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Cape Dorset gives social services back to Nunavut government

“The most important thing is providing the best possible service to the children and families of Cape Dorset”


Cape Dorset will hand the delivery of its local social programs back to the Government of Nunavut on Sept. 30.

Cape Dorset first took responsibility for social services from the territorial government in April 1994, when it signed a deal with the Government of the Northwest Territories called a “community transfer agreement” under a territorial policy called “community empowerment.”

The GN inherited that arrangement in 1999. Under it, the hamlet of Cape Dorset has provided social services, such as child protection, to its residents.

The current contract dates to 2004. But as of Sept. 30, the GN will once again administer local programs through its Department of Health and Social Services.

“We have many other areas to focus on in our community and social services is one area that the territorial government looks after in most communities, as it has broader access to human resource requirements and services,” said Cape Dorset mayor Cary Merritt in an Aug. 30 release.

“By mutual decision, we believe they should do so again here in Cape Dorset.”

The decision to switch back to territorial services was made earlier this summer, Merritt said.

In the past year, Cape Dorset has seen a rash of violence which stunned all of Nunavut and Canada, including two murders and a police standoff with a pair of teenagers followed by a string of suicides and shootings, many involving youth.

“The most important thing is providing the best possible service to the children and families of Cape Dorset and together we came to the conclusion that the best way to do that is for the department to re-establish its role as social services provider in the community,” said Nunavut’s health and social services minister Tagak Curley in the same GN release. “We’re working together with the hamlet to ensure a seamless transition.”

The hamlet of Igloolik is now the only one in Nunavut to provide social programs to its residents, under a similar agreement that dates back to the 1990s.

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