Feds give Nunavut $19M for immediate COVID-19 response
“Their swift action to provide support where we need it is truly appreciated,” says Nunavut premier
The federal government says it’s giving Nunavut $19.36 million in immediate funding to support the Government of Nunavut, Inuit communities and Inuit organizations in their response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The money will go toward food and social supports, municipal services such as water truck delivery, security and non-medical personal protective equipment, according to a news release from Indigenous Services Canada on Wednesday, Nov. 25.
“COVID-19 has hit the Kivalliq region quickly and is testing our limited resources and capacity,” said Nunavut Premier Joe Savikataaq in the release, in which he thanked the federal government.
“Their immediate financial assistance in response to the outbreak, and their swift action to provide support where we need it, is truly appreciated.”
The news release acknowledged that a number of Nunavut communities are experiencing outbreaks, including Arviat, Whale Cove and Rankin Inlet. On Wednesday, the number of active cases in Nunavut reached 153.
The money will go to the GN, the Kivalliq Inuit Association through Nunavut Tunngavik Inc., and other partners to support immediate needs and protection measures to help limit the further spread of COVID-19 in the region, the release said.
The money will also support emergency response and preparedness plans in place in Nunavut.
The $11.36 million going to the GN includes:
- $1.8 million to provide food support to households that are isolating and for other food security needs through the pandemic.
- $1 million for personal protective equipment and cleaning supplies for affected communities.
- $6.5 million to support municipal services in affected communities, such as security, water and sewage services, transportation of food, cleaning supplies, testing and other medical supplies, as well as additional medical personnel.
- $1.3 million to expand internet bandwidth in support of education, remote health care and community response to COVID-19.
- $513,000 to support early learning and childcare programs in managing the impacts of COVID-19, including training for these workers, mental health supports for children and families, home-based learning kits, and food hampers to replace breakfast or lunch programs.
- $250,000 for the purchase of equipment to support distance learning in the Kivalliq region, allocated from a new agreement with Nunavut Arctic College, through the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency’s northern adult basic education program.
Another $8 million goes to NTI in collaboration with the KIA:
- $6 million for food hampers, support for households that rely on school breakfast and lunch programs, other food security needs for individuals and families in communities with active COVID-19 outbreaks, and in communities where schools have closed.
- $2 million to support on-the-land programs and activities.
“Hampers with food and cleaning supplies are critically needed. This funding will support Nunavut Inuit to stay home and limit contacts, said James Eetoolook, the acting president of NTI.
The federal government said it would also continue to work with Inuit and other Indigenous partners to identify organizations that require support to serve Inuit living outside Nunavut.
And the release said the federal government would not hesitate to deploy additional resources if needed.
“We will continue to ensure that all Nunavummiut are supported and provided with the resources they need to respond effectively to the pandemic. We are asking all residents in Nunavut to continue to follow the guidelines and recommendations of their regional public health authorities,” said Dan Vandal, the minister of northern affairs, in the release.