MLA blames housing shortage for lack of social service workers

Family services minister says Sanikiluaq, Naujaat are both without permanent social service workers

Minister of Family Services Margaret Nakashuk said Naujaat and Sanikiluaq do not have community social service workers this time.(File photo)

By Meral Jamal

The lack of a permanent community social worker is being felt in Sanikiluaq, says Hudson Bay MLA Daniel Qavvik.

Sanikiluaq and Naujaat are both without permanent community social service workers, Minister of Family Services Margaret Nakashuk said at the legislative assembly in Iqaluit Friday.

Nakashuk was responding to a question from Qavvik, the MLA for Sanikiluaq, who said his community is feeling the impact of not having a social service worker.

“Sanikiluaq is not the only community going through the lack of staff,” Nakashuk said in her response.

“There are other communities that are lacking social workers that need to have social workers brought in from other communities. They usually get visited from the Rankin Inlet headquarters and … for the central Arctic, they get the staff from Cambridge Bay.”

Qavvik said a big reason communities across Nunavut do not have permanent social workers is because of the housing shortage.

While Sanikiluaq recently opened four housing units for nurses in the community, he said “difficulties in filling such positions as mental health worker and community social service worker positions are all tied to the lack of staff housing in the community.”

“I strongly encourage our government to explore all possibilities to provide housing for our frontline service workers,” Qavvik said.

“It is not simply the accommodation of critical staff that is at stake, but also the health and wellness of community residents who rely on the service they can provide.”

Nunavut has 47 community social service worker positions, according to the Department of Family Services.

Twenty-eight of these are filled indeterminately and 17 are filled by contracts. Currently, only Naujaat and Sanikiluaq don’t have permanent community service workers.


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(12) Comments:

  1. Posted by Polique on

    Stories like this sadly underscore the fact that many of our smallest and least serviced communities are like small prisons where people are trapped with few to no opportunities for education, meaningful employment, and most importantly escape. Add to that the lack of mechanisms to deal or even cope with the abuse and dysfunction that mark so many of their lives.

    None of that is news to anyone who knows and has seen it first hand.

  2. Posted by islander on

    no staff housing!
    I know of at least three empty units, one of them for years. Also the nurses moved from the old HC units above the old HC to the new building, as far as I know all three of these units are empty as well.

  3. Posted by Lol on

    “Stop giving housing to transients, staff housing should be for locals”

    “There’s no more vacant units because long-term locals are now living in staff housing units”

    Well what one is it?

  4. Posted by S on

    Simply fill the positions with locals who have degrees in Social Work. If there aren’t any qualified candidates then pick two people and send them to university to get a BSW

    • Posted by I Have Questions…. on

      How many ‘locals’ with social work degrees can you think of? Of these people how many need government provided housing?

      After ‘picking’ two people and waiting 5 years for them to qualify, then what is your plan to get them to return rather than going elsewhere?

      • Posted by S on

        Thanks IHQ; since you are quick to diss my suggestion I expect you have better ones of your own. Be generous and provide one for us.

        I have other ideas that will work in this instance, and possibly enough strategies to address and resolve many of the defects in Northern society and its communities. Caveat; It will involve draining the swamp.

        • Posted by art thompson on

          Defects in northern society? Drain the swamp? How Trumpian and totally ignorant to the realities of Nunavut. Hope springs eternal. So does BS.

    • Posted by Thank you on

      Thank you for your comment. I needed this good laugh, it will make my day.
      I hope you know how ridiculous your comment actually is. Since you have access to the Internet, spend some time and research the requirements to actually go to University or College (you don’t need to have a BSW, a Social Worker Diploma is accepted in Nunavut)

      While trying to find someone eligible, eliminate all residents that don’t have a high school diploma, this will make the list much shorter.

      Thanks again

      • Posted by S on

        Thanks Ty; since you are so knowledgeable about the SW position and the requirements to staff it then you must have a better – and more sustainable – suggestion than mine. I’m genuinely interested to see it

        • Posted by money talks on

          Sure ‘S’ I’ll give you your answer

          Do what the police in Nunavik are doing

          Pay the staff like doctors and give them tonnes of time of so they have their life and family in the south

          They return, never leave, know the community and are generally well educated and good at what they do

          Want services llike the south, in the absolute hardest and most brutal place to be a cop, nurse or SW? PAY THEM

    • Posted by Trollolloll on

      Comments like these are what makes my coffee taste that much better on a beautiful Saturday morning. Thank you for adding a little brightness to my weekend ?

  5. Posted by just use IQ on

    just use traditional knowledge and let the community decide how to handle child abuse and neglect, who needs qualified social workers. also interesting the minister does not mention lack of retention or recruitment since who wants to work for the GN and its internal policies of essentially let Inuit children sit in foster care for life instead of adopt them out to non indigenous families due to optics.


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