Construction of Nunavik’s new treatment centre to start this summer

Work was set to begin in 2020 but delayed due to COVID-19 restrictions

New materials are delivered to the building site of the new Isuarsivik Regional Recovery Centre in Kuujjuaq in 2020. Delays have now pushed the opening of the facility to 2023. (Photo by Samuel Legacé)

By Sarah Rogers

Construction of Kuujjuaq’s Isuarsivik Regional Recovery Centre will go ahead this summer after COVID-19-related restrictions delayed that work in 2020, project backers announced this week.

Work on the new treatment centre was set to begin last summer but was postponed due to a decision by the Northern Village of Kuujjuaq to limit the number of out-of-region workers coming into the community due to COVID-19.

In 2020, Nunavik communities opted to allow construction companies to undertake only certain essential projects across the region.

But on March 3, Kuujjuaq’s municipal council voted to authorize major construction projects this year, including the recovery centre, Isuarsivik said in a Tuesday news release.

“We will be ready to start the preparation work to lay out the foundation of the new facility as soon as the snow will have melted,” said Isuarsivik president Dave Forrest in the release.

“Our project team is currently finishing up the planning of the construction season.”

Isuarsivik has been operating in Kuujjuaq since 1994, offering addictions recovery programming for people across Nunavik. In its current form, the centre hosts nine people at a time for six-week sessions.

With more than $40 million secured last year from the federal, provincial and regional governments, Isuarsivik is positioned to more than double its capacity in a new 22-bed facility, offering a family-focused recovery program.

Construction of an access road to the building site as well as separate staff housing units already began in 2019.

Work can begin as soon as possible this year since equipment and building materials were already shipped to Kuujjuaq in 2020.

Quebec firm Constructions Pépin-Fortin is overseeing the project and will be required to adhere to whatever public health requirements are in place for out-of-region workers.

The work is scheduled to take two summers, to be completed in fall 2022.

The centre hasn’t just faced construction delays; COVID-19 restrictions also forced Isuarsivik’s existing program to close its in-patient services for almost a year.

The centre just offered its first treatment cycle to women in early 2021 and will launch its first men’s session starting April 21.

Barring any further outbreak, Isuarsivik plans to offer an additional three treatment cycles this year, the centre said.

“It is a great relief to know that the project won’t be further delayed because we know that many are suffering while they wait to access the new family services that will be offered at the new centre,” said Mary Aitchison, Isuarsivik’s vice-president.

Nunavimmiut can view Isuarsivik’s schedule online here and fill out an application for its in-patient program here.

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(7) Comments:

  1. Posted by Something nunavik really needs! on

    Hoping that this will go well for nunavimmiut. I’m proud to state that I have quit drinking on my own. I would have appreciated some help but determination and the stubbornness of an ass made me achieve sobriety. I hope that everyone who does need help comes forward and gets help. Some people might not think it works but my family has been through it. I can say that it might take more than one try but you will get there if you’re persistent.

    Good job, guys!

  2. Posted by No religion please on

    Treatment centres are controversial in many ways. This is for more than one reason. Such as low sobriety rate for the client. It do give a 6 week break to those who attend the program and stay in it. Better then nothing scenario. Those who are ordered by court, that’s even more unsuccessful, not always , but mostly. The program itself is detrimental in achieving the goal. Like what is the program? In the past, religion has taken over the programs at Isuarsivik. Not to blame religion totally, as the 12 step of AA , let Go and let God, leave it to a higher power, lots of concern here. Education of councillors, that’s a big concern. Playing with peoples lives, and not being qualified is unethical. You can move to a new facility, but if you carry your old habits with you, nothing is improved. Personally I think the money should have have been put into more proactive, and preventive programs to facilitate wellness and good health in raring children, and guidance towards healthy family dynamics.

    • Posted by Nunavik Inuk on

      Few years ago , the judge gave me a choice , 1 yr jail or 8 weeks rehab , i chose rehab , finished and had to attend AA meetings once a week and never gave up the booze, became more of a closet boozer

      • Posted by Force to attend on

        Defence lawyers are using isuarsivik as a easy solution to their fine work. Over and over the lawyers somehow are convincing the system that the client is better off going to treatment rather than jail. That’s pathetic in a big way, and it brings no real solution to our rehabilitation needs in Nunavik. The client thereby goes into isuarsivik with no motivation, it’s just an alternative to going south to jail, and it becomes a insult and joke to victims of criminal behaviour. This needs to stop. I’m saying this because I was there. I witness first hand, and it doesn’t work for anyone. I would like to see more public input into how these programs should suit our population, and would like to see real rock the boat discussion, with no denial, just real input.

        • Posted by UNGAVA on

          Get used to it , 40 room facility like that, it has to be filled to capascity to justify its costs.

      • Posted by No sexual offenders please on

        When I was at isuarsivik there was a repeated sexual offender admitted into the program. He wasn’t from Nunavik, but he qualified to be admitted. Not sure if he was ordered by court or came from some other recommendations, whether self or family, or some social group. But I can tell you that the whole session was dominated by this sexual offender, with his mental health needs, and overshadowing the main clientele addiction needs. I would like to see clients screened more as applicants, being careful what profile of a client is admitted. Isuarsivik is not qualified to offer services to many clients that are admitted.

    • Posted by Interesting on

      Yes, the quality of care. The qualifications of employees. I would think isuarsivik owes us all the publications of qualification of those that work there. We heard on our local fm just awhile ago, someone’ announcement of Inuit hired this and that, traditional this and that. Now, just think about what that means. I’m all for Inuit traditional this and that, but not at the expense of poor quality service. I’m one of those persons that want the best for Inuit, I’m not in denial or am I in all Inuit or nothing mode. If Inuit gets cancer or heart disease I’m there, for them , but if you’re not in health care , let me do my job, saying if your qualified come on board, if not stay over there. This is our day to day life, it’s concerning.

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