GN looking to replace Nunavut’s oldest health centre
MLA Mary Killiktee says Qikiqtarjuaq’s need is urgent; government hopes work starts in 2025-2026
The Government of Nunavut’s Health Department is working to replace the health centre in Qikiqtarjuaq, says Health Minister John Main.
On Wednesday, the first day of the legislative assembly’s spring sitting in Iqaluit, Uqqummiut MLA Mary Killiktee questioned Main about the initiative.
She said there is an urgent need, given the hamlet’s health centre is the oldest in Nunavut, having been built in 1972 and last renovated in 1992.
“[The health centre] can’t keep up with the demands of the community,” she said.
Main said the Health Department has established a plan to ensure Qikiqtarjuaq, a community of about 600 residents, gets a new health centre but is struggling to secure funding for it.
“We have made a number of requests as the Department of Health, but we just haven’t been able to secure the funds up to now,” he said.
“In our planning process — from 2025 to 2026 … money will start to be put into the project, starting with $2.2 million.”
Main said he hopes the federal government will also offer funding for a new health centre in Qikiqtarjuaq.
“If there was additional funding that became available, say from our federal partners for example, there may be opportunities to move the timeline up,” he said.
Main said other communities including Kugluktuk, Baker Lake and Arviat also need new health centres.
The timeline the health department is working with would see construction begin in 2026-2027 and the new centre officially open in 2028.
The total cost to replace Qikiqtarjuaq’s health centre with a new one is at least $40 million, Main said, noting the estimate was made prior to COVID-19, which has increased construction costs.
“[Qikiqtarjuaq residents] have needed a new health centre for a very long time now,” said Killiktee, a former mayor of Qikiqtarjuaq, in response.
“They have been patiently waiting for it to open … it should be one of the priorities for this government.”
How about asking the hard question like how they will staff it? Dorset got a brand new fancey health center but always closed cause no staff.
How about Nunavut Arctic College and Family Services work together to start training the people who will be needed to staff the new health center in Qikiqtarjuak?
Imagine, nurses and lab technicians who actually live and work in the community. Consider it an investment, not an expense. The GN will more than recover the training cost from the income tax those workers will pay over the years. It will also avoid the fly-in and fly-out cost for staff.
Everyone wins, except Canadian North.
NAC has been training nurses for nearly twenty years.
Question is where are the students for such training?