Future of 3 youth wellness programs in Arviat in jeopardy over funding

Mayor says $400,000 annually helps kids in the community; Main says money still earmarked, but distribution being discussed

Arviat South MLA Joe Savikataaq Sr. questioned Nunavut Health Minister John Main on Feb. 22, the first day of the winter sitting, asking for clarification about how and why the hamlet of Arviat will no longer receive funding for its youth wellness programs. (File photo)

By Meral Jamal

Some of Arviat’s youth programs, such as a school breakfast program and summer camp, could lose their funding after April 1.

In an interview Tuesday, Mayor Joe Savikataaq Jr. said the hamlet received a letter Feb. 14 from the territory’s Health Department stating Arviat will no longer receive $400,000 annually to fund wellness programs in the community.

He said this will especially affect children there, since much of the funding is put toward a school breakfast program, the youth drop-in centre and an annual summer camp.

“We give our schools $100,000 annually to run breakfast programs,” Savikataaq Jr. told Nunatsiaq News.

“Our drop-in centre on average sees up to 100 kids per day six days a week because it’s closed on Sundays. And our summer camp sees up to 180 kids every year, and we feed them during summer camp.”

Nunavut Health Minister John Main said $400,000 for community wellness programs continues to be earmarked for Arviat. However, the way funds will be distributed and which programs will receive it is being discussed. (File photo)

Joe Savikataaq Sr., the former premier and current MLA for Arviat-South, has also raised the issue in the legislative assembly.

Savikataaq Sr. questioned Nunavut Health Minister John Main on Feb. 22, the first day of the winter sitting, asking for clarification on how and why Arviat will lose its funding for youth wellness programs.

Main responded, citing the Government of Nunavut’s 10-year territorial health plan, developed with Health Canada and funded through Indigenous Services Canada’s community-based health promotion and disease prevention program.

He said the agreement runs from 2017-2027 and total funding for community wellness programs across Nunavut is $272.6 million over the 10 years, or roughly $27 million annually.

The Government of Nunavut is “the administrator of the funds, but we don’t set the terms of the funds and how they need to be used,” according to Main.

He said the $400,000 for community wellness programs continues to be earmarked for Arviat. However, changes in the way the funding will be distributed, and which programs in the community will receive it, are being discussed.

“In terms of responses to conversations that are ongoing, I’m unable to say whether or not [community wellness] funding will indeed cease,” Main said in the assembly.

“In any case, the funding that’s allocated for Arviat will remain allocated for Arviat.”

Mayor Savikataaq Jr said the hamlet is looking into alternative sources to fund its wellness programs.

If youth wellness programs such as the drop-in centre and summer camp were ended, it would deeply affect the community, he said.

“At the end of the day, [this funding is] for the kids,” Savikataaq Jr. said. “There’s a very high youth population here, which we support greatly.”

“We are committed to keep running these programs that currently are without the funding that we’re getting from the Department of Health,” he added, “but we’re not sure how much longer we can continue to operate without this funding.”


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(22) Comments:

  1. Posted by Nunavut Inuit on

    Hamlets should have to be accountable on how that money is spent, many times the wellness coordinator position is sitting empty and the community suffers because of it.
    The health department should do annual training for that role so more people can be qualified to run programs in town.

  2. Posted by Aputi on

    Nalautaaq fund can afford it I’m sure

  3. Posted by Interesting….. on

    So, if the funds are still in Arviat, who got the funding? Will they take over the summer camps and other programming? Do they have the facilities to run these programs? When will Arviat hear who is running these programs?

    • Posted by Also… on

      Will the group who got this funding continue to give $ to the school breakfast programs?

  4. Posted by Holy Motors on

    It looks like Mr. Main is in a bit of a pickle. It would be an act of spectacular HariKari to cut funding from a popular program in his own constituency.

  5. Posted by George on

    Hamlet kicked by health again, no surprises here. I bet all will be fine and hamlet will secure more funds to keep their awesome programs running. Hope the other group serves as many residents with that funding as hamlet has over the years? Let’s see how that goes. NN follow up in a year and see how well and on what that funding is spent on, that would be a great story for sure lol

  6. Posted by facts on

    ban cigarettes in nunavut and people will have more money for stuff like food and summer camp

    • Posted by More confused on

      What! how will that help?

  7. Posted by Bob Lee on

    I guess Premiership has its privileges for the communities they belong to. Don’t know if Baffin communities receive $400k for breakfast programs, summer camps and youth drip in centres. RPAN runs summer day camps, maybe Brighter Futures Program still has breakfast programs at schools but both nowhere near $400k.

    • Posted by fred on

      some facts to go with your claims? do you understand Arviat is over 3000 people?

  8. Posted by Champ on

    So the community is still receiving the full amount of funding? I’m not quite sure why the Hamlet office is so upset? Obviously the Hamlet did something wrong here.

    As someone who deals with funding agencies and grants/contributions at a NGO level, there are rules around how the money is spent, reporting,
    accountability, etc. I wonder if the Hamlet office was satisfying their part of this deal?

    Also, it appears the funding has a start and stop date (10 year agreement?). So it isn’t that funding is being yanked, it seems just that the contract has ended as it was scheduled to do and now the Department of Health has found some other agency in Arviat to take over the administration of that money.

    Sounds like Arviatmuut are not losing anything here, but that the Hamlet failed to appreciate the requirements of this funding and to find sustainable income for the programs they started.

  9. Posted by Correction on

    Main will regret this decision and will follow him into the future like a shadow. Who ever gave this advise did not make a wise decision that will impact kids in his home community. Most psa are usually followed by a correction or re called perhaps Arviat will see that correction made that way. By the way why are there so many corrections

  10. Posted by fred on

    who is the “other agency” lets see how they do. do they run programs that serve as many as Hamlet does? or do they buy a new boat for the family? hmmm time will tell. will consulting contacts be given to the decision maker that ended this funding by the “other agency” ? hmm, time will tell oh but wait a society does not require an audit where hamlets are required audits. Was there and RFP or EOI issued to find the “other agency” or did it happen behind closed doors? was this rule applied to all hamlets, answer no it wasn’t. NN you should dig a little deeper there is a bigger story here that may give your readers some clarity here. Hamlet I hope you put in a complaint with the AG office.

    • Posted by new boat on

      new boat? try new taxi to bring kids going summer camp

  11. Posted by Frappuccino on

    Lucky is all i can say for those communities! We got nothing not even a peirce of wood on the sealift ! The far west is out of most territorial wellness – outsiders of Nunavut.

  12. Posted by unwilling to answer on

    There must be more to it than this story. The minister could not and did not want to answer this asking mla, quoting he could ask him in person. Minister is hiding something for him to say that. What are sittings for ?ask questions? Is it all fake? If this minister was still a regular member he would not like that answer he provided if it was thrown to him and kick up a fuss like a spoiled child. NN dig deeper this mining could lead to a new discovery.

  13. Posted by Name withheld on

    Anyone can apply for funding from Brighter Futures, talk with your Economic Development Officer, Community Health Rep to receive more information or assistance in writing a proposal for funding.

  14. Posted by hermann kliest on

    Why would WC MLA care? his nature: pension is set and that’s all it matters to some ppl…haven’t seen the good fella in town for ages….

    • Posted by pension on

      Hermann will you donate your pension to the youth of whale cove? or because its yours it matters and only you will get it

      • Posted by hermann kliest on

        Me In private work force? No. But we’re talking about your oath to mind and attend your communities as publcly elected official. WC says, have seen the good fella since elected over two years, yikes….

  15. Posted by Confused on

    Why discuss how it’s going to be distributed and what programs will receive it, Hamlet of Arviat’ been doing a great job at it for years.

  16. Posted by Auto on


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