QIA commits $1.5M to aid small Inuit-owned businesses during pandemic
“We have to leverage our resources to help them survive”
Help is on the way for small Inuit-owned businesses in the Baffin region, the Qikiqtani Inuit Association announced today.
QIA’s non-profit economic development arm, the Kakivak Association, will spend $1.5 million on two new temporary COVID-19 programs “to help address the needs of the smallest, most vulnerable Inuit-owned businesses in the Qikiqtani region, and to help ensure that Inuit remain employed,” the QIA said in an April 15 news release.
“Small Inuit-owned businesses are the backbone of our local economy in the Qikiqtani region. We have to leverage our resources to help them survive and continue to employ Inuit during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said QIA President P.J. Akeeagok in the release.
“We are proud to support small businesses that provide employment and services in our communities.”
The $1-million Qikiqtani COVID-19 Emergency Wage Subsidy and Training Program will provide businesses with up to $20 an hour for each employee who would be laid off without the subsidy. Up to $1,500 will be available for training per employee for businesses that use this time to bolster their staff’s skills.
The $500,000 Qikiqtani COVID-19 Business Relief Program will provide small Inuit-owned businesses in the region with nonrepayable contributions of up to $25,000 for each eligible applicant.
“We are thinking of creative ways to offer Inuit-owned businesses the support they need to transition through these difficult times,” said Joe Attagutaluk, Kakivak’s chairperson. “We are using money, under Inuit control, to help Inuit-owned businesses.”
Businesses that have been forced to lay off staff, close, or have a significant decrease in revenues can apply for one or both programs to help maintain their operations and staff for the period between March 15 and June 30.
The QIA said that in order to be considered for support, applicants must be able to demonstrate their need for assistance by providing details about the current status of their business, as well as information about the normal fixed operating costs of their business, such as wages, rent, heat, electricity, communications, licences and insurance.
Each applicant must submit forms, as well as supporting documentation.
The application forms are available at:
The programs may be accessed in addition to federal COVID-19 relief programs, Kakivak said.
“We will be trying to ensure that the total amount of funding received does not exceed the total eligible costs,” said Glenn Cousins, Kakivak’s manager of partnerships and planning
“For this we are relying on applicants to disclose information regarding other relief funding they may have received or applied for, such as the programs available through the federal or territorial government. To further verify, program recipients will be required to submit financial reporting that shows the source and use of funds, including payroll records.”
Cousins said Kakivak will work with its partners to try to reduce any duplication.