BCC to use Apex treatment centre for inmate rehab
The Nunavut cabinet is expected to approve the transfer of the former Inusiqsiuqvik treatment centre building from the Department of Health to the Department of Justice.
IQALUIT — After months of sitting empty and unused, the former Inusiqsiuqvik addictions treatment centre building in Apex will soon begin a new life as a rehabilitation centre for inmates at the Baffin Correctional Centre.
“We’re going to use it as it was meant to be used,” said Ron McCormick, the director of corrections and community justice for Nunavut.
The proposal from the Department of Health, which would have Nunavut’s Department of Justice take over the centre, has gone to the Nunavut cabinet for approval, and the two parties are simply waiting for a decision, McCormick said.
“Right now BCC doesn’t have the capacity to run treatment programs,” McCormick said.
He said the Apex treatment centre building, with proper security measures put in place, could be of real benefit to minimum security inmates who need help with drug and alcohol addictions, anger management, or family living skills.
Dennis Patterson, the chairman of the Baffin Regional Health and Social Services Board, said the Justice department’s proposal came after the health board went to Health Minister Ed Picco for help with the centre.
“It wasn’t working, and we weren’t getting people referred to the centre, so it was going unused,” Patterson said.
Originally designed as a regional treatment centre for the Baffin, the centre in Apex was unpopular because it separated people from their home communities, Patterson said
The health board had to close the centre in Dec. 1998 Patterson said, because it had insufficient money to operate the centre and no patients to treat.
Moving the wellness centre over to the department of justice was progress, Patterson said, because it allowed the centre to be used and allowed the health board to redirect money it would have spent on the wellness centre into community-based treatment programs.
“One of the upsides of this is it has given new life to the wellness centre in Iqaluit,” he said.