GN releases action plan to tackle poverty

Plan maps out goals for GN and partners over next 18 months


Premier Eva Aariak and Nunavut Tunngavik Inc.’s vice-president Jack Anawak speak at a press conference to close the territory’s first poverty summit last Nov. 30. The product of the summit, the

Premier Eva Aariak and Nunavut Tunngavik Inc.’s vice-president Jack Anawak speak at a press conference to close the territory’s first poverty summit last Nov. 30. The product of the summit, the “Makimaniq Plan: A Shared Approach to Poverty Reduction,” was finally made public Feb. 24. (PHOTO BY SARAH ROGERS)

The Government of Nunavut released an action plan Feb. 24 that promises to tackle poverty across the territory.

The action plan, entitled The Makimaniq Plan: A Shared Approach to Poverty Reduction, is the work of Nunavut’s first-ever poverty summit held in November, 2011 and maps out goals the government and its partners hope to meet over the next 18 months.

Makimaniq, the Inuktitut term for “empowerment” calls on all Nunavummiut to play a role in reducing poverty across the territory.

One of the major goals of the plan is the GN’s pledge to draft poverty reduction legislation, which would develop policies and ensure long-term progress on the plan.

Roughly 45 participants from the GN, regional Inuit associations and other social organizations took part in a three-day poverty summit last November.

While the release of the summit’s final plan was delayed until now, Nunavut Premier Eva Aariak committed to meet certain objectives last fall, including legislation to to “ensure that the momentum created by this work continues beyond the term of any one government or organization,” she said last November.

Aariak also committed to:

• the revision of the public housing scale, to reduce disincentives to employment and support other social programs. “Some people refrain from acquiring jobs so their rent won’t increase and that has been a major problem,” Aariak said;

• the establishment of a culturally-relevant pilot program for addictions treatment;

• the creation of a Nunavut Food Security Coalition, to strengthen or develop food programs and provide better access to country foods.

The full Makimaniq report expands on the major themes discussed at the summit, including housing, economic development, health and wellbeing and food security.

Here are some more initiatives spelled out in the Makimaniq Plan:

• the establishment of a working group to implement article 32 of the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement, which gives Inuit beneficiaries the right to participate in the development of social and cultural policies.

The plan says this will help improve working relationships between the GN, Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. and regional Inuit associations;

• the creation of a territorial inter-agency committee to better administer wellness-related program funding;

• the development of an early childhood education plan, aimed at creating a territory-wide system with infrastructure, curricula and human resources training;

• a commitment to increase daycare services, so Nunavummiut parents can better access employment and training;

• the “enhancement” of healthy breakfast and lunch programs in Nunavut’s schools;

• a commitment to improve the income support system and related supports available to those who access income support programs.

“All efforts will be made to support the Tamapta objective to review how much can be earned before it is deducted and other changes to income support programming that would benefit individuals transitioning to work,” the plan says.

The plan does not go into much detail as to how some of goals will be achieved, except that say that that the Nunavut Roundtable for Poverty Reduction — the group who developed the plan — will provide “leadership and oversight.”

The GN and NTI will set up a terms of reference for the roundtable, the Makimaniq plan says. That will include an accountability framework, so its stakeholders have a chance to review and approve the plan.

“We’ve agreed on a shared approach to poverty reduction — a unique Nunavut approach,” Aariak said following the November summit. “We want to return to self-reliance as a guiding principle.”

The summit and the action plan are products of roundtable discussions in Nunavut communities since the Nunavut Roundtable for Poverty Reduction was first launched in October 2010.

But the work of the roundtable is not intended to replace or duplicate the mandates, programs and efforts currently in place, the Makimaniq Plan says, but rather boost territorial collaboration.

Any administrative costs of the roundtable will be paid by the GN, the plan notes.

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