MLA calls on health minister to build boarding home in Rankin Inlet

Health Minister John Main says there aren’t enough patients to warrant a medical boarding home

Rankin Inlet North-Chesterfield Inlet MLA Alexander Sammurtok, seen here in a 2022 file photo, questioned Health Minister John Main this week about a potential medical boarding home in Rankin Inlet. (File photo)

By David Venn
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

A Rankin Inlet MLA is ringing a bell that’s been rung many times before with little to no movement from the Government of Nunavut.

Rankin Inlet North-Chesterfield Inlet MLA Alexander Sammurtok pushed Health Minister John Main at the legislative assembly Tuesday about a potential medical boarding home being opened in Rankin Inlet.

“Can the minister explain why there has never been any progress on establishing a medical boarding home … even though a number of Nunavut ministers of health have stated that they are working with the federal government in support,” Sammurtok asked.

Sammurtok added that he asked Main the same question last year, and also then-health minister Paul Okalik about it in 2015.

Sammurtok brought up situations where people were left at the community’s airport without overnight accommodations because hotels were booked up and the GN’s emergency lines provided no help.

One such situation occurred in November, when a woman and her son spent the night in a Calm Air seacan.

Main responded by saying a boarding home in Rankin Inlet isn’t feasible, so his department is not considering it.

A study the Department of Health conducted in 2022 showed there’s an average of four medical travellers a day, which isn’t enough to warrant a boarding home, Main said.

He said problems can arise when medical travellers don’t work with their co-ordinator to book rooms until the day of travel. If it’s done earlier, the Health Department can typically find a room.

Otherwise, the GN sets travellers up in buildings with restaurants, which Main said patients prefer.

For his final question, Sammurtok repeated that the federal government would be open to working with the GN on bringing a boarding home to Rankin Inlet, and asked Main to commit to working on it.

But Main said it’s not a priority.

“Our priority at this time is to focus on our local health centres and to modernize them,” Main said.


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(6) Comments:

  1. Posted by Confused on

    Elder care facility needs to be built first, we need our elders back in Nunavut.

  2. Posted by main has to go back on

    Minister of health has been of no help to the people of Nunavut. He needs to go back on the regular mla side. His performance speaks volumes and is no ministerial material. John did better as a regular mla and steered the GN or so he thinks by yelling and ranting to get attention. Health is falling apart more and more as the days go on and there is only 1 way to see improvements for us and that’s to start at the top to completely rebuild the department. Do Nunavut a service and step aside mr. minister. Perhaps you can better steer health by asking questions and listen to yourself. After all his talk this minister would not allow a elder in ottawa to go home to Nunavut.

    Member’s Statement 927 – 5(2): Elder
    Care Homes (Main)
    Mr. Main (interpretation): Thank you,
    Mr. Speaker. My statement today is
    regarding elder care homes.
    Mr. Speaker, perhaps my colleagues
    would agree with me if I said that
    sending the elders to Ottawa is not right.
    I think we can all agree that it is just not
    right, but according to the decisions that
    our government has made to date, there
    is a plan to build three elder care
    facilities in the coming years.
    Our elders will still need to leave their
    home communities in the future and
    move to another community, leaving
    their relatives and their traditional land.
    They will have to leave their homes. Mr.
    Speaker, this is really unfortunate. In
    thinking about them, first of all, the
    elders have rights. They have a right to
    be helped and they have (interpretation
    ends) rights to care. (interpretation) With
    that in mind, whenever elders are moved
    to another community, it really affects
    their physical and mental well-being. It
    harms them. There are bad aspects to
    The third thing that needs to be
    remembered is culture. Nunavut has a
    unique culture. My constituents want to
    stay in their homeland. They are
    attached by the heart to the land.

  3. Posted by Name withheld on

    “Main responded by saying a boarding home in Rankin Inlet isn’t feasible, so his department is not considering it.”

    Might be easy for you to say this John, as you and rest of Arviatmiut aren’t required to spend the night in Rankin when travelling due to late evening flights Calm Air has given you all.

  4. Posted by wrong way on

    Main has been making the news the wrong way. Issue after issue problem after problem. I wonder if he misses making the news by pointing fingers at the government?

  5. Posted by inooya on

    He should come down here of his high horse seat in Iqaluit and see what we in the Kivalliq have to go through when planes cancel in Rankin and no place to stay but airport or or a few in a seacan. The gn always takes up the hotels in Rankin. Every time i call for a hotel room i get sorry but the gn booked all rooms.

  6. Posted by G-man Choi on

    If it’s not feasible , then its NOT feasible. 4 patients is not enough obviously. Get over it people, stop whining over everything.

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