Joelie Kaernerk, MLA for Amittuq, seen here in this 2019 file photo, pressed Premier P.J. Akeeagok on the housing situation of cabinet ministers last week. (File photo)

Nunavut cabinet ministers bunking in hotels due to ‘severe shortage’ of housing in Iqaluit

Ministers are required to move to Iqaluit once appointed to their positions

By Nunatsiaq News

Two Nunavut cabinet ministers are living in hotels as a result of a “severe shortage” of housing in Iqaluit, according to Premier P.J. Akeeagok.

In response to questions from Ammituq MLA Joelie Kaernerk in the legislative assembly on May 27, Akeeagok said Labour Minister Craig Simailak and Culture and Heritage Minister Joanna Quassa haven’t been able to find a place to live in the city.

Simailak was voted into cabinet on April 20, and Quassa has been a minister since November.

Cabinet ministers are required to move to Iqaluit once they are appointed to the position, but must find it on their own — they are not eligible for government staff housing.

“They can ask for assistance if required,” Akeeagok said.

In March, Kaernerk asked for the housing status of each cabinet member, including whether they leased units in Iqaluit and had housing in their home communities.

Akeeagok provided a written response on May 26.

In his response Akeeagok wrote, “Ministers from outside of Iqaluit requiring accommodation in Iqaluit must seek accommodation on the open market based on Government of Nunavut standards for accommodation of families.”

Ministers who continue to maintain a primary residence in a community other than Iqaluit during their time in cabinet are eligible to claim reimbursement for the costs of maintaining a residence in Iqaluit, he added.

Those costs include rent, heat, electricity and utilities.

“The answer I got was not the answer I was seeking,” said Kaernerk on May 27, before asking his question again.

Akeeagok did not speak to the housing situation of each cabinet minister in his response, but said they all pay for their own housing, whether through rent or ownership.

He also said each minister needs to fill out a form with their housing information and send it to the integrity commissioner.

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(14) Comments:

  1. Posted by Per Diems on

    And those MLAs must be very happy to receive all their meals compensated for also by the GN, since if you are in a hotel you’re provided per diems ($150/day?).
    I guess they are too good to live over in Building 500?

    • Posted by eskimo joe on

      OR the High Rise where I lived for many year as gn staff.

  2. Posted by Atatsiak on

    QEC shares your pain lol

    • Posted by Piluanguatugi Inautikukpu on

      Premier needs to start answering questions instead of just giving the same answer with “we follow all policies” or “no rules have not
      broken” 2 ministers living in hotel and being paid $150 daily per-diems including their dependant(s) I’m curious now of how many ministers live in a Public Housing rent free in their home community which was also not answered properly as other questions asked by MLAs. Hats off to PJ for taking someone’s advice and stopped using our elders with: “piluangutugi innautikulukpu”. If I had a grand father, I would not let him stay at the Embassy (unless by choice) I never knew both of my grand fathers as both passed when still living in igloos made of snow. During question period, can the Premier start answering properly and use his own dialect by not imitating to sound exactly like the first and second Nunavut Premier. You have yet to learn more of how the Government works. Maybe you now realize that is not like Inuit Orgs what so ever where you can get away with almost anything and everything. Government is totally opposite of Inuit organizations. keep up the good work and in no time you’ll be leading and serving Nunavut well!

  3. Posted by New Housing on

    What housing is being constructed this year? Where?

  4. Posted by Northener on

    What a crock! The feds have at least 100 empty units in town for positions that have been waiting to be filled for years. All that rent money being paid out anually for empty units. Sick!!

  5. Posted by Ken on

    Because its Iqaluit there’s going to be a big backlash as our capital seems to have too much already.
    8,000 people, other communities dump their unwanted here, Iqaluit is growing fast, infrastructure is lacking, housing.

    I hope allocation of housing will be fair, based on needs and not feelings and politics, as Iqaluit desperately needs housing, you know its bad when GN and Feds don’t have enough housing, the common person for social housing is even worse for a very long time now.

    • Posted by John K on

      Capitol envy is nothing new.

      It’s best ignored. I’m sure Kimmirut enjoyed their “blizzard” day last week while I walked to and from work in conditions that surpassed the GNs blizzard policy. We’re very obviously the territories engine.

  6. Posted by Name Withheld on

    Centralized rest of GN jobs. That should provide more Housing… 😴

  7. Posted by Stephen on

    A whole $150 a day, in Nunavut, wowzers.

  8. Posted by Lives in iqaluit on

    You know nothing surprises me anymore with the GN. If it’s the wrong choice trust them to make it.

    Like this comment or don’t like this comment. 5-10-15 years from now this place isn’t looking too promising.

    Explain me how we are better of leaving the NWT?

  9. Posted by Northern Guy on

    There are apartments available but I guess as a Minister they would would likely demand a single family home! Good luck with the wait!

  10. Posted by Housing, Nunavut Style on

    Congratulatios! you are being offerred the GN position to which you applied. Just sign and return the enclosed job offer.
    When you arrive in Nunavut you will be provided with a hammer, a saw and a pile of lumber that you can use to build your house.
    See you soon.
    GN HR

  11. Posted by Shaw on

    There is too many southerners taking away the best housing and jobs away from the locals that need it for proper social developments but that’s how corruption works.


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