Akeeagok calls meeting with PM crucial for future of health care

Premiers to meet with Prime Minister Trudeau to discuss health transfer deal; Nunavut premier says he is optimistic

Nunavut Premier P.J. Akeeagok says he is optimistic for Feb. 7 meeting between Canada’s premiers and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. (File photo)

By David Lochead

The meeting between Canada’s premiers and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Feb. 7 will be crucial to a potential future agreement on health-care transfers, says Premier P.J. Akeeagok.

“But I’m coming into it very optimistic,” he said Tuesday in an interview with Nunatsiaq News.

The premiers said in a joint news release Monday they expect the federal government to increase its share of funding under the Canada Health Transfer to 35 per cent from 22 per cent, meaning its health transfer would rise by about $28 billion from the current $45 billion.

The Canada Health Transfer is the largest transfer of funding from the federal government to the provinces and territories, with the purpose of supporting stable health-care.

Akeeagok was among the group of premiers who put up a united front in December, demanding a meeting the Trudeau to discuss the federal government’s role in improving the ailing health-care system.

Initially Trudeau rejected the request but last week the prime minister announced he would meet with the premiers, who say they are looking for the funding injection to help their health-care systems beleaguered by three years of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Trudeau said on Jan. 25 that a deal will not be reached on Feb. 7, but called it an opportunity to move the discussion forward and talk about specific federal and provincial or territorial agreements.

Akeeagok said increased funding for health transfers across the country would impact Nunavut, because it relies on different territories and provinces for some of its health-care services.

“Reliance on our partners is so important,” he said.

Akeeagok said an area of concern within the territory he is looking to raise at the meeting is the impact housing can have on health.

“I think we know lack of housing causes a lot of health determinants we see, which then directly impact the kind of [health] discussions we’re having,” he said.

Staffing shortages in the health-care sector have been a challenge in Nunavut as well, with several health centres having to be temporarily closed over the past year due to shortages, Akeeagok said.

In terms of infrastructure, the fact those centres are aging is also a problem.

Other health-related issues Akeeagok will bring to the discussion include elder care and mental health care.

He said the territory is looking to expedite construction of elder care facilities in Iqaluit and Cambridge Bay, and to finish the facility in Rankin Inlet.

With the meeting in Ottawa a week away, Akeeagok said he is looking forward to what Trudeau will offer.

“At the end, it’s waiting to see what’s going to be offered by Trudeau and we’ll go from there,” he said. “But we will be ready to move quickly.”

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(7) Comments:

  1. Posted by 867 on

    More money won’t necessarily make Nunavut a better place for health care workers. No dollar amount should persuade someone to put up with chronic abuse, harassment and threats. We must ask ourselves why so many Inuit nurses end up working down south than for the GN?

    • Posted by I’m not a robot on

      It would also be interesting to know how many students enter vs complete the nursing program. I have an anecdotal hunch the drop out rate is fairly high.

    • Posted by 979 on

      Why is there so much harassment and threats? What is the cause of this? How can it be fixed?
      Is it also to do with management?

  2. Posted by Gone…Don’t work here! on

    “Staffing shortages in the health-care sector have been a challenge in Nunavut as well”
    Reasons to join GN Health as a nurse:
    -You get to gamble if your pay is correct this week
    -you get to practice time management and follow up multiple times with Health HR to see if overtime you worked 8 months ago will be paid
    -you get to see what it was like in the 90s and manually calculate shift differentials during all the free time you have working in understaffed environments, write it on paper, get it to HR, who then enter it into a computer.
    -retention and mental health are priorities so go ahead and quit your indeterminate position and go on casual just to take a vacation during Christmas and Summer Holidays because you’re not a friend of the manager from back home and somehow you’re the only one always denied for “operational requirements”
    -maybe fringe benefits – friends of the manager are being paid overtime to not show up to work in exchange for smoothing the managers life over and trading other shifts and no one is fired for workplace fraud!
    -no school for you! you never ever ever ever can take education leave you’re supposed to be entitled to and attend career development because you’re too important so leave that to the rest of the bureaucrats at Health who will attend 3 out of territory conferences on the GN dime a year
    -you’ll lose weight because you’re expected to not take lunch or break routinely without compensation and you also get to build teamwork and show up 15 minutes early for report and stay 15 minutes late or more every shift for report without compensation -you pull your own weight and pay for housing while on a casual contract as if you don’t have household expenses
    -agency nurses are flown up and down with bonuses but indeterminate staff are given no incentives because they are highly valued by management
    -a nurse retention package was close and promised in 2019 as reported by Nunatsiaq but it’s important to get it absolutely right and maybe it will come in 2029
    -workplace violence doesn’t exist at all, just ask your manager for some ice and a bandaid
    -workplace harassment also never happens, just file a report and watch as it gets lost

  3. Posted by thats it on

    The drop in health care workers all over north america has been because of v.mandates and their inability to practice uncensored, as they see fit based on their long education. Its the govt. hope that enough workers will bend their resolve and morality to fill these vacancies.

  4. Posted by Mary on

    I dont trust anyone who dances with Truduche

    • Posted by boo on

      This premier is a biggest puppet of all the Premiers. He even tried the socks thing, it was pathetic to see.


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