organizations dedicated to women’s health research and communication will no longer be federally funded from April.
Previously supported by Health Canada’s Women’s Health Contribution Program, both the Atlantic Centre of Excellence for Women’s Health in Halifax and the Prairie Women’s Health Centre of Excellence in Winnipeg will be permanently shutting down operations. Similar organizations in Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal are struggling to find other sources of funding.
Announced as part of widespread cost-cutting measures in the 2012 federal budget, the degree of the detrimental impact of the elimination of the program is not yet known.
According to Anne Rochon Ford, executive director of the Canadian Women’s Health Network, a clearing-house for women’s health information, the program managed by Health Canada funded “some terrifically important research through the research centers — on occupational links to breast cancer, on the need for a trauma-informed approach to substance issues for women, on the lived experiences of the daughters of residential school survivors, and on the need for a sex and gender-based analysis in all health research, to name but a few of the many projects. The loss of these centres, of this research, to the women’s health community is immeasurable.”