GN’s third-party review of Iqaluit water emergency hasn’t started yet

Nunavut’s chief public officer announced the review in December

A third-party review of the Nunavut government’s response to the Iqaluit water emergency has not yet started, months after the territory’s chief public health officer announced it would happen. (File photo by David Venn)

By Madalyn Howitt

More than six months after the Government of Nunavut announced a third-party assessment of its response to Iqaluit’s water emergency last fall, work on that assessment has not yet started, according to the Health Department.

In an email to Nunatsiaq News, Health Department spokesperson Chris Puglia blamed the delay on a number of factors.

“Unfortunately, due to multiple priorities and staffing shortages, completion of the review has taken longer than anticipated,” he said.

On Oct. 2, people in Iqaluit began reporting that the city’s water smelled like fuel. Ten days later, the city and territorial government told people to stop drinking the water due to suspected contamination.

Officials later confirmed fuel contamination in multiple water tanks at the water treatment plant.

It wasn’t until two months later that the emergency order to stop drinking the water in Iqaluit was lifted.

The assessment is intended to give the GN a set of best practices on how to handle a similar situation in the future, according to Nunavut’s chief public health officer, Dr. Michael Patterson, when he announced it in December.

Puglia did not provide a timeline for when the review could begin, but said once the review is eventually complete the results will be made available to the public.

In January, Health spokesperson Danarae Sommerville told Nunatsiaq News the review will involve the Department of Health, the Department of Community and Government Services and the City of Iqaluit, but that the government had not yet identified who will lead the review.

She was also not able to say how long the review is expected to take, or offer any cost estimates.

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(4) Comments:

  1. Posted by Kwaa on

    Third party review? Seems like a conflict of interest to have the Chief Public Health Officer involved. He was working closely with Bell and Elgersma and the others from the city, no?

  2. Posted by pissed off on

    Can you say incompetence across the board ?????

  3. Posted by H2O on

    Thanks for continuing to raise questions about the water issue in Iqaluit.

  4. Posted by Steve on

    The Canadian government could care less about any of its citizens. First Nations and otherwise.
    Corrupt politicians everywhere.
    I don’t know about ground water way up there on Baffin Island but what about decentralized private wells? (managed by people who care). Seems like an easy/low cost fix to me.

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