Iqaluit Elders Home reopens after 9-month closure

First elder expected to return Wednesday

The Iqaluit Elders Home reopened Monday after nine months of being closed, says Health Minister John Main, shown here. (Photo by David Venn)

By David Venn
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Updated on Thursday, Feb. 3, 2022 at 3 p.m.

The Iqaluit Elders Home has reopened and expected to welcome its first elder Wednesday.

The home opened on Monday after the facility became fully staffed and renovations were complete, Health Minister John Main said Tuesday during the territorial government’s COVID-19 update.

Elders will be returning from down south or elsewhere in the territory. One elder will return each week until the seven beds in the facility are filled, Main said.

“We’ve been working extremely hard to bring back our elders,” said Premier P.J. Akeeagok. “I very much look forward to the official opening.”

The Health Department said in a statement afterwards that the elders who will live at the facility will be a “combination” of previous occupants and new residents. Health officials had previously said that some of the previous occupants now need advanced care that’s not available in Nunavut.

Iqaluit’s elders home shut down in May. The Health Department blamed the closure on a COVID-19 outbreak among staff and transferred four elders to Embassy West Senior Living long-term care home in Ottawa and two others elsewhere in the territory.

A month later, former Health Minister Lorne Kusugak said the elders wouldn’t return until renovations were complete and new management found, as the home’s former management, Pairijiit Tigummiaqtikkut, quit after 25 years.

Pimakslirvik Corp., a subsidiary of Chesterfield Inlet Development Corp. which runs health facilities in Rankin Inlet and Arviat, is the new operator, said Health Department spokesperson Chris Puglia.

Renovations on the home began May 31, 2021, and included fixing windows, doors, the kitchen and common area.

Between the Cambridge Bay, Arviat, Igloolik and Gjoa Haven elders’ homes, there are nine active COVID-19 cases among staff and one among elders, Main said Tuesday.

In addition, there are fewer than five COVID-19 cases among non-Nunavummiut elders at Embassy West.

Main couldn’t say if or exactly how COVID-19 may affect the Health Department’s ability to bring elders back over the next few weeks.

“COVID is affecting the process. It’s affecting all parts of our lives, frankly, at this point,” he said.

Correction: This story has been updated from an earlier version to correct information about the communities and services Pimakslirvik Corp. provides. A previous version incorrectly stated the hamlets where it operates health facilities.

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(8) Comments:

  1. Posted by Soothsayer on

    You’re doing a good job, Mr. Main.. check your chin up and stay positive. Bravo!

  2. Posted by Confused on

    Are these Elders for residents of Iqaluit only, or are they moving all the Nunavut elders back to Nunavut?

  3. Posted by Sivulliutittiniq on

    priorities need to be clearer
    we hear that elders are a priority
    the words need to match the actions

  4. Posted by Care on

    If the GN care about our elders and want to bring them home why wont they do it for our elder from coral harbou

  5. Posted by What about Raymond on

    When is the new government bringing Raymond back. Why does the family have to fund raise to bring him back.
    I thought this government had elder care as one of the top mandate.
    This new government already failed before they even started.

    • Posted by Who? on

      Who is Raymond?

  6. Posted by Standing Strong on

    At 12:15 on Friday for 10 minutes in Iqaluit outside the Nunavut Assembky there will be a silent standing protest to support Raymond coming home.

    Please dress warm. Bring a warm heart. No signs are needed. Stand silently at a distance. If you have 10 minutes for Elders please stand for Raymond.

  7. Posted by Tusaagit on

    Elders sent south are sent due to need. When, if EVER, would an elder be allowed to return???

    Most ONLY when the Elders facilities are built.

    Therefore, if you have an elder in your family to be sent south, what are the chances of them returning BEFORE they die? Perhaps ZERO unless you pay the $75K?

    Which elder can be returned home upon request by the family (excluding those who were relocated due to the renovations)?

    Which elder is allowed to return home to die? How many Nunavut elders are dying in the south.


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