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NWT men’s healing program A New Day to be extended by six months

An NWT pilot program that offers counselling to men who have used violence in their relationships has been extended until June 30, 2017.

There had previously been some concern that funding for A New Day would run out on December 31, 2016.

READ: The full evaluation of A New Day (pdf)

RELATED: Regular MLAs vote to extend funding for A New Day program

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The healing program is currently offered by the Tree of Peace Friendship Centre and funded by the territory’s justice department.

It’s available to men over the age of 18 who can either be self-referred or referred by an organization or agency.

On Wednesday, the territorial government released an evaluation of the three-year pilot project in which it commits to rolling out a longer version of it after the six-month extension.

Louis Sebert, the territory’s justice minister, says the evaluation should help determine if any adjustments need to be made going forward.

“While we are happy with the program, there may be some tweaking required in how it is rolled out,” he said, adding that department officials are considering a four-module program instead of the current 20-week system.

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Justice Minister Louis Sebert.
Justice Minister Louis Sebert.

By extending the program six months, Sebert says there shouldn’t be a gap in service in the event that a new provider is chosen.

That’s something that’s a very real possibility, he says, given that the government is prepared to open up a request for proposal process before the end of June.

Regardless of who’s running A New Day after June 30, the justice department says it’s committed to the program long-term.

“We are committed to using the results of this pilot project to fine-tune and deliver a long-term program that will help men learn good alternatives to using violence in their relationships,” read a statement issued by the department Wednesday.

“The new program will be ready to operate before the six months expires.

“During this transition phase we will be applying the lessons learned, making necessary changes so we are fully operational before the end of the program extension.”

Earlier this month, all 11 of the territory’s regular MLAs voted in favour of extending funding for A New Day.

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The program provides culturally appropriate, community-based counselling to men who have used abuse in their relationships. Had it not been extended, MLAs were concerned it might result in an unnecessary gap in service.

There’s been some confusion over how many people A New Day has served, however.

Earlier this month, MLAs said the program has helped over 300 men since its launch, yet the evaluation only considers some 80 men who completed intake forms between October 2012 and December 2015.

Sebert says he expects an RFP process to begin well in advance of June 30, 2016. The evaluation of A New Day cost an estimated $40,000.

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