Province to review $40K annual grant for society linked to anti-vaccine claims

B.C. ministry confirms funding is under review for the Health Action Network Society

Provincial funding to the Vancouver-based Health Action Network Society is under review in the wake of reports that the group promotes anti-vaccine messages.

The society receives roughly $40,000 annually through B.C.’s Community Gaming Grant program.

But the CBC reports it violated one of the main requirements to receive grant money: that the funds not be used for lobbying or go towards any programs that do not comply with B.C. laws or general public policy.

Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, which oversees community grants, confirmed to Black Press Media the funding is under review.

“Applications are reviewed at the public service level and approved by a statutory decision maker, not ministers or cabinet,” the ministry said in an emailed statement.

READ MORE: Most B.C. residents concerned about recent measles outbreaks: poll

READ MORE: Second case of measles reported in the B.C. Interior

Vaccinations have been a contentious issue since the late 1990s when a now-debunked scientific journal linked vaccines to higher risks of autism in children.

An outbreak of measles was declared in the Vancouver Coastal Health area in February, sparking debate over whether children must be vaccinated in order to attend school. In total, 20 measles cases have been confirmed – 18 in the Lower Mainland and two in northern B.C.

READ MORE: B.C. launches immunization program at schools to stamp out measles resurgence

According to CBC, the society has screened the controversial film “Vaxxed,” which has been removed from Amazon because of its misleading information on vaccinations.

The group’s website describes itself as a non-profit society that aims to inform people the “powerful and effective properties of natural, complementary and alternative medicines and therapies.”

The website also lists homeopathic-approved facilities for services such as hypnotherapy, dentistry, herbalism. No vaccine-related physicians are listed.

Society president Ted Kuntz wrote, Dare to Question: One Parent to Another, a 2018 book that questions the safety of immunizations. His social media platforms, including his public Facebook profile, are riddled with anti-vaccination messages.

Screenshots taken from Ted Kuntz Facebook profile.

In a news release posted online, the society said the claims made in the CBC report are untrue.

“The Health Action Network Society refutes any association with an ‘anti-vaccination’ position, and dissuades the irresponsible reporting associated with such allegations.”


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

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