QIA’s coffers awash in mining revenues

Legacy fund now holds $42.2 million

By COURTNEY EDGAR

Qikiqtani Inuit Association's finance director, Scott Wells, centre, presents a financial report at the organization's annual general meeting on Tuesday at the Frobisher Inn. (PHOTO BY COURTNEY EDGAR)


Qikiqtani Inuit Association’s finance director, Scott Wells, centre, presents a financial report at the organization’s annual general meeting on Tuesday at the Frobisher Inn. (PHOTO BY COURTNEY EDGAR)

Thanks to a windfall in mining royalties, the Qikiqtani Inuit Association saw a big increase in revenues this past year. “As the amounts grow, so does the spending,” QIA's president, P.J. Akeeagok, told the organization's annual meeting. (PHOTO BY COURTNEY EDGAR)


Thanks to a windfall in mining royalties, the Qikiqtani Inuit Association saw a big increase in revenues this past year. “As the amounts grow, so does the spending,” QIA’s president, P.J. Akeeagok, told the organization’s annual meeting. (PHOTO BY COURTNEY EDGAR)

The Qikiqtani Inuit Association’s revenues nearly doubled over the past year, to $31 million from $18.4 million, according to the organization’s annual report presented at its annual general meeting in Iqaluit on Tuesday.

With total expenses of $20.2 million, that leaves a total surplus of nearly $11 million. That’s up from a total surplus of $3 million last year.

“As the amounts grow, so does the spending,” QIA President P.J. Akeeagok said during his president’s report.

Recent spending commitments by the organization include $100,000 in conditional funding for the Uquutaq Society’s transitional men’s shelter project in Iqaluit, $200,000 from QIA’s operational funds for 80 post-secondary scholarships and $637,500 made available in 2017-18 for the QCAP cultural activities fund.

Much of the QIA’s additional revenue comes from royalty and commercial lease payments for Inuit-owned land netted through the Inuit impact and benefit agreement they struck with Baffinland Iron Mines Corp. in 2013, along with other sources.

Mining royalties from Baffinland grew to $11.5 million this year, up from $3.1 million.

All of this money will go to the QIA’s legacy fund, which is meant specifically for community programming, not for QIA’s operations.

The legacy fund now holds a balance of $42.2 million this year, said QIA’s finance director, Scott Wells. The objective is for this fund to reach $75 million through low-risk investments, to fund community programs, Wells said.

This year, the QIA posted a deficit in its general fund, which is used to pay for operations, of $942,364, the organization’s annual report said.

In recent years, QIA officials have contended that their operations are underfunded by NTI.

Similar criticisms were not heard this year.

The QIA received about $10.6 million in funding this year from NTI, according to the QIA’s non-consolidated summarized statement of operations in its annual report. That’s up from about $9.5 million last year.

According to the QIA budget for 2018-2019, NTI is expected to contribute $12.6 million then.

“I am proud of the work we accomplished in the last four years,” Akeeagok said.

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