Nunatsiaq News
NEWS: Nunavut May 31, 2018 - 8:00 am

Kugluktuk’s MLA prods premier about proposed elder-care facility

“I have yet to receive a response"

Kugluktuk MLA Mila Kamingoak says she is frustrated with the Government of Nunavut's lack of support for a hamlet plan to build an elder-care facility in her community of about 1,500. (FILE PHOTO)
Kugluktuk MLA Mila Kamingoak says she is frustrated with the Government of Nunavut's lack of support for a hamlet plan to build an elder-care facility in her community of about 1,500. (FILE PHOTO)

Kugluktuk MLA Mila Kamingoak is not ready to abandon her community’s aim to build a long-term care facility for elders.

Nor is she overlooking the lack of response to a letter that she gave Nunavut’s premier, Paul Quassa, last April.

Kamingoak learned during this sitting of the legislature that the Government of Nunavut plans to issue a request for proposals for building and running facilities that would provide care to the territory’s growing number of elders.

For now, many of these elders, especially those who are bedridden or who suffer from serious conditions like dementia, end up in Ottawa when they need a high level of continuous care.

The new call for proposals means the GN won’t consider the hamlet’s existing proposal for its long-term care project, Nunavut Health Minister Pat Angnakak said last week in legislature.

On Tuesday, May 29, Kamingoak rose again in the legislature to deliver a member’s statement about the GN’s decision not to support Kugluktuk’s proposal.

“I rise today to express my frustration at the lack of initiative on the part of our government to support a homegrown solution to a very real and urgent issue faced by the residents and community of Kugluktuk,” she said.

It is frustrating “when on the one hand, our government urges Nunavummiut to learn to be self-sufficient and to work together to find our own solutions, but on the other hand will not commit to providing the necessary support,” Kamingoak said.

Later the MLA directed questions to the premier, who is also the minister responsible for seniors in Nunavut.

Kamingoak said she sent a letter to Quassa in early April to ask for his support for the Hamlet of Kugluktuk’s proposal to build its continuing long-term care facility.

“I have yet to receive a response,” she said. “Can the minister confirm whether he received my letter and, if so, when he plans to respond?”

Quassa said he didn’t “exactly remember the letter, if I have seen the letter or not. “

“I don’t think I have seen it. I have not seen the letter. I don’t remember how I received it,” he said.

Kamingoak later tabled a copy of the letter in the legislature.

  Correspondence to Preimer Quassa Regarding Kugluktuk's Plan for an Elders' Care Facility by NunatsiaqNews on Scribd


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(16) Comments:

#1. Posted by prepared on May 31, 2018

We should begin to train Inuit to work in this proposed long term care facility and be prepared for the day they are looking for employees. Many if not all are unilingual elders so Inuktitut speaking staff are a must for success

#2. Posted by Observer on May 31, 2018

Quassa quassa quassa. Can’t remember maybe shouldn’t be in office. Although an elders center would be very expensive to run on such a small hamlet…not a very good government business decision. Only way it may work if there was one for kitikmeot, kivalliq, Baffin and Iqaluit…still very expensive to run and it’s hard enough to staff the healTh centres and hospitals….

#3. Posted by Dkelias69@gmail on May 31, 2018

The reason the GN did this is plain n simple, they did not think of rhis project first. The GN doesn’t want to play second fiddle.
It’s pretty much the same thing about the Grays Bay Project. Some people were getting jealous about the Kitikmeot being smarter then the GN.

#4. Posted by Fake Plastic Principles on May 31, 2018

Kamingoak is bang on. The government likes to talk about its principles and values, but what is it doing to implement positive changes that align to those values?


But that party is Ottawa, that was good. And that limo… wish that could happen every day.

#5. Posted by Putuguk on May 31, 2018

#2. Kugluktuk is around the same size as Igloolik, Quassa’s home town.

In Igloolik, the GN has been operating the Continuing Care Facility for several years, and has shouldered 100% of the costs.

Kugluktuk is closer to a general hospital than Igloolik, and according to the Nunavut Food Price survey, Kitikmeot prices are 6% less than the Baffin.

Kitikmeot contractors even have to go to Igloolik to fix up the Continuing Care Facility, since there is no local capacity.

To top it all off, Kugluktuk is willing to build the facility, which would free up GN capital.

Cost and remoteness do not seem to be factors in the GN decision to refuse the Kugluktuk proposal.

GN has been quite willing to spend 100% of the costs, in a more expensive community that has less capacity than Kugluktuk, to care for Elders.

The main difference is Igloolik has had a long time cabinet member turned Premier.

#6. Posted by Observer on May 31, 2018

Wowsers…it’s going to be like pulling teeth to get approved with all this overspending scandal…has kugluktuk considered trying to on an elder facility as a co op…a lot of smaller canadian communities take this approach but there requires to be territorial funding to offset the cost. Elders choosing to live there relinquish their full old ag and cpp to the center and the territory would need to top up for the total cost of having an elder reside there

#7. Posted by Truth Teller 5.0 on May 31, 2018


Seems about right since the baffin needs to send there mechanics to Kugluktuk to fix trucks..

#8. Posted by Arctic Circle on May 31, 2018

Minister Pat is Health Minister and she was working on a long term care facility for Iqaluit in the previous government. Without a doubt, she will bring the care facility in Iqaluit.

You are good Mila, keeping working hard to bring it to your home community. The facility deserves to be there. Kugluktukmiut, keep writing letters to the GN to support the long term care facility in Kugluktuk, keep up the good job Mila.

#9. Posted by Truth Teller 5.1 on May 31, 2018

#7 Since when did a mechanic come from Baffin to fix Kugluktuk trucks? Thats a load of bull. There is local Inuit mechanic here at the Hamlet! and another private mechanic in the community to! But keep thinking how good Baffin is…... Kugluktuk has great people great skills, and could easily run a regional centre, but we prob won’t get the chance because we are not the centre of the world like Iqaluit is….......

#10. Posted by Same same old on May 31, 2018

Kugluktuk is too far west for any consideration, right by the nwt border.
All of Nunavut knows it. They all have mines over there so why bother Nunavut government for help since all of the mines are on that side
Kia has millions of the beneficiaries impact benefits that should have gone directly to the beneficiaries pockets to alleviate the problem of widespread poverty in the territory but instead take that money amd pit it put for lavish meetings for there own employees. these delegates of the kia in the west should be more transparent also instead of not keeping things like that a secret.

#11. Posted by Knockout Ned on May 31, 2018

#5 There you go again.

How’s the Inuktitut in Kugluktuk?

You do realize the majority of our Elders requiring care will be unilingual Inuktitut (not Innuinaqtun) speakers, right?

#12. Posted by Just Do It on May 31, 2018


After consultation, tell the government that you and your constituents understand that the GN is short of money and cannot do everything. 

Tell the government not to worry about the Elders in Kugluktuk. 

Tell the government the community will find a way to take care of its Elders, as it used to do.

Then get started. Other communities all over the world have faced the same challenge in the past.

The original Elders facilities were built by local leaders, people who each said, “Our parents will soon need a place to live, and someday you and I will live there, too.  So let’s put our time, money and effort into doing it right.”

Government never leads, it always follows.  So get started. We will follow you.

Later you can shame the GN to get the Elders portion of the transfer payments from Ottawa in exchange for the GN providing no services to the Elders.  Add in their CPP & OAS and you are talking $50,000 per Elder per year towards operating costs.  That’s a good start.

#13. Posted by More Facilities on June 02, 2018

Build 3, one in each Region.
Kitikmeot Elders shouldn’t have to be dragged over to Baffin. 
Kivallirmiut shouldn’t have to leave their dialect, their Region, their land.
Families do not have the money to traipse over to another Region just to see Grandma or Mother.
We do not need such a big one in Iqaluit, instead give Elders room in their own areas where they will be among like-minded other Elders.

#14. Posted by Thank you for your reasonableness #13 on June 02, 2018

Good points #13, three facilities.

In fact I think the health minister said as much back in the winter session. The MLA should ask her or the Premier if that’s still the plan instead of just lobbying for her own community’s proposal.

#15. Posted by No, Never. on June 02, 2018

#13 and 14.

No. There needs to be a place for elders in every community, just like there needs to be schools and health care in each community.

Yes, it costs money. But it must be done. Did we not learn anything from the time of residential schools?  No more tearing families apart.

Ask people in their 40s and 50s, “When you get a little older, do you want to be sent to another community and maybe see your grand kids once or twice during the rest of your life?”  “Or would you rather continue to live in this community and watch your family grow?”

If elders stay in their home community, family can visit every day and help care for them in the elder facility.  If the elders are sent to another community, all their care will have to be done by paid staff, and they will be isolated from their family. It will be a jail-for-elders, for the crime of not dying young.

#16. Posted by Yes, Probably on June 02, 2018

#15 Of course that would be better, but I think the issue here is specialized dementia care.

How many nursing students are there right now at Nunavut Arctic College? I’d be surprised if it was 10 in a given year, and half are non-Inuit so will probably leave Nunavut eventually. Then there’s the money - how much would facilities cost? Where’s that money coming from?

People can and do take care of their elders themselves, although the housing crisis doesn’t make it easy. If we could build an economy and private housing stock here so that people had more control over their own housing situation that would help a lot.

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