Isuarsivik opens its doors to Nunavimmiut

Kuujjuaq’s new addictions recovery centre hosts 5-day open house event, inviting all of Nunavik to see the new facility

Isuarsivik’s executive director Etua Snowball catches up with cultural and traditional counsellor Hannah Tooktoo in the employees’ lounge. (Photo by Cedric Gallant)

By Cedric Gallant - Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Kuujjuaq’s new Isuarsivik Regional Recovery Centre is hosting an open house next week, allowing locals to get a glimpse inside.

“We want [Nunavimmiut] to feel at home here,” said Etua Snowball, executive director of Isuarsivik, in an interview inside his new office space.

“This building is for the people, from the people.”

Isuarsivik, which is Nunavik’s only addictions recovery centre, has been around for 25 years. Its staff moved out of its former building in January and have been in the process of transferring operations over to the new site since then.

The new building has 22 beds as well as facilities to accommodate some guests’ families, compared to its predecessor’s nine beds. The new building comes with a total overhaul of services provided as well.

For the open house which runs June 26 through June 30, Isuarsivik has brought people in from all 14 of Nunavik’s communities.

There will be presentations explaining the new services, showcasing what’s available in-house and what can be accessed through continued care.

“We want to make sure everybody is aware of this,” said Snowball. “When they are ready to have help, we are there, and they can contact us in every way possible. This is the whole point of the open house.”

Renaud Paquette, the centre’s spokesperson, said the new Isuarsivik is moving away from the 12-step Alcoholics Anonymous model and more toward harm reduction.

Most rooms have large windows overlooking the Koksoak River.

“We want the families to feel safe, the environment to be safe for their kids,” said Paquette, of the centre’s ability to host the families of guests. “If you see a room with a view, I think you’re going to be interested for sure.”

A daycare and classroom is built within the centre as well.

“We are looking for a brighter future for our kids,” said Snowball.

“We have to make changes for the better of our people. We have the facility to do so, to make our future better, encouraging our people to move forward to a better place.”

Snowball also asks that people who visit the centre voice their opinions and offer feedback.

“This is what we’re working towards, we need that constant communication where if something needs to be focused on, we will hear people out,” he said.



  • The kitchen area of Isuarsivik Recovery Centre, where guests will receive meals. (Photo by Cedric Gallant)


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(14) Comments:

  1. Posted by Inuk from Nunavik on

    I hope , this place makes a difference , there are people just rotting away here in nunavik

    • Posted by Hope is all we have left on

      Only hope now, it’s the only thing left. I don’t want to put local staff on a spot to feel inadequate, but let’s put a background in place. Qualification are still not being required, or somebody is misleading Nunavik Inuit. Once again we are show casing locals are though, there’s going to be a new and improved program , managed by the culture and values and traditions, and it’ll change something like never done in the past. This is misleading, and it’s cheaply implemented to a vulnerable group of people and family seeking help and well being. The locals hired are the same ones that go from this job to that job, without ever getting any qualifications to do any of the jobs that they get into. How do anyone think that these make up councillors and staff are capable competent and qualified to work with such vulnerable group. This don’t have a good start. It’s probably a continuous failure, and the hope we are now left with. Is the hope that what we have, the hope that it doesn’t make the population more unhealthy.

      • Posted by Welcome to the many on

        Let’s see the southern staff come and go. I bet the turn over of both local and southern workers will reached into the hundreds in a short period. There’ll be more staff then clients going through there. Get rid of the board that’s contributing to the failures that the treatment centre faces. Can’t people see the same old. Are people that blinded?

    • Posted by Rotted in the earth too on

      The questions i pose might be worth pondering on. What is the past record of success at isuarsivik ? What history is there ? Was it just the new building, like the old one contributed to failures? Now that there’s a new facility, how can we have confidence? What makes this , other than the building a worth while treatment centre, vs the history of the previous one? What will culturally tradition Inuit values really be tested in well being? Are the expectations for a less intoxicating Nunavik, less justice involving crime and less medical emergencies? Or is this centre a rest centre for ..8 weeks of stopping drinking, to resume in the end of the .8 weeks?

  2. Posted by da waste basket on

    Trivia, in the 1940’s a ship grounded on the Koksoak being swept in the rising tide to an island near present day Kuujjuaq. It became a salvage operation, onboard the vessel among other things there was a large quantity of beer meant for the construction crew that was constructing an airbase (present day Kuujjuaq), party time anyone?

    • Posted by Kuujjuaq on

      I heard from some old timer , from that time that the RCMP ,went around confiscating the beer. he hid his in the bush .

      • Posted by He was smart on

        If that old timer was smart or others like him , they would have hid theirs in bush too.

    • Posted by Got in wrong hands on

      It’s no different today booze got in the wrong hands then , and ship plane today , booze still get to the wrong hands where booze don’t belong. If there was enough booze at that time getting in the wrong hands , we would have crystal 1 today with very few calling kuujjuaq Inuit home.

  3. Posted by Confused on

    Wow, what a fancy place!

  4. Posted by S on

    Just took a glance at the Isuarsivik Regional Recovery Centre website. There are forty-nine (49) employees. BIG budget for a 22-bed facility. Add in building operation, administrative overhead and a parcel of Board members and we’ll be fortunate if there’s enough in the kitty to feed that nearly-100 people, daily

    Gotta be a $5,000,000 annual budget – on top of the $35,000,000 it probably cost to build the place

    Let’s hope someone is helped.

    • Posted by Worker who help building Isuaqsivik on

      It cost over $44,000,000 to build the treatment centre

    • Posted by Where money goes on

      Between the treatment Center , the coop beer and wine store, and the landholding beer and wine store, money just flows further away from fixing poverty. What a shame, a sin , and in my opinion a crime to have people making decisions like this, , for so much money flowing into these wasted organizations. Kids and the large part of the population are crying for help. Beer , wine and the false belief to fix the problems are all in vain.

  5. Posted by Pseudonym unknown on

    Great work Hanna and talk of committment with her marathon cycling trip to draw attention to the issue self harm and loss. The centre is doing well with people like Hanna onboard.

    • Posted by A marathon of education on

      It’s good that she went partially across Canada in a marathon, but that don’t qualify her to be a councillor dealing with the issues in a treatment Center. Anyone worker as a councillor needs an education for it, not a marathon.


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