Nunavik program helps get drivers back on the road after DUIs

Nunavik police statistics show 453 impaired driving charges in 2020

Kativik Ilisarniliriniq has launched a new program called Together, Let’s Stop DUI, funded by the Kativik Regional Government. (File photo by Sarah Rogers)

By Sarah Rogers

Nunavik residents who have had their driver’s license revoked or suspended due to impaired driving now have support to get back on the road.

Kativik Ilisarniliriniq has launched a new program called Together, Let’s Stop DUI. It’s funded by the Kativik Regional Government.

The school board, which runs vocational programming and adult education in the region, recently held consultations with residents and employers to determine what kind of programming and job training Nunavimmiut wanted access to.

“We realized that there were a number of jobs that required a driver’s license,” said Mamadou Diop, interim director of adult education and vocational training at the school board.

“And there are a lot of people that were having trouble with DUI [driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs] infractions.”

One of Kativik Ilisarniliriniq’s most popular vocational training courses is its heavy equipment operator training, a certified program that gives students the skills they need to operate heavy equipment for northern villages, contractors or the mines in the region.

The school board also offers a heavy equipment mechanic course; while it’s not necessary to have a licence, most mechanics need to be able to drive.

The school board already works with Quebec’s Société de l’assurance automobile, the province’s licensing authority, to deliver driver training across the region. Roughly 700 Nunavimmiut have enrolled in that training since 2012.

Since launching Together, Let’s Stop DUI, school board staff have already met with 90 participants in Salluit, Inukjuak, Puvirnituq, Akulivik, Kangiqsujuaq.

Drivers’ ages vary between 18 and 50, and 84 per cent are men.

School board staff check in with participants individually, to gauge if they’re ready to get back on the road. The program also includes a road safety education course.

At that point, the board can refer participants to the final steps to getting approved to regain their licences: an evaluation with the province’s health and social services agency and entry to Société de l’assurance automobile’s alcohol education program, called Alcofrein.

So far, Kativik Ilisarniliriniq has referred two Nunavimmiut to the evaluation process and has been able to deliver Alcofrein in the region for the first time.

The school board hopes to eventually be able to do evaluations in the region, and offer its program in Inuktitut, Diop said.

“We know that the [Société de l’assurance automobile] process is overwhelming and not very well known,” he said.

“We want to support that process, in a confidential way.”

Nunavik police statistics show there were 453 impaired driving charges throughout the region in 2020.

Nunavimmiut can call 1-800-361-2244 extension 515 to register for the program and learn about KI’s upcoming sessions.

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(16) Comments:

  1. Posted by Inuk on

    This is great!. Who do we call?, or what is the contact number? I need this ASAP!. Thank you.

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  2. Posted by Caution on

    I’m going to say caution for anyone that’s blinded here.? 453 drunk drivers for the year and this program is being talked about as thought it’s a heavenly answer. Wow people don’t be fooled here. We’re not going to see those drunks off the road any time soon, just be careful and don’t rely on this rubbishy , but otherwise a good idea in an idea setting. I mean this is asking the drunks if they’re ready to go back on the road, via this program. Drunks shouldn’t be asked that. Drunks are to be told when they get back on the road. Hey, I’m not a believer in this program for Nunavik. I’m a believer in getting real strict about the drinking in the first place. Let’s watch again, like an old worn out record. Nunavik’s ongoing drinking issues once again attended to with zero results. Some pessimistic me, but some real thou.

    • Posted by This is a major SNAFU!!!! on

      Of the 450 plus Impaired Drivers, how many of these impaired drivers were caught more than once, twice three times? Only a culture with addictions problems would find blame in their behavior. It is up to the Courts not the criminals or the school.

      • Posted by Absolutely on

        Yes, thanks for that one, I was trying to say it to. Why would KI put a program in for getting the drunks back on the road, comparing it to heavy equipment and mechanics course. This has its ridiculous roots in KI, KRG and other non insightful groups in our dear devastating government of Nunavik. Yes the courts will decide if those with criminal records for dui should go drinking and driving again, notice I said drinking and driving thou. Because it’s predictable.

  3. Posted by Demand drunks off our roads on

    I want a program to keep drunks off our roads. I want the powers to be to take more responsibility to ensure safety of citizens. This program from KRG, KI who ever is useless due to our notorious problem with drugs and alcohol. It’s a proactive program with nowhere to go. Unless the root issues are addressed first.‘I’m actually disappointed in the organizations and the people that implemented this program for no insight into Nunaviks booze problem.‘is this a new employee again , with the vision to save us all? This is actually foolish idea, in light of our roof issues. What we supposed to think after this: that our roads are safe now from drunk drivers? Stop this foolishness and get real with programs to help the community with its major substance abuse.

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  4. Posted by Roger Tooktoo on

    I lost my h.e.o job from my dui and I’ve been kicking myself since I regret it alot I wish to drive again soon.im taking AA meetings now and seeing this gives me hope to drive again soon. I hope you can help me please. I have a family that depends on me but I feel like I failed them and it hurts.

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    • Posted by Roger Roger on

      First of all , admitting your problem is towards dealing with it. That’s good. Driving while intoxicated can be more devastating if it involved killing or permanently injuring an innocent person. It’s a let down to everyone, family , friends, the whole community. Everyone needs to be given a chance, but what’s a chance? We have to be careful with that. Many in this behaviour don’t or can’t change,! Until
      It’s killing someone or themselves. There are people who have gotten their licence back , but shouldn’t have. And the signs were there that they shouldn’t have. It’s the judgement that needs more education. To be given a second chance should speak for itself, but a third and forth and so on chances. I don’t agree with anything over second chance. And if there’s enough evidence even in the first time, some people should never get to drive ever again. I say more training to the ones who make such decisions with drunks and driving behaviour

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      • Posted by Why though? on

        Honestly though, there is no real needs or benefit to anyone from your moral lecture. Just think about that.

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  5. Posted by A big threat on

    Drunks on the road are a threat to our safety. Zero tolerance. Personally I don’t care if a drunk driver caught ever gets to drive again. More so if that drunk driving caused injuries. Yes, educated drivers would be great off course. Driving in Nunavik is very unsafe without booze, let alone a drunk behind the wheel. Someone doing programs should also do something about little kids driving also. It’s a form of abuse coming from adults to allow a kid to drive atv , skidoo, vehicle, whatever. Please program implementors, look at the full picture and get educated yourself first. Take away the vehicle at least police, until they earn the right to get them back

  6. Posted by Inuk on

    Wow, truly, my hope is that pessimistic people wont ever be part of any decision-making processes in any organization in our region and communities. Cannot come up with any ideas or solutions?. Kindly sit down and let others who tackle the issues with solutions work, okay, key-board warriors. I applaud KRG and KI who extend their arms to those who are trying to get back on their feet!.

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    • Posted by Optimistic on

      If optimistic means we are living from the decision made from organizations in Nunavik, then I rather keep playing the pessimistic card, to keep shaking the possible optimistic outcome that could come from at least acknowledged reality of awareness. Nunavik if full of blindness leading the blind over the cliffs. People that are doing well in Nunavik are doing so because they are aware and not following the crowds into total darkness. I want anyone who thinks this is not a useless idea to start their search for drunk drivers and present your evidence as by police reports, trucks in ditches. Smashed up vehicles , many still on roads in half looking condition. Listening carefully for injury and death as well. Then come back on this comment site and admit your lack
      Of insight.

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  7. Posted by That Guy on

    I’m on my 1 year probation and just finished my house arrest for three months and random phone calls finished still on probation not to drink for another couple months and i do monthly visits to social services but I have no drinking problems, not allowed to drive after almost 2 years of that incident later postponed after postponed, that one time decision,”that one time maybe if I just go home no one will notice” and even if I get to drive again I wont be eligible to reapply for my license in another 5 years and when I do! it’ll be with a breathalyzer for life because in the last 10 years it’s the second time and In order for me to keep my job or to do my job properly i need my license and there’s not many people here who do the same work as I do or even want to and this program will probably help because I need to drive pretty much everything (H.E.O & H.E.M) at work I just feel like I… idk… i walk now and sometimes picked up, it’s a shame and nor that I think I’m special too I know there’s serious consequences when you’re drunk and driving yeah sucks to be me but I was on my snowmobile out of town driving regularly speed heading home and I drove for about 80 yards no turns yet,I knew what I was doing was wrong but at the same time no tests were done no breathalyzer and I never trusted that one cop he had a thing on me for years since he first saw me and he happened to be there on that night while parked and while everyone else was gracefully driving away with cars yeah sucks to be me but that made it harder for my life now. Hard pill to swallow just to accept and being told what to do where to go from now, I can only imagine the jail time i was facing 3 months geez ! All for that ” maybe just one time”

  8. Posted by peter on

    Good idea, there is hope for those who have had their ability to drive taken away due to DUI to perhaps reflect upon the mistake they made and make positive change in their life. I know I made the same mistake 26 years ago, sure changed my life in a positive way.

  9. Posted by What on

    You have put complete strangers men, women and children’s, lives at risk by drinking an driving what makes you think you deserve a second chance?

    • Posted by That Guy on

      All I was trying to say is that maybe this can help for those who try and get back on their feet and be independent again working by themselves Like I said I know what I did was wrong that I’m not asking for special treatment, that opened my eyes real quick not being able to drive and made me think where am I going but that incident was 2 in the morning ( I knew what and where ) clearly not speeding trying to get home no one out, police stopped me of all other vehicles asking me if I have priors that’s it , checking files i was compliant, no cuffs needed and I had nothing and nothing else going on and they let me go after 15 mins not even in a cell, so my question is am i forever banned from using any machinery while I can still use my skills and contribute to our society and family. The law is the law I know but to me i look at this program as a positive thing stepping forward with a positive outcome this isn’t just putting behind bars without solutions and education for those who would like to be independent again.

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